The purpose of education is enlightenment. Enlightenment requires us to step beyond self awareness and to recognize our natural human responsibilities as components of a greater reality.
A recent American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) survey found that over 65% of the American population doesn’t attend church and still believes in God. Could it be that we’re not sharing with the right people?
The AIRS survey tells us that our membership is aging and that there is relatively little growth in the number of younger people joining our faith. Those of us who are active and involved average 58 years old.
Most Americans remain comfortably complacent despite world economic brinksmanship, the escalating deterioration of our planetary environment and raging world discontent. Although we may be caring and compassionate in our personal lives, we are often reluctant to take a risk of reducing our personal comfort.
Education is a process of learning how to think life through in order to become aware of whom we are, what we are, where we are, and why we exist. Education has always been the human gateway to a better future.
Knowledge does not guarantee wisdom. Education, formation and transformation are an integrated process which includes studying to gain knowledge, making natural connections based on the best information available, and experiencing higher levels of conscious awareness we recognize as wisdom.
The educational process works best when its open minded, factual and sustained. We learn best when we learn together. There’s a wealth of knowledge and understanding in the Episcopal Church today. A proven approach to sharing a message is a coordinated program in which small groups of people from our community exchange points of view.
In a world of electronic time sharing on steroids we are becoming increasingly adept at long distance learning. On line learning works best when we compliment it with regular local small group gatherings to discuss common study material.
Small group communications was the theme of the “Circle of Disciples” conference held at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in late January 2009. Suggested subjects for community discussion included spirituality, nature, civilization, culture, finance and faith. Session topics naturally interact with both community and world events. Ripples radiate.
Our Great Commission is to keep the faith and carry the message. It would seem that a way to get to know others better and allow them to get to know us, is to personally invite friends, neighbors, and other people we meet who don’t currently attend church, to join us during the week for an hour or so of coffee, snacks and relaxed perfection free sharing on subjects of common interest.
Our Diocese Education for Ministry (EfM) program for the laity includes both on line learning and grouping. During 2010, certificates where issued to 38 four year students who completed the four year course successfully with the assistance of 28 local mentors and group conveners. The Cursillo grouping movement continues to grow in Arizona and has sprouted ecumenical branches. Cursillo encourages piety, study and service.