I have good news to share. Lilly Endowment Inc. has granted Christian Theological Seminary additional funding to complete a transitional phase of the New Media Project over the next 18 months. The support will enable the New Media Project to further its work of research and interpretation so that we might better help religious leaders think theologically about technology. We are exceedingly grateful for this support.
What does this mean in practice?
First, I’m pleased to announce that Kenetha Stanton is the new Interim Associate Director of the New Media Project and will take primary administrative leadership of the project. Kenetha has been the project’s research and program assistant since the beginning. She is largely responsible for our great Twitter and Facebook engagement and keeps the website navigable, useful, and attractive. She is an excellent researcher with a master’s degree in library science. She’s come to know many of you who are reading and thinking and teaching about theology and technology. We are excited to unleash her skills, expertise, and experience even more fully in this new position.
Second, the New Media Project blog will regain life under her leadership, starting with a new series launching next month that will focus on community building and social media. We hope you enjoyed the last series by Keith Anderson on the digital cathedral. If you missed it, be sure to read all five parts in the series on our blog. It’s insightful and quite helpful. We think the next series will be just as stimulating!
Third, we are particularly interested in two research questions during this phase: (1) how social media impacts the forming, shaping, and nurturing of faith communities, and (2) how Christian communities articulate the gospel in fresh new ways using new media in both public discourse and community proclamation. Through a series of consultations, we hope to refine questions, dig deep into the issues, and move forward more effectively to help religious leaders of all kinds positively engage the new reality of digital communication today.
Fourth, we plan to launch a partnership with Fordham University under the leadership of our own research fellow, Kathryn Reklis. This partnership, still in development, will lead to the creation of a New Media Project Storebox to catalogue and share new case studies, stories, and ideas about new media innovation in faith communities. We also hope to study and develop new pedagogies for teaching new media and religion and for thinking theologically about new digital patterns and tools of communication in communities of faith. We look forward to sharing more details about this partnership in the coming months.
As always, we welcome your engagement with the ideas, questions, and products of the New Media Project. Please be in touch!
Verity A. Jones is the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, and project director of the New Media Project which is now part of this new Center.
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