Congregations or leaders? Face to face or online? Classroom or experience? Recently I’ve written a chapter for a book about lay education in South Australia from 2005-2010 when I was overseeing lay education for the synod. At the same time the Synod was changing, the College was being reinvented as Uniting College, lay education certification was being redeveloped, and tertiary ministry education was also being redesigned and reaccredited.
You’ll have to wait for the book, but here are some points from the story.
- changing landscape of lay education with the synod’s establishment of Mission Centres, Mission Networks and Rural Resourcing staff
- declining enrolments in centralised face-to-face courses at the College
- development of a new VET course in aged care
- pilot of regional learning hubs as part of a new distributed learning strategy
- a significant new direction for the College and Synod and the changed place of lay education within it
- the closure of Coolamon College and implications for the ACD in distance learning
- a proposed new direction for lay education (away from accredited courses and towards congregations as learning communities)
- a major redesign of vocational education and making a shift towards educating those who needed accreditation
- the entry into digital multimedia and online learning and redesigning lay education for project-based learning and blended learning
- research into lay-led rural congregations (commissioned to the Christian Research Association)
- developing a new part-time, formational, immersive young adult leadership year called “The Big Year Out“
- fostering gatherings of ministers and lay people around fresh expressions, creative arts and spirituality
- and some other communication, promotion and media stuff to try to bring things into a new era
So much more to say. I’ve never worked so hard in my life (apart from the lead-up to 3 NCYCs). Wonderful colleagues. Complex and demanding times for everyone. Was it an innovative time? I hope so.
I’ve posted this as a way into saying something about the future of lay education in the Uniting Church…
Some images from the era are here.