VISN and religious education foci

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Sun, 09/01/1991
End Date: 
Tue, 03/31/1992

National Interfaith Cable Coalition sought to determine strategic foci for religious education programming originating at the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network. Using denominational surveys, interviews with key figures in the field, and two national consultations, the researchers focused on three central areas: the use of cable television within a congregational context, how cable television could benefit and challenge clergy, and pedagogical strategies for cable television in school classrooms. Within the area of cable and congregations, the group rejected dichotomized models of public moral discourse which they felt were endemic in current programming. Instead they proposed to develop two 14-minute weekly programs that would open up current issues in complex and provocative ways. They also intended to supplement this original programming with quarterly "VISN Special Events" which would be "public events structured as town meetings" on the issues under discussion. With regard to theological and ministerial education, the group noted that it could be a catalyst and connector for clergy and theological institutions, linking them to content producing cable groups that were already working on issues of concern to clergy. They also recommended that VISN launch a 30-minute weekly program "drawing upon its access to current news stories and its own cultural coverage to resource clergy on topical issues, making connections to what's going on in the world as well as in the lectionary." The researchers supported VISN's attempts to promote religious education or "values education" within public school classrooms through their participation in the "Cable in the Classroom" coalition. Within that coalition they suggested that VISN ought to develop three kinds of resources: a short weekly youth oriented show; a process for expanding youth participation in actual program development; and a segmented presentation of brief television clips suitable for classroom reflection and supported by informational study materials for teacher preparation. (MH)