Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education
Minutes, 1997 Annual Business Meeting
November 25, 1997
Approximately 52 persons were in attendance
An opening prayer was led Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore, presiding. She called for amendments to the agenda. None were made and the agenda was adopted.
A question was raised about whether the minutes were mailed to the membership. They had not. A request was made to include them in the January mailing. The suggestion was made to simply include them rather than integrate them into a newsletter article. Another suggestion was to post them on the web page. Consensus was reached to place the minutes in the newsletter and the web page.
Randy Litchfield gave a verbal summary of last year's minutes
Chuck Melchert, Executive Secretary, reported statistics on membership and registration by year:
Annual Meeting Attendance (Location)
1993: 103 (Ft. Worth)
He observed that about half of the membership attend annual meetings. It seems that APRRE does an excellent job with maintaining membership. A question was raised about why attendance was lower at this year's meeting. Possible explanations offered included: travel time and cost, leaving/being gone Monday and Tuesday, disappointment with last year’s benefits from meeting with AAR/SBL, some members registered at AAR/SBL and then dropped in at APRRE sessions. Moore shared that her heart sunk when she realized that she had became responsible for a west coast meeting—it is an uphill climb to get educators to the west coast. Traditionally west coast meetings are smaller than meetings in central or east coast locations because of the demographics of the profession. Moore received recognition for the quality of the meeting through strong applause.
Memorials and Retirements
Will Kennedy shared several stories in memory of Paulo Freire who died in the past year. Kennedy worked with Freire for six years in Geneva. Memories included the publication of Pedagogy of the Oppressed in the 1960’s; Freire’s attempt at being a lawyer which failed because he could not serve a subpoena to the poor; Freire’s learning about education from his wife; his phenomenal literacy work with the poor that resulted in his imprisonment and exile from Brazil; Freire’s work in Bolivia, Chile, Harvard and Geneva; Freire’s love and ambivalence toward the Catholic church—it was hard for him to believe God was working in the church; his loyalty and passion for Brazilian soccer (when Kennedy asked Freire during the World Cup if he realized sports were being used to keep the people’s minds off of their oppression, Freire responded "Yes I know, but I’m a BRAZILIAN); Freire’s return to be minister of education in Sao Paulo; Freire’s acceptance of a barrage of critiques from American women because of his lack of awareness on gender issues (he took several months writing letters to everyone who wrote to him about gender); Freire found it hard to deal with the "first world"--Brazil looked simpler (he was frustrated with application in the states, observing that "While the minorities here fight amongst each other the real minority sleeps well"); Freire’s "banking model" critiques and wondering why Americans cannot think dialectically. Kennedy encouraged people to review the issue related to Freire’s award in Religious Education.
David Ng, who died in the past year from a sudden heart attack, was honored by Don Richter in one of the gathering time rituals. The floor was opened for anyone wanting to say a word about Ng's gifting to others. He was described as having a gentle spirit. One person observed that multicultural issues were a recent concern but his earlier work was rooted in youth ministry. He knew for years he had a bad heart—for years he was physically conservative but then became active to embrace life. Groome shared that he was invited by Ng to do his first presentation in the States. Ng's first angina attack happened while he was at the National Council of Churches where all he worked for in Christian education was falling apart yet he stayed to keep the ecumenical focus. One person described him as a mentor who brought people in and got them involved. Ng loved people into who they were. This person shared how Ng's message to him changed from "Stay with us we need you"—to—"I need you."
In response to a call for any other recognitions a member indicated that Bob Conrad will retire at the end of this year and this may be his last meeting.
Report on Doctoral Student Forums and Poster Sessions
Grace Yeuell reported on a student's meeting that included discussion of the forum and poster session. Her written report follows. After her report comments from the floor expressed disappointment in the lack of participation by senior scholars--the sessions provide mutual benefit!
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DOCTORAL POSTER SESSION:
Feedback on Proceedings and AAR/SBL Connection
The membership was asked to give evaluative comments in writing on forms provided. Melchert indicated that the evaluation was not the final evaluation but rather a processing of first reactions.
Seymour commented that the proceedings is wonderful book, he is able to see everyone’s paper, but he had no time to read them when at the meeting--especially when meeting with AAR. If the proceedings cannot be read then it loses its value. It was also observed that session presenters could not assume people have read the paper so sessions involved too much reviewing--cuts down on discussion. Availability of the papers shapes what is learned and the process of the sessions. One person asked if the proceedings could be put on the web site so that specific papers could be downloaded. Another asked about copyright issues when the proceedings are used after the conference. Another raised the possibility of having the proceedings listed in ERIC and on microfiche. Why is Religious Education not in ERIC?
Responses to these issues varied. One observed that the papers in the proceedings are not finished papers--they are papers in process--so these should not be made broadly available. People should ask the authors for permission to photocopy. There is no copyright for the proceedings so the paper belongs to the author. Rosner brought up the issue of fair use of poetry etc. in the papers without permission. This is not so much an issue in conference papers using footnotes but it is an issue when papers are published or broadly distributed--there is a difference between a footnote and permission to use material. There are two uses for these documents: one for conversation here and one for use later as resources. The suggestion was made to include directives to authors about obtaining permissions. Another suggestion was for Religious Education to do a special after meeting yearbook. A question was raised as to whether a supervisory committee for the proceedings was formed. The issues being discussed need to be sent to them. Another suggestion was to include the author’s intentions about use as part of title sheet.
Moore summarized comments made up to this point in the discussion. She recommended that the supervisory committee be established and address these issues. She also recommended that Melchert work with Omnipress to establish guidelines about use of copyrighted material in the proceedings and distribute these to the membership. The assumption for this year is that everything in the proceedings is copyrighted by the authors so they need to be solicited for permission to use their papers. In the future, copyright statements should be on the cover page of papers and at the beginning of the proceedings overall. O'Gorman suggested that a special focus on use of materials in the proceedings be the in newsletter. A letter regarding this issue should be inlcuded with, or an addendum glued to the cover of, proceedings being sent to others who not at the meeting.
Discussion returned to the issue of avenues for distribution of papers. Concern was raised regarding ERIC because of the given state of the papers. Posting papers on the web page depends on authors' agreement (the issue of ownership and copyright use), use of copyrighted material in the papers, and loss of income if people use the web rather than paying for the proceedings. The consensus regarding Internet distribution was to post abstracts and review the issue next year in light of recommendations from the supervisory committee. The proceedings would be made available in similar fashion to this year. Authors can also mail their papers to those registered for their session.
Report on Planned Evaluation of Executive Secretary
Moore reported that the Executive Committee is working to establish guidelines and a process to evaluate Melchert's work as Executive Secretary. The Committee has also endorsed his work. The end of Melchert's three-year term is up and an evaluation should be done before reappointment. Fayette Veverka and Charles Foster, as past presidents, will constitute the evaluation committee. A motion was made to reappoint Melchert for one year, evaluate his work, and receive recommendations about future appointment from the evaluation committee. The motion was seconded and passed without dissent. A standing ovation was given in recognition of Melchert's works and giftedness.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
In regard to the income portion of the budget, it was explained that $2,675 was budgeted to be taken from reserve in order to balance the overall budget. In regard to expenses, an increase in the Executive Secretary's stipend to $5,000 was noted with the comment that the Executive Secretary would remain underpaid for what he does. The floor was opened for questions and comments. One question was about why the cost of the proceedings was a part of the expenses. Melchert explained that they are a separate cost item and that income covering the expense was included as part of the registration income. The motion to adopt the budget was passed unanimously.
Next Year’s Meeting
Thomas Groome shared that next year's theme looks at culture, particularly postmodern moves in western culture that deconstruct the Enlightenment. Postmodernism confronts religious identity and faith. It presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Generation X represents, and is living out, what the postmodern philosophers are saying. This generation lives an electronic culture. The depiction of this generation as having an antagonistic attitude is an overstatement, rather they are apathetic. So the proposed theme for next year is Postmodernism and Generation X: The Challenge and Opportunity for Religious Education. Ideas and reactions should be shared with Groome.
Discussion moved to the issue of meeting with AAR/SBL. Next year is the third in the experiment of meeting with AAR/SBL. A request was made to get evaluation forms to members who were not at the business meeting. Melchert indicated that they would be sent with the newsletter. It was observed that the dates and location for the meeting need to be in place so that the REA can make their arrangements. One person responded that having the denominational meeting times in the schedule is helpful. Melchert was asked what the options were if APRRE is not given hotel space by AAR/SBL. He indicated that for the Orlando meeting, APRRE locations would be about half an hour away from the AAR/SBL meeting by shuttle which would be included in the rate of about $99 per night. Jack Seymour expressed his appreciate for Melchert's efforts in working with AAR/SBL. He went on to say that the problem in the relationship with the AAR/SBL has been the same "damn" problem for years and he is tired of being a stepchild and second class citizen. Groome, adding to the metaphor, said he wanted to leave home. Concerns were expressed about dissipation of APRRE's identity and low attendance at sessions. It was suggested that the Orlando not be taken for granted even though there are strong benefits for students looking for positions. Groome suggested that APRRE meet earlier and overlap with AAR/SBL one day. One response was that for AAR there are more and more pre-meeting meetings. Minimizing the overlap might create space to work with AAR. Hanan Alexander shared the he did not think weekend sessions on Saturday should be considered a problem since more Jewish educators are not coming. One person expressed discomfort with meeting at Disney since it is a large multinational corporation with human rights violations. Sharon Warner remarked that the decrease in APRRE participation is unfair to those who prepare and have just a few persons attend. In addition, comment was made that it seemed that few members were "hanging out" together networking.
Moore conducted a straw vote in relation to three options: (a) continue next year as planned with a similar format, (b) modify the dates so as to meet prior to AAR/SBL and (3) decide to abandon the three-year experiment and meet separately. No responses were given for the first option. The majority favored meeting prior to AAR/SBL and a few preferred a separate meeting.
Veverka presented the names of Kate Siejk, Evelyn Parker, and William Lord as representatives for the Executive Committee and Sara Lee as president-elect. The floor was opened to additional nominations and there were none. The nominations were accepted unanimously.
Thanks to were given to Fayette Veverka; Outgoing Executive Committee members Warren Benson, Christelle Estrada, Wenh-In Ng; Outgoing Ex-President Charles Foster; Committee Chairs Carol Lakey Hess and Paul Walaskay; Secretary Randy Litchfield; and Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore for her planning of this year's meeting.
Moore shared that the meeting only happened because we act as a community. The meeting reflects an incredible investment of ourselves involving scholarship and our mutual contributions.
Randy G. Litchfield