From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
CURRICULUM DEVELOPERS GATHER TO
05 May 1996 12:56:55
95110 CURRICULUM DEVELOPERS GATHER TO
CONSIDER FUTURE PROJECTS
by Jerry L. Van Marter
and Linda Green
United Methodist News Service
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--For the first time in almost 36 years, curriculum
developers from 25 Protestant denominations met here March 31-April 3 to
consider Christian education and curriculum resources for the future.
Thirty Presbyterians, including staff members and elected persons,
participated in the conversations. Donna Blackstock, coordinator for
resource development in the Christian Education Program Area of the
Congregational Ministries Division, said "nothing definitive" emerged from
"Several projects were discussed but no commitments were made on
anybody's part," Blackstock told the Presbyterian News Service after the
According to the Rev. Sidney Fowler, chair of the consultation and
director of Homeland Ministries for the United Church of Christ, the last
time denominational representatives gathered to discuss the theory of
curriculum development was in 1960.
When the Joint Educational Development (JED) committee dissolved in
1993, it set aside money for a 1995 consultation "to envision educational
ministry in congregations."
"Bible Discovery," newly revised and widely used in Presbyterian
churches, was a JED product. The current cycle of "Bible Discovery" and
another Presbyterian curriculum, "Celebrate," are scheduled to run through
the end of the century. Neither is planned for production beyond the year
2000, Blackstock said.
The Nashville consultation attracted 177 participants, including staff
from denominational educational and publishing organizations, local church
leaders, seminary teachers and curriculum-related business professionals.
Representatives from the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), the National
Council of Churches and the American Jewish Committee were also present.
Participants agreed that curriculum of the future must relate to
societal issues; be inclusive in language, gender and imagery; incorporate
technology; and not reflect the dominant culture exclusively.
In what format curriculum should be produced generated spirited
conversation. According to Gary Rowe of Turner Educational Services in
Atlanta, today's era of CD-ROM, cable television and "information served at
the speed of light" has "altered the role of books and publishing."
Calling books "slow and based on the opinions of individuals," Rowe
added, "Children today are living in an age where technology is a
background of life ... and if we assume that teaching for this generation
can be the same as it was for us, the churches will be empty."
According to the Rev. Carol Lakey Hess, a professor at Princeton
Theological Seminary, the task for Christian educators and curriculum
writers is to remember and recover faith stories, to open people to God and
empower people for justice.
"The curriculum of the church ought to be grounded in and ought to
point us to our fundamental connection to God," she explained. "We need to
develop curriculum to assist in forming faith identity."
While agreeing that faith identity is important, Daniel Aleshire,
associate director of the Association of Theological Schools in the United
States and Canada, said, "I do not know if we need new kinds of information
or if we need a new kind of commitment. Our problem is the failure to do
the things we already know how to do."
Blackstock said the lack of specific results out of the conference "is
not disconcerting yet, but clearly ecumenical arenas for curriculum
development are unsettled right now."
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .