I haven’t yet shared about my own journey to discerning a call to diaconal ministry. I’ll get to that in my next post; what I want to share here is a discussion of my latest project.
In order to become rostered as a diaconal minister—if you’ve read my first and second posts you’ll actually know what those words ‘rostered’ and ‘diaconal’ mean!—individuals are required to have ‘field experience’. Within the 700 hours of required field experience is to be a ministry project of a minimum of 200 hours. The project is to be within the candidate’s area of specialization.
Seeing as how I am currently working in global service through the ELCA, I will have no problem logging 700 hours between my teaching English at the regional Lutheran seminary, The Lutheran Theological Institute (LTI) and my working with the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program of the ELCA. But for my project I need to work in my specialization, which I currently understand as living at the intersection of healing, the arts and creativity, storytelling and community. I’ll share more about this in my next post, but one way I think about my call to diaconal ministry is feeding people, feeding people’s hungers for food, for beauty, for community and for wholeness. My project, “Healing the Body” will be both an initial foray into my specialization while also being simply another step in a creative journey I’ve been on for years.
My intention is to work with a group of 5-10 performing artists who will create a (roughly) 30 minute dance theatre piece exploring multiple aspects of healing: intrapersonal (within one person), interpersonal/relational, communal, global; physical, psychological, social, emotional, spiritual, etc. So when I write, ‘healing the body’ I mean a person’s body, the body of a community, the body of creation. We will be inspired by our own lives, by the lives of others and by our imaginations. We will use various methods and techniques including mind-body practices, interviews and improvisation (including Viewpoints, my own personal favorite technique for both performer training and ensemble creation of original performance). Once we have a performance we’ll take it into the community where it will be performed but not in traditional performance venues. Each performance will be followed by a (roughly) 30 minute community conversation facilitated by my project supervisor.
Part of what I enjoy about a creative project is diving into the world of the material and for this project that means multidisciplinary research. Right now I’m reading The Body Remembers: the Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment by Babette Rothschild, The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, Still by Lauren Winner, and Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. A book which has made a great impact already is Serene Jones’ Trauma and Grace and another for which I’m waiting eagerly to start is We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change by Myles Horton and Paulo Friere.
In my next post I’ll share a bit about how my own journey has led here. Peace.