Latest course in our Introducing the Book of Common Prayer series: Crossing Thresholds with Roger Ferlo and Suzann Holding

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.ferlo and holding

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.

Click here to register or for more information.

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.

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Latest Course In Our Introducing the Book of Common Prayer Series: Praying the Collects with Ellen Wondra

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 wondraCollects, delving into the structure and theology behind these amazing prayers. We will explore:

  • The Purpose and Structure of Collects
  • The Collect of the Day – Part I
  • The Collect of the Day – Part II
  • A Symphony of Collects

Click here to learn more or to register.

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.

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.

Who Else Is Doing Online Learning? A Snippet from VTS’ eFormation Conference

Learking Key on keyboard copyI was flattered to once again be invited to Virginia Theological Seminary’s annual eFormation conference. This was an amazing gathering of mainline church folk whose imaginations are being piqued by the possibilities new technologies are offering.

Here’s a link to the ‘summary’ page of the conference’s work – as well as the link to the Pinterest page that was set up for presenters to share their slides, papers, videos etc. I was personally inspired by John Roberto’s brief talk on ‘change’ found near the beginning of this recorded session.

One of the topics I touched on during my presentation, which you can find here, was the breadth of online learning in the religious world: what resources are out there? Who’s moving in a direction we need to be paying attention to? I have compiled a far-from-exhaustive list of folk who are swimming in or near these waters and wanted to share them with you as you go about making your way through this transitive time in the Church’s history.

Latest in our Introducing The Book of Common Prayer series: Creeds and Commitments

In Creeds and Commitments, the Rev. Dr. Jason Fout invites us to think a bit about the beliefs and doubts that inform our Church and our own faith journeys.  What is a creed? Why do statements of faith matter? How and where do we find these in the Book of Common Prayer?

Jason begins by asking us to consider what we mean by belief and why it matters; he then delves into the history of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds as well as some other key fouthistorical commitments.  He closes by inviting us to examine what we believe about belief itself; he reminds us that belief is a matter of commitment and, like any other significant commitment, necessarily involves doubt.  These doubts and beliefs are what make our Church — and our very selves — what they are today.

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

What Our Parish Is Doing This Fall: Back to the (Prayer) Book

BCPA few years ago our parish was pleasantly invigorated by Marek Zabriskie and Forward Movement’s ‘Bible Challenge.’ For the uninitiated, this is a one-year reading program in which a congregation is challenged to read the Bible in a year. Thus, we gave out Bibles, developed, printed out, and distributed reading schedules, and organized Bible studies.  This was all well-received and many people were thankful their church helped them finally read a book they’ve always wanted to read.

Now, it’s the Prayer Book’s turn.

This Fall, we’re devoting 8 Sundays to reacquaint ourselves with the most popular English-language book in the world (besides the Bible).

We’re using as an outline the 8-part, ChurchNext course called ‘Introducing the Prayer Book,’ which was done in partnership with Bexley Seabury Theological Federation.

On these Sundays, parishioners will be encouraged to bring their Prayer Books to church and use them during worship. On each of the 8 Sundays we will emphasize different aspects of the Prayer Book, including history, Collects, Creeds, Sacraments, Psalms, etc. On those Sundays people are not able to attend worship, we will encourage them to take the online class designated for that week.  We will also devote our Sunday study hour to these topics. All 8 of these ChurchNext courses will be launched by the end of June: you can go here to the catalog, and click on the ‘Book of Common Prayer’ category to see the courses – most are up, but we’ve still got more to come.

Why are we doing this?  Because one of the great distinctions of being an Anglican Christian is this sacred resource, The Book of Common Prayer. It has helped millions of people grow closer to God for a very good reason: it helps us bring God into our day-to-day lives. It is full of stunningly beautiful language — much of it taken from Scripture — and a wealth of devotional material.  Yet many of us only use that small portion we see on Sunday mornings.  Our spiritual forebears translated the Bible into English, then translated the Bible into a way to live and worship that still works quite well today. And if we lose a sense of this, we miss a great opportunity to draw closer to God.

I, for one, am looking forward to this re-initiation to an amazing book and spirituality. Let is know if you’re interested in doing this, and if so, what kinds of guides you might need — and we’ll see if we can help.

Next course in our Introducing the Prayer Book series: Scripture and The Prayer Book with Roger Ferlo

Someone once described The Book of Common Prayer as “the Bible rearranged for worship;” in Scripture and The Prayer Book, Roger Ferlo, President of Bexley Seabury Theological Federationshows how that can be a very accurate characterization.

Our latest course in the eight-part “Introducing the Book of Common Prayer” series we’re producing in partnership with Bexley-Seabury, Scripture ferloand 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.