TheoEd Talks

Several years ago, our church began wondering how to advance church-based theological education. While the church continued its traditional Sunday school and adult bible study programs, we also perceived that the culture around us was changing. Our members (and potential members!) interacted with sophisticated, on-demand technology every day in their offices and homes. Those in our community listened to podcasts as they commuted and streamed YouTube videos in the evening.  How could we better leverage technology in our Christian Education programs? Could we think more creatively about how to deliver our programming to an increasingly busy and technologically-savvy congregation?

These wonderings led to the development of “TheoEd Talks.” This program brings together leading thinkers from the academy, the church, and the non-profit sector. Each speaker offers a 20-minute talk designed to spark meaningful conversations on how we think about the Bible, theology, and faithful engagement in the world. These talks will be recorded on audio and video and made available through our website as a free, public resource for download.

The first series of talks will feature: Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School; Dr. Brent Strawn, Professor of Old Testament at Emory University; and Dr. Gregory Ellison, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling. The inaugural live recording will be held at First Presbyterian Church on the evening of Sunday September 24, 2017 from 5:00-7:00pm in Fifield Hall.

To register or for more information, visit our site at: theoed.com  or contact us at: theoed.com@gmail.com.

Cassie Waits,Stembler Fellow for Adult Discipleship, First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Georgia

Cassie Waits graduated in May from Columbia Theological Seminary in the Masters of Divinity Program. To read her complete essay on the rationale behind TheoEd Talks, which won the Julia Abdullah Award for innovative educational ministry design, click on the file linked here.

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Visual Parables: Connecting Faith and Film

Fr. John Culkin inspired me to develop bridges between faith and film when he wrote that were Jesus to begin his ministry today, he would become a filmmaker. The best storytellers are working in Hollywood, so that is where he would be in order to reach the masses with his message. VisualParables.org is the culmination of my media ministry (Presbyterian) that began in the Seventies with writing reviews for several Catholic magazines, followed later by reviews in Protestant and secular newspapers. VisualParables.org moves beyond merely reviewing films by providing tools for church leaders to use them with their people to explore faith and personal and social issues.

The site offers about 1200 free reviews with one or more Scripture references attached. (Sometimes I spend almost as much time searching for the relevant Bible passage as in writing the review.) Each month the VP journal, available by either annual subscription or individual issue, includes the reviews plus a set of questions, ranging from 4 or 5 to as many as 20. Preachers tell me that they usually read the column “Lectionary Links” first because it suggests one or more films related to the Sunday texts of the Common Lectionary. Methodist chaplain Doug Sweet contributes a column that reviews film books and new DVDs. There are special articles, such as “Celebration of the Dance in Film,” and “Social Issue Films Reviewed in Visual Parables,” arranged according to category/themes—the latter lists almost 550 films. Cindy Corey, director of a Presbyterian resource center, reviews various short films.

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St. Andrew’s FISH – Families Integrating Sunday and Home

Like many churches these days, St. Andrew’s had limited volunteer resources and sporadic attendance at Church School. The “regular” families were frustrated and burned out. And my experience had taught me that parental involvement is the single most important success factor in Christian formation. We were ready to do church differently.

We’re an Episcopal church, with a rich liturgical tradition. I have long believed that worship is the most formative thing we do, and worship was working well. We have strong and consistent attendance for our Family Service, which meets during the readings, sermon and prayers of the primary service. We do all the same things, in a more family-friendly setting. Then we rejoin the primary service for Communion, every Sunday. We don’t have any rules about what ages belong where, or parental accompaniment; we let each family make the decision that suits them best. Many parents choose to worship with their children. Continue reading

The Church Finding a Voice

Von Clemans offers these important insights on how the ways we communicate information in the church are changing. This is a reblogged post from the APCE Adovocate via Kaye Bledsoe.

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Goldfish Have Eight by Von Clemans (copied from APCE ADVOCATE Journal)

On a recent Sunday I passed through the narthex and noticed the large pile of bulletins left by departing worshipers. At least three-quarters of all the bulletins printed for that day were destined for the recycling bin. In each folded paper were dozens of carefully crafted announcements designed to engage and attract people to essential opportunities for their growth in faith. I’d like to think church people had memorized all the pertinent details for future reference. But the truth is many of them did little more than scan them. I know that because our weekly email newsletter is opened by less than half of the recipients, with a click-through rate of less than five percent.  Messages are going out but not being received.

Why?  Because communication patterns have changed. Information hits us from every direction in every possible media…

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Copyright and Educational Fair Use- Part 3

Still have questions about fair use exception? Here are several more helpful guidelines to help you make the appropriate decision.

The general guideline is that authors or creators keep copyright at least 70 years after their death. If a work is of corporate authorship, the copyright lasts 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first.

You ask what percentage of a work is okay within the fair use exception. The following table might help. Continue reading