Steve Younger reports on his experience of the IACS conference 2022:
“This year’s ‘International Association for Children’s Spirituality’ research symposium has just concluded. Held online over four days (14-15 and 18-19 July), the symposium brought together researchers and practitioners from across the world, all with particular interests in the spirituality of children and young people. Participants logged on from the USA to Australia: quite a task in itself to meet together synchronously across so many time zones. The participants represented a range of cultures and experiences. A dozen papers were presented and discussed. (Copies of presentations and links to recordings of discussions are available: please contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org). Contexts varied enormously too, from those working within secular systems of education that are highly suspicious of ‘spirituality’ to those working for faith-based organisations and based within systems of education integrally partnered with ‘religious’ spirituality.
What I found most fascinating were the discussions around defining ‘spirituality,’ around quantifying and measuring ‘spiritual development’, around distinguishing spiritual practices from religious expressions of spirituality, and around the phenomenon of ‘secular spirituality.’ We seemed to generally agree that humans are “spiritual by nature” but differed on the implications of this. Are we also, in any measure, “religious by nature”? Are there universal markers of ‘spirituality’? Are being ‘secular’ and being ‘spiritual’ necessarily opposed concepts? What sort of people would an education system that ignores the spiritual dimension produce? I have come away with far more questions than answers!”
Steve is teaching our two chaplaincy modules this coming year. Time for Reflection beginning in Sept 2022 focuses on Chaplaincy within Scottish Schools; while Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care begins in January 2023 and is an overview of good practice within chaplaincy and an introduction to the various types of chaplaincy contexts. For more information please contact email@example.com or get in contact with Steve directly