In April 2017, The Fahs Collaborative celebrated its 5th Anniversary. We decided to invite 30 colleagues—educational theorists, academic religious educators, religious education practitioners, social justice advocates—to gather for an assessment conference to review our work over the last five years. Inspired by John Dewey’s (1928) articulation of embodied wisdom, intellectual inquiry and the power of liberalizing learning community, participants shared outcomes of their projects and wondered how the lessons learned might influence future work. An arts-based strategy of qualitative inquiry was employed to great effect, hiring graphic recorders from The InkFactory to capture the aspiration, outcomes and tensions within each of these projects. Each of the following art-boards represent a specific project as well as audiences for whom our hearts break, and subsequently, potential avenues to support faith formation of such individuals and groups. The ideas on the board will serve as a guiding light for our future work.
Sophia Lyon Fahs was an early 20th century Unitarian religious educator. She saw that religious systems were often more focused on upholding traditions than on helping people learn how to live faithful lives. In response, Fahs asserted that the church’s function is “to teach us how to put religious and ethical qualities into all kinds of experience”, and said transforming education for the future of faith is our “great work”.
The Fahs Collaborative continues Sophia’ work, as a laboratory for innovation in faith formation. We bring unlikely actors and new ideas together, developing resources and practices that deepen faith, build resilience, honor diversity, and strengthen communities. Our work is to help faith transform lives and the world we share – for good. Together, we are forging the future of faith formation.
Fahs Curriculum Catalogue includes We Who Defy Hate, Beloved Conversations, and Sophia Fahs Sunday.
Curriculum Incubator: Professionals gather to create new solutions and curricula, like the 2018 Creating Theology Together, and the UUCSJ Study Guide.
Fahs Research Fellows: we support educational entrepreneurs, to conduct research and share solutions to challenging learning challenges in the field of faith formation.
MacLean RE Special Collection includes 200+ years of UU RE artifacts and curricula, collected and catalogued by the MacLean Archive Team. Scholars and educators are invited to use the materials to support research, teaching, and learning.
James Fowler's seminal work on faith development is familiar to many. We often use pithy shorthand descriptions for his first four stages: Faith is Caught, Taught, Bought, and Sought. But what might this individual-centered theory miss? And why do so many UUs and whole UU congregations seem to get stuck in stage 4 (seeking faith)?
The experience of directing lifespan faith development in congregations led to a new idea: Wrought Faith. It describes the deliberate, lifelong, shared "shaping" of faith that just might be necessary for "full" faith development. It can happen in worship, class, or congregational life, but it is often missing in our churches. So, how do we as educators move our people into more complexity? How might a commitment to wrought faith re-focus issues such as individuality, collaboration, inclusivity?
Fahs has curricula and professional development resources to support educators who seek more shared learning. We also offer a new way of thinking about faith formation: centering it as the most primary ministry of any congregation or community, and the essential process that determines our capacity to transform lives and seek justice in the world.
Fahs called it “a great work”: to create a future for faith that matters in an increasingly secular world, we must be willing to grow beyond rigid adherence to outworn religious traditions. After all, faith that is relevant supports real people and real issues, both within and outside of churches and congregations. This means reimagining how faith calls us now. In collaboration with the educators and communities we serve, we are naming and claiming the work that is before us. At the recent Fahs @ Five assessment conference, we marked our fifth year of doing "great work". Participants were asked to share ideas as to how Fahs could serve its mission in new ways, bringing the transformational power of progressive faith to unlikely challenges in our world today.
The story continues… but we are creating it together. The Fahs Collaborative welcomes you to join the conversation as we forge the future of faith formation.
To learn more, browse the pages dedicated to the Fahs Collaborative. Contact us if you have any questions!