A Community of Practice, often abbreviated in writing as a CoP, is a group of people who are active practitioners. The purpose of a CoP is to provide a way for practitioners to share tips and best practices, ask questions of their colleagues, and provide mutual support and guidance.
The basis for membership in any community of practice is similar experience, training or role and responsibility within the vocational journey. In other words, one should have at least some recent experience performing the role or areas of leadership as the other members who will gather for a CoP. In many UCC Conferences, communities of practice for clergy practitioners have existed for some time and have been known as Excellence Groups.
For the purpose of gathering to learn, develop and deepen capacities in faith formation, our groups will be known as Excellence Groups. This language describes our Conference’s intent to develop sacred spaces for leaders to attain excellence in their vocational lives. We know that well formed and healthy leaders contribute greatly to well formed and healthy congregations, in other words, those that are most effective in vital faith formation.
In January 2017 we will train a group of facilitators as leaders for Excellence Groups in Faith Formation. We imagine Faith Formation Excellence Groups will begin shortly thereafter in the following areas in at least 2 locations within our state:
Excellence in Beginnings – A group for faith formation leaders who have served three years or less in their current setting.
Excellence in Children’s Ministry – A group for leaders whose primary role is in ministry to and with the children of the church.
Excellence in Small Church Formation – A group for leaders whose church membership is 125 members or less and whose average worship attendance is between 10 and 50 people each week.
Watch this webpage for more information about the launch dates for Excellence Groups in Faith Formation.