Crossing Thresholds is an insightful and helpful reminder that life is a journey and that God — and our church — are with us every step of the way. We are born, perhaps we fall in love, we sin, we get sick, we die, we return to God. And in all of these, there are powerful words and actions to commemorate, to honor, to recognize, and to invite God’s blessing and presence.
The Prayer Book serves as an invaluable resource for marking important milestones like baptism, marriage, reconciliation, marriage, sickness, and death – referred to as the ‘Pastoral Offices.’ In this course Roger Ferlo lectures on baptism and matrimony, explaining the theological foundations of these important rites. Suzann Holding walks us through confession, prayer for the sick, and the practical theology surrounding end of life issues and liturgies. You’ll leave this course with an enriched understanding of both the purpose and the content of these holy rites.
This course is the seventh in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next course 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.
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, they got the Our Father. When people asked the assemblers of The Book of Common Prayer how to pray, they got something nearly as memorable: the Collects. We are excited to launch the latest course in our series on The Book of Common Prayer: Praying the Collects is a thoughtful introduction to a meaningful facet of prayer life.
Collects are short prayers and a distinctive part of Anglican worship, liturgy, and theology. Episcopalians have long subscribed to the conviction of lex orandi, lex credendi or “praying shapes believing.” This means that the way we pray carries great significance.
In this class, scholar, writer, and seminary dean Ellen Wondra helps us understand the Collects, delving into the structure and theology behind these amazing prayers. We will explore:
This course is the sixth in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next two 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.
“The course was great. I learned a great deal, mostly about myself. Thank you!” ~Nancy F.
We are thrilled once again with the richness, wisdom, and inspiration of The Big Class, this time taught by Father Albert Cutie on how to make the Holy Spirit part of your everyday life. Nearly 1,000 people from 21 countries took the course. 14% of those who answered our survey said the course had a major impact on their spiritual lives, and countless snippets of profound insight and grace arose during the discussions:
In response to a question about how the Holy Spirit helps us become God’s new Temple, one participant wrote, “We are the place where people are reconciled to God and to each other. It reminds me of the way Jesus connected the gift of the Holy Spirit with the power and responsibility of forgiving sins. In our lives, we can live that powerful promise of forgiveness. We can model the possibility of repentance, of returning to God and knowing that we will be received. We can be icons and signs of reconciliation/healing. We can live in our lives what used to be done in the Temple. In this way of living, heaven and earth touch, and we get a glimpse of God.”
In response to a question about what “living in community means to you,” one respondent wrote, “Living in community is so much more than church to me. It means doing my part, wherever I am and allowing others to do theirs. If I am a part of the Body of Christ, I am that wherever I am. I can’t very well leave that part of me at home when I go to the grocery store.”
A question about how to define “openness to the Holy Spirit” yielded this comment: “Openness means removing the barriers that we put in place to keep God out because we don’t want to relinquish control.” And another participant wrote, “Openness to me is a matter of mindset — an intentional placing of one’s self on the potter’s wheel and a submission to being formed. In this crazy modern life, the problem is not one of understanding so much as distraction.”
Now that the worldwide class is complete, the course is open to all for $10 or $15/month for individual subscribers – or if your congregation is a subscriber, you may now add it to your congregation’s online school. Click here for more information or to register for Living a Spirit-Filled Life.
Our latest course in the eight-part “Introducing the Book of Common Prayer” series we’re producing in partnership with Bexley-Seabury, Scripture and the Prayer Book helps us understand how the language and actions of the Book of Common Prayer are the language and actions of Holy Scripture. From the rubrics of the Prayer Book to the lectionaries, the Psalms, and the Canticles, worshipping with the Book of Common Prayer means enacting the two great commandments: to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Join us to explore how the Prayer Book helps us proclaim, read, do, and pray the Holy Scriptures. Click here for more information or to register.
This course is the fourth in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next four 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.
“God speaks in the silence of the heart.” ~ Mother Teresa
This Pentecost, join thousands of students around the world to learn how to live a Spirit-filled life. Students can begin registering today to take the course for free anytime between June 8 – 15. Click here to register and learn more.
Fr. Albert Cutie, New York Times bestselling author, talk show host, and Episcopal priest in Southeast Florida, will teach “The Big Class.” The course will expand on Fr. Cutie’s books and sermons that focus on how we bring God into our everyday lives. This course follows the tremendous success of Bishop Michael Curry’s January class, “How to Be a Crazy Christian” for which 3,000 students from 30 countries registered.
Fr. Cutie will also moderate the course and answer online questions during the week of The Big Class. Participants can take the class anytime during the week of June 8-15 at churchnext.tv. The course takes about 45 minutes to complete and need not be taken in one sitting. No special software is required. Click here for organizational materials for congregations who wish to take the class together. Click here for a preview clip of the course on YouTube.
Throughout Living a Spirit-Filled Life, students are encouraged to think about and to experience the Holy Spirit and its meaning for their lives. “We are living in one of the most anxious times in history,” writes Fr. Cutie. “Dramatic changes are everywhere – technology, communications, relationships – and the pace of this change has many of us reeling in anxiety. This means many of us find it difficult to find God, even though we know God is there. A Spirit-filled life is the life in which we can let go and let God.” The Big Class will help Christians deepen their commitment to follow the Spirit and proclaim the love of God in their lives and communities.
What is the Spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer? How does it inform people’s lives and beliefs as members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as Christians in general? Whether you’re a lifelong Episcopalian, a newcomer to the denomination, or a member of another faith tradition, you’ll find much of interest and much worthy of thought in this new course. Click here to learn more and sign up for this course.
After all, when the crafters of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) set out to assemble an accessible guide to prayer and liturgy they were also intentional about putting together a resource that could shape disciples for a lifetime.
In this course, spiritual director, teacher, and writer Karl Ruttan shows us how the Book of Common Prayer can be used to deepen our spiritual lives. It’s called ‘The Spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer.’ Karl begins by telling us how the BCP serves as a handbook for holiness. He then walks us through its origins in Benedictine spirituality. He also shows us how to use the Daily Offices, or daily prayer liturgies for morning and evening prayer. Karl ends by showing us how we might use the Baptismal Covenant as a foundation for a rule of life.
This course is the second in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next six courses will be launching in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. This series is brought to us by our partners at Bexley Seabury Theological 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.
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.
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
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.
Just can’t wait? Patience is something our faith can help us develop. Patience is one of those things that everyone would like to have but few seem to really practice. As we will learn in this course, Christian patience is a very different thing from patience as the secular world knows it. Whereas in popular culture, patience is something practiced in hopes of a self-serving reward, in Christianity, patience is focused on others and is not limited to worldly timelines. Christian patience is truly counter-cultural in that it is not coerced into urgent schedules or focused on measurable, immediate rewards or success. Christ-like patience is focused on the needs of others; it involves endurance, suffering, submission to others, and it rests on the assurance that we already know the outcome, and that God is there. Even though we struggle with patience, God has all the time in the world–and beyond!–for us. God always has more time– for reconciliation, for blessing, for peace.
In this course, Jeff Bullock provides a thought-provoking and fascinating exploration of what true Christian patience is. The lessons help us step back and reexamine who and what is ordering our time and our sense of worth. Patience is a gift from God and if we can abide in it, we will know deep peace. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.
The Rev. Dr. Jeff Bullock has served numerous congregations, serves as a teaching canon in the Diocese of Arizona, and is the author of the upcoming book Practicing Christian Patience.
We 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!
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.
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.
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.)