Registration is now open for The Big Class with Father Albert Cutie

Living a Spirit-Filled Life

“God speaks in the silence of the heart.” ~ Mother Teresa

cutieThis 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.

The Big Class is a worldwide initiative in open online learning for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ and is free to everyone, everywhere, thanks to the support of Bexley Seabury, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, Logos Bible Software, and Forward Movement.

 

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New Course In Our “Introducing the Book of Common Prayer” Series

English Origins of the Book of Common Prayer is our latest offering in partnership with Bexley-Seabury, and it’s a fascinating look at the often messy history of the Anglican Church. In this course, popular writer, educator, and priest John Dally takes us through the dally
upheaval and conflict, as well as the heroic sacrifice and passionate dedication, that formed the beginnings of the Church of England and of its Book of Common Prayer.  From Thomas Cranmer’s 1549 Book of Common Prayer to the reign of Elizabeth I and beyond, this course helps us understand the environment in which our faith was born.  Many men and women devoted their lives — and gave them up entirely — to create an English church separate from the church in Rome; the language and liturgy Episcopalians love today derive their richness from this fascinating period.

This course is the third in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next five 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.

Join us!

Announcing Another Big Class: Living a Spirit-Filled Life with Fr. Albert Cutie (Free)

cutieThis Pentecost anyone with Internet access and a computer or tablet can get free instruction on how to live a Spirit-filled life, in a free class that invites online learners to “listen in” on an open conversation about how the Holy Spirit meets us today. Registration is free and open worldwide beginning Memorial Day, May 26; the class will run from June 8-15.

Father Albert Cutie, New York Times bestselling author, talk show host, and Episcopal priest in Southeast Florida, will teach “The Big Class,” a program of ChurchNext Online Christian Learning. The course will expand on Fr. Cutie’s books and sermons that focus on how we bring God into our everyday lives.

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 at churchnext.tv. The course will take 45 minutes to complete and need not be taken in one sitting. No special software is required. Organizational materials will be available May 26 for congregations who wish to take the class together.

Throughout Living a Spirit-Filled Life students are encouraged to think about and 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.

This course builds on the successes of previous Big Classes. In January, more than 3,000 students from 30 countries signed up to take How to Be a Crazy Christian with Bishop Michael Curry.

The Big Class is a worldwide initiative in open online learning for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ and is free to everyone, everywhere, thanks to the support of Bexley Seabury, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, Logos Bible Software, and Forward Movement.

ChurchNext creates online Christian learning experiences to invigorate lives and congregations. Along with our partners we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more athttp://www.churchnext.tv.

Part 2 of The Book of Common Prayer: Spirituality of the Prayer Book

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. Karl Ruttan

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.

Join us!

Glassholy: Priest Takes Google Glass to Mass

I was recently admitted into the Google Glass Explorers program. This means I’ve been granted the privilege of spending Glassholy 1$1,500 for a pair of prototype computer glasses that could conceivably be available at Best Buy next month for $300. However, as my much wiser friend Fr. Gunn often says, you gotta pay to learn.  Here’s a video I made Sunday to give you an idea of what I’m learning and doing with ’em – I must say I’m really thankful to my parish community for trusting me to do this:

Mass with Glass Cover

So far, Glass has turned out to be a really cool experience. I won’t bore you with a rundown of what this gizmo does, this guy does a much better job, but I will say that the ‘Directions’ app is superior to anything I’ve ever seen or used.  The bluetooth phone, mic and headphones are only tolerable when you’re someplace really quiet, like a church (which works fine for me). And I’m having recurring problems getting my phone and Glass to stay in sync. But the ability to respond to emails and texts really quickly is growing on me (Glass actually reads me these).  Plus, I’ve always hated texting/typing on tiny smart phone keypads, and the voice recognition software here means lots less typing.

The dorkiness factor is rather huge, and having never worn glasses getting used to them hasn’t been all that easy. Plus, this report says 72% of Americans just don’t dig Glass at all – which has pretty much been my experience too, though this is totally dependent on age: haven’t met too many young people who hate ’em, nor too many old people who like ’em.

There’s a term for obnoxious people who wear these things, ‘Glassholes,’ which is why the term ‘Glassholy’… I know, priest joke. I experienced this Sunday when I took this video — I had to take Glass off halfway through the sermon and at the Communion rail because I was feeling distracted and not taken seriously; I sensed others were too. Church is a sensitive environment to bring a camera, even if it’s pretty well hidden. And I expect a certain amount of pushback from people along these lines as a result of this little experiment. However, I think it’s really important for us to be trying new things, to experiment and put ourselves out there. We are living in some of the most dynamic, developing, and innovative times the world has ever known and I think the Lord wants us to be in the game. If you’re interested in getting Glass, as of late last night, they are now available to anyone – so if you have any questions I’d be happy to help.

Big News! Part 1 of series on The Book of Common Prayer begins today

An American Prayer Book, A Global Prayer Book, taught by Tom Ferguson of Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Federation, is the first in an 8-part series on The Book of Common Prayer and launches today!ferguson

This course is a fascinating exploration of what “The Book of Common Prayer” literally means and why that matters.  That is, why is it “the” Book of Common Prayer?  What do we mean when we call it “common”?  What did its status as “book”  signify in the early days of the Anglican Church and why does it matter today?  What exactly does “prayer” look like?

After taking this course, you’ll have some answers to these sorts of questions; if they’d never occurred to you before, you’ll probably be left wondering why.  Tom Ferguson’s fascinating, engaging talks on each component of the BCP’s title will challenge you to think more deeply about the church’s history, present, and future.  To register or to learn more, click here.

This course is the first in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next seven 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.

Behind the Scenes at ChurchNext 1

BTS 1So how does ChurchNext go about our mission of producing online learning experiences that shape disciples?

This post is about the ‘brass tacks’ behind the operation.  Thanks to the rapid evolution of technology (can you believe the Internet is just 25 years old this month?), we’ve been able to pull together a handful of really talented educators, writers, and clergy to envision what online learning might look like for ourselves and the people in our pews.  Of course we keep in mind the old adage, ‘She who has a good idea is to be praised, she who can execute it is to be worshipped.’

With that in mind, we thought we’d introduce you to the way our courses are assembled around here.

It starts with the ‘White Board,’ which is filled with potential course ideas and subjects. These are generated from our subscribers, Course Shotstaffers, social media comments, publishers, seminaries, etc.  In actual fact, it really isn’t a white board anymore because we outgrew it – now it’s a very long Google Doc (right). We review this from time to time, we pray about it, and come up with a short list. Since it costs us a considerable sum to produce a class, we want to make sure it’s timely, helpful, and meets the needs as we can best surmise them.

Once we decide on the course we’re going to do, we start to make contact with potential instructors. We try to keep to two basic rules: 1) the instructor must have expertise in the subject, for example, have either written a book, and or have an advanced degree in the topic; and 2) they must have a moderate point of view.

Once we select an instructor we go ahead and make contact. Most potential instructors have not heard of us, or of online learning in this way, so we bring them up to speed and if we connect, we go ahead and talk about their course.

While we make suggestions as to how we envision a course going, we leave the final outline up to the instructor.  From there, we schedule a recording date, either in person or via SKYPE and capture the video aspect of the course.

Once the video is complete, it goes onto the edit list, where it is edited to include music, animated backgrounds, Ashley Busseand graphics. You can check out our YouTube channel to see what these look like. These videos are then made into Mp3 files. From there, these videos and Mp3s are uploaded to our server;we use Vimeo for video and have an Amazon Web Services account for docs, etc.  These files are then inserted into a course path on our ChurchNext platform, which was designed in partnership with our technology partner, Pathwright.  From here the initial writer can begin work.  There’s Ashley on the left, she’s one of our talented writers. We are now relatively confident the course will move forward, so we go ahead and plan a tentative launch date.

Once our writer pores over not just the video, but other information sources as well, like the books, articles, blogs or other sources the instructor might suggest, their product goes to Shannon Kellya senior editor.  This is Shannon, who’s on the right.  She double checks everything – accuracy, spelling, etc. of both text and video.  We work together to correct any sorts of errors and, after 70 or so courses, we haven’t had to ‘pull’ one from the mix yet.

Once the course is finished we can go ahead and confirm the launch date. We like to keep 6 weeks or so ahead of schedule. We typically have courses pencilled in to our calendars about 6 months ahead.

Next comes the launch.  We launch a new course every Sunday. We do so by sending emails and writing social media posts to let people know about them. We also contact the course instructor and invite them to take the course and share it with others.

Throughout the process we pray. Yep, we’re a praying bunch. We pray for our customers, instructors, and every student who might take one of these courses, that their lives and the world would be changed for the better.  We look at our work as a vocation, a calling, and are, in many ways, humbled to be a part of this. Thanks to you for reading this far – and to God for taking us this far.