Parish as a Learning Community (AFL 2)Course Level: Advanced

Course Summary

In looking at the role of the parish, it is important to discern the cultural context for parish life today. It is this cultural context which leads to an understanding of the role of the parish. To facilitate adult learning and faith formation within the parish's cultural context, it is necessary to review the dynamics and stages of community and group development, clarify the characteristics of a learning community, and develop strategies for developing the parish as a learning community.

This course is part of a specialized Certificate in Adult Formation Leadership and is meant to be taken as part of a sequence. This course pre-supposes knowledge in the previous courses. Refer to the certificate page for more information.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Understand the important role of the parish in adult learning and faith formation.
  • Explore the cultural context of parish life today.
  • Clarify the role and purpose of a parish.
  • Understand the dynamics and stages of community and group development.
  • Clarify the characteristics of a learning community.
  • Develop ways of creating the parish as a learning community.

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Hawkins, Thomas R. The Learning Congregation: A New Vision of Leadership Westminster: John Knox Press, 1997 ISBN: 978-0664256999
  • Required Book: Regan, Jane Toward an Adult Church: A Vision of Faith Formation Loyola Press, 2002 ISBN: 978-0829418064
  • Required Book: Gromme, Thomas H, and Harold Daly Horell, eds. Horizons & Hopes: The Future of Religious Education Paulist Press, 2003 ISBN: 978-0809141548
  • Required Book: Parent, Neil A. A Concise Guide for Adult Faith Formation Ave Maria Press, 2009 ISBN: 978-1594712081
    • This text is used in this and three other courses in the Adult Faith Formation Certificate Program (Foundations and Vision for Adult Learning and Faith Formation; Designing and Implementing Adult Learning and Faith Formation; and Many Faces of Adult Learners).

  • Required Book: NCCL Echoes of Faith Plus: Adult Faith Formation Methodology (Item #601156) 2007
  • Required Book: Sofield, Loughlan, Rosine Hammett, Carroll Juliano Building Community: Christian, Caring, Vital Ave Maria Press, 1998 ISBN: 978-0877936480
  • Required DVD: Archdiocese of Detroit, Office of Faith Formation/Catechesis Adult Faith Formation Matters DVD
    • Adult Faith Formation Matters DVD. This DVD will be sent to you automatically by the VLCFF team before your course begins.

      This DVD is also used in this and two other courses in the Adult Formation Leadership Certificate Program (Leadership Roles and Skills for Adult Learning and Faith Formation and Designing and Implementing Adult Learning and Faith Formation).

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Cultural Context for Adult Learning and Faith Formation
    • Understand the cultural changes that impact parish life.
    • Clarify the role and purpose of parish life.
    • Understand the role of culture and change for adult learning and faith formation.
  • Week 2: Theological and Spiritual Foundations for Community Faith
    • Understand the theological and scriptural foundations for community.
    • Understand the importance of catechizing the faith community as a community.
    • Understand the role of the faith community in learning and formation of the individual.
  • Week 3: Group Dynamics and Stages of Group Development for Adult Learning and Faith Formation
    • Understand the role and purpose of small groups.
    • Understand the various stages of group development.
    • Understand the importance of gift discernment for group development.
    • Understand the importance of faith sharing for group development.
  • Week 4: Characteristics of Learning Communities
    • Understand what a learning community is.
    • Understand key characteristics of a learning community.
    • Understand the parish as a learning community of learning communities.
    • Discover implications of a learning community for a parish.
  • Week 5: Fostering Parish as a Community of Learning Communities
    • Understand the importance of mission for parish learning communities.
    • Understand the role culture plays in cultivating parish learning communities.
    • Understand the stages of informational sharing in a parish community.
    • Understand the relationship between presumptions, visions and structures in developing adult learning communities.
    • Develop ways of creating adult learning communities.