Director of Worship, Seattle University

Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry seeks applications for a part-time faculty Director of Worship and Liturgy with the rank of Instructor to begin September 2016. The Director of Worship and Liturgy is a 9-month renewable appointment effective upon hire. The Director will be responsible for the communal worship and prayer life of STM students, staff, faculty, and other partners. The successful candidate will be responsible for scheduling, coordinating, preparing, publishing, and leading ecumenical and interreligious liturgy and worship for the STM community. Additionally, the director will assist teaching future pastoral leaders to lead worship within their faith communities, and will teach one course per academic year. The ideal candidate will demonstrate experience leading contemporary forms of intercultural ecumenical and interreligious worship. They will have a strong record of collaborative leadership. Additionally, they will have demonstrated ability in creating opportunities that help students prepare for worship ministry through the use of technology, social media, and the arts. The ideal candidate will have a strong commitment to social justice and community engagement.

Requirements: Ph.D. or D.Min (ABD candidates will be considered) in a ministry-related field; two years’ experience leading liturgy and/or worship. Preferred: Experience with social media, technology, and the arts in worship; a demonstrated record of supervising; publications related to worship and liturgy; excellent administrative skills.

Seattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic university located on 48 acres on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. More than 7,700 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools. U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges 2016” ranks Seattle University among the top 10 universities in the West that offer a full range of masters and undergraduate programs. Seattle University is an equal opportunity employer. In support of its pursuit of academic and scholarly excellence, Seattle University is committed to creating a diverse community of students, faculty and staff that is dedicated to the fundamental principles of equal opportunity and treatment in education and employment regardless of age, color, disability, gender identity, national origin, political ideology, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The university encourages applications from, and nominations of, individuals whose differing backgrounds, beliefs, ideas and life experiences will further enrich the diversity of its educational community.

Submit applications to https://jobs.seattleu.edu/. To ensure full consideration, submit CV, include a letter of application that demonstrates qualifications for this position including commitment to diversity and Seattle University’s mission, values, and vision; vita or resume; submit a statement regarding the definition of worship in an ecumenical and interreligious settings; and provide the names and contact information for three current references (recommendation letters will be solicited electronically upon submission of application).

Review of applications will begin August 12, 2016. The position is open until filled.
Questions regarding the position may be directed to Mark Chung Hearn (hearnm@seattleu.edu).

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Asst. Prof. of Religious Diversity and Pluralism

Denison University Department of Religion invites applications for a tenure-track position beginning August 2017 in Religious Diversity and Pluralism in the United States. Teaching will include introductory, intermediate and advanced undergraduate courses that cover the diversity of U. S. religions in both historical and contemporary contexts. These courses should also address the ways different religious traditions have understood and responded to this diversity, both within and among religions, on philosophical, theological, ethical, historical and/or social levels. Ph.D. in the academic study of religion, or a relevant field, with the above specialization is required. Proven ability to teach writing-intensive religion courses that meet Denison’s new writing program requirements is essential.

Appropriate undergraduate teaching experience is preferred. Ability to teach in one or more of Denison’s interdisciplinary programs (Black Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, International Studies, Queer Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies) is desirable. Denison faculty teach a 3/2 teaching load each year. Applications should include a transcript of all graduate work, letters of recommendation, and evidence of appropriate teaching experience.

Applications must be submitted on-line at https://employment.denison.edu. Applications received by September 26, 2016 will receive full consideration. Open until filled. For more information about Denison and the Department of Religion see our website at: www.denison.edu.

Denison University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer. To achieve our mission as a liberal arts college, we continually strive to foster a diverse campus community, which recognizes the value of all persons regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or socio-economic background. For additional information and resources about diversity at Denison, please see our Diversity Guide at http://denison.edu/forms/diversity-guide.

Denison University is an academically rigorous liberal arts college with an increasingly diverse campus community. It offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. Denison is located in the village of Granville, 30 minutes from Columbus, Ohio, the state capitol, which hosts a wide range of cultural and artistic opportunities. Granville also offers an excellent public school system and easy access to outdoor activities.

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Religion, media, empathy

Magnum, known for its work in documentary photography, is leading a new project which will collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to produce in-depth and experimental projects on religion.

The CFP notes:

In our current environment of increased sectarian conflict, it is more important than ever to provide well developed, nuanced perspectives on the many roles religion plays in contemporary society. Photographers will collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to produce in-depth and experimental projects on religion. Each project team will receive a production grant of up to $18,000. Additionally, teams will have access to an advisory of experts and participate in a project development lab in New York.

Magnum Foundation is working with The Revealer: A Review of Religion and Media, NYU’s Center for Media Culture and History, and The Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. Support for this pilot initiative is generously provided by the The Henry Luce Foundation, which seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious, and art communities.

More information is available online.

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Religious Education coord. position at Beale AFB

Beale AFB in California is looking for a part-time Protestant religious education coordinator. The deadline for applications is July 15th, and they require at least a Bachelor’s degree in education or 2 years’ experience as a Religious Education Coordinator in a local church or military chapel and experience working with children’s programs in a church and/or ministry. More information on how to apply is available via this flyer.

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Can REA Support Innovation in Religious Education?

For five years I ran a “start-up” religious education program. I wanted to test out a model of family-based learning in the Jewish community for families who were opting out of synagogue life. The methodology and pedagogy was inspired by Scouting: a system of ranks and requirements provided the framework for kids (K-12) to learn at their own pace, guided by parents and other adults in the community. The project never “took off.” Participating families expressed high degrees of satisfaction with the community we had created, but we struggled with recruiting new families each year, and we never converted the interest from leaders in other regions to become franchised groups. I wasn’t prepared to leave my full-time job to give the program “my all” and we weren’t able to raise enough money from tuition and fees and outside funders to hire a part-time project director.

I could speculate on whether the initiative died a natural death because it wasn’t exactly the right educational product at the right time (which is my hunch) or because of other factors, such as insufficient commitment from the leadership or limited funding.

For me, one takeaway from that experience is noting that the field of religious education could do more to support and encourage innovation. And the Religious Education Association is in a position to become part of an ecosystem for innovation in the field.

There are many reasons why the educational approaches we are currently invested in may not be the ones that help our faith communities thrive into the future: religious life is changing, social demographics are changing, technology continues to evolve rapidly, and our understanding of how humans learn is changing through the field of mind, brain and education science. For these reasons and many more, our field of practice needs to have a healthy culture of innovation to thrive.

Over the past two years, a small four-member committee of the REA has been working to re-think how the REA approaches awards. Without boring you with the bureaucratic details, I can say that we inherited a set of three awards, none of which were sufficiently resourced to make much of an impact on the field. So we asked ourselves how we might do it better. The answer we are now working towards is to shift from three awards to one award and a new innovation grant. We’re reaching out now to get REA members’ feedback on the plans.

First, we would keep the William Rainey Harper Award, a lifetime achievement award in the field. That award would be given out every three to five years for financial reasons and to keep the award special.

Second, we would combine the two lesser-known awards under our purview, the Wornom Award (originally intended to recognize institutions leading in the field) and the Harper project (originally intended to promote collegiality across the field), into a new, annual small grant for innovation.

The new innovation grant (“Wornom Project Small Grant”) would be given out through an annual competitive selection process. Religious educators would be invited to submit their innovative projects for consideration each year. Five finalists would be selected, and a winner would be announced annually at the REA meeting to receive $3,000. A leader from the winning project would be invited to the REA the year after winning the grant to tell us what they have been learning through their project.

By highlighting innovative initiatives in religious education each year, we can bring much-needed attention to people and places in the field of religious education where new ideas are being tested out. We can develop relationships with practitioners who are taking risks. And we can inspire our members.

If we move forward with this direction, the Wornom grants process would be announced at the REA meeting in November and applications would be due in January or February.

As a committee, we’re interested in feedback from REA members about moving in this direction. Below are the members of the committee. Send us your thoughts.

Justus Baird, Chair, REA Harper/Wornom Committee

With Boyung LeeMary Elizabeth Moore, and Maureen OBrien…and added deep acknowledgement to Charles Foster who chaired this committee for a few years before 2016 and allowed us to reach this direction.

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Conference update from program chair

At the first of May the call for papers for the 2016 conference in Pittsburgh has come to an end. And you have been responding massively! At a first glance, the harvest looks great: interesting papers and posters from all over the world, focusing on the con-texts, texts and textures of hopeful teaching today. “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out,” wrote the Czech president Vaclav Havel. As a hope-driven educationalist and theologian I like this quote. It is all about staying concentrated on the deeper meaning of things happening in the world, in society and school. It is all about the decision not to give up on the deeper quality of an “examined way of life” (Aristotle), on the human capacity both to connect with and to transcend daily life in light of human dignity.

What we need in this troubled world are great teachers, who are compassionate and intelligent. The former Archbishop of Milano, Cardinal Carlo Martini, argued that future leaders will need to develop “spiritual muscles”: the will to understand cognitively but above all spiritually the challenges of the world and the power to respond with mind, heart and soul. This is an enormous challenge. But I am hopeful we will get there. In this respect, I am looking forward to reading more in depth the REA-proposals for November. But above all I am eager to see the faces again of the REA-members again and to listen to their stories, to their scholarship and to the fragments of hope they will be bringing to the table of learning in Pittsburgh.

Very best wishes for a good summer (at least for those on the Northern hemisphere…) from your president-elect, Bert Roebben.

P.S. Do not forget to fill out our membership questionnaire: we want to hear your voice!

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Childhood, faith and the media

The symposium on ‘Childhood, Faith and the Media’ is a plenary of the Leverhulme Trust-funded ‘Faith on the Air: a religious educational broadcasting history’ project at the University of Worcester. This one-day conference will provide an opportunity to engage in research-informed discussion of issues in religious broadcasting for children and young people in historical and contemporary perspective.

There are three confirmed keynote speakers: Professor Stephen Parker from the University of Worcester, the lead investigator of the ‘Faith on the Air project; Aaqil Ahmed, the Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC; and Lat Blaylock, RE Adviser at RE Today Services and editor of RE Today magazine.

In addition, there will be an exhibition about the history of religious education broadcasting on display for the duration of the symposium. The cost for the day, including lunch and all refreshments, will be £45.00 The call-for-papers is now open and proposals are invited on any aspect of the interfaces of childhood, faith and the media, especially in relation to radio, television or by digital means.

More information is available online.

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Assistant Director, Pluralism Project

Harvard University’s Pluralism Project is hiring an assistant director based in Cambridge, MA. More details are available online.

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Adjunct position in Christian education

Lexington Theological Seminary is seeking adjunct faculty to teach courses during 2016-2017 in its online Master of Divinity program that integrates intellectual, spiritual and practical dimensions of congregational life and leadership.  We specifically seek a person or persons to teach required and elective courses in Christian education.  Ph.D. or ABD is expected; but significant experience in congregational ministry and advanced knowledge of the relevant literature will be considered.  Candidates must demonstrate abilities to apply their discipline to contexts of ministry.  Candidates must also demonstrate strong technological skills and pedagogical experience that have prepared them to teach in an LMS environment (with discussion boards, chat rooms, online quizzes, online community formation, etc.), to create online audio-visual PowerPoint presentations, and to use other web tools to enhance course interaction.  For information about LTS, including the current roster of required and elective courses offered in Christian Education, see www.lextheo.edu.

Applicants should email a curriculum vitae and a letter of application, and have two letters of reference emailed to Richard D. Weis, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, at: rweis@lextheo.edu.  Applications received by May 20 will receive the greatest consideration.

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Brill announces new series in theology in practice

Brill announces a new series — Theology in Practice — edited by Bonnie Miller McLemore and Elaine Graham, and with our own editor, Joyce Mercer, as a member of the editorial board. The series promises to:

explore and reconstruct the centers and margins of practical theological discourse. The series will be marked by interdisciplinary conversations with related fields, such as feminist, liberation, or systematic/constructive theologies, while also exploring new domains, such as comparative/interreligious, sexual, postcolonial, post-Christian, and critical racial-ethnic studies. Concerned with ministry and religious leadership, it will address multiple expressions of Christianity, fostering the development of cognate research in other religions and in secular formations that take practice, action, and performance as central concerns.

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