Swine flu has struck me down so I'm using the enforced period of rest to.... not rest so much as sit on the sofa and update my blog! close enough to rest, right?!
And the first thing I'm going to share is my experience of pulling together my first portfolio - preaching.
I have blogged about the preaching course I went on previously (http://llmcalling.blogspot.com/2009/06/preaching-course.html ). Following the course I then wrote two essays; the first entitled One picture is worth a thousand words. How can we make good use of all of the senses of our congregation to enable understanding and retention of our message? this looked at how a preacher needs to be able to connect with as many people as possible with the one sermon. I concluded that by thinking about what the congregation needs, as individuals and as a group, the preacher can look at the message and work to make it accessible, understandable, interesting, engaging and memorable.
The second essay was: Does preaching still have a role to play in communicating the Gospel in a multi-media society? This is something I feel passionately about and I looked at the society which the church currently exists in, the role of the sermon and the way preaching is part of Christian life, relating preaching to Jesus’ own life and his use of stories about the lives of the people he met. I reviewed the possibilities for new forms of preaching and personal growth during and after sermons; as well as new forms of church. However I concluded that what matters most is the human connection, in whatever form.
The essays were well received by the tutor, which of course matters; but what is more important is that I gained a lot from writing them and thinking about the issues involved.
So that was the marked assignment section of the portfolio completed; but that is just part of the requirement. In addition there were at five sermons with feedback and analysis to be included, an introduction and conclusion, an annotated bibliography and some supporting information to show my completion of the competency - a document on my theology of preaching and one on the church calendar and use of the lectionary.
The two pieces of work which took the most time were the annotated bibliography (a list of all the texts read around the competency with a 100-200 word summary of each) and the theology of preaching. the latter was extremely involved since I have not yet taken the theological reflection course, but with some guidance from my mentor and some good reading material I managed to capture my theology in words on paper.
and the sermons. I included three from the family communion service to show progression of learning and development of style. I then included one from the all-age monthly service and one from the adult midweek communion service; showing breadth of experience and adaptability of style. Each one was provided with the feedback, analysis and a reflection on my learning.
the portfolio ended up much larger than I expected, but then the sermons themselves and all their supporting information took up the majority of it. I delivered it to my mentor, rather than trusting it to the postal system, and he has subsequently delivered it to church house for moderation next month. I await to see the grade I receive but no matter what it feels fantastic to have got one portfolio completed.