We will spend a total of 3 terms at our learning site. In this first term, there is no specific focus, but rather each one of us set four learning goals and we try to shape our experience and learning around those goals. My goals are to gain knowledge and experience with the sacraments (baptism and communion); to learn about using visual images to enhance worship; to be comfortable defining my pastoral identity; and to have decreased anxiety related to pastoral care around bereavement and funeral planning. Except for the last goal (no funerals at the church since I started), I've been working away at all of those goals with the help of the congregation and my supervisor.
Some of the fun stuff that I've been able to do since starting:
- I got to write a communion liturgy, and help to preside at communion last weekend.
- I crashed (with permission) the confirmation class that is done as a "retreat weekend" yesterday. The program that they use is based around the New Creed of the United Church and sessions are set up to correspond to each line of the creed. I got to do the session on, "[we are called] to celebrate God's presence," and "to live with respect in creation," which means that I got to do some fun stuff around worship and talk about eco-theology with a group of 14-16 year olds :-)
- I got to participate in the baptism liturgy this morning when a very cute little baby was baptized; and I will be doing a baptism prep. session with the leader of the Baptism Team (tentatively scheduled for this Friday, with the baptism in mid-April).
We (all of the students doing SFE) are also interviewing members of our congregations on a variety of topics - so far, I've done interviews related to Worship and interviews related to Pastoral Care and Outreach; and I have interviews about Leadership as well as the history of the congregation coming up.
I'm lucky to be at a very busy and welcoming church - nobody has told me yet that I can't do anything, so I'm trying to get to know as many people as possible and see as much as I can (given that I'm not there full-time). It is a much bigger than my home church, with a lot more programmes going on - I was a bit (or a lot) overwhelmed at first, but I'm starting to get a sense of how things work.