Refresh and Update coming

Refresh and update – Folks after a long absence we are back on the job here at FCIA. Pleas stay in contact with this blog over the next two months there will be updates and a new feel being put in place. We apologise for the delay.

Today the Lay Forum and FCIA is more relevant than ever.

Your patience is much appreciated. ciao paul

Dayboro Community Pantry

Your Project
Title: Church and Community Ecumenical Pantry Project – A Caring and Unifying Project.

Project Location: Dayboro Uniting Church – on the rural fringe just outside of Brisbane located in the hills and valleys of Dayboro, Mt Mee, Ocean View, Mt Pleasant, Samsonvale, Kobble, Armstrong and Lacey’s Creeks.

Timeline for Project: The Project began in 2006 when the local Combined Churches Committee (Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Uniting and AOG) identified a common goal of serving the community through welfare and pastoral care.

Very briefly:
2006 Commencement of an ecumenical Pantry storage and distribution centre in the Uniting Church with a satellite collection point in the Catholic Church. The Lutheran and AOG Churches brought supplies of food and household needs to the Uniting Church. The Combined Churches Committee received referrals from church members and sent two members to visit a needy situation and assess the need. A recommendation was then made to supply goods on a regular basis. Congregations were encouraged to keep up the supplies for the pantry. On average two families a week were being supported.

Dayboro Kids and Young Folk help make decisions and assist in the Pantry
Kids and Young Folk help make decisions and assist in the Pantry

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Garage Sale – Brisbane (South East Qld)

Your Project Wavell Heights Uniting Church Garage Sale
Title: A few key words that describe your project.
To rise money for chaplaincy IN Schools, the Church has a garage sale three times a year.
Project Location: Where are we?
Wavell Heights Uniting Church Hall, 147 Rode Road Wavell Heights.

Timelines for Project:When did we get the ideas? When did we start planning? When did we implement the project? Is it still going? Is there an end point or a new stage in development planned. Garage Sale

We have been doing this for about ten years. Our minister saw the need at Wavell High School, and Chaplaincy was just beginning. We planned to gather saleable items by encouraging our own people to go through their cupboards. As our older folk began moving to retirement villages we asked them to give us any unwonted items. The project has gathered momentum and we now support two High Schools and two Primary schools.
Local people now are aware we do this, and often contact us with saleable items. We put up a banner a fortnight before the date to reach out to the community, and we advertise the date in the local paper.

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Compassion Candles – Proserpine Whitsunday Uniting Church

Title: Compassion Candles is a project developed by Proserpine Whitsunday Uniting Church, focusing on making and selling quality candles, to sponsor as many children living in poverty as possible.

Timelines for Project:When did we get the ideas? When did we start planning? When did we implement the project? Is it still going? Is there an end point or a new stage in development planned.Compassion CandleWe began making our first experimental candles (24 May 2009). We are planning to officially launch Compassion candles at the end of August 2009, with the first candles on sale 2 weeks later at the annual Flower Show that we host in Proserpine. We will be making candles between now and the Flower Show on money donated to the project, thereafter it will grow and sponsor on profits.

Your Project Story (description): The idea for a candle-making club for upper primary and lower secondary students arose in April 2009. The idea of using profits to sponsor children in poverty arose just before, but independently from, a visit to our church by Compassion Australia on 17 May.

Compassion Candles grew out of some simple God-timing – the idea of a candle making club; the idea of sponsoring children out of profits; and a visit by Compassion Australia. You have to realise that in Proserpine we don’t get too many visiting speakers from beyond Mackay. We got the point – but it is exciting to see the fire in the eyes of our young people who realise that they have the chance to start something that can make a difference to some other lives.

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About Adult Learning

About Adult Learning
Today much education, esp. in schools, is undertaken in classrooms with structured lessons and teachers in authority and exams at the end of it. Adults can learn this way however we prefer to learn as Adult Learners. Adults generally learn through building on their life experiences, and in undertaking team or group learning directed at concrete projects (such as we are talking about here in this Lay Forum project i.e. we as adults tend to use action learning.

Three types of Learning for and from life: To do this we need to consider learning as a (1) life-long learning and (2) life-wide learning and (3) life-deep learning process.

The former where we learn progressively throughout our lives (life long learning) the latter as we learn about related bodies of knowledge such as say carpentry and plumbing or related areas in a project such as design, admin, book-keeping, project management, accountability and so on (life wide learning). To these three we add the third (life-deep learning) and in particular this is what we are speaking of in this initiative.

Life deep learning then is about understanding at depth the other two and to grasp the layers of meaning that derive from our day to day lives and thus our day to day projects. So that when we undertake, for instance, a church based project there is a depth of possibility and potential that we can bring to bear on the problem the project seeks to address – it is not a kneejerk reaction or a superficial gloss. The possibilities emerge from the design of the project, the problem it seeks to address in some small local yet meaningful way and, our own life experiences and, commitment and compassion and expertise in assisting in its design and/or implementation.

So when we are undertaking action learning through a particular project we need to keep records and bare these three dimensions of adult learning in mind: life-long, life wide, and life deep learning.

See – ALA – Adult Learning Australia

About Learning Circles

What is a learning circle?

Learning circles are a type of community engagement process that can help people explore complex issues, make decisions and take action. During learning circles, members come together to have dialogue on an issue. It is a community driven process. Learning circle participants are recruits from all parts of the community. The learning circle process begins with community organising. It is followed by facilitated, small group dialogue and planning that leads to change. Learning circles are not designed to advocate a particular solution or someone’s wheelbarrow. Instead, Learning circles welcome many points of view around a shared concern. They can then democratically and collectively prioritise action options and choose and enact the circles choice of action and of enacting that action.

A single learning circle is a small, diverse group of 5 to 12 participant citizens who meet for about 2 hours weekly or fortnightly for 4 to 6 times (a ’round of learning circles’), to address a critical public issue in a democratic and collaborative way. Often there may be a gap of up to two weeks while actions are carried out. They are led by a neutral facilitator, who can rotate from meeting to meeting, and all circle members seek to consider an issue from many points of view. A Discussion Guide allows the participants to progress their conversation from personal experiences, to sessions that examine many points of view on the issue, to a session that considers strategies for action and change.

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Action Learning and Action Research

Action learning and action research are closely related processes. The terms have been defined in a variety of ways. For present purposes, we will use the following definitions.

Action learning

Action learning can be defined as a process in which a group of people come together more or less regularly to help each other to learn from their experience.

As Reg Revans used and described it, it was mostly used across different organisations i.e. the participants typically came from different situations, where each of them was involved in different activities and faced individual problems. Most commonly the participants have been organisers or managers, though this is not essential.  The current practice more often now is to set up an action learning program within one organisation. It is not unusual for a team to consist of people with a common task or problem.

There may or may not be a facilitator for the learning groups which are formed. Revans mostly avoided them. Current practice, I think, is mostly to use them.

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