Digital Storytelling and the Religious Formation of Youth

Continuation Number: 
2004-2008
Project Number: 
2001-1102
Start Date: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
End Date: 
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Abstract: 

The Digital Storytelling and Religious Formation Project aims to make the process of digital storytelling accessible for congregations seeking support in faith formation. The project began when members of two mainline U.S. congregations (one ELCA and one reformed Jewish) worked with Lynn Schofield Clark and her associates at the University of Denver to engage in a process of utilizing digital storytelling for religious formation among young people. Seeking to make this process more readily available for congregational use, Clark worked with Mary Elizabeth Hess, who developed theological tools for reflection and process, building upon the initial collective and youth-oriented digital storytelling experience to include various formats and contexts for digital storytelling in the lives of congregations. The result is the website storyingfaith.org, which is dedicated to helping congregational members create a story, use digital tools to enhance and share their story, and to further use digital means to connect with others in the wider religious community who similarly have stories to tell. Clark and Hess have also written several publications and given presentations to develop the theological and sociological foundations for this work. They also continue to interact with members of the pilot congregations, exploring outcomes and considering directions for future development of digital storytelling and faith formation projects. The project has been discussed in the Religious Education Association’s annual meetings and in its flagship journal, and other planned or completed presentations and publications aim to encourage congregational experimentation with the process. The website will continue to be a location for generative conversations about how persons of faith might embed their personal and collective experiences in the emergent context of digital and social media and how new media forms enable deepened reflection and connection through the sharing of authentic and meaningful stories.

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