Instructor profile: Anne Kitch

If you have children or grandchildren, if you teach children, if you’re interested in children’s spiritual formation, you’ll want to get to know the Rev. Canon Anne Kitch (if you haven’t already). We’ve been fortunate to have Anne present several ChurchNext courses; she’s an inspiring preacher, author, priest, and expert in Christian education. kitch

Her book The Anglican Family Prayer Book is a highly-praised and wonderful resource for those in the Episcopal tradition. As a parent herself, Anne knows that children’s faith begins in the home and that home is perhaps the best and most natural place for us grown-ups to teach children about God — and to worship and pray with them. Anne calls this book “a sacred book, a recipe book, a traveler’s guide, and a tool kit.” She emphasizes the importance of modeling an active prayer life with our children, and this book offers easy and everyday ways to incorporate faith practices into your home life. As we know, children are always watching and learning from us, so if we seek to encourage their lives of faith, Anne’s wisdom is absolutely invaluable. She shares some tidbits of this book in her ChurchNext course, Start a Family Devotional Time; this would be a wonderful class for a parents’ or MOPS small group. (One of the great things about ChurchNext courses is that you can take a course after the kids are in bed, on your own schedule, without even having to get a babysitter!)

Anne has also written some wonderful resources on baptism, both baptism for adults and for children. We commend to you her books, Preparing for Baptism in the Episcopal Church; Water of Baptism, Water for Life: An Activity Book; and Taking the Plunge: Baptism and Parenting. Since baptism is arguably the most important day of your life, preparing for it, whether it’s your own or your child’s — is both vital and fruitful. Along with her published works, we commend to you these ChurchNext courses, as either primers or refreshers on baptism:

Introducing Christian Baptism
Adult Baptism in the Episcopal Church
Preparing for Infants’ and Children’s Baptism in the Episcopal Church

Check out also Anne’s other wonderful books for children and families:

Bless This Way
Bless This Day: Toddler Prayers
What We Do in Church: An Anglican Child’s Activity Book
What We Do in Advent: An Anglican Kids’ Activity Book
What We Do in Lent: A Child’s Activity Book
One Little Church Mouse

We’re grateful to have wonderful priests and authors like Anne in the ChurchNext family, helping folks think about, learn about, and enrich children’s lives of faith.

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.

New course: Preparing For Infant and Children’s Baptism in the Episcopal Church

This latest course on baptism by the Rev. Canon Anne Kitch is a wonderful exploration of what baptism of young children can and should mean for us adults. Preparing For Infant and Children’s Baptism isn’t just a wonderful primer on how to prepare for having a child baptized, it’s also an insightful reminder that baptism isn’t just a moment in time. Rather, it’s a life lived in Christ, one which we’re promising to support when we witness someone’s baptism.

In five lessons, Anne explains what sorts of promises we adults make, what they mean, how to live them out in our daily lives, and why this all matters. She offers concrete wisdom and tips on how to live out the covenant we make for ourselves and on behalf of our children. This course is a kitchwonderful introduction for parents and godparents; it’s also an invaluable reminder to all members of a church community who are responsible for helping to bring children up into the Christian faith and life, and into the full stature of Christ. Click here for more information or to register.

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: The Spirituality of Children with Catherine Maresca

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~Luke 18:17

Children have unique experiences and understandings of God, and these understandings change as children grow and develop.  What’s more, the joy and sense of communion that children feel with God can be nurtured and encouraged; in fact, beginning spiritual formation at a very young age can ensure that children grow up with a deep sense of the benevolence and closeness of a loving God.  We as adults can learn — or relearn — a great deal from children’s spirituality.maresca

This course is a fascinating look at how children’s spirituality begins and changes according to identifiable developmental stages.  The research and wisdom that Catherine Maresca collects and shares in these lessons can benefit parents, children’s ministers, and anyone who longs to recapture a childlike joy and connection to God.

Catherine Maresca is the director of the Center for Children and Theology, which publishes resources and research related to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Now Available: Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry with Faith Forward

Last week’s Big Class, Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry with Faith Forward, was a smashing success and inspired great discussion about our churches’ theologies of children, how we minister to young people, and how they can minister to us.  Now this course is available to take or to add to your church’s online school.  Check it out:    FF Title Pic

Where are all the young people in church?

The folks at Faith Forward suggest: Something is happening in the church. A new kind of Christianity is taking root and growing across the globe. New forms of ministry, worship, and community are emerging. Questions are being asked. And change is happening.

But amidst these changes and shifts, children and youth are being left behind. Innovative approaches to ministry with adults are emerging around the world, but little critical reflection and attention has been given to how to nurture young people within a new kind of Christianity.

In this class, 4 keynote speakers who will be appearing at the 2014 Faith Forward conference, ‘Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry,’ share their insights into what this reimagining should look like. Lessons include:

  • Where Are We? with Dave Csinos
  • Reimagining: Theology with Ivy Beckwith
  • Reimagining: Story with Marvin Bray
  • Reimagining: Rhythm with Danielle Shroyer

Click here to register.  Click here for more information and to register for the Faith Forward Conference.