ITD Coram Deo Photo essay
ITD Northfield Photo essay
Social Constructionist practices existed long before Social Constructionism was ‘invented’ or ‘discovered’. The ‘invention’ of Social Constructionism as a theory with subsequent applications and practise, however did have a great effect on human living and how we construct and develop it – ourselves and our practices. The fountains of social constructionism in this sense, through its formal theories, together with the fountains of Narrative Therapy ideas and practices, together formed a stream of water in South Africa and some of it neighbouring countries. One specific stream is the delta of pastoral care and counselling discourse. One of the founder discoverers of Narrative Therapy, recently remarked that narrative in South Africa, found its own way specifically in the Christian pastoral context, more than in social work and psychology compared to other Western countries.
Innovative and life-giving pastoral practices are offered to communities, groups and individuals that are relevant and respectful to the diverse African context, which is saturated with differences and variety. Standing on the shoulders of social construction theory, pastoral caregivers are enabled to partner with a transdisciplinary team to contextually respond to the challenges people and communities face.
This story is about two institutions which over the past 20 years, have each developed pastoral care and counselling practices that, in many ways, have become oases of life for many people and communities. The stories of pastoral care at the Northfield Methodist Church (http://northfield.co.za/pastoral-care/) and the Coram Deo pastoral care centre at the Dutch Reformed Church Constantiapark (http://www.coramdeo.co.za/) will be told. Both these centres have, in different and various ways, developed counselling centres, community projects and lay counselling training programmes which have become oases of hope. The ways in which relational practices – landscapes of action (in Narrative language) – watered their growth to become identified with who they are now, will be unpacked.
During this plenary project, two South African based pastoral care organisations will engage in conversation about how they have negotiated their pastoral journey with communities, groups and individuals based on a social construction, transdisciplinary approach. This plenary project aims to tell how new possibilities are created through collaborative practices which are inclusive of both cultural and religious narratives that inform people’s lives.