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

Discussing Emotions Inside Out

Some of the best discussions I’ve ever had with groups have happened because of a movie. Beginning way back when Disney released “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and I took the youth group, to a moving community and church discussion of “The Passion of the Christ,” right up to the current Pixar/Disney movie “Inside Out,” a good movie has sparked all kinds of theologizing for me. It’s a great Nieburhian mix of church and culture – learning to see popular culture through the eyes of faith and take something meaningful away from it.

So when I saw “Inside Out,” I knew I had to write a discussion guide. This movie puts us in touch with what’s really inside of us, and gives us ways to consider how our emotions are expressed (or not expressed) in our lives. The movie opens the door so we can dive deep and learn some new things. My favorite discussion with my own daughter was about how joy and sadness can work together to make something deeply meaningful that really resonates for life. She’s entering middle school – years I remember as full of both emotions almost constantly!

Hopefully there will be something here to use in your ministries with all the different-aged theologians in your congregation.

Kimberly Secrist Ashby– Rev. Secrist Ashby is a Presbyterian pastor serving in Maryland. She is a Trainer and Board Chair for the Center for Emotional Intelligence and Human Relations Training, and soon to be in the church and leader consulting business as Shalom Consulting.

Here is the link to the free discussion guide created by Kimberly Secrist Ashby. It contains discussion questions for preschool, school age, and youth.

This resource is in no way affiliated with Disney or PIXAR. The Inside Out movie is property of Disney PIXAR which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this resource.

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

Pentecost Resources

It seems like we just celebrated the glorious news of Easter, but Pentecost, the fiftieth day, is rapidly approaching. This is the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.

This seems to be a holy day where many churches craft their own intergenerational traditions, rituals, and ways of celebrating. Some congregations dress in red and take a church picture. Others release balloons symbolizing the spreading of the Gospel. Some fly kites, make pin wheels, or wave streamers/flags in worship to live out the Holy Spirit’s symbolization of wind in Acts 2, John 3, and in the very Hebrew and Greek words for spirit.

Many denominations provide resources or take up special offerings on this day.  Here are some links to the denominational resources I found. What resources and ways of celebrating this festive day, have you found helpful? Continue reading

Spiritual Wellness Curriculum

The Spiritual Wellness Center Inc.

 Wyatt Irish Trinity Knot

The Spiritual Wellness Center Inc., is 501(c) 3 that was conceived through the research work for my Doctor of Educational Ministry Project. This study led me to conduct research on how a holistic spiritual care curriculum could engage the mind, heart, and soul of adults. The research concluded that adults could use a holistic approach to spiritual care which includes the mind, heart, and soul and explore ways to engage their triune being (mind, heart, and soul) for the discovery of purpose and meaning for life’s spiritual journey. Continue reading

Interfaith Dialogue

We are at the height of living through the Christian holy days of Lent and Easter. At the same time, we may find ourselves in conversations with people of other faiths who may not understand what we are celebrating or why it is important to Christians. In the same manner we may not fully understand our Jewish brothers and sisters in their Passover celebrations or our Hindu neighbors in their Holi celebrations at this same time of year.

How do we begin to understand the diversity of faith expressions that surround us here in the United States? What are helpful ways of teaching and learning about others’  religious traditions and beliefs, as well as explaining our own Christian faith to them? Continue reading

Aims of Edutainment Parks

Last week I had the opportunity to spend a week in Florida and visited three different places designed to both entertain and educate, thus edutainment parks. They were the Holy Land Experience, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the Universal parks, and Disney World. I could do a blog review of each, because there are definitely positives and negatives to each experience, but instead I was struck by their differing overall aims and how it shaped the way they crafted their experiences for the visitor. Continue reading

The Last Thing You Should Do Is Buy Church Curriculum

Israel Galindo asks us to rethink the concept of curriculum in today’s reblog of his post earlier this week in Columbia Connections. Curriculum is more than the printed resources we may choose and use on Sunday mornings. I wonder how you’ve used this concept in your church.

Columbia Connections

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

There is one thing you can count on in Christian education at any local church: inevitably (just as certain as death and taxes), Sunday School teachers will begin to ask for “new curriculum.” This is regardless of the size of the church or the quality of the curriculum resources teachers currently are using when this mysterious angst strikes!

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