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June 19, 2012



Thanks Craig...

I'm particularly interested in these areas

11.The Uniting Church needs to maintain the current educational standards for the ministry of Lay Preacher.

12. Lay leaders need simpler training courses that may lead towards further learning for accreditation.

13.The training for lay worship leaders and preachers needs greater emphasis on contemporary worship and preaching styles.

14. Presbyteries and synod education agencies need to collaborate more closely in order to provide more regional training opportunities.

It seems to me that there's a need for a "standardised" set of modules with flexible learning strategies provided by Assembly (perhaps with Synods involved in writing) for Presbyteries & Synods to be given to resource them in their training and continuing education of LP's

At the moment we're in a situation where our synods seem to be in constant flux about rewriting material and figuring out who to authorise to train Lay Preachers etc, and this takes up time and finances and with myself currently in a rural presbytery that survives because of it's lay preachers and leaders (we have currently 5 ordained ministers in placement and myself) we're really in need of simple, standardised modules to allow us to run training that is suitable + flexible for our lay leaders.

Cost is an issue - many training options cost a fair whack (even $900 for 4 modules can seem daunting to a retired or non retired person in Coleambally)
Time is an issue - as it will always be, so we could provide training over two weekends OR provide one on one mentoring within a presbytery setting.
Material is an issue, who does the authorising of trainer, should this reside with synods or presbyteries? Who's material/modules do you use? NSW/SA etc, is there one that Assembly wants to offer (perhaps even an open source course that can have a number of participants updating/adding/growing the material)

I know that there's constant concern that presbyteries are being asked to do more and more, but i think it's a question about WHAT we're asking them, paperwork and changing regulations (eg the change to pastor or boundaries to presbyteries) have seemed to be really red herrings (the things we change so we don't have to change) but we'd probably be more happy to provide training and encouragement to leaders if entrusted to do so...

That being said, if presbyteries name who they believe are authorised to run courses/training they could share resources and people amongst them.

I probably need to think this through a little more, but I'm becoming more and more open to the idea of an open source training set of modules that resides with Assembly but has a number of people who regularly add to or offer alterations to the material from around the country. Our modules last year included electives which people could explore, Christology in pop culture, atonement theory, feminist theology, curating worship were amongst some of them, each of these could be offered up as material to add to a pool of ideas, while OT, NT, Polity&Ethos, Christology could all have a base module of areas of primary focus which allows for addition, flexibility and different teaching methods.

This wouldnt negate the synod roles from educating but it would provide them with the freedom to not constantly worrying if their "base modules" are alongside the national expectations and the need to rewrite over and over again. it may free them to do more educating or assisting the presbyteries to do the educating and support....

On side note, I'm currently doing Safe Church workshops in my presbytery. Whereas it would be a waste of time for synod staff to come down for a group of less than 30 people I'm more than happy to sit with a rural council of 6 people and do it. I think this is a part of my shift in suggesting that we need to find more flexible options for Presbyteries to follow, I'd be happy to meet with 3 Lay Preacher students weekly for a year, but that wouldn't be a suitable use of time for a synod person...


Can I ask a question about

20.The Uniting Church should authorise all Lay Preachers to preside at the Sacraments.

Would this also include a re-educating of Specified Ministries about the presiding of sacraments, in particular a theology of Lay Presiding? I still see a leaning from specified ministers suggesting that (in its most blunt form) that if there is an ordained minister present then their presiding trumps that of a lay presider, or that there's something anarchic about allowing lay people to preside...

That being said, I've found that the most eyeopening training we've ever done here have been that of sacraments, the questions and energy around the conversations in the groups doing the course has been enthralling and exciting to participate in.

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