Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Mission and Community Service Intensive
A course I’m developing this year … Mission and Community Service Intensive
Explore the promise, possibilities and tensions in the relationship between mission, church and social service agencies in contemporary Australia. Can there be a place for Christian faith and historic identities in the contemporary funding climate? Must faith and spirituality live in contradiction? Are words and deeds mutually exclusive? How might professionalism, power and the prophetic be negotiated?
The course will utilise a practical theology model, seeking a critical, theological reflection on lived experience. This will involve a case study approach, through which questions are identified, and a dialogue created with current research.
The learning will occur in three phases:
- Phase one – Sharing case studies. Four evenings, February 9-12, 7-9 pm.
- Phase two – Reflecting. Participants will isolate a question emerging from a case study and undertake wider research.
- Phase three – Workshop days. Participants will present their case study, sharing with one another, insights that have emerged as they have read and thought more widely, May 15-16, 9am-4:30pm (tbc)
Course facilitators will include Dr Steve Taylor, Rev Peter McDonald and Joanna Hubbard (tbc). Case studies presenters will include Dr Bruce Grindlay, Dr Ian Bedford (more to be confirmed). Options for enrolment include professional development, audit and credit.
Enrol at Student Services
P: 08 8416 8400
E: college dot divinity at flinders dot edu dot au
Venue: Pilgrim Uniting Church, 12 Flinders St, Adelaide.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
best fixed term role in Adelaide: PA to the Principal
First day back at work, my PA regretfully told me that she needed to resign, due to personal reasons relating to an unexpected and critical health concern in the family. While a real blow for us all, I do want to affirm the values she displayed, in particular the priority on family.
So my (unexpected) priority for my first weeks back is to find another PA (9 month contract (0.8FTE) (maternity leave))
It’s an excellent opportunity for a senior level Personal Assistant to join a highly focused team and work for a creative, passionate Principal. The successful applicant will need to be well organised, proactive and able to think for themselves. The role includes organising meetings, agendas, papers, taking minutes, keep my diary and communication flowing around a busy work team.
Proven experience in supporting a busy executive is required and support of the ethos and mission of the Uniting Church is essential. More information is here, with applications close Monday, February 2, 2015.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Colouring Outside the Lines: Celebrating postgraduate work in mission and ministry
I’m delighted with the publication of Colouring Outside the Lines. Celebrating postgraduate work in mission and ministry from the Adelaide College of Divinity 2010-2014. It profiles the unique work of the postgraduate pathway of the Adelaide College of Divinity over the last five years. (Uniting College, as a member college of the ACD, provides the teaching and supervision input for the postgraduate programme).
Colouring Outside the Lines includes essays from eight students representing the ecumenical student body (five different denominations). They provide a snapshot of action-reflection at the coal face of misssion and ministry across Australasia today. Many of the insights come from “missional experiences occurring outside of church and Christian framed spaces” (Barney, 52). In other words, as these students have located themselves at an Easter community event, in a community garden, as an artist working with the stories of the silenced, storytelling at a Fringe Festival. It also includes an introduction from Rosemary Dewerse and myself, the two postgraduate coordinators during these years. This introduction, along with a short conclusion, provides an intellectual frame for what is the ‘Adelaide school’ of postgraduate mission and ministry.
For a number of years we have wanted to find ways to publish our students work. This year six of our students presented at Australian Association of Mission Studies, with three of their papers gaining publication in a book resulting from the conference. Another student was published earlier in the year in Mission Studies.
Colouring Outside the Lines, published by MediaCom, provides a lovely way to end the year. For those interested, here are the Contents: (more…)
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Doctor of Ministry in Mainstreet chaplaincy
Today we graduated Bruce Grindlay Doctor of Ministry. He received his examiners reports a few weeks ago, on his thesis From Altar into the Agora: Toward a reframing of missional voice and posture of the Mainstreet. Normally we graduate annually in May, but specific circumstances meant an individual ceremony for Bruce was most appropriate.
We’re a small enough College, a flexible enough College, to be able to offer this sort of individualised approach. We crafted a 20 minute service, which include worship, prayer, Scripture, intercession, the presentation of the award and a response by Bruce. It was lovely, with some very poignant moments, including the thanking of Juan Luis Segundo, a liberation theologian who had mentored Bruce.
I was one of Bruce’s supervisors in what was a fascinating Doctor of Ministry project. (A minor supervisor, as Bruce made clear in his speech today, given that so much of the input into the project came from Dr Peter Gunn). Bruce had, in his final ministry placement before retiring, found himself a chaplain to his local business community. That led him on a fascinating journey, given that marketing phrases currently used in Mainstreet shopping environments use religious grammar and images, yet without God. So Bruce analyses whether a church should partnering with current community development strategies and the missional voice and posture that it might adopt.
In his own words:
This thesis analyses the missional identity and vocation of a church located in an open-air, retail, shopping environment and explores the interplay between this Mainstreet shopping environment and the life and mission of the ‘Mainstreet’ church. It explores how marketing phrases echo the theological and missional grammar of the church. In this post-secular environment it asks whether this rhetoric uses religious grammar and images, but without God. By means of an analysis of the images and activities associated with Mainstreet, and a consideration of the theology of shopping, it explores whether current community development strategies on Mainstreet offer new opportunities for congregations to move from the ‘altar’ into the ‘agora’ and to adopt new missional postures. It maps out navigational skills to guide congregations wishing to develop a contemporary missional identity and engagement. It concludes by asking whether the church on Mainstreet can, proleptically, be a sign in word and deed of the Kingdom of God.
Today was a day of great joy and celebration. Much hard work. Much!
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Bible and Popular Culture Summer school Intensive
Do you want to explore the ways the Bible and culture come into dialogue and mutually interpret each other? I’m team teaching as part of Bible and Popular Culture Intensive. It will be a rich summer learning experience.
Enrol now for the Bible and Popular Culture Intensive, to be held at Flinders University in January 2015.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
THEOLOGY DELIVERS ‘FRESH WORDS AND DEEDS’ WITH INDUSTRY
The following article appeared in the November 2014 edition of Inspiring Research, a Flinders University publication promoting research outputs.
Industry engagement is an important dimension of research activity at Flinders University. For the Department of Theology, industry partners include religious denominations and church leaders.
In 2014, Professor Andrew Dutney, Rev Dr Steve Taylor and Dr Rosemary Dewerse provided leadership and input nationally to the Uniting Church in Australia. This involved keynote delivery at three conferences for ministers from across Australia.
With a theme of ‘Fresh Words and Deeds’ Steve and Rosemary drew for their framework from the thesis of Flinders Theology graduate Rev Dr Tracy Spencer, with its concern for just appreciation of and reconciliation with the histories of indigenous peoples as a foundation needing righting in order for just appreciation of all peoples to be possible in this country. Recent research from Flinders University in contextual theology thus provided a means for important in-service professional development.
The three conferences were located in three different contexts: Charleville, Queensland, where rural challenges were the context; Parramatta, Sydney with its multicultural and multifaith reality; and Jerusalem, connecting with partner organisations in both Israel and Palestine.
The Jerusalem conference also included trips before and after giving opportunity for participants to walk in solidarity with the stories and conflicts of that place. All three contexts provoked rich and very different conversations.
The conferences were hosted by Professor Andrew Dutney, the current national President of the Church. The aim was to help ministers wrestle with contextual issues facing them today and to encourage openness to new ways of knowing and innovation.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
intensive week: campus comparisons
It is intensive week at Uniting College, with three intensives running in two different geographic locations.
In Adelaide, Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy is being taught by Rev Dr Trevor Whitney. It has attracted folk from around the country, including Frontier Services Patrol Ministers, some of whom have driven for ten hours to be part of the intensive. Their 4wd vehicles sit, large and proud, in our carpark, a physical reminder of a national church.
In Adelaide there is also Formation for Christian ministry, being co-taught by Dr Pete and Sue Kaldor. They’ve joined us from Sydney for the week. That class also includes folk from inter-state, Ministers whom we at Uniting College have trained and now sent nationally, returning for ongoing training as part of their post-ordination training.
In Gold Coast, there is Theology of Jesus, being taught by myself. It is another step in the partnership between New Life Uniting, Robina, and Uniting College Adelaide. According to the Gold Coast locals, there are around 530,000 people who live on the Gold Coast. There are no theological Colleges, apart from a few Pentecostal churches that run in-house offerings. There is also a lack of distance providers in Queensland. The result is a group of the most enthusiastic students I’ve ever had, so grateful for the chance to learn and grow.
Without wanting to create a rivalry! the fact is that Gold Coast campus is far better equipped than the Adelaide campus! Check out this view … some students working on a group project.
This is just the start. New life have a vision for offering ministry training throughout the Gold Coast. To make that happen they are outfitting a newly built area as a lecture room, are planning a dedicated student cafe area and have a medium term plan to build a dedicated set of lecturer offices. It’s a privilege as part of Uniting College to partner with them in their dreams.
Friday, October 10, 2014
can you help us tell our story in clear, compelling and contemporary ways?
During the week, I was copied into an email, from a person interstate (and from another Denomination). It noted that “Uniting College is one of the most cutting edge colleges in Australia.” It is a huge compliment and a wonderful encouragement. (For those interested in some of our story, here is what I shared at the 5th birthday “naming change” celebrations).
Due to a number of changes, we need a pretty special person to help us tell this “cutting edge” story. The changes include increasing the funding (from 0.4 to 0.6), making the role permanent (it was fixed term) and increasing the amount of money we budget for promotion. So, do you know someone who can help us tell a story – God’s story actually – of a divine invitation to go on a journey?
Uniting College exists to develop life-long disciples and effective leaders for a healthy, missional church, who are passionate, Christ-centred, highly skilled and mission-orientated practitioners. We offer a range of ways to learn and grow as a person and as a leader: through accredited course providers’ Adelaide College of Divinity and Flinders University and also through non-accredited courses for the Uniting Church.
An opportunity exists for the position of Marketing Officer. This position is a critical part of a committed team working within this tertiary education environment.
The Marketing Officer reporting to the Principal of Uniting College for Leadership & Theology, will work closely with the College faculty and staff, the Executive Officer and staff of Adelaide College of Divinity and the staff of the Communications team.
This diverse and challenging position will have a key responsibility for assisting the Uniting College and the ACD to tell their stories in clear, compelling, contemporary and relational ways. This will include;
• The ongoing development of the Uniting College and ACD brands
• Coordinating market research as to how the Colleges are viewed by current and future clients
• Providing professional advice on marketing strategies and methodologies
• Developing marketing and communication plans
• Strategies to increase awareness of the learning and spiritual growth opportunities provided by ACD and Uniting College in local, national and international communities
• Developing high quality written and digital communications
• Managing social and online media communications
• Proven ability to undertake successful promotional campaigns
It is essential the successful applicant will have relevant experience and/or qualifications in marketing, promotions and communications. Similar experience within an academic institution in the VET or Higher Education sector is well regarded. Understanding and experience of theology or theological education will be a significant advantage.
Further details are outlined in the Position Description & Person Specification which is available on our website http://sa.uca.org.au/uc-positions-vacant/ . Enquiries can be made to Manager, Human Resources on 08-82364278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please forward applications addressing the selection criteria of the Position Description & Person Specification to email@example.com by no later than 4pm, October 13, 2014.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Uniting College team news
There have been a number of team changes occurring at Uniting College in recent times.
First, a warm welcome to Kathryn Pearson, who has began her 12 month position as Principal’s PA. She is stepping into a role with Eloise Scherer taking 12 months maternity leave.
Second, at the most recent Standing Committee, Sean Gilbert’s placement as Ministry Formation Co-ordinator was adjusted from 0.7 to 0.8. This is because Sean has agreed to teach Introduction to Formation for Ministry on a permanent basis. This is a core first year topic that syncs really well with Sean’s existing responsibilities in SFE and Integrative Ministry Practice.
Third, we are now commencing a search for a 0.4 Lecturer in Pastoral Care. The hope is that this person will teach a rotating suite of upper-level pastoral topics. This will increase our Continuing Education offerings for ministers in placement. It might also be strategic as we think about what it means to train people for ministry that includes with agencies and in social work.
Fourth, Tanya Wittwer has been appointed as the new Post-Graduate Coordinator. Tanya is currently an adjunct lecturer with us, teaching Synoptics. She is also currently employed at School of Population Health, University of Adelaide, both as a Lecturer and as a Post Graduate Coordinator. As Post Graduate Coordinator she has refocused and refreshed their course work Masters and initiated two research degrees. She brings ministry experiences including as Hospital Chaplain, lay ministry at St Stephens Lutheran, Youth worker at Magill Uniting Church, Joint Churches Domestic Violence Coordinator. She has also lectured widely n Old and New Testament, Preaching, Pastoral Care, Narrative Therapy and Public Health. Her students describe her as passionate and enthusiastic. She has an MDiv (Wartburg) and a PhD (homiletics). She has successfully supervised at post-graduate level and has a track record of publication, in both academic and non-academic settings. Her recent research is in homiletics and pastoral formation. Tanya plans to start with us late November, then take four weeks holiday over Christmas and New Year, before starting mid-January 2015. This will allow overlap with Rosemary Dewerse, as she prepares to leave the team.
Can I note, with some degree of satisfaction, that this is the fourth appointment in 2014 that has been secured in a way that allows an overlap between the person leaving and the person coming. This greatly enhances the continuity among us as a Uniting College team, for which I’ve worked hard, and for which I’m grateful.
Friday, September 12, 2014
a college of passion
Twice this week I’ve been told that a Uniting College lecture is full of passion.
First, a visitor. A successful local business person, dropping in to see “what happens”? And at half-time, looking the lecturer in the eye and thanking them for their passion.
Second, a lecturer. Inviting guests to share of their ministry. Glad, at lecture’s end, of the passion. And how it infected the students, shaped the tutorial, infected the ongoing learning of the class.
What is interesting is that passion is a core value at Uniting College. You know those vision statements, destined to sit at the bottom of a pile of papers? Well, the vision statement of Uniting College includes passion:
To develop life-long disciples and effective leaders for a healthy, missional Church, who are:
So, somehow, passion has snuck out of our vision statement, leapt of the page and seeped into how classes. How?
I asked this question at our team yesterday. What does passion mean for us? And how has it leaked into our life?
And so together we talked as a team.
- is it because we care for our students? We’re not just about our research, we’re also about the people who come to learn and grow with us
- is it because we’re shaped by suffering? That in each of us as lecturers, there has been a personal learning, a vulnerability
- it is because we’re authentic? We want to walk our talk. We want what we say about faith, about ministry, about life, to be lived in us and livable through us.
- is it because we’re sacrificial? Many of us have been paid better elsewhere. We’ve taken pay reductions to work here, because we believe in the Kingdom, believe in what we’re doing.
- is it because we’re whole-bodied? The creative act invites us to take risks, to offer ourselves in risk into our projects, our lectures, our classes.
Passion. In us. In all of us as a team. In our life. Snd so in our lectures. And please, in God’s grace, in our students.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
facing forward Uniting Colleges
“We need different kind of leadership; people that respond quickly to new situations; people that don’t come with a ready made tool kit of resources; people that know how to draw out the best of the local community” So said Andrew Dutney in announcing the birth of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology five years ago. It was the reason for the change of name, a commitment to be a different kind of College that would train a different type of leader.
It’s consistent with how scholarship is understood in the Basis of Union. Paragraph 11 links scholarship with the mission of the church for fresh words and deeds, as the occasion demands. Thus the Uniting Church seeks a different model of scholar than that offered by the modern University. It seeks scholarship (and by implication, a College) that is ecclesial because it is integrative (read alongside paragraph 10), missionary, innovative (fresh words and deeds) and contextual (as the occasion demands).
Thursday, July 31, 2014
best start to my class ever
I’m teaching an evening class this Semester. It begins at 6 and ends at 8 pm. It runs the danger that those arriving from work will be hungry and that attention levels will be flagging by the end. For those with a class prior, there’s an awkward time of waiting.
So I decided I’d offer soup. A quick email to all participants, saying that soup and bread would be available in the student common room from 5:30 pm.
We have no facilities for cooking, but who needs an oven when you have a crock pot, filled with pumpkin and simply turned to high two hours prior.
By 5:30 pm, about half the class had gathered. We were sitting around a table, pushed together. Bowls were being filled, compliments were being exchanged. Introductions were being made, banter was being exchanged, the warmth of humanity was emerging. Students were meeting me as “Steve the soup maker” seated at table, rather than Steve the lecturer, standing at the front of class.
By the time we entered the classroom, a culture had been created. There was a relational connection, a sense of community, that no amount of first hour class dynamics would have the hope of achieving.
It’s the first time I’ve offered food and I was for me a very significant lesson in my teaching experience.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Uniting College welcomes Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Coordinator
Good news today with the appointment of Karen Vanlint to fill the newly created position of CALD Co-ordinator (VET) at Uniting College.
Karen has taught ESL 0.5 at Salisbury TAFE, for the past 3 years. She has significant experience as a school teacher, here and in the UK.
She has a particular passion for CALD persons, and displayed not only an excellent grasp on the appropriate approaches to establishing this stream at Uniting College, but insight and energy on how it might be significantly developed into the future.
She has a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Education, a Diploma of Christian Studies, a Cert IV in TESOL, and a Cert IV in TA (Training and Assessment).
In the midst of a very rich field of applicants, Karen also spoke of a particular personal ‘call’ to this role, having moved house to specifically engage with communities with higher numbers of CALD people.
Her references noted her diligence, quality and innovation in teaching, and organisational ability. She is an active member of Parafield Gardens Uniting Church.
The position is 0.2, and Karen will commence on Tuesday 29th July. She will focus on
- the delivery of CALD VET training
- liaising with ethnic Christian Communities in South Australia
- student support as required
This position (similar to BYO Co-ordinator and Chaplaincy) is being funded through the release of funds from a specific Trust, to enable innovations which can result in new cohorts of students. We expect it to grow, but are starting small.
Personally, this is probably the most exciting innovation I’ve been part of initiating in my time as Principal of the College.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Diploma of Ministry: New pathway in Innovation and Pioneering
It seems appropriate in the week following Pentecost, to note the recent decision of the Academic Board to approve a new pathway in Innovation and Pioneering.
Dave Male has endorsed this, saying:
“This is a fantastic course that equips missional leaders for the present and the future of the church. I would encourage any leader to consider coming on this. It has some of the best material and teachers in the pioneering world.”
Diploma of Ministry: New pathway in Innovation and Pioneering
A new pathway in the Diploma of Ministry will provide a comprehensive foundation in principles and practices of ministries of innovation and social entrepreneurship shaped by a Christian commitment.
The Diploma of Ministry is nested within the Bachelor of Ministry for those who wish to continue their study. This new pathway would be ideally suited for those wanting to transition to Bachelor of Ministry Practice Stream.
The Diploma of Ministry general structure is 8 units, of which 4 are core and 4 are elective. In this pathway students complete 6 required units (including the four core) and 2 optional units. The Diploma can be completed in one year of full-time study, or part-time equivalent study.
MINS1002 Introducing the Scriptures*
This unit provides an overview of the OT and NT writings, exploring major theological themes (one being missio Dei). Students in this pathway would have available an assignment focused on pioneering in Biblical texts.
MINS1305 Reading Cultures*
Key themes in this unit include understanding communities, global cultures, and ministry models. Students would have available an assignment focused on pioneering in a new mission.
MINS1601 Spirituality for 21st Century Disciples*
This units assists students to develop the ability to articulate biblical, spiritual and ethical bases for Christian discipleship and reflect on application of these in our own life and others.
MINS1510 Introduction to Formation for Ministry*
In this unit students explore the nature and practice of Christian formation, including learning styles, self-assessment, commitment to ethical practice, to develop an understanding of identity in relation to taking on professional role in ministry and the implications for vocation, faith and life.
MINS23xx Innovation as Pioneering
This new unit explores questions such as: Who is a pioneer? What are their practices? How do they sustain their life? (for more, see here).
MINS2518 Supervised Field Education 1
Students in this pathway would undertake SFE for experience in a pioneering context, either starting something or in observation.
Two units chosen from the following:
MINS2318 Mission Then, Mission Now
MINS2314 The Theology of Jesus Christ, Word and Saviour
MINS3339 Missional Church Leadership
MINS2537 Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy
MINS2317 Guided Study in Innovation A
Each of these units gives students the opportunity to explore or reflect on themes relevant to innovation and pioneering:
- Mission Then, Mission Now explores church history for mission lessons for today;
- Theology of Jesus Christ explores Jesus with particular attention to boundary crossing;
- Missional Church Leadership invites reflection on mission to Western cultures with particular attention to the local church’s participation;
- Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy introduces students to practices, images and theological themes in a practical theology of chaplaincy.
- Guided Study in Innovation A enables a focus on mission shaped ministry
Rationale for new Diploma pathway
We have, over the last few years, used the specialisation pathway in the Diploma to point to particular vocation paths within our suite of courses. A new pathway in innovation and pioneering continues this focus.
We have a BMin Practice Stream offering and the Diploma provides a clear entry pathway.
The Uniting Church have asked us to train pioneer leaders and this course meets this request.
In a diverse educational market, this continues one of the unique foci of Uniting College around leadership, mission and innovation.