Hybrid teaching and learning in local church to be focus of UCC event

The world of hybrid learning will be the focus of a two-day event for people who teach in local churches of the United Church of Christ.

“A New Turn: Hybrid Faith Formation” will take place online Wednesday, June 8, and Thursday, June 9. Its sponsor is the Association of United Church Educators. People can register here.

“The pandemic has shaken up everything we once knew about church ministry, and we are now facing a new turn,” said the event’s lead organizer, the Rev. Kim Nagy. She is minister of faith formation at Kent (Ohio) UCC and vice chair of AUCE’s Board of Directors. “This virtual conference will help leaders live into this new era of ministry.”

Digital, hybrid strategies

Nagy said the event is designed for lay leaders, clergy and faith-formation directors. It will focus on strategies for working via digital platforms and in hybrid settings. Six workshops will:

  • Offer a study of Psalm 90 while modeling hybrid teaching strategies that can be used in a congregation.
  • Use creative-thinking games and breakout rooms to discover new possibilities for hybrid work.
  • Discuss ways people of different generations can learn and work together — especially now, in the digital world.
  • Describe places — digital and physical — beyond the church where ministry can happen, and suggest ways to identify and reach out to them.
  • Survey “the basics of ministry in virtual places,” ranging from best practices on various platforms to determining whether to do something in person, virtual or in a hybrid fashion.
  • Discuss “leadership as ‘being’ and ‘doing.'” Participants will be asked to write, in advance, case studies of vocational challenges from their own places of service.

Registrants will also be invited to take part in “creative worship, self-care practices, and two colleague-connection sessions for networking, encouragement and sharing.”

Registration opened in early May for the June 8-9 workshoop.

For AUCE members, registration costs are $25 for a single workshop, $65 for any three, and $125 for access to all. Those same costs for non-members are $40, $95 and $185. Information about AUCE membership is here.

‘Different environment’

“Hybrid teaching and learning were available before the pandemic, yet will be one of the legacies for the church’s experience of this time,” said AUCE’s board chair, the Rev. Thom Bower, associate minister at Northfield (Ill.) Community Church. “It’s a different environment for relationships, for spirituality, and we’re all learning new tools and skills for faith formation as the church gathers in these new ways. AUCE members have always been exploring useful tools for faith formation, sharing with other practitioners what we are learning.”

In offering the conference, Nagy said AUCE, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, is drawing on its strengths in “networking, resourcing, and advocating for faith formation leaders across the nation.”

“Whether you are a lay leader who wants to know how to do the basics of ministry in virtual spaces, a faith formation director eager to learn how to model biblical studies via hybrid teaching strategies, or a minister ready to encourage your congregation to expand their ministry to new places, you are welcome into this virtual space for learning, renewal, self-care, worship, and colleague connections. You’ll leave the conference with plenty of new strategies for your post-pandemic ministry toolbox.”

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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