Task Forces

Task Forces are groups who agree to stay together and to continue to work on certain issues over a period of several years. They meet as part of the Annual Meeting, but they also conduct their work in a variety of ways during the year.  Presenters for the Task Force sessions at the Annual Meeting are chosen by each task force or by conveners of the sessions.  New task forces may be initiated by request of members. (see Bylaws IX.1.c)

Here are the Task Forces plans for the 2014 annual meeting:

•  AANARE (coordinator: )

The Asians and Asian North America Religious Educator (AANARE) Task Force welcomes everybody who is interested in the exploration, development, and enhancement of Asian/Asian North American perspectives in religious education.  As a task force of the REA/APRRE, we will gather to provide one another collegial support and to stimulate thinking and discussion for the generation of new scholarship and resources.

•  Black Experience (coordinator: Yolanda Smith)

After time for introductions and checking-in, task force members will discuss the following questions: What do we as Pan African Scholars in religious education have to say regarding the 2014 annual meeting theme of the Making and Unmaking of Violence? and How might we respond both personally and through our churches/educational institutions to violence in black communities?

•  Religious Persecution, Vicarious Trauma (coordinators: Sarah Tauber and Jennifer Haddad Mosher)

At this first meeting of the Religious Persecution & Vicarious Trauma Task Force, participants will review the genesis of the task force and the interfaith nature of this collaborative project (Eastern Orthodox Christian and Jewish); discuss how religious education can/does/should put peace education at the center of its aims and practices within the context of persecution of a particular religious group; investigate questions related to pedagogical use of religious narratives and educational responses to vicarious trauma; and introduce the Eastern Orthodox Christian situation vis-à-vis the Middle East as a case study.

•  History (coordinator: Jonathon LeMaster-Smith)

The History Task Force will begin to brainstorm potential projects for the next three Annual Meetings. These might include paper presentations, film showings, or the history of art in relation to religious education. New voices and ideas are welcome.

•  Imagination

•  Peace & Justice (coordinator: Harold (Bud) Horell)

After introductions and general discussion, the Peace and Justice Force will discuss possible ways of engaging the theme for the 2015 REA Annual Meeting, potential collaborative projects with other task forces, and brainstorm about other ways of highlighting the importance of education for peace and justice within and beyond the REA.

•  Senior Scholars (coordinator: Bob O’Gorman)

The Senior Think Tank will discuss a paper distributed beforehand summarizing the online discussion during this year regarding the future of religious education, the identity of religious education, and the relationship of religious education to practical theology.  (download here)

•  Science & Technology (coordinator: Dean Blevins)

The Science and Technology Task Force explores new scientific advances and technological innovations in relation to the discipline of religious education. This year the task force will discuss the role of social media in the classroom and discuss possible presentations in light of next year’s conference theme.

•  Schools (coordinator: Matthew Geiger)

The Schools Task Force explores the ways that schools can be an ecological support of all religious traditions, and how they can be a place and vehicle for growing intellectually probing, critically discerning, and spiritually oriented souls and citizens. This year the task force will consider undertaking a modest collaborative project that would examine how teacher worldview influences teacher pedagogy in a school religious education setting.  The project would involve interviewing select teachers about their “story,” that is, how they came to have a particular worldview, and then to look at how this influences their religious education pedagogy.