New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 90

new church life: march/april 2017 We are experiencing an increasing variety in worship styles throughout the Church, experimenting with what works best for various groups. We also have a growing clergy in West Africa and Asia and are looking at the best way to support them. Five new ministers were ordained this spring in West Africa. Some General Church schools are struggling with declining enrollment and it is a challenge to keep a critical mass of New Church students. Beyond Bryn Athyn the schools in Kempton, Pennsylvania, and Westville, South Africa, are particularly strong. Bishop Buss spoke about a General Church Education retreat February 9 and 10 in Bryn Athyn, with a focus on expectations and what people are looking for today in New Church education. There is also an issue of declining numbers of young people getting involved in the Church. This is not just an issue for the Church. The next generation just are not joiners the way previous generations were. A General Church task force is looking into this. There is also a Women’s Participation Task Force addressing women’s roles in the Church. Bishop Buss is leading this study, assisted by Dr. Jane Williams-Hogan as co-chair. Ordination of women is not on the table but the task force is studying doctrine and looking at other possibilities. The dialogue so far has been very healthy. The group hopes to present recommendations in June. The Theological School has been fluctuating over the years and is currently lean, with a real need for new students. One theolog will graduate this year and another the next, then three. The nationally syndicated Dr. Oz television show has launched a “Faith on Friday” segment and invited General Church Outreach to produce videos. Curtis Childs, who presents the offTheLeftEye videos for the Swedenborg Foundation, is helping with this project. Those videos, plus live streaming and other digital efforts are contributing to church growth. (See a separate report from the Rev. David Lindrooth on this initiative.) The Rev. Bradley Heinrichs is visiting in Cuba three times a year, helping to grow church interest there and help with translation efforts. state of bryn athyn college address: a summary In President Brian Blair’s 2016-2017 State of the School Address on January 9, 2017, he updated alumni, friends, faulty, staff, students, families and Board members on what has happened so far in this academic year and what is on the horizon for Bryn Athyn College. The hour-long town hall format included presentations from Academic Dean Allen Bedford, Ph.D., and Dean of Students Kiri Rogers. Questions from the audience and online attendees were taken at the end, with Athletic Director 156