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Discussion from the Panel at Summerland, 2009 - Chronarchy

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August 27th, 2009


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02:08 pm - Discussion from the Panel at Summerland, 2009
After discussion in my last post about the utility of the Summerland Panel Discussion, "The Future of ADF," I thought I'd post the product of my own work here. Part of what left me so disheartened was a response consisting only of crickets when I finished, which either means I had explained things so well, or the whole thing fell flat. I give it about a 50/50.

So, I thought about this for a while, and I still want to get the info out, because I feel that it's very important to provide. So here's basically what I said, in brief:

Future Plans for Clergy Training in ADF

First of all, I have to give deep thanks to [info]Ian Corrigan, Carrion, romandruid and druidkirk for the support and help that they've given throughout the process of creating the Clergy Training Program (CTP) up to this point. Right now, for the first time since 1998, we have a cohesive set of exit standards that one can complete and have approved that will lead to full ordination as an ADF Priest. This is one if Isaac's central vision points: a rigorous, solid training program for our Priests that gives them an education that can be compared to mainstream religions.

That said, it is not necessarily on par with mainstream religious training for priests. We have a very long way to go.

Our training currently consists of outlines of exit standards: CTP Cicles 2 and 3 have complete guides available, but CTP 1 does not at this time. The guides for CTP 2 and 3 are in need of expansion into a real program, fleshed out to provide training, not just test it. Resources need to be consistently updated, and CTP 1, in particular, needs to be drawn into a guide that provides a lot of preliminary information and resource work.

Further, additional hands-on instruction needs to be developed: between videos of rituals, individual mentorship programs, and week-long (required) intensives at various points around the country, there's a lot of ground to cover. Rubrics and exit standard clarifications need to be provided.

One place that we've begun to move away from is the notion of assigning remedial Dedicant Path work: rather than finding a DP "inadequate" to the CTP training, we have started to draw on the full set of courses within ADF's various study programs and recommend additional work in order to provide further training instead of returning to old work and forcing repetition. This rests on the notion that challenging students with work that builds on previous work will bear fruit in a way that revisiting central concepts along may not. . . and will hopefully help them reinforce any core concepts that they may not completely comprehend. Remedial work is still a possibility, but it's far less likely now.

I mentioned earlier that this training program isn't perfect: it probably never will be. The original CTP Circle 1 was designed to be a bit more clergy-like than it turned out to be: this is a result of a need to pass something to get the ball rolling (it turned out that this was an excellent idea). Because of this, CTP 1 is identical to the First Circle of the Generalist Study Program, and it does not teach some skills that are probably necessary for clergy work.

To correct this, there are already plans to rebalance the CTP, to reduce the front-end weight of the academics and distribute several already-approved-but-not-required courses through the CTP in a logical way. We are patiently waiting for a few more students to work through the current program before we begin revisions, as we want to have experience behind us when we seek to revise. The current time-frame for such revisions rests at around 2011 or 2012, at which point we hope to have many more people having worked through CTP 1, 2, and 3.

There's much to do yet with clergy training within ADF, but it is a clearly evolving (and planned) process that we have going on.

Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
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Current Music: "I Will Play For Gumbo", -JB

(16 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:anivair
Date:August 27th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
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I admit,i was a bit confused by the difference between the guide and the requirements at the meeting. the DP has a list of guidelines that you have to finish to complete it. I presume the CTP has these, too.

So what is the Guide? is it basically a longer version of the requirements with required information, or is it like a textbook for the program?
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From:chronarchy
Date:August 27th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
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The guides that we've created are sort of like "exit standards plus basic explanation." They're not in-depth enough to really provide you a lot of information or tell you were to find things, but they do provide some guidance to what the objectives and goals of the course are.

I think that what I'm looking for is something along the lines of a Manual for ADF Clergy Training that looks something like the DP manual does for DP work.

Still, CTP 2 and 3 have a lot more "guidance" than CTP 1 does. . . CTP 1 is simply an outline of exit standards in most cases.
[User Picture]
From:anivair
Date:August 27th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
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okay, I get that. Not that I'll be much help, sadly, but if you need to bounce ideas, I have a lot of free time during the day.

Now to get back to DP stuff. I swear, i'm going to finish this thing.
[User Picture]
From:athenamsb
Date:August 27th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
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GSP1, being the same as CTP1 has been slow going for just these reasons. Although I do understand the desire to refrain from creating works that make it seem like we have a dogma, a lit of eight books and ten questions that you can answer from any of a number of the sources does seem a bit obtuse and overwhelming.

I, for one, know what exactly I wish I had in front of me, but alas, I have not the skill set to take up such an endeavor.

Maybe I'll outline stuff I want to be addressed and see if there are any takers down the line...
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From:wcm
Date:August 27th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad to hear that there's a push away from revising old work. Although I'm not quite finished revising my DP, I can't see wanting to go back and do it again years from now. At the moment I have definite plans to go through the clergy training program, however I don't see myself doing it until I'm nearing retirement age. I can't see myself as a committed school teacher and a committed clergy person at the same time. I want to give it my all and I want to feel safe about being fully out of the broom closet. That said I can't see a 50 year old me wanting to revise DP work I did in my 20s. I would rather be given new, "extra credit" revisionary assignments to help me strengthen my weaknesses. I hope this all makes sense...
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:August 27th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
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*nods* This is one of the points I wished to make during the panel discussion, but I don't know if I did, or if it got discarded during my "crap, let's save some time" process.

We've encountered only a few "old" DP's. . . from more than 10 years ago. . . at this point. I suspect that the notion that a DP might be thirty years old didn't occur to us, mostly because there aren't any :) But yeah, it makes the most sense to try and "fill in" experience, rather than repeat it.
[User Picture]
From:gothicdruid
Date:August 27th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Good plan, Mike...I hope ADF can implement it. All previous clergy training programs have leaned too heavily on the auto-didacticism so inherent in the recon Pagan community. Auto-didacticism isn't always a virtue (I suspect the ancient Druids would be baffled by a Druid clergy that was left to basically train themselves).

The comments in your previous post thread re lack of vocal projection at the roundtable are a pretty good indicator of where this approach will always fall short: It's hard for me to think of a more central component of priestcraft than the ability to command and hold attention in ritual (or workshop), but--speaking as someone with years of formal training in vocal production--it's a perfect example of something that is almost impossible to learn from a book without substantial guidance. Anything ADF does to provide more substantial resources drawn from the learning and experience of those who've gone before (to say nothing of face-to-face instruction) the better your program will become.

Good luck!
[User Picture]
From:wcm
Date:August 27th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
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You are absolutely right. While autodidacticism has some strengths, I've often found myself somewhat jealous of my Wiccan friends who have covens where they can learn as a group. I personally feel that the Grove I attend, while very great for social and occasional spiritual interaction, could do more in regards to education. The clergy training program especially should turn towards group learning. Sometimes studying on my own can be quite boring and there are topics that I would rather discuss face to face rather than online.

[User Picture]
From:anivair
Date:August 27th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
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We actually do a lot of education in our grove. You might want to ask Mike about a layout of it all, but we have a DP group that meets regularly, as well as meeting often for nature awareness and in smaller groups for more specific work.
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From:wcm
Date:August 27th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
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That's really great! I must add that, after I posted, I realized that there are some members of the grove trying to have DP study meetings but they aren't put on or lead by the leaders of the grove and are really the only thing going on.
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From:chronarchy
Date:August 27th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
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How often do they meet? I have a couple of schedules that they might find useful. The obvious one is the WotY, but there's also this one, created by seamus_mcnasty and myself for 3CG:

http://www.adf.org/cgi-bin/adf/wiki/view/Main/3CGDedicantPathMonthlyProgram
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From:dubhlainn
Date:August 27th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
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I would love to know how many people in attendance for this have a desire/call to become Clergy. I have always wondered that actually. How many people in ADF wish to follow the Clergy path.

I think some of these ideas:

between videos of rituals, individual mentorship programs, and week-long (required) intensives at various points around the country, there's a lot of ground to cover. Rubrics and exit standard clarifications need to be provided.

Are pretty awesome. I know my friends who are clergy in more mainstream religions (Unitarian Universalist and Disciples of Christ) have gotten a great deal out of the intensives that were part of their training. My mentor (who was a UU minister) talked about her intensive training years after the fact, it was that important/moving to her.

As I read through this, honestly, I think you got Warnocked. You presented a good vision, with a realistic time frame, with some really cool ideas. Where I there all I could have really said was "good job".
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:August 27th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
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I suspected Warnock. He's a jerk, that guy.

I don't have a real timeline on videos, but mentorship is around the corner. I'm leaning on Kirk to start the intensives, now that he's got an Abbey. ;)

I don't know how many are on a clergy path: we never expected it to be a high number, though we have always expected a higher proportion than the general pagan community.
[User Picture]
From:dragynphyre
Date:August 27th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
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You hit on a big issue I have with most of the training programs available - most of them are basically self-taught correspondence courses (with no timeline to finish but what you set for yourself, but I don't mind that, actually). There are some groves that have a somewhat organized education system, others leave you on your own to learn. If you're a Solitaire, good luck. I think that having more interaction from mentors or people that have finished the program before you could do nothing but good.
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From:athenamsb
Date:August 27th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
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Also, keep in mind the audience present. There were a lot of folks who were expecting to be discussing DP stuff and were not prepared to hear or comment on the work you are doing, no matter how impressive it may be. Many of the folks in the audience just aren't at that stage yet, and a lot of them who are are more likely in agreement with you (hence, Warnock). Consider, also, how much of your portion you made public (e.g. livejournal posts) beforehand. Another thing to consider is that there was a population of the audience to whom none of this was news.

If you would like the audio, I have a copy. Let me know, and email me about the article so I can make sure your highlighted points are expressed properly.
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From:druid_medb
Date:August 28th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I think your presentation was very organized, thorough, and concise. Many other presentations rambled a bit and were not as thorough. Maybe you just explained what was being done so well that no one needed to ask questions?

Also, the work we are doing on the Clergy program doesn't have a lot of direct influence on the audience we had present. Many of them have never even looked at the CTP or considered attempting it. Everything you were describing probably was too far beyond their current interests to comment on.

I think we need to try this round table again at Wellspring or perhaps at every major festival. We need to keep our members informed but I also wouldn't place it in the evening. I'd probably do it mid-day so the members who aren't interested would be more likely to go hang out with their friends instead.

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