Just Launched: Global Philanthropy Leaders Curriculum

We just launched the Global Philanthropy Leaders Curriculum, developed in partnership with the Global Philanthropy Leaders’ founders at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

If you are looking for a way to engage youth at your church with healthy and respectful ways to combat global poverty and oppression while also guiding them in responsible ways to use money, you should look into Global Philanthropy Leaders (GPL).

GPL teaches teens about global poverty and  introduces them to a website that facilitates microloans to struggling entrepreneurs across the world. Using church funds, teens decide where and how to loan the money for which the church has made them responsible. They learn to evaluate borrowers based (1) on what the borrowers want do with their business and (2) on the likelihood that the money will be paid back. When the money is repaid, participants re-loan it to other borrowers. Adults advise the participants, but the teens make the final call on how and to whom they will loan money. At the end of the year, participants present the work they have done to the parish, showing what they have learned and how they have used the church’s money to do the God’s work in the world.

Please note that you do not need to be an expert in any kind of finance to lead a GPL ministry at your church. The curriculum is designed so anyone can lead, and Rich Stein, the curriculum instructor, who co-founded the GPL program at St. Stephen’s and has made many microloans over the years, is happy to answer any questions that come up.

Instructor Rich Stein, co-founder of GPL

GPL began in 2017 at St. Stephen’s. It took off, and when other congregations heard about GPL, they began asking for help building GPL programs at their own churches. Soon, GPL had spread to a dozen parishes, and the St. Stephen’s staff found themselves looking for a way to train people more broadly to use the program. This online curriculum is their solution. (Please note that the curriculum presented here is an in-depth guide to running GPL sessions at your church. For an introduction to the program, check out Raising Young Philanthropists, a ChurchNext short course that gives an overview of the program and its benefits.)

This curriculum guides both leaders and participants through the GPL program. It offers everything you will need to start a GPL program at your church. The curriculum is organized into six sessions. These include scripture readings, prayer, video presentations, discussion opportunities, and activities.

Session One introduces participants to GPL and shows them how to use Kiva international’s web portal at kiva.org to make microloans. It also shows participants how to evaluate borrowers’ potential to repay money.

Session Two familiarizes participants with the seventeen U.N. Sustainable Development goals adopted in 2015. It shows how their work in GPL can make a difference in efforts to eliminate poverty, offering people across the globe the means to improve their quality of life.

Session Three offers a brief history of microloans. It focuses particularly on Muhammad Yunus, who, along with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which he founded, won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics for their work with microloans.

Session Four teaches participants basic skills for maintaining healthy personal finances. It asks students to consider ways in which the Christian faith influences our approach to our finances.

Session Five introduces participants to the most serious issues related to hunger and malnutrition across the globe and discusses the wisest ways to combat starvation and malnutrition..

Session Six teaches students about making presentations and how to make their end-of-year presentation to their congregation.

The GPL curriculum is ideal for people looking for new ways to engage youth at their parish in doing Christ’s work in the world. For a preview, please click below.

 

launching today: Reading and Praying in Church: The Office of Lector

The scripture is fullfilled in our hearing

Lectoring is an ancient ministry. Scripture says that Jesus himself read aloud in the temple. If you read or lead prayers in your church (or both!), or if you are considering engaging that ministry, consider taking our new class, Reading and Praying in the Church: The Office of Lector with Tim Spannaus.

Tim takes us back to the origins of lectoring and teaches us how the laity came to engage this sacred ministry. He offers valuable suggestions for preparing and proclaiming passages from scripture, including intellectual and spiritual ideas on how to better understand and convey the meanings of scriptural passages. The class also includes training on practicalities. Wondering what to do if the reading includes words like “Pi-Hahiroth” or “Zerubbabel”? Concerned about when to look at the congregation and when to look down at the reading (and not losing your place trying to do both at the same time)? Tim’s class answers these questions and many more. The class also includes valuable training about leading psalms and reading or leading public prayers.

If your ministry involves training lectors, or if the lectors at your church would like to study together, consider utilizing our group class, formatted for group discussion. While you are there, take Tim’s advice and practice your readings for one another! You can give each other valuable feedback.

Would you like a sneak preview? Enjoy this video! 

Tim Spannaus is a deacon and lector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak, Michigan. He teaches on liturgy at The Whitaker Institute in Detroit, Michigan.

TREC 2: Mission and Leadership

Our second course in the TREC series (which stands for Task-Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church), launches today, and is once again designed to spark thought, prayer, reflection, and conversation about the future of the Church.

In TREC 2: Mission and Leadership, we delve more deeply into what it means to be a good leader in the Church of the 21st century. With Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, the Rev. Jesus Reyes, and the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville Burrows, we explore what makes a healthy, Spirit-filled leader; how leaders should create and support community in our increasingly wired and global world; and what place innovation has in these arenas. trec

What’s exciting about TREC is that part of its commission is to “gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and … invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment.” Taking part in these ChurchNext courses is one way to engage in this process. (See our earlier blog post here.)

All who are interested in church leadership or in the Episcopal Church will find much of interest and use in these courses. Click here for more information or to register.

TREC 1: Reimagining Church Leadership launches today

TREC stands for Task-Force for Reimaining the Episcopal Church, and we’re excited to help further its mission by offering three courses, the first of which launches today, to spark thought, prayer, reflection, and conversation about the future of the Church.

TREC arose out of a charge by the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church to create a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration. What does that mean? Simply — and complexly — this means that a group of thought leaders is tasked with reimagining and reinvigorating the Episcopal Church so that “we may more faithfully

• Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
• Respond to human need by loving service
• Seek to transform unjust structures of society
• Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” (more here)

In TREC 1: Reimagining Church Leadership, we hear from three thinkers who have much to offer on the topic of reimagining leadership in the Church: Dwight Zscheile, Associate Professor of Congregational Leadership and Mission at Luther Seminary; Frederica Harris Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School; and Winnie Varghese, rector of St. Mark’s in the Bowrey in New York City. We explore Christlike leadership and innovation, our baptismal covenant as it relates to leadership and imagination, and the concept of truth-telling, both by and to our leaders.trec

What’s exciting about this Task Force is that part of its commission is to “gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and … invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment.” Taking part in these ChurchNext courses is one way to engage in this process.

All who are interested in church governance in general, or in the Episcopal Church in particular, will find much of interest and use in these courses. Click here for more information or to register.