New course: Preparing For Infant and Children’s Baptism in the Episcopal Church

This latest course on baptism by the Rev. Canon Anne Kitch is a wonderful exploration of what baptism of young children can and should mean for us adults. Preparing For Infant and Children’s Baptism isn’t just a wonderful primer on how to prepare for having a child baptized, it’s also an insightful reminder that baptism isn’t just a moment in time. Rather, it’s a life lived in Christ, one which we’re promising to support when we witness someone’s baptism.

In five lessons, Anne explains what sorts of promises we adults make, what they mean, how to live them out in our daily lives, and why this all matters. She offers concrete wisdom and tips on how to live out the covenant we make for ourselves and on behalf of our children. This course is a kitchwonderful introduction for parents and godparents; it’s also an invaluable reminder to all members of a church community who are responsible for helping to bring children up into the Christian faith and life, and into the full stature of Christ. Click here for more information or to register.

The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch is a mother and an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA. She is the author of several books including The Anglican Family Prayer Book.



New course: The Spirituality of Children with Catherine Maresca

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~Luke 18:17

Children have unique experiences and understandings of God, and these understandings change as children grow and develop.  What’s more, the joy and sense of communion that children feel with God can be nurtured and encouraged; in fact, beginning spiritual formation at a very young age can ensure that children grow up with a deep sense of the benevolence and closeness of a loving God.  We as adults can learn — or relearn — a great deal from children’s spirituality.maresca

This course is a fascinating look at how children’s spirituality begins and changes according to identifiable developmental stages.  The research and wisdom that Catherine Maresca collects and shares in these lessons can benefit parents, children’s ministers, and anyone who longs to recapture a childlike joy and connection to God.

Catherine Maresca is the director of the Center for Children and Theology, which publishes resources and research related to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

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 

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.

Preview to Advent

AdventWe know that you are planning ahead and may be wondering what you want your ChurchNext school to focus on during the season of Advent. It is a little over two months, we wanted to give you a ‘heads up’ on what we have planned specially for Advent and what courses we already have that you might want to use during this season. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer!

New Courses

We are going to be launching new courses just for Advent! One course is an Introduction to Advent and another is how to make Advent a holy time for your family.

Introduction to Matthew

If you are using the Revised Common Lectionary, our Gospel lessons beginning in Advent will mostly come from the Gospel of Matthew. As a way for your congregation or group to learn a bit about the Gospel before spending the next year with it, you may want to encourage your schools to take the Introduction to Matthew.

For Families

As families gear up for the holiday season, they may be wondering what they can do during the season to make is special, to mark it as different, and how to start a new practice. We would encourage you to use the course “Start a Family Devotional Time,” with Anne Kitch. This course will help you take practical and meaningful steps toward enhancing your family’s spiritual journey.

Another course that will help your family discover or rediscover ways to engage in holy practices each day is “Developing Holy Habits” with Valerie Hess. Raising  children who will be inspired and nourished by their faith is one of the most important jobs parents have. In this course, noted author Valerie Hess takes us through a number of disciplines that can benefit our children.

Grieving Well

Holidays are difficult for people who have had a death in the family or those who grieve each holiday because they miss people whom they love but see no longer. In the course “Grieving Well,” Chaplain Andrew Gerns tells us what grieving well looks like. He walks us through the four tasks of grief, and gives us helpful tips and strategies for getting over loss. And he tells us what positive and negative signs look like and how to address them. This course is perfect for those who are getting through loss, as well as those who care for others who are grieving. (This course will launch this coming Sunday, September 29, 2013.)

New Course: Introduction to Christian Marriage with Paul Walters

P Walters Square‘People have been getting married for ages,’ says instructor Paul Walters, ‘however when Christians get married, there are some differences…’

So begins this fascinating introduction into the topic of Christian marriage. In it, Walters explains that Christians bring a host of convictions, habits, and virtues into marriage. In fact, as Walters explains in this course, there are a number of virtues Christians cultivate in their lives that can assist them in their marriage. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.

Paul Walters is a gifted speaker and author. His latest book is Christ in Your Marriage. He is the pastor of Lutheran Church of the Master in Troy, MI.

This is a great course for those who are preparing for Christian marriage as well as those who may be unfamiliar with the nuances the Christian faith brings to marriage.

ChurchNext courses are available at They are 45 minute classes that students can take individually, in groups, or in a congregation.