Big News! Part 1 of series on The Book of Common Prayer begins today

An American Prayer Book, A Global Prayer Book, taught by Tom Ferguson of Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Federation, is the first in an 8-part series on The Book of Common Prayer and launches today!ferguson

This course is a fascinating exploration of what “The Book of Common Prayer” literally means and why that matters.  That is, why is it “the” Book of Common Prayer?  What do we mean when we call it “common”?  What did its status as “book”  signify in the early days of the Anglican Church and why does it matter today?  What exactly does “prayer” look like?

After taking this course, you’ll have some answers to these sorts of questions; if they’d never occurred to you before, you’ll probably be left wondering why.  Tom Ferguson’s fascinating, engaging talks on each component of the BCP’s title will challenge you to think more deeply about the church’s history, present, and future.  To register or to learn more, click here.

This course is the first in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next seven courses will be launching in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. This series is brought to us by our partners at Bexley Seabury Federation, an Episcopal center for learning and development. Bexley offers online and in-person classes for everyone at its Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH campuses. For more information visit www.bexleyseabury.edu.

New Course: Introducing the Psalms with Isaac Everett

We’re excited to announce our latest course, a thoughtful and engaging Introduction to the Book of Psalms.  After all, the Psalms are woven into the very fabric of our church’s history and contain some of the most powerful and poignant words we may ever encounter.
isaac

Musician and composer Isaac Everett argues that there is no more human book in the Bible than the Psalms, which means that these poems have a way of touching us like no other. Everett has been immersed in the psalms for years, and has even written a psalter of his own.

In this class, Isaac gives us an engaging overview of the Psalms by touching on these areas:

  • Origins of the Psalms
  • Themes of the Psalms
  • Favorite Psalms
  • How to Read the Psalms

This class is an insightful overview suitable for newcomers to the Psalms as well as for veterans who are looking for a solid refresher course. Click here for more information or to register: Introducing the Psalms with Isaac Everett.

Isaac Everett is a sought-after worship leader, speaker and thinker who is minister of music for two faith communities, in Maine and Boston. He is also the author of The Emergent Psalter.

New Course: Healthy Relationships for Couples with Holly and Scott Stoner

scott and hollyIt’s been said that people shouldn’t marry to make themselves happy, but to make their partner happy. It is this kind of selfless devotion that family and marriage counselors Holly and Scott Stoner call ‘Standing in Love.’ Learn more about how couples can improve their relationships by putting love first.

First there’s falling in love – then there’s growing in love.

Inevitably the latter is more difficult than the former and in this course the Stoners teach us several helpful strategies to grow in love that are timeless, life-giving, and potentially marriage-saving.

This course includes lessons on:

  1. Standing in Love
  2. Co-Creating Healthy Relationships
  3. Communication Styles
  4. Emotional Bank Accounts

Find our more about Healthy Relationships for Couples here.

This course is one of three produced in partnership with Living Compass, a ministry devoted to wholeness in every area of faith and life. Holly and Scott Stoner are popular speakers, conference leaders, and founders of Living Compass, a ministry dedicated to wholeness. Learn more by visiting www.livingcompass.org 

New Course: How to be a Crazy Christian

This last week, we launched our first free, online course called The Big Class with Bishop CurryBishop Michael Curry. This class will be open on Wednesday for you to take or to add to your own schools. It would be a great course to do in a lead up to Lent, during Lent, or even in Easter as it talks about what it means to follow Jesus and what it means to be a Crazy Christian.

You can find the class here!

This is a course with a warning label: All who enter here, expect to be transformed. Episcopal bishop Michael Curry is an inspiring and enthusiastic reformer with a clear call to reinvigorate the Church. Many people have experienced Christ’s transforming power through Bishop Curry’s ministry.

Garrison Keillor once said going to church makes someone a Christian about as much as sitting in a garage makes someone a Chevrolet. Bishop Michael Curry, of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina has a heart for reawakening believers to the tremendous gift and challenge of giving our all to follow Jesus. His term for this kind of person is a Crazy Christian.

In this 45 minute class, Bishop Curry will tell us:

  • What Is a Crazy Christian?
  • Why Being a Crazy Christian is Easy – and Hard
  • Habits of a Crazy Christian
  • Giving Yourself Permission

This course is ideal for those who are looking to be encouraged and challenged in their Christian faith.

Bishop Michael Curry serves as the Bishop of North Carolina in the Episcopal Church, and is a popular speaker and writer. His most recent book is Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus.

New Course: Who is Jesus?

Jason FoutJesus wrote no books, built no empires, nor left us so much as an image of himself – yet his life has impacted the world more than any other.

Who is Jesus? Ask ten people and you may get 11 answers… In this thought-provoking course theologian and seminary instructor Jason Fout persuasively argues that the best way to begin is through the resurrection.

Who was this man and how can we best get to know him?

In this course author, priest, and teacher Jason Fout suggests four helpful lenses in which to view Christ:

  • Resurrection
  • Teaching
  • Atonement
  • Incarnation

This class is appropriate for people who are new to the Christian faith as well as seasoned believers who are looking for new insights into this engaging topic.

Find out more about this course, Who is Jesus.

Announcing The Big Class with Bishop Michael Curry

Bishop Curry photoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Naughton
 
“THE BIG CLASS” with BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY, FREE TO ALL
Open, online course, discussion, January 27-February 3 

DETROIT, December 5, 2013—Early next year, anyone with Internet access and a computer or tablet can get free instruction on how to become a crazy Christian.

From January 27 through February 3, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, will teach The Big Class, a program of ChurchNextThe course will expand on Crazy Christians:  A Call to Follow Jesus published by Church Publishing Inc. The book is based on  “We Need Some Crazy Christians,” a widely acclaimed sermon the bishop preached at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in 2012.

Bishop Curry will moderate the course and answer online questions during the week of The Big Class. Participants can take the course anytime during the week at www.churchnext.tv. No special software is required.

“We thought about putting a warning label on this course: Danger, Your Life Will Be Transformed,’” said the Rev. Chris Yaw, founder of ChurchNext, a producer of online Christian learning.  “In a world that constantly sanitizes Jesus’ radical message, Bishop Curry’s clarion call to deeper discipleship has changed lives. We pray all who take this course will experience God’s transforming power.”

The Big Class is a worldwide online course for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ, and is free to everyone, everywhere thanks to the support of Bexley SeaburyChurch Publishing Inc., the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and Forward Movement.Special materials will be available for congregations and adult education classes who desire to take the class together as part of their Epiphany season study.

In his book, Bishop Curry writes, “We need some crazy Christians. Sane, sanitized Christianity is killing us.  That may have worked once upon a time, but it won’t carry the Gospel anymore. We need some crazy Christians like Mary Magdalene and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Christians crazy enough to believe that God is real and that Jesus lives. Crazy enough to follow the radical way of the Gospel. Crazy enough to believe that the love of God is greater than all the powers of evil and death.”

“It’s exciting to see all the new ways technology is being leveraged to help folks go into a deeper awareness of and relationship with the living God,” said Bishop Curry. “Online education is an excellent example of it. It allows folks to learn, to interact, exchange ideas and, ultimately, to share what they learn with others. The process is exactly what we as Christians are called to do; an online classroom just gives us one more way to do it.”

Visit churchnextblog.wordpress.com/the-big-class/ to learn more about The Big Class.

ChurchNext creates online Christian learning experiences to invigorate lives and congregations. Along with our partner, Forward Movement, we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more at www.churchnext.tv.

New Course: Advent for Families with Heath Howe

Heath HoweOne of the easiest ways to teach our children about God comes during the Christmas season, when images of Christ can frequently be found. However the busyness of the season can keep us from taking full advantage of this teaching moment. In this course, youth and family minister Heath Howe shows us some practical ways to commemorate this blessed time of year.

For many of us the rush up to Christmas is the busiest few weeks of year.

Yet it is also often the holiest – and can be the most spiritually memorable and formative for families.

Filled with Santa Clauses and holiday parties, what are some ways we might live faithfully through this sacred, yet highly secularized season?

In this class, Heath Howe leads us in a helpful discussion about:

  • Why we should celebrate Advent as a family
  • Consumerism and Advent
  • What are the Advent themes
  • Advent in the home

This class perfect for families who are looking to learn more about how to incorporate Christian practice in the home.

Click here to learn more about this class and how to take it.

The Rev. Heath Howe is an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Kenilworth, IL. She is a contributing writer to Vibrant Faith at home. You can read more about her here.

Our First Customer: Welcome Jean-Marc – From France!

Jean Marc SKYPEWe still don’t quite know how Jean-Marc Robinet found us – all the way from Paris, France – to become our very first individual subscriber, but we’re glad he did.

The day before our public debut, while we were still testing things, Jean-Marc, somehow, found us and started taking courses on our Individual, monthly plan.

Reached by SKYPE recently, Jean-Marc said he was drawn by the wide selection of courses, the user-friendly platform, as well as the consistent high quality of the courses. “I am very impressed,” he said, “I am a very involved lay person in my church, and I have even earned a graduate degree in theology, but I found these very easy to access and quite thought provoking.”

These come as high compliments given Jean-Marc’s profession: he is in charge of the e-learning department at a large public transportation authority in France.

Jean-Marc is going to work with his denominational leaders to inform them about ChurchNext.  He is a member of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches of Europe, which includes congregations in 5 countries. Jean-Marc thinks a ChurchNext school might help bring some unity to this diaspora. “I think this would really be able to unite us,” Mark said, “To come together on the web, around Christ’s teachings seems natural.”