We invite you to check out our new blog page to stay up to date on all our newest courses and initiatives. Be sure to add the new website to your favorites and subscribe to receive our emails so you’re the first to know about our new classes. Learning is one of the seven Way of Love practices and is an important way to grow deeper in faith.
No matter which class you choose, we hope you’ll join us in learning and spiritual growth this fall. Head over to https://blog.churchnext.tv/ to see what’s new!
We’re excited to announce a new learning opportunity: This is NOT Sunday School. It starts in September, but you can sign up today.
Even if we can’t physically worship and learn together, we can still draw closer to Jesus Christ — and to one another — by worshiping and learning together online. That’s why we’re working with the Faith@Home team (a collaboration between Forma and Forward Movement) to produce This is NOT Sunday School. This intergenerational learning experience is a perfect tool for families and individuals of all ages.
Free sessions of This is NOT Sunday School will launch weekly starting September 16. You can sign up on the ChurchNext website today. Each week’s session features video teaching by a professional from the Christian formation network, Forma, as well as downloadable lessons, readings, and engagement opportunities for all ages. Instructors include Victoria Hoppes, Roger Hutchison, and Miriam McKenney, and others.
Sessions use Forward Movement’s Exploring the Bible curriculum, which includes many of the most famous stories in the Bible. You can experience the sessions at home or online with a group from your congregation. Each session takes about one hour to complete and can be completed at your convenience.
We look forward to learning and worshiping with you and your family!
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which houses, according to tradition, the sites where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where he was buried. It has been one of the most popular Christian pilgrimage destinations for many centuries.
As a culture, we have long valued feeling connected to the people who came before us. Physical proximity to places they lived, their possessions, or their physical remains can provide us with that sense of connection. We visit the graves of loved ones who have died. For centuries, people wore jewelry made of the hair of their parents and grandparents; some people still do. We pass down furniture that people used and homes in which people lived. We tour places where historic people lived to get a sense of what daily life was like for them. Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for example, welcomed 872,000 people in 2017, while the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam gets over 1.2 million visitors per year. People want to experience these places because they were part of everyday life for people whom we respect.
This impulse for connection is part of what fuels pilgrimage. Pilgrims often travel to places where Jesus walked, where saints are buried, where other Christians have gone before them. But pilgrimage offers more than an ordinary journey to a culturally important place does for several reasons. First, the journey matters as much as the destination. Pilgrimage is a holy journey, prayerful and intentional in itself as well as the means to reach the sacred destination. There’s also sometimes a sense of walking in the footsteps of the Christian travelers who came before us, which offers a connection to fellow pilgrims throughout the church’s history. Second, the connection a pilgrim tries to establish has a strong spiritual element. We try to connect with the living presence of God through pilgrimage to a destination sacred to our faith — perhaps using that sense of connection with the events that took place there or the people buried there, as well as through prayer and contemplation. Third, most pilgrims expect spiritual transformation and growth in response to the journey — for the pilgrimage to open our hearts to God’s working in our lives in new ways.
In this course, veteran pilgrimage leader Sally French teaches us how to plan for and make the most of the pilgrimage experience. She discusses ways to treat the pilgrimage as a sacred journey rather than as tourist travel. She talks about practical difficulties that can come up during the pilgrimage — expectations that people should have going into the experience, for example, and ways to think about logistics so that leaders and participants can appreciate the sacred nature of the pilgrimage. Finally, she discusses ways to respond to the journey and integrate what we learn from it into our day-to-day lives.
This course is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about pilgrimage, either in preparation for one or because they are interested in pilgrimage as a spiritual practice. For a preview of the course, please click on the video below.