Words of Hope

According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article and the Department of Homeland Security, there are estimated to be 480,000 immigrants of all ages and genders living without legal status in Georgia in 2010. Georgia is also home to three operating detention facilities housing those apprehended without proper documentation and/or other offenses.

The circumstances of many of the detainees involve weeks awaiting a fate that usually ends in deportation. In some cases, deportation to a country that is unfamiliar, dangerous, without family and without hope of ever seeing U.S. born children again.

The summer of 2013, I was asked by Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG) to compile a Bible study for female detainees that would compliment their visitation program called Friends in Hope (FIH) Continue reading

Living Till We Die

The study guide, Living Till We Die: a journey of faith practices, was developed from a pilot course held at Hospice of the Upstate (SC) and was made possible through a grant from the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith. Recognizing the difficulty people have in discussing end of life issues, the course seeks to create a safe environment to begin that conversation within the community of faith. Continue reading

Protecting Children through Educator Certification

Having recently finished the process of becoming a Certified Christian Educator through the Presbyterian Church USA I am so appreciative of all I’ve learned and put into practice at my church, Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Grayslake, IL, as the Director of Christian Education. Each course that I completed was immediately applicable to my work as an educator and leader and the completion of the exam for certification was at the pinnacle of putting all that I learned into practice in my ministry. The exam involved designing, implementing, and evaluating an educational event within the context of my current educational ministry. I chose to lead the Christian Education Committee through a process to review and update our Child Protection Policy because we were faced with some new insurance requirements. The ten year old policy had only been updated once, seven years ago, and was long overdue for a review.

I offer the lesson plan, handouts and resource research, and the underlying educational and theological rationale essays, from my exam work for use by the Hope4CE community. Perhaps your faith community’s policy needs a review or you are interested in starting a task force to address policy issues. You are invited to glean ideas, use resources, or borrow any concepts from this design for your own project. The lesson plan file associated with this post contains an introduction to the project, lesson plan outline and details, handouts and resources, and an evaluation of my experience implementing the project. Perhaps you are just interested in what value the certification process may hold for you in your educational ministry. If so, you may want to read the rationale essays, each in it’s own file, which detail how my learning from four of the certification areas was integrated into the educational design.

May God bless your learning and teaching!

Gillmore Lesson Plan for Child Protection Policy Review

Gillmore Rationale Essay Biblical Interpretation

Gillmore Rationale Essay Human Growth and Faith Development

Gillmore Rationale Essay Religious Education Theory and Practice 

Gillmore Rationale Essay Reformed Theology

Kathy Gillmore
Director of Christian Education
Wildwood Presbyterian Church

Water @This Point

Almost ten years ago, Columbia Theological Seminary inaugurated a new online journal, @ this point: theological investigations in church and culture. The goal of the journal was straightforward: to model (and encourage) theological conversation among Christian laity on important topics of the day and, therein, help shape a more theologically literate church. The format, too, was straightforward: invite a scholar to write a lead essay on an assigned topic, ask three other scholars to write responses to the lead essay, and then have the lead essayist write a reply to the responses. The back-and-forth is intended not to foreclose conversation or thought but to open them up; as such we ask the scholars to end with questions, not criticisms and to highlight new ideas rather than simply assessing old ones. And we strongly encourage our writers to be brief but thoughtful and to avoid academic jargon where possible. “Think of your audience as the people sitting in the pews with you,” we tell them. “They may have college degrees, but those degrees aren’t likely to be in religion or philosophy. So think about the engineer or the schoolteacher in your midst.” Continue reading

What’s a Salon?

I thought a salon was a place one went to have their hair “done” or to get a pedicure. Only recently did I learn that salon originally referred to an important place for the exchange of ideas. According to wikipedia.org, a salon, commonly associated with the French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, is a gathering of people in someone’s home for the purpose of education and enjoyment. Salon is thus the perfect name for adult conversational gatherings in private homes.

Continue reading

Stepping Stones in Faith

One Church’s Process to Identify the Basic Milestones on the Journey of Faith…

Over twenty years ago in my early days as Minister of Education at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA we began to talk together about what were the most important concepts to teach our children, youth and adults. We needed a plan and a goal. So we formed a committee! But what a gift this committee became to me and our ministry together. For as we met over more than a year and a half we began to solidify what became the foundational book of our Christian Education at Peachtree – Stepping Stones on the Journey of Faith. I don’t remember the term milestones at that point in time but our work does seem to relate to the emphasis that is now found in many churches in providing milestones for the journey of faith.

As we got started I did some research to see if there was a document in existence that listed what the important concepts of our faith were and at what age they should be taught. I remember having a conversation with Liz McWhorter at the PC(USA) national offices who told me they had always talked about creating something like this but never had that she knew of. She challenged me to create it. So we began our work together at ground zero and it was well worth it.

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It’s Planning Season!

Sharon Ely Pearson shares some excellent ideas here on planning for next academic year’s educational ministry programs. I thank her for permission to reblog this post from earlier this month.

Rows of Sharon

540281_10152022877675252_1946054493_nAll the planning, implementation, and celebrations of Holy Week and Easter Sunday are now a joyful memory, and those of you working in a congregation have hopefully had a quiet week of reflection and rest. But there is no rest for the weary . . . it’s time to begin evaluating this past year and begin planning for the next program year.

A checklist for the coming weeks:

  • Collect feedback from volunteer leaders and teachers about what worked and what needs improvement. Plan how you will be recognizing and giving thanks to all those who have given their time and talents this past academic year.
  • Begin the discernment process for calling new teachers and volunteers for next year.
  • Evaluate the programs and the resources you have been using. Do they need tweaking or refreshment? Poll participants, including children and youth, about what they have found memorable and life-giving over the past…

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