A group of Christian educators and Sunday School teachers from the Karnataka Northern diocese numbering 43 attended a three-days’ training program of the Synod department of Christian education at CSI Synod Centre, Chennai from 29th to 31st May 2018. This was held as part of the project of TRAINING CHRISTIAN EDUCATORS FOR CHILD-FRIENDLY CHURCHES sponsored by EMS, Germany.
Rev. Hanna Niranjan, a senior presbyter and Bishop Amma of Karnataka Northern Diocese inaugurated the program challenging to reach out to children with a commitment to establish God’s reign in this present world. She appreciated the participants’ voluntary initiative to instil Christian values in children and encouraged them to equip themselves with advanced skills to continue the Christian education. Dr. Kamala Dhawale, Principal, CSI College of Commerce led the first session on “Teaching Methods in Sunday School” in which she explained how adopting various teaching methods enhances the learning experience of children in the Sunday School classrooms. It was a good start to the program as it set the tone for participants to focus on their basic methods of teaching that would result in a better learning environment.
Rev. Dr. Rohan Gideon, Assistant Professor of Theology, United Theological College, Bangalore, conducted a short workshop on reading and interpreting the Bible from children’s perspectives. This has challenged the participants to recall and relive their childhood aspirations when they read and interpreted the Bible as children. A thorough analysis of prejudices behind the adult reading of the Bible exposed the need to do an intentional reading of the Bible from the viewpoints of children. The participants prepared Bible lessons by re-reading the select Bible passages from the lived experiences of children. They demonstrated through innovative methods of teaching re-creating classrooms and transforming the whole approach to the Bible narratives. This session has enabled teachers to come out of their adult biases in reading and interpreting the Bible and to focus on identifying children’s experiences in the Bible passages and the contemporary context of living. Rev. Solomon Paul, Director, Synod department of Youth Concerns trained the participants to prepare Bible lessons in view of the contemporary challenges such as ‘culture of materialism’ and ‘culture of Hatred’. Such an approach helped the participants to relate the familiar Biblical passages to the various socio-cultural and political issues of our society.
Ms. Vincy Venugopal and Ms. Nancy Susanna, two trained student counsellors lead through a moving session on the need to understand children’s emotional and psychological needs in Sunday Schools. They trained the participants to understand basic principles of counselling and applying them appropriately in Sunday school education. Many participants expressed the urgency of learning counselling skills to meet out to the pressing issues faced by children.
Rev. Dr. D. R. Sadananda, the General Secretary of CSI gave an inspiring message in the closing session highlighting the tremendous scope of instilling Christian values in children for the growth of the church in the Indian scenario. He challenged them to go back to their respective congregations to function as the ambassadors of Synod Christian Education goals of capacity building for teachers of Christian education and training children towards wholistic Christian education.
A word of thanks is due to The Rt. Rev. Ravikumar J. Niranjan, the Bishop of Karnataka Northern Diocese and to Professor Immanuel S. Malekar, Honorary Secretary of Karnataka Northern Diocesefor coordinating the training program along with the synod department of Christian Education.
Rev. Dr. Jayachitra Lalitha,
Director, Department of Christian Education,