In 2001 a group of Christian Educators began brainstorming ways we could support one another in this journey of Faith Formation. Our muse was "Edna", the dedicated Christian woman who has been teaching Sunday School faithfully without ever attending seminary or continuing education events. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, hundreds of people are now part of this Network.
My passion for Faith Formation is multi-faceted. I am a single mom of two young women; Caroline (Coordinator of Communication and Technology, NWOS-ELCA) and Sarah (Student - Civil Engineering, Purdue University).
Having served congregations in Northwest Ohio, Central Southern Illinois, Indiana-Kentucky and Southeast Michigan synods I am the pastor of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in the village of Holgate, Ohio.
In addition, I serve on the ELCA Faith Formation Team and the Book of Faith Initiative Team for the ELCA. I am also an Advocate for the Global Leadership Summit.
Coaching, Prayer, Discipleship and Leadership are the areas of emphasis for my teaching and learning.
Over ten years ago, I joined other Christian educators in Chicago to dream about and plan for a new organization to bring together Christian educators in the ELCA to support one another and be advocates for faith formation. As a fairly new Director of Christian Education in my home church, I was eager to connect with others so that I could learn from others and share my joys and concerns. From those meetings developed the Lutheran Association of Christian Educators (LACE), now known as the Christian Education Network of the ELCA. Over the years, I have deeply appreciated the collective experience, wisdom, and passion of those who work in faith formation ministries in our churches. This shared ministry has enriched my own faith journey!
Currently, I serve as the Faith Formation Ministry Team Leader at Calvary Lutheran Church in Solana Beach, California, a position which allows me the opportunity to work with all age groups, infant through adult. I am happy to be returning to the board after serving as the first president of the Lutheran Association of Christian Educators (the CE Network's predecessor) for five years as well as past president for four years. I have been involved with Christian Education as a lay leader, both in volunteer and staff roles, for over seventeen years. Before that, I was a middle school and high school teacher for eleven years. I am married with one son who is in his second year of law school.
For just over 20 years, I have served in ELCA congregations in a variety of children, youth and family ministry positions, both as a volunteer and as a paid youth minister. I’ve worked with those from birth to young adults and find great joy and passion in walking alongside young people in their faith journey. I currently serve as a staff member with the Pacifica Synod, where I am the Director for Accounting and Communication. I am also the adult chair of our Pacifica Synod Youth Team, comprised of high school students from congregations around our synod who serve in leadership roles for events for children and youth.
I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the CENetwork Board and I value the good work that takes place through this organization and its members. I look forward to learning more about the ways we can connect and share resources with those serving in our congregations and support this important work.
I invite all who are interested in the areas of Christian Education and Faith Formation to become part of the Christian Education Network of the ELCA. It provides great opportunities to connect with others interested in lifelong faith formation and growth and share ideas on how to achieve that goal. After volunteering in the church for many, many years, I served as a paid staff member in Christian Education in a congregation for nine years. Passions include milestone ministry, confirmation as well as service and outreach opportunities for families. Currently, I am the coordinator of the Christian Education Network of the ELCA and I am an "apprentice coach" for the From Promise to Practice Coaching Initiative in the ELCA. I am also an office manager at a presbyterian church.
I’m part of an amazing organization called CENetwork – The Christian Education Network of the ELCA. We are a group of people who are passionate about faith formation for all ages and in many ministry settings.
We have a great Facebook page and I am blessed to be able to put together the monthly e-newsletter as their social media coordinator. Check out our Facebook page sometime – You can find it here!
Diane McGeoch is a deacon in the ELCA, serving as Coordinator of Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids in Nampa, Idaho. Learning Peace is a 4 day camp teaching conflict resolution and peace making skills to children and youth ages 6-13. Diane lives in Meridian, Idaho and is a member of Hope Lutheran, Eagle, Idaho. She has served congregations in Connecticut, Maryland, and California as a Youth Minister and Christian Educator. Diane was Book of Faith Advocate and Practice Discipleship Coach in the Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA. Since moving to Idaho in 2016, Diane has been involved in Messy Church and the Young Disciples Team at Hope Lutheran, Eagle. Messy Church is a fast growing ministry that seeks to engage all ages in faith formation outside the Sunday morning format. Diane holds a Master of Christian Ministry degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA.
Carole Joyce is a beloved child of God who loves to pray and play in God’s Word with children of God of all ages. Her passion for faith formation and cross-generational ministry allows her to learn and wonder about God’s presence and work in the world alongside children, youth, and adults.
Carole is a deacon in the ELCA and has been a rostered leader since before the ELCA. She finds this time of changing church to be exciting and challenging. We need to listen, watch, and pray for God’s Spirit to guide us into new ways to be the people of God in the 21st century. Carole enjoys mentoring and learning from new leaders in faith formation and youth ministry. They have much to teach us as we boldly try new things.
This is Carole’s second time on the board of the Christian education network and she was honored to be educator of the year in 2012. She presently serves at Good Shepherd in Plainview, MN and Our Savior’s in Rochester, MN. When she’s not there, you might find her hiking, reading, running, quilting, serving at the food shelf or hanging out with family. Everything she knows about leadership she learned from her now grown sons!
Julie Hestermann is the Director of Children's Ministries at Sheridan Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has been on staff at Sheridan for 16 years. Her newest role is to shepherd the Children's Ministry staff who provide programming for infants through 5th grade. Julie finds joy in working with the children, partnering with parents and families in their faith journey's and working closely with volunteers. Julie has also been blessed to help lead a camp for children in Haiti for the last six years with the Haitian Timoun Foundation.
Julie has been married to her husband Scott for 28 years. They have two adult children and a new son-in-law. When not at church, Julie enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.