Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation

About the VLCFF Partnership with NACAR

Given the broad scope of content, the diverse range of adult interests and responsibilities, and the availability of learning resources, no single approach can meet everyone's needs.

Consequently, a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and coordinated approach to adult faith formation is necessary.

(Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us § 98 §/p. 44)

The Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) is an initiative to offer religious education and faith formation for adults anytime and anywhere via the internet.

Who Sponsors the VLCFF?

The VLCFF is sponsored by the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives (IPI) of the University of Dayton - a Catholic Marianist Institution. Their mission is to mobilize the resources of the University of Dayton for partnerships with the Church that create and implement innovative pastoral initiatives designed to meet the needs of the Church and to articulate faith within the context of contemporary culture.

Why is the VLCFF important for NACAR Members?
What is this new partnership between VLCFF and NACAR?
How do I register?
What is the discounted rate, and is the discount available to vowed religious as well as associates?
Why is this important to Congregational and Associate Communities?
Will there be courses specific to the Associate-Religious Way of Life?
Are courses available in Spanish?
What level of knowledge or training is needed?

Sample of Suggested Courses for Cycle 6: September 2 - October 6, 2018 Registration: Opens July 18; Closes August 29

Collaboration and Community Course Level: Intermediate
(Recommend for associates who are in leadership roles at the local or congregational level)

Just as Jesus chose a community model for His followers in His day, we also experience community as a fundamental component of living as Catholic Christians. Those who minister in community settings need to be able to be together in a healthy and productive way. The ministers themselves need to minister as a community and not as a collection of individuals, each carrying out their specific roles and tasks. Sometimes this happens naturally. More often than not, they need to understand how to do that well and understand both the obstacles and advantages of collaboration. There are theological reasons for collaboration, which underpin our style of ministry. There are predictable obstacles that can be met in a healthy way if we understand them. There are skills that can easily be used to make the process productive and even holy. 

Ecclesiology: Beginnings of the Church Course Level: Intermediate
(Recommend for any associate and faith-sharing group leaders)

As a topic Ecclesiology, the theology of church, studies the church in itself, that is, as an institution with a 2000-year history. This course is the first in a series of three courses, which together will give the student a basic understanding of a topic that is essential for effective catechesis. The first part, Ecclesiology: Beginnings of the Church, introduces the student to the theological study of the Church. The student will become familiar with basic terms and concepts that are essential for understanding the Church's nature and mission, and how these have been a constant theme in the Church's evolution as a "living organism" throughout history.

Prerequisite for this course: "Scripture: New Testament"

While complete, this course is designed to lead into the other Ecclesiology courses. 

Faith and Human Development Course Level: Basic
(Recommend for all – not necessarily as a first course but for basic background)

This course provides an introduction to the stage theories of human development and spiritual growth. Participants will explore the maturation of human beings from a holistic perspective. The works of Fowler, Erikson, Kohlberg, Gilligan, Piaget and others will provide the foundation for examining the psychological, physical, and spiritual growth over the course of a human's lifetime. Particular attention will also be given to family systems theory to provide the wider context shaping the faith development of human persons. Finally, these theories will be applied to the particular age cohort of the student in effort to promote self-  

Introduction to Prayer Course Level: Intermediate

(Recommend for any associate and faith-sharing group leaders)

This course explores prayer as essential to our lives as Christian people, as individuals and within our community of faith. Through this course, students will explore the qualities, forms and expressions of prayer that help to form and sustain our lives as Catholic Christians.

Introduction to Scripture Course Level: Basic
(Recommend for any associate and faith-sharing group leaders)

This course presupposes that an individual has not had a general overview of the bible and is interested in a more academic approach.  The Introduction to Scripture course cannot cover everything one needs to know for navigating into the world of the scriptures but one is given a few basic concepts to begin the journey. This course will focus how the Bible came about, what were some of the cultural factors which influenced the events around the writing of the Old and New Testaments, and what Church documents today tell us about the Bible. 

Cycle 7: October 21 - November 24, 2018  
(Registration: Opens Sep 5; Closes Oct 17 

Facilitating Adult Learning and Faith Formation (AFL 4) Course Level: Advanced
(Recommend for associate leaders and may be helpful for faith-sharing group leaders)

This course builds on Course Three by looking at important foundations and principles for adult learning and principles for facilitating adult learning and faith formation for all ages of adults. This course may appear to be academic, but it seeks to explore the insights and building blocks for understanding adult learning and faith formation today. While looking at different approaches to adult learning, each session will focus on specific principles for facilitating adult learning.

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.

Images of Jesus Course Level: Basic
(Recommend for any associate and faith-sharing group leaders)

Note: It is advisable to have taken Introduction to Scripture before taking attempting this course. 

Through this course the participant will have the opportunity to examine, from a variety of theological perspectives, what we know and believe about the central figure of the Christian faith and arguably the most influential person who ever walked the earth. After looking at many different resources, the student will be able to form a personal answer to "Who do you say that I am?"

Introduction to Scripture Course Level: Basic
(Recommend for any associate and faith-sharing group leaders)

This course presupposes that an individual has not had a general overview of the bible and is interested in a more academic approach.  The Introduction to Scripture course cannot cover everything one needs to know for navigating into the world of the scriptures but one is given a few basic concepts to begin the journey. This course will focus how the Bible came about, what were some of the cultural factors which influenced the events around the writing of the Old and New Testaments, and what Church documents today tell us about the Bible. 

Our Hearts Were Burning  Course Level: Intermediate

Note: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us is a 3-week seminar. (Recommend for all)

Published at the end of 1999, the plan seeks to place adult faith formation where it belongs: at the center of parish catechesis. As the only Church document that uses the term "adult faith formation, “the plan provides not only encouragement to leaders but also practical strategies for embedding adult faith formation within the fabric of parish life.

This three-week seminar gives leaders in adult faith formation the opportunity to read selected key passages from the plan, to reflect on our bishops' words in light of actual experience, and to share experiences of working with adults in faith formative settings.

To prepare for the course please pre-read Our Hearts Were Burning 

Theological Reflection: Key to Connecting Faith and Life Course Level: Basic
(Recommend for any associate and faith-sharing group leaders)

This course introduces a way to go beneath day-to-day events to find meaning within them, to make decisions about them, and to invite an awareness of the abiding presence of God, any day of the week!

This course seeks to assist its participants in taking on the ways of Gospel through theological reflection. What does it take to keep faith and life integrated? How can we do that specifically? What is gained when we do? This is a course that answers those questions and at the same time provides ecclesial leaders some skills to facilitate theological reflection in groups. Finally, for those responding to a call from God to be leaders within the Christian community, this course will offer a method by which to lead that sets ecclesial leadership apart from leadership in other organizations.

© 2018 North American Conference of Associates and Religious.