By Abbey Rodriguez | Staff Writer
Whitworth University’s Office of Church Engagement (OCE) has a long-standing commitment to share the university’s resources with local churches and non-profits in the area. “[Whitworth] seeks to be a part of what God is doing in the world and in the Spokane community,” said Lauren Hunter, associate director of the OCE. Hunter said they aim to bridge the gap between the world of academia and society. The OCE has a variety of different ministries that engage with the community, with their most recent being Formed in Faith, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.
The Formed in Faith project aims to build an interdenominational network of children’s ministry and family leaders together to learn from each other and provide support while parenting children within the Christian church. It will include various options for parents and caregivers, including support groups, parenting events and an online resource hub. The hope is that parents will learn how to share the Christian faith with their kids, which counters the current narrative of harmful evangelical parenting. The OCE hopes to provide parents with the resources to raise children in a faith that will not negatively impact their formation or identity.
From the outside, Formed in Faith seems to have little engagement from Whitworth students. However, there are opportunities for Whitworth students to be involved in the project as well. Hunter explained that the OCE is currently hiring students to provide childcare during Formed in Faith events and hopes that there will be intersections between their Summer Fellowship Program and the Formed in Faith project.
The OCE is also welcoming “Meredith Miller for a workshop/event called ‘Nurturing a Faith Your Child Doesn’t Need to Heal From,’ and it is open to anyone interested in child faith formation,” said Hunter. This event will take place on Oct. 21, 2023, at Whitworth Church and is free for students to attend. It will be an opportunity to “experience God afresh with our kids,” said Hunter. For more information about the project or how to get involved, students can contact Lauren Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.