Dorothy C. Bass of Valparaiso University and several associates from a network of institutions developed an interdisciplinary approach to educate and form people in faith. Education and Formation of People in Faith, as the project was named, sought to understand education and formation in faith at three levels: historical, theological, and practical.
The historical aspect explored across denominational boundaries how people have in the past related to the traditions of faith and practice. The theological aspect assessed theological positions and points of views that have guided lay theological education and formation; it sought to develop theological criteria to assess whether education and formation in faith are indeed taking place. At a practical level, this project interfaced with specific and structured practices of Christian faith.<p>
Centered around a core, interdisciplinary seminar that engaged with education and formation in faith at three levels described above, three research groups were commissioned to explore (1) the history of lay theological education and spiritual formation in the United States, (2),the history of Christian and Jewish education and formation, and (3) the formative power of religious practices.</p>
Each of the research group published a book related to their area. "Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for A Searching People", edited by Dorothy Bass, explored twelve Christian practices that form a way of life together. "Practicing Theology: Belief and Practices in Christian Life" edited by Miroslav Volf and Dorothy Bass brought out the necessary links between theology and the practices of Christian life. "Educating People of Faith: Exploring the History of Jewish and Christian Communities" edited by John Van Engen described lived practices of Jews and Christians in synagogues and churches from antiquity up to the seventeenth century.</p>
Formation of People in Faith is an ongoing effort whose major activities are featured on its website: http://www.practicingourfaith.org.</p>