Welcome! This blog is primarily a conversation site for students in the Religious Education program at Candler School of Theology, as well as other folks interested in the field of religious education. We’ll be using this blog to host conversation on topics of interest, as well as to post news, interesting links, and announcements of events.
Check back regularly for all manner of cool ideas!
Students in the RE certificate program may attend this Candler OSP-sponsored event to fulfill the “professional conference” requirement for the certificate. Attendance at entire event is required to receive credit.
Small Group Facilitation Training
Facilitator: Spiritual Director Kimberly Broerman
Date: Saturday March 23rd, 10 am-3 pm
Where: Amerson House, St. Bart’s Episcopal. (1790 Lavista Rd NE)
Description: The OSP, in partnership with Deep Waters Center for Prayer, is offering a workshop for students interested in learning how to artfully plan and lead small groups. Whether you work in a religious, academic, business or social setting, small groups are critical building blocks of life and ministry. Led skillfully, small groups can transform and energize individuals toward powerful ends. Come learn with us, through shared wisdom, group discussion, and hands on experience, how to cultivate the essential skills and wisdom for small group facilitation. This event will take place at Amerson House at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, just five minutes away from Candler on LaVista Rd. Lunch is provided. Please register below by Wednesday March 20th at Midnight. If you are interested in carpooling from Candler, please make a note of this in the comments field of your registration.
Small Group Facilitation Training | March 23, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
Check out this conference, which could be used to meet the professional conference requirement for the Religious Education Certificate.
Engaging Faith 2013 | February 22-23, 2013 | Greenville, SC
At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World
“Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.”
Ecumenical Advocacy Days | April 5-8, 2013| Washington, DC
Faith & Citizenship: Religion in the Public Square
Here’s another good conference option, which might be of particular interest to those of you in the Religion and the Academy track!
Religion and the Liberal Arts | February 22-23, 2013| Athens, GA
When I was 19 years old, the summer after my freshman year of college, I got into my blue Subaru and drove the 3000 miles to Yellowstone National Park, where I lived and worked for the next several months. It was an eight year old boys dream—I lived amidst the mountains, I preached sermons outdoors to the park visitors and sang, “How Great Thou Art” at the top of my lungs at the mountains edge. This was before my theological “fall” as it were, but this place remains the summer I knew and saw and experienced God most fully. Every night, we lived in tents amongst billions of stars, we sang, we hiked dozens of miles at a time through the back country of Montana and Idaho. Without hesitation, I can say that this is the most beautiful and God-filled place I have ever been. It was here that I felt deeply called to ministry, specifically to be a minister of word and sacrament.
Despite the fact that I’ve always had a passion for nature and felt “at home” within it, I have to admit that prior to coming to Candler and taking OT 501 with Brent Strawn, I was completely ignorant of the significance of land in the Bible, not to mention the imperative certain biblical injunctions make to care for it. Over the course of the last two and a half years, I have been awakened to creation care, together with what David Orr calls “ecological literacy,” as an important, if not absolutely essential, Christian vocation for the day and age in which we live—namely, the environmental crisis. An aspect of this that functions as a theme in Orr’s Ecological Literacy is the disconnection with nature that has resulted in the lack of awareness and attention to the fact “that our well-being is inseparable from that of nature” (Orr, 148). In the face of this crisis it seems many of the churches with which I’m familiar are taking the “ostrich approach” and sticking their heads in the sand. Many individuals and groups across our country seem to being likewise. But I think that ignoring (or denying) the environmental crisis is ignoring our place in the world in God’s creation.
I grew up in a rural farming area, surrounding by corn, soybeans, and dairy cows. I had acres of woods in which to roam, and a creek in the back yard. I fell asleep to the sound of cicadas and bullfrogs during warm summer nights, with the windows open to catch the breeze. For vacations, my family would go camping. It was in this setting that I learned to be not only “a child of God,” but a child of God’s creation, holding a deep reverence for the world around me.
At the beginning of the sixth chapter of her book Tweet If You Heart Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation, Elizabeth Drescher quotes Sharon Watkins, writing, “God never told the world to go to church; but God did tell the church to go to the world”(108). Similarly, Drescher herself writes in her introduction, “I see the Church as extending from the institutionalized community that gathers in identifiable bricks-and-mortar structures to the less formally structured Body of Christ constituted by believers as they live out their faith in diverse ways in the world”(3). These days, more than ever, a major way that we “live out our faith” is by expressing it on various social media platforms, especially, of course, Facebook and Twitter. Many of us also express and engage our faith on blogs like this one. There are obvious advantages to using these forums: we’re able to converse with people of different cultures and faith orientations throughout the world – something many people could only dream of a mere three or four decades ago.
Remember how, at your grandparents’ house, the VCR clock always said “12:00?” Time after time, Grandpa would try to program the “tape machine,” and every time, some version of the same conclusion was always reached: You don’t need this newfangled technology, so there’s no use trying to figure out how it works. Learn to use it just enough so that you can do what you want to do with it, and then let it be.
In her book “Soul Stories”, Anne Streaty Wimberly discusses the significance of engaging stories as a means for self-exploration and faith formation. She proposes a Christian education process called story-linking as a particularly helpful way for African-American Christians to use stories to make meaning, discern vocation, and find liberation. The story-linking process moves through four phases, beginning with some aspect of the participants’ personal stories. In phases two and three of the process, participants put their personal stories in conversation with biblical stories and faith stories of their African American heritage. Participants begin to discern God’s call to faithful living and move toward ethical actions and decision-making in the final phase of the story-linking process.