I'm at the Uniting Church's national Assembly Standing Committee this weekend, where yesterday I presented the report and proposals of my two years of research regarding the future of Christian Education in the Uniting Church. This was an internal report, and I don't know whether it will be circulated more widely. However, my ongoing PhD research will develop the work further and have some kinds of publication outcomes.
The good news is that the ASC accepted all of the proposals with only minor amendments. I can't reproduce them here yet until the minutes of the meeting are confirmed. However, I can say that the ASC affirmed that Christian Education is part of the role of the Assembly, adopted a vision statement about CE for the Assembly, agreed to some principles about how it would be enacted, agreed to consider how CE is embedded in the work of agencies and how some great collaboration might be pursued, agreed to appoint a senior staff person in CE, and agreed to develop a new mandate for a new Working Group.
Proposals about a staff PD and Working Group mandate will be developed and brought to ASC in July, presumably then with a Working Group appointed in th second half of the year and a committee appointed to advertise, interview and recommend a staff appointment (presumably starting 2014). In my view this is a fantastic result for the Assembly.
We had spent the morning doing some broad prioritising for the Assembly in the short-term in the light of budget issues. It was very affirming in the light of the content my report that the top three percevied priorities were seen to be (1) reorienting Assembly work to more directly resource 'local expressions of faith' (2) education (both lay and ordained) (3) facilitating cross-boundary synod work. Without unpacking these here, they picked up on key themes in my report about the Assembly working differently.
They also agreed to thank me for my work and gave me a nice bottle of wine and a box that I can open when I get home.