CEF training courses in Europe
As I write this we are nearing the end of another exciting CEF European Regional Conference with 350+ workers attending from around Europe, Russia, and Central Asia [picture 1.]. Nearly all the rooms were filled. The conference comes every three years and was held this year in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. This is a big event that comes every three years and lasts for a week. There are also other meetings and courses tagged on the end of the conference. I will stay until Tuesday evening to teach a seminar course in the Instructors of Preschoolers course.
[picture 2.] This is the main meeting room. We had excellent facilities at the Schönblick Christian conference center.
[picture 3.] One of the big events of the conference was the passing on of the baton, when the leadership of Europe (European Regional Director) was passed from Roy Harrison to Gerd-Walter Buskies. Here Roy and Ruth are standing next to a painting presented to them, painted by Aapo Pukk – a respected portrait painter from Estonia who has painted heads of state and leaders in Europe & US.
G.W. Buskies is holding the mic. There were all kinds of surprises throughout the day bringing laughter and tears.
[picture 4.] Our Multimedia department was busy for several months leading up to the conference completing projects to introduce to the workers for their ministry.
[picture 5.] From here Brent Hautle (the graphic designer at Kilchzimmer) operates the lights located in every corner and sets up the presentations for projecting on the wall. Brent gave an excellent seminar on giving effective presentations. You can view/download this from the Conference website at ustream.tv. If you want to view any of the services, drop me an email and I’ll give you the URL and password to watch any of the recorded services and messages.
[picture 6.] Markus (CEF Austria) was responsible for the sound system. They had an amazing sound system and Markus felt right at home with all the mics, knobs and sliders.
[picture 7.] One of my responsibilities during the conference was to control the video cameras and projector. Also, off to the side I had my laptop set up to control the video stream for viewing LIVE over the Internet. Getting this to work with the video console is a story in itself. There were quite a few people around the world watching the services live and another 400+ people watching the services later. Even though this kept us busy operating the console it was quite exciting (and fun!). 🙂
During Christmas break, I’ve had some time to catch up with the looong list of blogs I am subscribed to. Most of the blogs relate to illustration (art) or photography.
Here are some of my favorite blogs that have been most useful to me in the work.
Gurney Journey – James Gurney is a well-known illustrator whose blog is rich in fundamental (time-tested) techniques illustrators should be aware of – colour theory, composition, story-telling through illustration, etc.. Even though my workflow has shifted over the years to being entirely digital, it still needs to first be grounded on these foundational skills. There are no computer shortcuts, quick fixes, or instant “art filter plugins” to get around it! The computer is just another tool for the artist (like a brush). Unfortunately many young artists today allow their computer and the software developers to control them and their creative decision making process.
There is so much info here that the blog’s content has been conveniently edited into a book, “Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist”. For my work, “what doesn’t exist” can also refer to recreating through illustrations past historical (Bible) events.
Bible Illustration Blog – Excellent resource for accurately illustrating historical Biblical events and communicating the truths of God’s Word visually. Graham Kennedy is one of the few Bible illustrators who invests many hours of detailed research to make sure every part of his illustrations are historically accurate to the Biblical accounts and clearly communicate the Truths of Scriptures. I highly recommend this blog to anyone involved in creating or even just using Bible illustrations in their ministry.
One nice surprise I discovered on an art blog last week was the complete “Famous Artist Course” 24 part series (1960 edition) available for free download online [update: download link has been removed from website]. This course was created around 50 years ago by a group of top illustrators from America’s Golden Age of illustration (Norman Rockwell, etc.) and is considered a classic by artists today. It’s been out of print for many years but you can find old copies on eBay for around $250, so you can imagine the joy of seeing it available for free online.
Photography plays a role in ministry and is a vital part of my illustration workflow. Here are several Photography blogs that I follow.
Strobist – One of the most popular photography blogs on the Internet, focusing on off-camera flash (strobe) photography. Photography is more about the use of “light” than the type of camera you use. For first time visitors I recommend beginning with the Lighting 101 section of the blog.
Pixelated Image – David duChemin is a humanitarian photographer and a best selling-author. His blog can be summed up in the phrase, “Gear is good, Vision is better”.
He has several eBooks I can recommend and has written several excellent print books.
The book, Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision is the best photography book I’ve ever read. I didn’t need to bookmark my pages – I just picked up reading where the highlighter marks and underlining stopped! This is a must-read for anyone interacting photographically with other cultures or using photography in your ministry. Doesn’t matter if you are using a point-n-shoot or cell-phone camera. This is practical “how-to” and touches on the real issues that make a powerful photograph and communicates your initial vision – one of the few things that todays high tech cameras can’t do for you. 😉
There are many other blogs such as smashingmagazine.com (graphic & web design), Scott Kelby (the Photoshop guy), etc. These are just a sampling of the 50+ blogs from my list.
The 3-month Children’s Ministry Leadership Course recently started up at Kilchzimmer.
The Autumn course has 18 students taking the classes in German and 12 students taking the classes in English.
It can be a challenge waiting for a good photo day. This afternoon, I quickly snapped photos of each class … in between the big gusts of wind, blowing leaves and hair. You’ll notice I asked someone to hold down the flash and umbrella stand from flying away. The rain came as soon as we finished. That’s Swiss weather!
Photographer notes: I used the flash (manual setting) to help warm up the shadows on the faces and fill in around the eyes. The flash helped to counter the cool overcast day and surrounding green reflecting onto their faces. Because I used a single umbrella for a group shot, I had the umbrella center pointing toward the far end of the group, feathering the light across those nearest the umbrella and giving an even coverage of light across the entire group.
The Preschool Instructor of Teachers (IOT) pilot course is being held this week. These key veteran CEF workers will return to their regions and conduct the course in how to reach and teach preschoolers. Future IOT courses for preschoolers will be planned. Tim taught two classes on working with puppets.
(photo 1) Tim teaching seminar on Photoshop, Digital Imaging, and Illustration guidelines.
(photo 2) Group photo.
We had an encouraging week of meetings with valuable discussions/teaching continuing outside of class from morning until bed-time! You would have several workers sharing challenges they faced with literature in their country, then someone else would share their solution to the problem, so the week was not just for workers to learn but to also share their experiences with others.
We finished the week tired … but it was a good tired!
This is just one example of what I will be sharing in the Digital Imaging/Photoshop seminar. There will be around 45 key CEF literature workers coming to Kilchzimmer from all over Europe and as far away as Central Asia for training in the production of literature and coordinating the literature ministry in their countries. The Multimedia Summit will be held the last week of February.