On May 21, Cluny Media sponsored a Colloquium for religious educators at The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in Mecosta, Michigan. The theme of the Colloquium was “Religious Education in a Secular Age.” Cluny Advisory Board member Annette Kirk graciously hosted the meeting, which was designed and organized by Advisory Board member Dr. Bruce P. Frohnen.
The participants addressed two primary questions:
- What are the greatest challenges faced by religious educators, whether in religious schools or the home?
- At a time when several decades of secularization have banished religious and classically based curriculum from public and many parochial schools, where can educators look to find materials to help form their students into educated, moral, Christian adults?
Sixteen educators, including Advisory Board member John DeJak, engaged in enthusiastic and informative roundtable discussions on these issues. Views were shared on the problems faced by educators who desire to restore the essentials of Catholic and Christian education in the private and home school environments, both with respect to curricular materials and to educator training and support. But the focus quickly shifted to solutions, and many creative and practical suggestions were proposed and vetted.
Our goal in sponsoring the Colloquium was to build relationships among educators from different communities and different types of educational environments, to brainstorm ideas, to provide guidance in finding curricular and other help, and to highlight areas where new materials (or revived older materials sadly out of print) might fill in gaps in religious educational programs.
After a full day of lively exchange, the consensus was that today’s challenges can be met, but only by continuing to promote community and by helping the next generation to meet the challenges of an ever devolving secularism. By all reports, those in attendance found the discussions most helpful, so much so that we are in the process of identifying specific publishing initiatives to assist those on the Front Line.
We are grateful to Mrs. Kirk and to Dr. Frohnen for their outstanding service in support of religious education.[Image courtesy of Annette Kirk]