The Big Class with Cornel West: “Called to Common Good: Economic Inequality and What Christians Can Do About It”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cornel West to Teach Free, Online Course

“CALLED TO COMMON GOOD:

ECONOMIC INEQUALITY AND WHAT CHRISTIANS CAN DO ABOUT IT”


Open to anyone in the world between January 11-21

December 29, 2014, BLOOMFIELD  HILLS, MI – Cornel West, prominent intellectual, author, and cultural critic, will teach an online course on economic inequality that is open to all, from January 11-21.  This is an opportunity to learn about one of the most pervasive problems in the U.S. from one of the most thought-provoking teachers of our time.west

 

The online course derives from the Trinity Institute’s 2015 “Creating Common Good” conference on economic inequality and is offered through ChurchNext, a leader in online Christian education. The class, a series of video lectures and discussions, can be taken anytime between January 11-21. No special software is required. It will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete. Registration is free and open worldwide beginning today. (Click here for more information or to register.)

 

Dr. Cornel West has often spoken out for justice and equality, specifically what American Christians are called to do about it; the Trinity Institute, a program of Trinity Wall Street, is an annual conference, now in its 44th year, aimed at gathering clerics and intellectuals to discuss matters of deep significance. The upcoming 2015 conference focuses on the often-overwhelming issue of economic inequality. (Click here for more information on the Trinity Institute.)

 

Throughout Called to Common Good, participants are encouraged to think about and discuss economic injustice and moral responsibility. Dr. West explores the problem of inequality, notions of public and private justice, and how communities can effect change. He contends that “no matter how extreme inequalities are, we’ve always got a common humanity,” which is why, he adds, “I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” During the class, representatives from Trinity Institute will be on hand to respond to discussions.

 

Online learning hub ChurchNext has partnered with Trinity Institute to present Dr. West’s course as well as four other previously-released courses taught by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, educational advocate Nicole Baker Fulgham, evangelical blogger Rachel Held Evans, and Julio Murray, Episcopal bishop of Panama.

 

Called to Common Good is a worldwide online learning course for all who are interested in social justice and the Christian faith and is free, thanks to the support of Trinity Institute, The Episcopal Church, and Forward Movement.

 

Trinity Institute is an annual conference, now in its 44th year, that equips clergy and laypersons for imaginative and catalytic leadership. The conference is sponsored by Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in New York City. Trinity Institute takes place at Trinity Church in New York City and is streamed at Partner Sites (which are often churches and seminaries) throughout the world. For more information, visit https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/trinity-institute/2015/what’s-ti2015

 

ChurchNext creates online Christian learning experiences that shape disciples. Along with our partners we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more at http://churchnext.tv

 

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New course: How to Run a Vacation Bible School with Dorothy Linthicum

Vacation Bible School can either be a cheap day camp for kids on summer break or it can be a rich, life-changing immersion in faith for God’s children. Why not make it the latter? In our latest course, How to Run a Vacation Bible School, Dorothy Linthicum shows us how. She offers practical tips and well-tested wisdom on everything from what supplies you might need (or, surprisingly, not need), to identifying opportunities, to training teachers to provide the best experience possible.linthicum

This course is a wonderful way to learn how to run a Vacation Bible School, but it’s also an insightful review that will have seasoned veterans rethinking their own plans or dreaming up new and exciting ones. Dorothy helps us step back a bit to think more deeply about the who, what, where, how, and especially why of a church’s VBS program. She offers assistance on selecting a curriculum, staying organized, selecting volunteers and staff, and getting the whole church involved.

We invite you to imagine just how amazing, life-changing, and faith-enriching a Vacation Bible School can be, not only for young children, but for all the adults involved as well. Click here for more information or to register.

Dorothy Linthicum has counseled countless VBS organizers and reviewed even more VBS curricula in her years as Program Coordinator and Instructor at Virginia Theological Seminary’s Center for the Ministry of Teaching.

TREC 2: Mission and Leadership

Our second course in the TREC series (which stands for Task-Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church), launches today, and is once again designed to spark thought, prayer, reflection, and conversation about the future of the Church.

In TREC 2: Mission and Leadership, we delve more deeply into what it means to be a good leader in the Church of the 21st century. With Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, the Rev. Jesus Reyes, and the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville Burrows, we explore what makes a healthy, Spirit-filled leader; how leaders should create and support community in our increasingly wired and global world; and what place innovation has in these arenas. trec

What’s exciting about TREC is that part of its commission is to “gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and … invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment.” Taking part in these ChurchNext courses is one way to engage in this process. (See our earlier blog post here.)

All who are interested in church leadership or in the Episcopal Church will find much of interest and use in these courses. Click here for more information or to register.

TREC 1: Reimagining Church Leadership launches today

TREC stands for Task-Force for Reimaining the Episcopal Church, and we’re excited to help further its mission by offering three courses, the first of which launches today, to spark thought, prayer, reflection, and conversation about the future of the Church.

TREC arose out of a charge by the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church to create a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration. What does that mean? Simply — and complexly — this means that a group of thought leaders is tasked with reimagining and reinvigorating the Episcopal Church so that “we may more faithfully

• Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
• Respond to human need by loving service
• Seek to transform unjust structures of society
• Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” (more here)

In TREC 1: Reimagining Church Leadership, we hear from three thinkers who have much to offer on the topic of reimagining leadership in the Church: Dwight Zscheile, Associate Professor of Congregational Leadership and Mission at Luther Seminary; Frederica Harris Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School; and Winnie Varghese, rector of St. Mark’s in the Bowrey in New York City. We explore Christlike leadership and innovation, our baptismal covenant as it relates to leadership and imagination, and the concept of truth-telling, both by and to our leaders.trec

What’s exciting about this Task Force is that part of its commission is to “gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and … invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment.” Taking part in these ChurchNext courses is one way to engage in this process.

All who are interested in church governance in general, or in the Episcopal Church in particular, will find much of interest and use in these courses. Click here for more information or to register.

New course: Jesus at Twelve with Chris Stepien

It’s endlessly fascinating, isn’t it — trying to imagine what Jesus was like as a young boy, in those early years about which we know so little. As Chris Stepien says, the story of Jesus as a boy is “a story for the child in all of us.” What was the Messiah like as a child? What filled his days? What did he see, experience, do?  These questions inspired Chris Stepien so much that he’s written a novel imagining Jesus as a boy. In our latest course, Jesus at Twelve, Chris shares some of his research, stepinsight, and wisdom with us. We’ll explore the historical context of Jesus’ childhood in Egypt and in Nazareth; what life was like, what Jesus learned and ate and saw; then we’ll explore whether we might assume that Jesus performed miracles as a child. Finally, we’ll consider what an in-depth contemplation of Jesus’ childhood can teach us, and how it can enrich our faith.

This course offers a thoughtful look at a fascinating topic and is perfect for anyone seeking to better know and understand Jesus Christ. Click here for more information or to register.

Chris Stepien is an Emmy Award-winning producer and author of Three Days: The Search for the Boy Messiah.