Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery upskills
Instead of conducting their usual Presbytery meeting, Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery will conduct training events that will upskill congregations in a wide variety of ways.
Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery’s Rev. Geoff Stevenson told Insights that the idea began as a matter of practicality.
When Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery’s Standing Committee met in April, he recalled, they discussed the scheduled May Presbytery Meeting. Gathering up to 80 people via Zoom seemed like a large task.
“When we considered the main agenda items for May, we realised that we didn’t really need to meet for any particular decisions at this time and the idea of offering some training to upskill people within our congregations was suggested,” Rev. Stevenson said.
“We brainstormed some ideas and possible training modules that were already developed and could be easily adapted and offered over Zoom.”
“We decided that these events will most probably be conducted via Zoom so that there can be interaction. It may be that some form of pre-recorded video may be used within the Zoom meeting but we felt that interactive training where questions and discussion can be part of the process is more helpful.”
The topics were chosen to provide a balance between different aspects of ministry. These include mission and outreach (MSM, Messy Church, University Chaplaincy, along with Advocacy) pastoral engagement (Domestic Violence, Dealing with Crisis, Climate Change and Anxiety) and practical skills, administration/finance (Technology skills are coming to the fore in this time and we have been asked for help).
Opening up possibilities
“COVID-19 has created much stress and change but it has also opened up possibilities for doing things in new ways,” Rev. Stevenson said.
“Via Zoom, we can gather people from across a large region at the same time.”
“We have a few other topics that seem pertinent to some of our congregations, such as hosting Op-Shops or Soup Kitchens but we feel that a deeper and more specific training event that is place-based so people can see, experience and understand all the dynamics of such operation.”
For those less familiar with the technology, Rev. Stevenson suggested that small groups could meet in people’s homes, to help facilitate the Zoom training. If the training is recorded, others can also view it later.
At the time of writing, organisers were awaiting congregations’ responses as to which workshop topics they would be interested in. Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery also intend to meet in August.
According to Rev. Stevenson, the Presbytery also intend to engage with futher topics in future sessions, including cross-cultural ministry, ministry within a multi-faith context, Public Theology, and Climate Change.
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