New Course: Grieving Well

Andrew GernsHave you suffered a tragic loss – or know someone who has? While tragedies often motivate us to seek grief support, the truth is we grieve everyday. So says pastor and chaplain Andrew Gerns, who also says we each handle grief in our own unique ways. Usually we get over loss on our own, though there are times when taking to a professional and using medication may be needed.

In this course, 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.  Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.

The Rev. Andrew Gerns is an experienced hospital and hospice chaplain who has led numerous bereavement groups. He is the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton, PA.

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 Paul

George GuthrieIt has been said that the person who had the most influence on Christianity wasn’t Jesus, but rather St. Paul.

Paul, who was a devout, first-century Jew who followed Jesus, wrote most of the books in the New Testament of the Bible. While Paul never met Jesus personally, he had a notable conversion experience that filled him with a zeal and drive that inspired him to travel extensively, founding churches, ministering to new congregations, and writing letters that have turned into some of the most popular writings in the history of the English language. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.

That’s why understanding who Paul was and what he wrote is so important to us as we seek to build our personal faith. Each of Paul’s letters is important to understand within its historical context. Each was written with identifiable intentions and messages and to a certain person or community. This course shows us the ways that Paul was in fact not the inventor of Christianity but rather the apostle who, inspired and directed by God, furthered the mission of Jesus Christ after His death. Paul was a radically progressive champion of both Judaism and Christianity who spread the Good News of our salvation through the grace of God and the life and death of Jesus Christ, who is the Messiah. Paul reminds us that the story of salvation is at once individual, corporate, and cosmic. It is thanks to Paul that we know better how to live in community and in the spirit of Christ.

If you are interested in learning more about Paul or in better understanding some of his letters, this course is perfect for you.

Dr. George Guthrie is a professor of the Bible at Union University in Jackson, TN. He has written numerous articles for numerous Bible commentaries and has participated in many Bible translation projects.

New Course: Introduction to St. Paul

G Guthrie SquareIt’s been said that the person who had the most influence on Christianity wasn’t Jesus – but Paul.

Paul, a devout Jew turned Jesus follower, wrote most of the books in the New Testament of the Bible. While Paul never met Jesus personally, he had a notable conversion experience that filled him with a zeal and drive that inspired him to travel extensively founding churches, ministering to new congregations, and writing letters that have turned into some of the most popular writings in the history of the English language. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.

That’s why understanding who Paul was and what he wrote is so important to us as we seek to build our personal faith. George Guthrie knows all about this. He is a scholar, author, New Testament professor, and student of Paul. In this course, George will help us learn:

  • Who was Paul?
  • What was Paul trying to get across?
  • A Survey of Pauline literature
  • Criticisms and controversies surrounding Paul

This course is perfect for every member of your congregation, especially those who are interested in deepening their understanding of the Bible. This is a great way to inform and begin discussion around this important Bible figure.

Bishop Kirk Smith: The Bright Future of Online Learning in Congregations

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona predicts online learning will become more and more popular in U.S. churches. The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, whose diocese was an early ChurchNext subscriber, says the accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and control that online learning offers is a great opportunity to expand ministry. “Let’s face it,” Bishop Smith said, “historically, the church has missed the boat on most new media. We did okay with books at the Reformation, but it’s been pretty much downhill since then.” His diocese seems determined not to be behind today’s technological waves. Bishop Smith was an early twitter user and is active on many forms of social media. The way people build relationships continues to change and the Church needs to pay attention to that, says Smith, “The Church has always been about relationships, and we need to change alongside the current trends in communication.” Congregation-based online learning can also provide a way for churches to share, more widely their unique teaching. Smith says, “We have a message so we have to be involved. If we don’t claim our public voice, others will do it for us.”

New Course: Introduction to Luke with John Lewis

J Lewis SquareThe Gospel of Luke is one of the most popular books in the Bible, bringing us such stories as The Good Samaritan, and The Prodigal Son. In this course, Bible scholar John Lewis introduces us to the author, stories, and message of this incredible book.

Luke was a physician, traveling companion of St. Paul, and author of one of the most popular books in the Bible. The gospel of Luke gives us these stories, exclusively, while also emphasizing the plight and hope of the oppressed and downtrodden.

In this course Lewis provides a terrific overview of the man, mission, and message behind this beloved Gospel book. We’ll learn:

  • Who Was Luke?
  • To Whom Was Luke Writing?
  • Main Themes of Luke
  • How to Read Luke

This course is a wonderful introduction for those who are new to the gospel, as well as a helpful refresher course for others. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.

Dr. John Lewis holds graduate degrees in law, theology, and philosophy. He is the co-director of The Workshop in San Antonio, Texas where he teaches scripture and leads retreats.

Our First Congregational Subscriber: Advent Episcopal Church, Michigan

Manisha_pic2-e1345504614849When the idea for congregation-based online learning came across The Rev. Manisha Dostert’s desk, she had two words to say: ‘I’m in.’ In fact, Rev. Manisha’s congregation was the very first to sign up.

Manisha, a Lutheran pastor serving an Episcopal congregation in the northern suburbs of Detroit has been a good friend for years – and her support of this endeavor has been deeply invigorating.

“This program is so opportune for us,” Rev. Manisha says, “Because we need to be able to explain the faith in a place where people are comfortable hearing about it.” Her congregation is includes both Episcopalians and Lutherans who have a deep desire to learn about one another’s traditions. “This is a great tool,” she says, “and we’re really happy with it.”

Rev. Manisha’s enthusiasm led us to an invitation to include her in our introductory video featured on our home page.

Suggestions from Rev. Manisha, “I wish we could take this class with other congregations across the country – so that we could connect with other faith communities.” It’s not here yet Rev. Manisha, but we’re working on it!