launching today: Reading and Praying in Church: The Office of Lector

The scripture is fullfilled in our hearing

Lectoring is an ancient ministry. Scripture says that Jesus himself read aloud in the temple. If you read or lead prayers in your church (or both!), or if you are considering engaging that ministry, consider taking our new class, Reading and Praying in the Church: The Office of Lector with Tim Spannaus.

Tim takes us back to the origins of lectoring and teaches us how the laity came to engage this sacred ministry. He offers valuable suggestions for preparing and proclaiming passages from scripture, including intellectual and spiritual ideas on how to better understand and convey the meanings of scriptural passages. The class also includes training on practicalities. Wondering what to do if the reading includes words like “Pi-Hahiroth” or “Zerubbabel”? Concerned about when to look at the congregation and when to look down at the reading (and not losing your place trying to do both at the same time)? Tim’s class answers these questions and many more. The class also includes valuable training about leading psalms and reading or leading public prayers.

If your ministry involves training lectors, or if the lectors at your church would like to study together, consider utilizing our group class, formatted for group discussion. While you are there, take Tim’s advice and practice your readings for one another! You can give each other valuable feedback.

Would you like a sneak preview? Enjoy this video! 

Tim Spannaus is a deacon and lector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak, Michigan. He teaches on liturgy at The Whitaker Institute in Detroit, Michigan.

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New course: Introducing Christian Baptism with Anne Kitch

You can’t know everything before you take the plunge. There is more grace and love to be had than you ever imagined. ~Anne Kitch

As we learn in this course, Introducing Christian Baptism, when we are born again by water and words, we are not just granted some one-time ticket to Heaven. Rather, we are entering into a new community, becoming part of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, and we are committing to becoming — day by day — more of who God intends us to be.  We are promising to uphold our faith through thought, word, and deed.  We enter into a sacred covenant with a loving God, one that can never be dissolved, one to which God will always be faithful. kitch

This course offers a wonderful introduction to baptism, especially within the Episcopal Church, but it’s also a fabulous refresher for those of us who have already been baptized.  Anne Kitch walks us through a brief history of baptism, defines what baptism as a sacred covenant is, and then helps us understand what baptism means to us and what we give in return. Baptism grants us belonging in the most wonderful community on earth and is something we don’t do alone. Click here for more information or to register.

And stay tuned for more courses by Anne Kitch on the sacrament of baptism launching this month: Adult Baptism in the Episcopal Church and Preparing for Infant and Children’s Baptism.

The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch is a mother and an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA. She is the author of several books including The Anglican Family Prayer Book.

New course: Introducing the Altar Guild

Introducing the Altar Guild is not just an introduction to this vital ministry; it’s a stunning reminder that this often-invisible group makes the worship service beautiful, seamless, even possible: though we may take it for granted, the altar guild makes sure that the altar, the priest, the celebrant, and the Eucharistic elements are present for hinchmanworship and in ideal form.  Serving on an altar guild is a wonderful way to live out, in service, your awareness of God’s love.

In this course Hobey Hinchman, former president of the National Altar Guild Association, walks us through the duties, expectations, origins, and best practices for altar guilds.  Whether you’re a seasoned guild member, a newbie, discerning a call, or perhaps merely interested in learning more about this long-standing ministry, you’ll find much of interest in this course.

Click here to register or for more information.

New course: Introducing Methodism

“Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”

“Catch on fire and others will love to come watch you burn.”

“We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others.”

“Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?”

“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.”

All of the above are attributed to John Wesley, who, in attempting to revitalize and renew the Church of England, ended up setting in motion a whole new kind of church.  Our latest course, Introducing Methodism, shows us how Anglicans John and Charles Wesley forever changed the landscape of Protestant Christianity. Methodism reminds us that God calls us to help the poor, to be on fire in our hearts, and to work towards holiness in this life. byassee

Whether you’re a stranger to the Methodist Church or a longtime member, even if you’re happily dedicated to another denomination, you’ll find much wisdom and food for thought in this course.  Jason Byassee’s fascinating reflections encourage us all to renew and revitalize our own faith, and to remember that faith is a verb, that our hearts should always burn for Jesus Christ. Click here to learn more or to register.

Jason Byassee is a popular speaker, author, and pastor of Boone United Methodist Church in North Carolina.

 

 

New course: The Roman Catholic Tradition

The word “catholic” — with a little c — means universal. In many ways, the Roman Catholic Church is also universal: it’s the largest Christian church in the world.  Everyone knows at least a little about Roman Catholicism, or about the wonderful work Pope Francis is doing in his ministry.  But what exactly does “Catholic” with a big c mean? What is universal about farristhis faith tradition?  What is unique?

You’ll find much of interest in the four lessons that comprise this course:  Roman Catholicism’s origins, its distinctive beliefs, its diversity, and then lecturer William Farris’s own testimony of faith.  Even Roman Catholics may something new — or forgotten — in this wonderful course. All who confess faith in Jesus Christ will benefit from this overview of one of the richest faith traditions in world history. Click here to learn more or to register.

William Farris is a Franciscan priest and pastor at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Southfield, Michigan.

 

Introducing Judaism with Joseph Krakoff

We’re excited about our latest course, Introducing Judaism, a fascinating overview of Jewish history, belief, and tradition.  There is so much wisdom to be found in Jewish law, not only for Jews but for those of us who share a belief in the one true God and a heritage in Abraham. krakoffFor example, in Lesson Two we are reminded of God’s commandment to honor the Sabbath as a day of rest and enjoyment of God’s gifts, and of the injunction to respect each other, to let no idle chatter, gossip, or unkind words about each other leave our mouths.

Such wisdom is just one of the things we share with our Jewish brothers and sisters.  You’ll find much of interest and value in the lessons provided by Rabbi Joseph Krakoff, who is an engaging and interesting teacher.  Click here for more information and to register.

Joseph Krakoff is an educator, speaker, and rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, MI.

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.