Today, professionals from churches, education and youth work come together on the study day a study day on faith education at ETF Leuven. Several speakers will highlight the challenges of faith education in this day and age and will engage with each other and the audience. Among them are Evelien van Geel of the Evangelisch Jeugdverbond (Evangelical Youth Alliance, Belgium), Erika Voskuil, inspector-advisor for Protestant Evangelical Religious Education in Flanders PEGO and pastor Eleonora Hof (VPKB Ypres). Religious pedagogue and professor of Practical Theology at the ETF Leuven Jos de Kock initiated this study day and is inaugurating it.
Sometimes the ‘message’ in faith education is the difficult story. At other times, the process of faith education is the difficult story in the experience of parents or professionals. Experiences of children and young people in the here and now can be quite contrary to good intentions of educators. At the same time, there are hopeful perspectives on faith education: fine examples of inspiring religious education at school and engaging children’s ministry in churches or successful ways of cooperation with parents in view of teenagers who are growing up.
The study morning on faith education today is one of the first initiatives of the recently founded ISREYM at ETF Leuven: the Institute for the Study of Religious Education and Youth Ministry. This research institute is an initiative of Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock and aims to (a) furthering academic research on practices of religious education and practices of youth ministry, and (b) “community learning” among professionals and professional organizations in the fields of religious education and youth ministry to enhance the quality of their work.
An important field of interest of ISREYM is the Protestant Evangelical movement or context in Flanders, the Netherlands, and beyond. Research also includes comparative studies in which other national contexts or other religious or non-religious contexts are studied. With ISREYM, Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock emphatically puts the practical theological research and reflection on practices of Religious Education and Youth Ministry on the map at ETF Leuven, with collaboration among various international contexts and networks of specialists in these fields.