Saturday, November 02, 2019

crossing cultures in theological education research

I am in Auckland this weekend for a very special celebration – the 50th anniversary of the acceptance of Congregational Union ministers and members into fellowship within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. My involvement is a research contribution, reflecting on the impact this had on theological education, particularly given that the Congregational Union had a Pacific presence.

A few years ago, as part of learning about the history of the college I teach out, I set myself the task of reading the Student Union minutes, from 1965 to the present. It was a great way to understand theological education from a student perspective.

One of the striking features was the impact of the arrival of Pacific Island students to study.

  • In numbers: In the ten years from 1971-1980, 31 people representing 19% of the student cohort at the Hall were born in the Pacific.
  • In the classroom: Imagine the impact on those training for ministry, many coming from rural, monocultural Presbyterian parishes, to learn for ministry beside those from Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tuvalu.
  • In resources and curriculum: during the 1970’s students organised input through a forum called Student hour and through the 1970s took the initiative to seek input on race relations, Pacific Island Customs and to raise funds for research into Polynesian subjects

When I heard about the 50th anniversary celebration, I shared a snippet of my research and was asked to provide a summary for a handout.

Screen Shot 2019-11-02 at 12.35.53 PM

This handout is a four page insert, with

  • Names of students in 1970s
  • Some reflection on impacts on Hall
  • List of research held in Hewitson
  • A picture of a page of the Minute book

It also names some potential future research possibilities

  • Life histories theology project: What could be learned by interviewing these ministers about what they think today about what wrote as they graduated? Could such interviews be a taonga made visible by video in language learning weeks?
  • Faith formation project: Many of those who graduated went to rural parishes in Southland and Otago. What did this geographic isolation mean for their families and their faith?

I really like that my research is considered of such benefit to the local church and that I get to share it with perhaps 300 people this weekend, as part of the celebrations at Newton PIC. (The technical word is impact, the way in which research actually reaches out and connects with local communities)

Posted by steve at 05:12 PM

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.

Required units

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.

Optional units

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.

Posted by steve at 12:57 PM

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Anyone up for a big picture theological conversation?

I’m looking for conversation partners.

The question is: what will be the shape of theological formation for mission and ministry in 10 years time? And the knock on questions – what facilities will it need, what library resourcing will it require, what teachers will it need, what research capacities will it nourish, what church will it service?

You need to be willing to talk as well as listen. You need to be willing to work at the conversation, to read and think and push back and be pushed. You also need to be willing to stay in the conversation over a good number of months.

If you’re interested, get in touch – steve dot taylor at flinders dot edu dot au.

Posted by steve at 11:15 PM