Bachelor of Theology graduate Von Dubbeld, a mother of 4 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder talks about how she combined her passion for worship with the need to provide a safe environment and to develop a multi-sensory worship experience.
“It’s Sunday morning again. I take a quick glance over everyone – they look relaxed enough, but what will happen when I announce it’s time to get ready for church? Will there be tantrums over having to sit still again? Will they become distressed, remembering what that rude lady said to them the other week? And once – no, if – we get there, can we avoid a meltdown…at least until we get home?
SERIOUSLY, CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE THIS HARD!
This was my cry as a mum of 4 kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And there are many others with this cry because they or a loved one have a diffability* that effectively excludes them from church life, particularly corporate worship.
But worship can take a multi-sensory form, so that those who struggle with verbal, literate and stationary forms can engage by using their other senses. A message can be constructed rather than spoken, a prayer can be demonstrated, a song can be danced…
This is the heart of In Touch: using all our senses to connect with God. Worship designed for all ages, all abilities and all our senses.
Because church should not be this hard.”
*My preferred term to ‘disability’
Community Counsellor and Eastern Lecturer Dr Julie Morsillo reflects on the benefits of community counselling.
I encourage students to consider doing a Masters degree, if you enjoy researching topics of interest to you. I enjoyed my Masters and PhD more than my under-grad, as you have time to do in-depth research on a topic of your choice. So you can follow your own interests with some guidance from your teachers. I personally, found it also gave me time for my own healing from
tough times in life, and so could then give others more support in their lives. I particularly find doing qualitative research very fulfilling, as you have a chance to explore the rich mosaic of the lives of others and yourself.
I believe doing a masters in community counselling, could really enrich your counselling practice and mean that you are more employable in community and counselling work. The approach we will use in this community counselling course and research, will hopefully inspire your narrative imagination and provide an enriched understanding of the community context of
your work and that of your clients and workplaces.
The units in this masters course, start with exploring the community context of oppression, liberation and wellbeing concepts. So rather than just pathologising the individual as a victim, more seeking to see the survival of people in their often challenging community contexts.
The masters units, also cover practical learnings of counselling interventions, with practical community placements. This is followed by a major qualitative research project on a topic of your choice, to explore and document rich descriptions from emerging themes of your research.
A highlight of this course, will be to work with the wonderful lecturer, Art Wouters (and myself) with two to three day intensives each semester, at this beautiful boutique campus at Mulgrave,in the eastern subjects of Melbourne, at Eastern College.
Eastern Student Jennifer Syme talks about her experience studying Life and Ministry of the Spirit on line at Eastern College
“Wow! This unit has been an amazing journey for me personally and a reintroduction to and love for the Spirit- His life, presence, plan, purpose, longevity, history and the absolute primary role played within the Trinity, within the believers life- the now and yet to come. I am filled anew (really) with excitement and have a clearer understanding of role the Spirit played and is still playing and the response I should have and should fervently desire and corporately share with others. I agree with the authors of the set readings and the video (week 14), that Paul’s view, teaching and experience of the Spirit was fresh, new, exciting, believed, ‘hands on’, Trinitarian in nature and a ‘real’ part of the lives of the first believers. As churches have changed over the centuries, teaching on the Spirit has come and gone but has generally not been a focal point of theology in many of the traditions. This has led perhaps to the present day, where although there has been a resurgence in believing in and encouraging the Spirit’s presence and work, the Spirit has been given less attention to perhaps, for example, the work of Christ and a general longing for the gifts. Perhaps different denominations have been a bit ‘afraid’ of the Holy Spirit?
For me, growing up in non-Charismatic/Pentecostal church, the Holy Spirit was mentioned but not ‘taught’. I was certainly not encouraged to seek and desire His presence, although I recited the Nicene Creed and knew He was part of the Trinity. A lot of what I learned growing up was modelled and experienced, rather than taught, and I really had little understanding of the magnitude of the Trinity and the role the Spirit played. The importance of and the work of God and Jesus was clear to me but little was made of the power of the Spirit. This has changed over the years, as I have become involved in further study and in church that did ‘life with the Spirit’, where individual and corporate gifting’s are encouraged and miracles and healings are sought, prayed for and desired. He is a resident in my heart, my gift giver, truth bearer, counsellor, convictor, helper, comforter and guide and He shows me Jesus.”