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New PMA Christian Formation associate coordinator to receive educators’ award


Stephanie Fritz supports age and stage faith formation with PC(USA) covenant partners

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Stephanie Fritz, the PC(USA)’s new associate coordinator for Faith Formation, will receive an award next week from the the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators. (Photo courtesy of Central Presbyterian Church in Denver)

LOUISVILLE — When Stephanie Fritz heard that the Presbyterian Mission Agency was looking for a person to help lead collaboration with the five PC(USA) missional partner associations that work with “ages and stages” ministry, she was intrigued.

“To facilitate partnership and collaboration with each of these ministries in their formation work is exciting,” Fritz said, “and very important to me.”

Those “ages and stages” ministries are as follows:

  • Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE)
  • Presbyterian Youth Workers Association (PYWA)
  • UKirk Network–PC(USA) Collegiate Ministries (UKirk)
  • Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA)
  • Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network (POAMN)

According to the Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos, Mission Coordinator for Christian Formation, Fritz is a perfect fit for what the office of Christian Formation needs now. Since the five missional partners met at Stony Point last year with Christian Formation staff, there has been a clear need to help coordinate the PMA’s work with those associations, he said.

“We’re not only looking to partner with them in their particular ministries,” Santos said, “we’re also looking to help them collaborate with one another for a more connected expression of life-long faith formation. Stephanie’s background, experience and passion for faith development made her the obvious choice.”

Previously the director of Mission and Faith Formation at Central Presbyterian Church in Denver, Fritz was moderator of the General Assembly (2016) special committee created to study the Reformed Perspective of Christian Education in the 21st Century.

Recommendations from that committee adopted by the General Assembly (2018) included a mandate that PMA’s office of Christian Formation focus on lifelong faith formation — especially intergenerational ministry.

Fritz also moderated the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) annual event committee — which plans and hosts an annual conference attended by more than 800 Christian educators. This year’s Feb. 6-9 event is in Galveston, Texas, where she will receive the APCE Empower Award.

“When I found out, I was surprised,” she said, pausing with a smile to let the irony of receiving the award sink in. “Actually, it’s APCE who has always empowered me to be able to do the next thing.”

Fritz admits that as a Colorado native it was hard to leave her home state — and her church of nearly seven years. Central Presbyterian Church has always been supportive of her volunteer work at the national level, she said, which made it a “bittersweet goodbye.”

“But it feels like I’ve been working toward something that is now being funneled into one job,” she said. “Sometimes you have to listen to where the Holy Spirit is taking you next.”

Prior to her Christian education work, Fritz managed large childcare centers. Her training and experience in early childhood education became the impetus for her to create and launch two highly successful nonprofit schools.

“Every child needs five unrelated adults in their lives as mentors,” she said, “and churches are one of the last places where all the generations gather together. Yet many are age segregated. It doesn’t make sense to separate the generations — worship in particular is intergenerational.”

Fritz began her work at the Presbyterian Mission Agency on Jan. 22.

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