Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Now that's the way to do a conference...

A friend of mine who is an Antiochian Orthodox Priest clued me into a tele-conference that he is presenting at. He is an absolutely hilarious public speaker and author that usually has to be booked months in advance; so, I have no doubt his segment of the teleconference will be well done.

I love the idea of both concept and content of this proposed teleconference. The conference itself is on Christian education, primarily to children and young people. I think I am going to attend (if that is the proper verb for a teleconference), just to see what the Antiochians have going on in terms of resources for teachers and young people.

This is something the Episcopal church has been utterly dreadful at for years. There has been a little resurgence in the past year or two with a Confirmation program that I actually tried and adapted for the youth group at this parish. The jury is still out on whether I would use it again, but it was at least something having to do with Confirmation that was age appropriate for teenagers. I was initially enthusiastic about it, but the more I delved into it, the more I was not all that impressed with the content. The curriculum had some good ice breakers and conversation starter ideas, but the more I looked at it, the more dubious I became. (The Lesson Plan entitled, "Who's your favorite heretic?" really turned me off, truth be told.) I think I will revert back to my own hodge podge curriculum for adult inquirers and confirmands. Like I said, at least it was something.

I have been baffled as to why the Episcopal church and mainstream denominations cannot seem to come up with anything of substance in terms of youth programming curricula. There are options but the content is either aimed at adults (which doesn't usually translate well to teenagers and church school kids) or else watered down or theological vacuous in the attempt to be hip or cool or relevant (or whatever the seminary jargon is now in describing such things.) I know the Episcopal church can come up with good programming. There was a young adult program that came out in the late' 70s around the CS Lewis Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe cartoon movie that came out that was truly fabulous. For whatever reason, youth programming of quality languishes in ignominy with things like the Hip Hop Prayerbook and J2A (I'm sorry, but that program is just too touchy-feely for me. I would never have gone for something like that when I was 16.)

But back to the issue at hand. I also like the idea of having a tele-conference with various speakers and presenters that actually present both valuable resources and new ideas for consideration. The Episcopal Church does this a little bit, but usually its something like Episcopal Trust doing a seminar on something like Planned Giving (*snooze*), one of the seminaries doing some online course for clergy on something vaguely  fluffy like 'spirituality for ministry' or 'Anglican ethos' (*chortle*), or Morehouse Publishing hawking their new wares (*snore*). To be fair, the Morehouse webinars are sometimes interesting but commercial in nature and usually stuff I can't afford anyway.

Why can't we put together something like this?


TLF+ said...

We should. Maybe it could create an income stream for the Diocese! My assistant and I did some baptism prep DVDs at my last church - people really enjoyed being able to do some prep on their own time.

I realize you are talking about an evolution to something more complex, but having seen some of your videos on FB, you have talent and we have some telegenic folks around the diocese. An idea worth exploring!

The Archer of the Forest said...

Well, I have a parishioner here at St. Paul's who does video stuff for a living. He tapes and livestreams most of what we do for the Diocese. So, that end isn't an issue. We'd just need to come up with some ideas.