Visioning Ecumenism Goes Online–Course by Johnston McMaster & Cathy Higgins

imageMy school, the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE), has gone online with two new interactive modules developed by Dr Johnston McMaster and Dr Cathy Higgins.

The modules have been designed in conjunction with the School’s IRCHSS-funded Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism research project, and are called ‘The Bible in Dispute’ and ‘Where in the World is God?’ Each module features a video-narrated powerpoint, as well as written lesson plans and student notes.

The module design has been influenced by McMaster and Higgins’ work on ISE’s continuing education programme, Education for Reconciliation. This has given them years of experience facilitating church and community groups in Northern Ireland and the border counties, including church fora throughout Northern Ireland.

In my own research for the Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism project, I’ve interviewed a number of people involved with the Fermanagh Churches’ Forum.

They consistently said that having the opportunity to participate in Education for Reconciliation modules with lecturers from ISE has enhanced their personal and collective spiritual lives.

The online materials are intended for use by church and community groups, and it is hoped that their content can stimulate people in the same way as those in the Fermanagh Churches Forum.

Given that it is now the Lenten season, these modules might also fruitfully serve as an impetus for some focused individual or small group reflections during this time.

I’ve never had a chance to take one of Johnston and Cathy’s modules, so I am looking forward to getting stuck in to some of the online materials. These include:

Topics in The Bible in Dispute Module include:

  • Introduction
  • Is this the Word of the Lord? Texts of Terror in the Hebrew Bible
  • But it’s Supposed to be Good News! Violent Texts in the Christian Testament
  • The Bible Critiques Itself: The Counter Witness
  • Jesus and Active Non Violence
  • Re-Visioning a Different Culture: Towards a Culture of Peace

Topics in the Where in the World is God Module include:

  • Introduction
  • God in the 21st Century
  • The Shape of Faith in a Post-Christendom Context
  • Together in One World: Ecumenism Today
  • Encountering Neighbour Religions in a Pluralistic World

In the weeks ahead, I plan to offer some of my own thoughts on this blog about the content of these modules.

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