Just Launched: An Instructed Eucharist with Furman Buchanan

A priest blesses the bread and the wine in preparation for Holy Communion.

We have just launched An Instructed Eucharist with Furman Buchanan For Individuals and For Groups.

Some Episcopalians have been attending Episcopal liturgies since before they can remember. These are people who knew how to respond when someone said “May the Lord be with you!” before they knew how to spell their own names. Others are new to the church and wish to learn more about the rich Episcopal liturgy that they attend week by week.

Our newest class is appropriate for both groups. In this class, the Rev. Furman Buchanan, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, SC. and author of the book Gifts of God For the People of God: Exploring Worship in the Episcopal Church, explains how we celebrate the Eucharist. He discusses what elements we include, why we structure them the way we do, and what it means to celebrate each of these parts of the liturgy. New Episcopalians can benefit from a better understanding of the liturgy. There’s a lot of substance to the Eucharist, and rich history and theology behind it. It can help people new to the liturgy appreciate it to have someone explain the importance of each element of the service.

Long-term Episcopalians can benefit from renewing their acquaintance with the Eucharist; from bringing new eyes to a service they know by heart. Episcopalians who are extremely familiar with the liturgy can begin to worship by rote. The proclamation in the Nicene Creed that we worship the “creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen” is both powerful and poetic enough that it seems impossible to say it without thinking about it — but any long-term Episcopalian can tell you that it’s quite possible to make this statement with your mind on your lunch. These worshipers can benefit from new eyes, new information, and a renewed relationship with this liturgy.

We hope that you will join the Rev. Buchanan and classmates from around the world in learning more about the Episcopal liturgy. For a preview of the course, click here.

Just Launched: Involving Children in Worship with Angela Nelson

The Finding of the Savior in the Temple – William Holman Hunt, 1860

We just launched Involving Children in Worship with Angela Nelson For Individuals and For Groups

We hear a lot about children in the New Testament, and they’re often portrayed (a) annoying adults and (b) being right about Jesus. Chronologically, it all starts with Jesus himself. In Luke 2, Mary goes out of her mind with worry when Jesus as a child wanders away from the caravan and they find him in the temple in Jerusalem after three days of searching. “What were you doing?” Mary asks him. “We were scared out of our minds!” Jesus shrugs and says essentially, “I thought you knew where I’d be.” This is what happens when the Son of God goes through his adolescent phase.

When Jesus turns over the tables of the moneylenders in the temple and heals people, Matthew tells us that the chief priests knew where to find him because the children were “crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David.'” The gospel in this case doesn’t go into detail, but we can picture it: money scattered everywhere; newly uncaged sacrificial doves fluttering around; everyone yelling. Of course the kids are there. Where else would they be? They’re cheering on the person who had made all the trouble, bellowing that he’s the Messiah, and generally making the noise and chaos more noisy and chaotic. Any parent might sympathize a little with the chief priests and scribes when, as Matthew tells us, “they became angry” and started yelling.

Jesus with the Children — Pieter van Lint, 1800s.

A child just assumes that Jesus can feed 5,000 people with his lunch — and he’s right. Children keep bugging the apostles to get Jesus’ attention when they’re busy — and Jesus scolds them and calls for the kids to come on over. The gospels consistently tell stories of adults seeing children as accessories to the main event — and Jesus treating them as worthy of attention.

In some ways, relations between children and adults haven’t changed much over 2000 years. And, just as it happened the with the apostles, while the adults in church are busy trying to herd the cats and keep things orderly, the gospel keeps welcoming children, with all their chaos, to the table. Churches sometimes look on children, particularly young children, with a suspicious eye, as if they were unexploded grenades that might go off during important moments in the liturgy. Such churches might proclaim, “Suffer the little children to come unto the nursery, where they will be given goldfish crackers and kept out of the way while the grown-ups worship.”

In this class, Angela Nelson, Minister of Christian Education at The Church of the Holy Family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, explains why children’s ministries, including the nursery, should be treated as central to church life and worship rather than as peripheral. She discusses reasons that children’s voices and talents should be made part of the daily life of worship in the church. She offers practical suggestions for ways in which adults may welcome the role of children and youth in church as central to the main event — as important, as worthy of respect as any other Christians.

This course is ideal for people who work with children in church, people who work with the liturgy in church, and parents or guardians who want to involve children in worship. For a preview of the course, please click here.