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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ChurchNext for Groups launches today

fishers of men

We are called to live and learn in community, and we here at ChurchNext are committed to shaping and forming disciples in this way. When we launched two years ago, we did so with the aim of offering more ways for Christians and seekers to gather in community to learn, question, pray, and grow, making use of technology to enable learning in non-traditional settings. Our courses offer people time to stop, listen, think, pray, and discuss with others in their church –anytime, anywhere. Online discussions enable folks to chat whenever they wish — and from wherever they are.

And now, with ChurchNext for Groups, you’ll be able to use the rich content of our courses in small group settings. ChurchNext for Groups offers the same videos and discussion questions, but in a format that enables people to watch the videos together, on one screen, and then have in-person discussions. In this way we hope that the library of educational resources that ChurchNext offers can also meet the needs of those hungering for physical community and connection.

We are thrilled to launch the first fifteen ChurchNext for Groups courses today:

How to Pray with Christopher Martin

When We Get Angry with God with Laurie Brock

Creeds and Commitments of the Prayer Book with Jason Fout

Handling the Work-Life Balance with David Gray

Praying with Icons with Randall Warren

The Gospel of Mark with David Lose

Creating Common Good 1: Economic Inequality with Bishop Julio Murray

An American Prayer Book, A Global Prayer Book with Tom Ferguson

The Episcopal Tradition with Frank Wade

Culture and Leadership with TREC (Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church)

Mission and Leadership with TREC

Reimagining Church Leadership with TREC

How to Take a Sabbath with MaryAnn McKibben Dana

How to Simplify Your Life with Mark Scandrette

Each ChurchNext for Groups course comes with a Facilitator’s Guide and a Participant’s Guide that you can print out and use in small-group meetings, either at church, in people’s homes, wherever you’d like to meet. The Facilitator’s Guide is designed to empower lay people to lead small groups, since it doesn’t necessarily take an advanced degree or an ordination certificate to run a successful small group. Willingness to lead and learn is all that’s required.

It is our prayer that ChurchNext for Groups can help us continue to shape, teach, equip, and inspire disciples for the work of the Church. We will continue to launch courses for groups in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, visit us on Facebook and let us know what you think!