Instructor Highlight: Chris Stepien

There are precious few mentions of Jesus in the Bible that involve his childhood. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can learn from imagining what the child Jesus would have been like. Chris Stepien, author of Three Days: The Search for the Boy Messiah, has consulted stepienScripture, commentaries, and other authorities to piece together what life for the pre-teen Jesus would have been like.

As a journalist, in fact, Chris Stepien has spent his career asking tough questions and telling intriguing stories. His Amazon author profile tells the story:

He’s worked as a television producer-director and writer for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). From 1979 to 1987, while at WXYZ-TV, Detroit, he won six EMMY awards for documentaries, sports and celebrity specials, and children’s programming, as well as many other honors. Stepien left broadcasting to co-found Adventure, Inc., a successful Detroit-based video/film production company. He created award-winning communications for Fortune 500 companies like General Motors and Ford Motor Company for nearly nine years. Since 1996, Stepien has crafted marketing and advertising for global clients as writer-creative director and owner of Stepien Creative Services, Inc.

A lifelong metro Detroiter and Roman Catholic, Stepien attended parochial schools and was an altar boy. He and his wife, Ellen, have two adult sons, Alex and Mike. Chris and Ellen are Vincentians, active members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP). Stepien, a former SVdP conference president, is currently spiritual advisor to a group of Vincentians in Dearborn, Michigan. Their core mission is to respond to the needs of poor families in the surrounding community, visit them in their homes, and provide financial assistance, guidance, friendship, and hope.

Bible studies, spiritual exercises, and praying the rosary inspired the author to write this novel about young, preteen Jesus. Stepien relied on his humble love of God and his passion for visual storytelling to help him shape this account of the boy Messiah, and His Passover pilgrimage. His experiences serving the needy and children of alcoholics were very influential, as well.

So if you’re yearning to know and understand Jesus this Easter season, consider our course, either as an individual or in a small group. We’re grateful to offer the research and talents of Chris — and of all of our gifted instructors — as we seek to shape disciples, transform hearts, and share the Good News.

Advertisements

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.

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.

New Course In Our “Introducing the Book of Common Prayer” Series

English Origins of the Book of Common Prayer is our latest offering in partnership with Bexley-Seabury, and it’s a fascinating look at the often messy history of the Anglican Church. In this course, popular writer, educator, and priest John Dally takes us through the dally
upheaval and conflict, as well as the heroic sacrifice and passionate dedication, that formed the beginnings of the Church of England and of its Book of Common Prayer.  From Thomas Cranmer’s 1549 Book of Common Prayer to the reign of Elizabeth I and beyond, this course helps us understand the environment in which our faith was born.  Many men and women devoted their lives — and gave them up entirely — to create an English church separate from the church in Rome; the language and liturgy Episcopalians love today derive their richness from this fascinating period.

This course is the third in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next five courses will be launching in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. This series is brought to us by our partners at Bexley Seabury Theological 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.

Join us!

Part 2 of The Book of Common Prayer: Spirituality of the Prayer Book

What is the Spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer?  How does it inform people’s lives and beliefs as members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as Christians in general?  Whether you’re a lifelong Episcopalian, a newcomer to the denomination, or a member of another faith tradition, you’ll find much of interest and much worthy of thought in this new course. Click here to learn more and sign up for this course.

After all, when the crafters of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) set out to assemble an accessible guide to prayer and liturgy they were also intentional about putting together a resource that could shape disciples for a lifetime. Karl Ruttan

In this course, spiritual director, teacher, and writer Karl Ruttan shows us how the Book of Common Prayer can be used to deepen our spiritual lives. It’s called ‘The Spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer.’  Karl begins by telling us how the BCP serves as a handbook for holiness.  He then walks us through its origins in Benedictine spirituality. He also shows us how to use the Daily Offices, or daily prayer liturgies for morning and evening prayer. Karl ends by showing us how we might use the Baptismal Covenant as a foundation for a rule of life.

This course is the second in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next six courses will be launching in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. This series is brought to us by our partners at Bexley Seabury Theological 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.

Join us!

Big News! Part 1 of series on The Book of Common Prayer begins today

An American Prayer Book, A Global Prayer Book, taught by Tom Ferguson of Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Federation, is the first in an 8-part series on The Book of Common Prayer and launches today!ferguson

This course is a fascinating exploration of what “The Book of Common Prayer” literally means and why that matters.  That is, why is it “the” Book of Common Prayer?  What do we mean when we call it “common”?  What did its status as “book”  signify in the early days of the Anglican Church and why does it matter today?  What exactly does “prayer” look like?

After taking this course, you’ll have some answers to these sorts of questions; if they’d never occurred to you before, you’ll probably be left wondering why.  Tom Ferguson’s fascinating, engaging talks on each component of the BCP’s title will challenge you to think more deeply about the church’s history, present, and future.  To register or to learn more, click here.

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

Fascinating New Course: Exploring Hell with Seth Carey

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. ” 
― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

seth careyExploring Hell with Seth Carey is the latest ChurchNext course, and it tackles a subject everyone has wondered about but very few have pondered in depth.  The Rev. Seth Carey has. He’s a minister at First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, IL where he specializes in teaching on occult religions, theodicy, and Judeo-Christian mythology. In this class Seth teaches us about the origins of our conception of hell, how this notion has changed and developed over time, and what the Bible has to say about it.  He explores demons and the devil and their cultural and religious significance, and he closes by offering a few thought-provoking modern theories about hell as a chosen state of being. This course will have you thinking for days, whether you are new to the subject or you are a seasoned student of theology.  Click here for more information or to register.