We’re excited to launch an online Advent program that you can use either by itself, or incorporated into your current Advent offerings. You can form classes around these courses, offer them church-wide, or simply allow your students to pick and choose the courses they’d like to take.
Advent is a season of great anticipation, both inside and outside of the Church. While the world around us shops, cooks, and prepares for December 25, Christians have their own way of anticipating the birth of Jesus.
In this class, Episcopal priest and author Tim Schenck will open up our imaginations to the magic of this holy time of year. Tim Schenck has just published a new book with our partners Forward Movement, called A Dog in the Manger. This course is appropriate for those who are new to the church year, as well as those who are familiar, but are looking for a refresher. Click here to learn more about this class and how to take it.
How do we celebrate Advent with our families in an intentional and life-giving way? What are the practices we can adopt that will help focus our families on the season and help us prepare for Christ’s coming.
Heath Howe, is an Episcopal priest serving at Church of the Holy Comforter in the Diocese of Chicago. During her 12 years in ministry, she as worked closely with families, teens, and children to development and enhance faith formation in both parish and home life. She currently writes for Vibrant Faith Ministries. Click here to learn more about this class and how to take it.
Other Courses to Kick off Advent and Year A
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. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.
The idea of patience, as we know it today, has been heavily influenced by Christianity, says Jeff Bullock, an experienced teacher and author of an upcoming book on Christian patience. In this class, Jeff makes it clear that there is a difference between Christian patience and secular patience. The latter is self-interested, the former is other-focused. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.
Have 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. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.
Mary Gray-Reeves defines spirituality as the exploration of the fullness of life, all things seen and unseen.
And while one need not believe in God to be spiritual, the Western understanding of spirituality is directly related to religion. In this course, we will ponder more deeply what is meant by “spirituality,” how spirituality is interwoven with grace, how the basic beliefs of Christianity are united by the common thread of this grace, and how nurturing our own spirituality is really for the benefit of those with whom we are in relationship. Though we may have different motivations for seeking a deeper spirituality, we all have the capacity for growth and wisdom. Click here to learn more about this course and how to take it.
Tending to the spiritual lives of children is one of a parent’s highest vocations. Yet we are faced with day-to-day pressures that can crowd out even our best attempts to inspire and ignite the flame for God that lies in each one of our little ones.
Anne Kitch knows all about this. She’s an author, consultant, and mother who knows how difficult it can be for parents to religiously engage with their children. She believes that regular family prayer time can have a big impact on our children, and has some great ideas as to how parents might develop and fine tune their shared devotions. Click here to learn more about this class and how to take it.