here's my latest youth group activity written for DevoZine, the Upper Room daily prayer guide for young people. the "in the habit" blog provides a weekly group activity which builds on the daily prayer experiences that the young people have (hopefully) undertaken.
A highlight of our excellent church camp weekend was the "Masterchef Aldinga" competition held on the Saturday evening. Five teams of 5 people - children, youth & adults, competed in a series of challenges. I took the Masterchef intro video and put the faces of campers over the top of it (you can download it here: 25mb Quicktime file or 4mb FLV file). We made a Masterchef clock and moved the hand manually every few minutes.
This test involved making the following Apple Tea Cake from the Margaret Fulton cookbook.
Oxfam have Damon Albarn producing an album with Congolese musicians to support their work in the troubled country. Called Kinshasa One Two, it was recorded in 7 days, and will be released 3rd October (digital)and 7 November (CD). Albarn colleced 11 musicians to work with the locals. The album will be released by DRC Music. You can follow what's happening on Tumblr and listen to some tracks on SoundCloud. Sounds brilliant!
the always-stimulating pete rollins, occasionally of belfast, has his own channel on vimeo. don't know why i didnt know this already. lots of high quality recent clips. and vimeo members can download them! here's a sample. now to order his new book...
I've just been to the annual gathering of the Uniting Church's national Christian Education Reference Commitee held here in Adelaide. About 10 people gather from across the country for this, and during the year connect via teleconference. So what did we discuss?
the recent conferences/training and interest in Messy Church and Godly Play, and how we might support the current interest and work by synods in this
resourcing and publishing in Christian education - a lively conversation with Rev Dr Ian Price from MediaCom
my research project on the future of Christian education in the UCA
a project to work on new baptism and confirmation materials for the UCA
a collaboration with the UCA's National Youth Affairs Reference Committee (NYARC) to add a Christian Education 'stream' to the proposed national in-service for children, youth & family ministry people in August 2012. Proposed dates are 24-31 August in Sydney
exploring a DVD & group discussion resources of "Discipleship Stories" - how congregations help people learn and grow in faith & discipleship
Wendi Sargeant's recently completey PhD thesis on Christian education in the emerging church
developments regarding UCA schools in terms of governance, RE, chaplaincy etc
our national communication strategy for CE - new Assembly website coming soon!), Twitter (@UCAChristianEd), Facebook and online community at UnitingLeaders
The series of films produced for the "Practicing Our Faith" project of Valparasio University are now available on DVD through theworkofthepeople.com. Titled "On Our Way", the DVD features 13 sessions exploring Christian practices, along with a free discussion guide. Presenters include Dorothy Bass, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Joyce Hollyday, Susan Briehl and a bunch of others.
Topics include an Introduction, Doing justice, Peacemaking and nonviolence, Discerning God's call, Care for Creation, Making a good living, Friendship & intimacy, Living as community, Honouring the body, Knowing and loving our neighbours, Living in the presence of God, Singing our lives to God, and Study...
I'm just back from Sydney and 2 days of meeting with UCA National Directors & Gen Sec etc. this is remarkable group of people who oversee the church's work in Frontier Services, UnitingWorld, UnitingCare, UnitingJustice, Doctrine, Worship, MultiCultural Ministry, etc. this time Pres-Elect Andrew Dutney sat in for a few hours too. my second time at such a meeting, and I've come away again both richly stimulated and deeply impressed by the breadth and depth of what the UCA seeks to do.
we had an exploratory discussion about the 'big picture' of church polity, governance and resources in relation to mission (particularly across the various 'sectors' of church activity - congregation, agencies, schools, etc), and whether/how we as a church might reconsider that. of course there was talk about the upcoming Assembly and how to both report to and listen to the Assembly, and what it means for such a gathering to be a time of discernment. just like being at an Assembly meeting itself, it is something of a highlight for me to hear about the various initiatives that we are taking as a church.
My research project is about how well we're doing in growing disciples. We have thought that we were doing well in that area for much of the last 100 years, but clearly in the last few decades we've had to do a reality check. I wonder what we'll say about our capacities, intentionality, resourcing, and development in this area in 50 or even 20 years time. Glad to be part of the Uniting Church, and also glad to be helping us focus on how congregations see discipling as central to their identity and purpose.
Lave and Wenger (Situated Learning) are great at questioning traditional assumptions about learning. They suggest that there is a "folk epistemology of dichotomies" (have to remember to slip that phrase into conversation....). eg. "between 'abstract' and 'concrete' knowledge. These categories do not reside in the world as distinct forms of knowledge, nor do they reflect some putative hierarchy of forms of knowledge among practicioners. Rather, they derive from the nature of the new practice generated by sequestration. Abstraction in this sense stems from the disconnectedness of a particular cultural practice. Participation in that practice is neither more nor less abstract or concrete, experiential or cerebral, than in any other. Thus, legitimate peripheral participation as the core concept of relations of learning places the explanatory burden for issues such as 'understanding' and 'levels' of abstraction or conceptualisation not on one type of learning as opposed to another, but on the cultural practice in which the learning is taking place, on issues of access, and on the transparency of the cultural environment with respect to the meaning of what is being learned." (p104).
Great, hey! So it's not that the classroom deals in abstract theory (or cognition) and the field setting in concrete practice (or experience). Rather, the classroom is abstracted from the field setting because what happens there is in fact a different set of cultural practices. So its not that there's a burden on the classroom to the transmit the theory correctly and on the field setting to inculcate people with the right experiences. Rather BOTH settings involve learning new understandings and practices that are designed to replicate the kinds of communities in which they take place!
But more than that, the classroom teaching may be designed to withhold certain kinds of information or experience on the assumption that "theory" must be learned before "practice". The issue here is that the control of information may have more to do with the institution's ways of replicating itself than with a sound theory of learning for effective practice in a field setting.