The Big Class: A Simple Path to a Deeper Spiritual Life with Becca Stevens

You don’t have to worry about being inspired. Just do the work of daily spiritual growth and the inspiration will come.

We are so excited for our next Big Class, which runs 3/22 – 4/5 with Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene newbeccaand Thistle Farms. In “A Simple Path to a Deeper Spiritual Life,” Becca will help us explore what the spiritual life really means: how to believe, to hope, to experience resurrection, to be inspired. In four lessons, she shares what she has learned in her years of ministry and service, and how this wisdom can enrich our own journeys. She reminds us about the importance of just showing up, of believing, of surrendering, of giving ourselves space. And that love heals and changes and brings about resurrection and justice.

This short, free course will be open to all from March 22 – April 5; registration opens this Sunday, March 15. We invite you to join us and to share this course with friends and neighbors. Our prayer is that, as we enter the season of Easter, this course may renew and inspire our journeys to resurrection.

First course in the Animate Faith series is now open!

We are thrilled to be presenting the engaging, thought-provoking, and innovative Animate series through ChurchNext. The first course in this three-part series, Animate Faith 1, launches today. This unique program is designed to spur thought, discussion, wondering, pondering, and spiritual growth not by offering answers to some of faith’s most difficult or basic questions but by offering new ways of considering them.animate

Animate Faith 1 features three of the most engaging and sought-after speakers on faith today: Brian McLaren offers his reflections on what we mean when we talk about God, and the various ways people have of imagining, describing, and conceiving of God. Mark Scandrette shakes up our ideas of the way we do church, suggesting that if we truly want to practice Christianity, we need to practice a revolution of love and service like Jesus did. And Lillian Daniels offers wisdom on why we actually do need religion, that though religion is often seen as a dirty word in our culture, spirituality is not enough.

This course is produced in partnership with Augsburg Fortress Publishing, which offers the Animate Faith DVD curriculum as well as facilitator guides and journals for small groups. Click here to find out more.

Stay tuned for the launch of Animate Faith Parts 2 and 3 in the coming weeks.  To register for Animate Faith 1 please click here.

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.

Living A Spirit-Filled Life with Fr. Albert Cutie Touches Hearts

“Fr. Albert hits another home run!” ~Jim F.cutie

“I love his class!”  ~Sara M.

“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.”

We are so grateful to be able to provide these courses to a worldwide audience for free. A huge thank you to our sponsors, Bexley Seabury, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast FloridaLogos Bible Software, and Forward Movement.

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.