After two terms that saw enrolment doubled from fall 2021 to winter 2022, the Niagara School for Missional Leadership (NSML) will be offering a third term for the spring. Rather than boasting a full slate of eight courses, this “mini” term will feature four courses running from the week of May 2 through the week of June 6. The schedule for spring courses, along with full course descriptions and registration links, are available on the NSML website.
Patrick Paulsen: Christian Foundations 2: Reformation and Transformation
While continuing the path forward in providing a grounding for a life of faith from Christian Foundations 1, participants are not required to have taken Christian Foundations 1. The modules explored in this course, taken from the Christian Foundations guidebook authored by Patrick Paulsen, Judy Paulsen, and Bishop Susan Bell, will focus on the historical and theological expansion of the church. This course will serve as a foundational experience for those confused about just what the actual foundations of our faith are. What does God want to show us and how do we conform to his “plan”? If we are to share in God’s mission for the world, then we need to have a firm idea of “the-story-so-far” and do our best to write ourselves into it—and help others to do the same!
Cid Latty: Cafechurch as Missional Praxis
This course is an opportunity to reimagine what church can be in a culture where cafes are commonplace. What cafechurch principles could transform our missional activities and shape our approaches to the way we do church? What tools do we need to make real connections with our communities? Join us for this transformational learning journey that will inspire your missional engagement. Each week will be a combination of presentation, discussion and resources that will enable you to either start a cafechurch or explore the concept. Additionally, participants will have the option to visit a cafechurch that is hosted by the teacher-practitioner.
John Bowen: Reimagining Church
Are you frustrated by the decline in church attendance and ministry participation at your parish? Perhaps you’re hearing the buzz around terms like missional church, discipleship and fresh expressions, but are baffled about what those mean or how they might relate to your own parish. Maybe you haven’t heard of missional church but are curious about a new perspective that might help you and your parish engage differently with the gospel and with parish ministry. This course seeks to define such terms and to connect them with your experience in such a way as to inspire a new vision of the church that is actually life-giving for us and for the world. The course is for those eager to explore Christian faith in a fresh way that is both ancient and deeply relevant to today’s world.
Canon Ian Mobsby: Developing a Contemplative Prayer Life: A Twelve-Step Approach
One of the great challenges for all those involved in new forms of ministry, mission, fresh expressions of church, and forming missional communities is that it can be utterly exhausting. Missioners as activists are expected to make things happen, often in very difficult contexts with scarce resources. Working in such a vocation can be bruising. One of the great consequences is that missioners can find it very difficult to develop a spiritually nourishing prayer life. Further, it can be that missioners as activists put their identity in doing and can become quite controlling, which can result in burnout, loneliness, and ill-health. In this situation it becomes hard to trust God when you have experiences that you interpret as being burnt by God and the Church when such work has become very hard or complex. This course seeks to help participants explore four steps of the twelve-step approach to face themselves and the difficulty of letting go of being in control before God. By doing so, the participant can then dig deep with personal insight to rebuild a trusting relationship of surrender to God, to then be able to rebuild and develop a personal prayer and spiritual life, and the conditions and foundations to keep this healthier in the longer term.