Monday, February 4, 2013

The first three formational elements: Encounter your world, the Vineyard colloquia, Praxis for ministry

We have the practice of  this program broken down into five categories, all of which you likely engage in--at least to some degree--already.  If you engage in these five elements, you will be reasonably prepared to meet the National Standards and the wings of formation on the National Standards concept map template.  This post addresses the first three categories of co-curricular engagement.

Seeing: Encounter Your World

One element of the Spirituality for the Vineyard program involves attending to and learning from the vulnerable in our human family, as well as reaching out and recognizing we are part of a universal church with many cultures, concerns, and manifestations.  The Church tells us that our engagement with the world--and our attention to most in need--is our mission.

The Church's social doctrine “is itself a valid instrument of evangelizationand is born of the always new meeting of the Gospel message and social life. Understood in this way, this social doctrine is a distinctive way for the Church to carry out her ministry of the Word and her prophetic role. ...This is not a marginal interest or activity, or one that is tacked on to the Church's mission, rather it is at the very heart of the Church's ministry of service: with her social doctrine the Church “proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself”[90]. This is a ministry that stems not only from proclamation but also from witness.  (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church #67)

We ask students to participate in one extended cross-cultural service experience.  That could mean a variety of things:

  • Go on a Spring Break or May SOUL (Serving Others United in Love) trip through campus ministry.  If you're new to SMU, SOUL trips are week long (or longer) trips of small groups from SMU, including staff, who immerse themselves in a community service project.  Some sites are international (Guatemala, the Phillipines, Jamaica), but most are in country (for example, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, New Orleans hurricane relief, working with L'Arche in Iowa, and the Kansas City Catholic Worker, among others).
  • HECUA study abroad student in Ecuador
  • Do a developing world study abroad.  There are many options, including quite a few connected with the Lasallian consortium for study abroadHECUA is another program SMU is affiliated with that has impressive programs in the developing world, and a "Metro Urban Studies term" in the Twin Cities.  There are also summer programs available.
  • Do an extended volunteering year in Winona, but in an area that puts you a different space than what is typical for you: weekly volunteering at the local Catholic Worker (Winona or LaCrosse), Big Brothers/Big Sisters, tutoring at the Red Wing Correctional Facility, etc.

Learning: The Vineyard Colloquia

Rich Curran: Spirituality for the Vineyard workshop #3
Rich Curran, Mar 2010: "All the questions you have about youth ministry, answered"
A colloquium is an informal, yet academic, conversation between scholars (that's you) on a given topic.  The Vineyard Colloquia give students a chance to hear from local and national scholars and practitioners in lay ecclesial ministry.  What is it really like out there?  How did you get to where you are?  How do I discern this?  Are there spiritual practices I should be cultivating now?  Come, listen, ask questions, and learn.

The Spring 2013 speaker?  We soon as details are nailed down, we will announce it!  Coming soon....

Exploring: Praxis for Ministry

Outreach Jeopardy
Lisa and Jake leading a confirmation class.
Yet another element of the program is the expectation that students will be exploring a variety of Christian ministries.  You may have your heart set on one particular ministry, but college is a great opportunity to explore options...and you could always go back to that "one particular ministry" confirmed that this is indeed your passion!

The simplest way to complete this element if you are a Pastoral and Youth Ministry major or a Religious Education major is to complete the requirement one semester internship at a local parish or church affiliated organization.  There are also other volunteer ministries--through SMU and in the local churches and dioceses--that students may count toward this element.