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    A forum for general discussion on any topic of interest and relevance. 

    The class “Know Your Story, Live it Boldly” will be taught using a variety of methodologies in keeping with the Stevenson School tradition.

    This class is designed for individuals and/or parish-based groups.  Parish based groups who use the course as a Lenten Study can opt to gather in real-time for discussion in their congregation on a weekly basis as well as participate in the on-line discussion groups.

    Course work will include:

    • A weekly warm-up writing prompt inviting personal narrative (also good for parish group sharing) with the option for individual essays to be included in a diocesan literary magazine/blog to be published in late spring 2017
    • Videotaped lectures with accompanying power-point slides
    • Assigned reading (including some you-tube videos for viewing)
    • An on-line discussion thread (for participating parish groups these discussion topics could be used as material for a mid-week, face-to-face Lenten discussion program)
    • Writing assignments based on the lectures and readings (optional for parish group participants, mandatory for those taking the class for Stevenson School academic credit)
    Know_Your_Story_Syllabus_2.2.17.pdfKnow_Your_Story_Syllabus_2.2.17.pdf

    The first part of this course concentrates on the phenomenon of Old Testament prophecy and its place within the history and religion of ancient Israel, as well as within other cultures of the Ancient Near East. The principal prophetic books are studied with exegesis of selected passages. The second part of the course focuses on a critical study of apocalyptic literature concentrating on the Book of Daniel.

    Aim of the course: To introduce students to various methods of interpreting the Bible, particularly from within the Anglican tradition.

    When asked about a shared theology, Episcopalians often reply, "Look in our Book of Common Prayer. Or, better yet, come pray with us!"  At the root of this response is liturgical theology, the understanding that the liturgy is a source of our theology.  In this course, we will explore the question, "What is liturgical theology?" as well as "How do we engage the theology in our liturgy?"  Using Kevin Irwin's book Context and Text as our main guide, we will build a practical methodology for liturgical theology. Focusing primarily on the Eucharist, students will construct their own liturgical theology using their parish as the context. We will use multiple media including readings, Moodle discussion groups, live online discussions and group presentations.  Join us as we "Engage the Mystery" of our liturgy together.

    This course introduces students to the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—as the basis of the Lectionary and the foundation of what most Christians know about Jesus. Students will explore how each of the three synoptics is related and take a detailed look at the second half of the Gospel of Matthew and the entirety of the Gospel of Luke. Open to all, but Anglican Approaches to Scripture or an equivalent course and Synoptic Gospels are strongly recommended as prerequisites.

    This 10 week course will provide students with an overview of the history of liturgy in the western church, Anglican Tradition, with an emphasis on the liturgical theology of the Book of Common Prayer, Baptism and Eucharist along with the Daily Office.

    This course will also include an introduction to the various roles of deacons in the liturgical life of the church. Through reading, practice, reflection, and class discussion through the use of threads, the students will explore the ministry of deacons in worship

    Meeting God’s Call: Who is the God who is Calling Us?

    Using Bishop Edward Little’s book, Ears to Hear, Recognizing and Responding to God’s Call, invites those who are exploring their call to lay or ordained ministry to ask “Who is the God who is calling us?” This module looks at the stories of God’s call to ordinary people, gaining a deeper understanding of individual narrative, community narrative and their relationship to God and the nature of Gods’ call. 

    Exploring one’s ministry through the fourfold shape of the Eucharist

    • Take: what are the gifts, skills, experiences, relationships that you take to the process of discernment and to your ministry?
    • Bless: How is your call being sanctified? How has it been acknowledged? What joys have you experienced in your ministry?
    • Break: how have you been required to take up your cross? What challenges have you experienced? How do you understand your brokenness?
    • Give: How do you envision your ministry to God’s people and Christ’s Church?

    More Information coming soon.

    This is a course on Gospel sharing and proclamation through the lens of the lectionary for February, March and April 2017 comprising passages from Matthew, John, 1 Corinthians, Romans together with passages from the Hebrew Bible (OT).  We will also discuss readings for the Feast of St Joseph (March 19th), the Annunciation (March 25th) and for Holy Week (April 9-15) . We will look at recent scholarship on these biblical books, particularly Matthew's gospel, and focus on reception history (wirkungsgeschichte-- "history of effects").

    Participants are encouraged to join online forums each week about sermons and Christian Education in parish settings. 

    This course will undertake a pilgrimage into traditional and contemporary Celtic Spirituality.   We will examine the rich and deep traditions of the Celtic Christian movement with particular attention to the dynamics and rhythms of connectiveness, presence, and engagement in a spirituality we can claim as our own in this 21st century.

    Two texts will be used:  Ian Bradley’s now classic, “The Celtic Way” and Esther deWaal’s engaging “Every Earthly Blessing”.  Students will have weekly reading assignments.  In response to the readings and on-line lectures by the instructor, students will be asked to post short weekly on-line responses to questions posed by the instructor.  Each student will also select a topic for special consideration and write an essay to share with the class.

    In this class the student will develop a scholarly paper of their own theology of Pastoral (or Practical) Theology building on what they learned of pastoral care in the Anglican Tradition in the prerequisite class of Practical Theology.

    The student will also develop a hands on project relating to pastoral care such: as developing a support group; becoming a chaplain with a local fire, police or emergency medical team; creating a food bank, job bank, volunteer bank; or any other project mutually agreed upon with the professor and the rest of the class. Success is not necessary, but initiative and innovation are mandatory.

    Emphasis is on a practical hands-on project in order to carry the message and compassion of Christ.

    This is a course in the basic history of the Episcopal Church. We will begin with a consideration of the planting of colonial Anglican churches and the struggle for stability and identity, especially in the wake of the American Revolution. Each week, in a linear sequence, we will read from Richard Prichard’s, “A History of the Episcopal Church”, (Morehouse, 1991) which will be used as the principle text. The course will conclude with a decade of renewal (1980-90) and some reflection on directions and developments, which continue to shape our church of the present.

    This new course is designed for small groups in a parish or region.  It covers similar material that the primary course in Celtic Spirituality features.  But the methodology for “Conversations in Celtic Spirituality” is designed for small groups, meeting together, lead by a convener who is taking the primary course at the same time.

    Conversations in Celtic Spirituality.pdfConversations in Celtic Spirituality.pdf

    Over the course of the eight lectures, associated assignments, and tutorials students will

    1. become familiar with theologies of homiletics, and theories of its practice;
    2. learn rhetorical skills;
    3. discover their own preferred styles of preaching;
    4. develop a deeper love for preaching and appreciation of its practice in the church;
    5. learn how to use their voices effectively when speaking to a congregation;
    6. learn how to read effectively in public.

    If you want to provoke a vigorous debate, start a conversation on organizational culture. While there is nearly universal agreement that (1) it exists, and (2) that it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior in organizations, there is little consensus on what organizational culture actually is, never mind how it influences behavior and whether it is something leaders can change.

    This presents a problem, because without a reasonable definition (or definitions) of culture, we cannot hope to understand its connections to other key elements of the organization, such as structure and developmental systems. Nor can we develop good approaches to analyzing, preserving and transforming particular cultures. If we can define what an organizational culture is, it gives us a handle on how to diagnose problems and even to design and develop better cultures.

    This module assumes that congregations manifest the characteristics of family systems and seeks to use family systems theory to approach at least a tentative definition of the specific culture of subject parishes. Once the participant has begun to describe a tentative definition, the participant will focus on apparent needs and possible developmental dynamics for movement toward and sustenance of a healthy congregation. 

    This course is designed to give students an overview of Pastoral Theology anchored in the Classical Tradition and how it has evolved and developed through today. We will introduced to Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory the Great, the Briton Patrick, Alfred the Great, the Reformers Martin Bucer, Thomas Cranmer, Richard Baxter, and finally contemporary pastoral theologians such as Sam Shoemaker, Andrew Purves and Eugene Peterson.

    Over the course of two residential retreats, eight lectures, and associated assignments and tutorials students will

    1. Encounter eight crossroad moments in Christian History which reflect epic developments in the evolution of the faith community.
    2. Understand the context of each crossroad, tracing aspects of the political, cultural, economic, and ecclesiastical forces which shaped that important development.
    3. Identify the key issues, people, and outcomes of each crossroad moment.
    4. Reflect on the dynamic direction which each crossroad represents in the evolution of Christianity and the Anglican Community.
    5. Learn to apply these historical crossroad moments to the contemporary life, worship, witness, and mission of the Church.

    - See more at: http://www.diocesecpa.org/formation/ssfs/coursesandinstructors#sthash.vCfXvt1u.dpuf

    Over the course of two residential retreats, eight lectures, and associated assignments and tutorials students will

    1.      Gain a thorough knowledge of John’s Gospel, in particular

    a)      Learn how the eight “I am” statements of Jesus encapsulate John’s Christological foundations and,

    b)      Discover how the “I am” statements are exemplified in dynamic encounters between Jesus and individuals in the Gospel.

    2.      Identify essential ministerial skills, particularly those associated with priestly ministry, and gain an overview of how those skills may be practiced in parish settings, using Jesus’ encounters with people in John’s Gospel as a guide.

    A space for conversation, sharing resources and events, and making prayer requests.  All students and faculty participating in the Fall 2016 semester are welcome here! 

    Over the course of two residential retreats, eight lectures, and associated assignments and tutorials students will:

    1. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the post-Christian nature of their locations;
    2. Discover how traditional and recent methods of addressing the Church’s decline have failed to halt the marginalization of the Church and the Gospel;
    3. Develop the tools to analyze the mission practices of the congregations they serve;
    4. Become deeply acquainted with the Missional Church movement, and identify how it may serve as a model for fruitful mission in their localities;

    Have their love for God, God’s Church, and God’s mission revived

    The first part of this course concentrates on the phenomenon of Old Testament prophecy and its place within the history and religion of ancient Israel, as well as within other cultures of the Ancient Near East. The principal prophetic books are studied with exegesis of selected passages. The second part of the course focuses on a critical study of apocalyptic literature concentrating on the Book of Daniel. Pre-requisite: Old Testament Course 1 or equivalent.

    You are invited to begin a process of exploration that will enrich your understanding of adult learning and inform your role as educator in church community. This foundation course provides an overview of the major theories and philosophies of adult learning, as well as hands-on experience in teaching. The structure of the course is intentionally designed using experiential learning, in order to highlight this particular adult learning theory. 

    For weekly assigned discussion questions and other group discussion relating to the Message of Mission course. 

    This space will be used for the St. Luke's, Altoona group to participate in weekly discussion pertaining to the Message of Mission Course. 

    An exploration of vocational call through the Baptismal Liturgy and the Baptismal Covenant

    1. One Hope in God’s Call to Us: Examining the Elements of the Baptismal Liturgy
    2. I Will with God’s Help: Hearing God’s Call in The Vows of the Baptismal Covenant
    3. Their Stories, Our Stories

    Called through Community

    Called in Holiness

    Called in Ordinary Life

    More information coming soon...

    Meeting_Gods_Call_in_Sac__Story_I_Baptism.pdfMeeting_Gods_Call_in_Sac__Story_I_Baptism.pdf

    This course will engage the participants more deeply into the sacramental life of the Anglican Communion.

     Participants will explore each of the seven sacraments of the church and connect each sacrament to the liturgical functions of the clergy.

    The Synoptic Gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke — are the first three writings in the New Testament. They have long been given this name (which means “same eye” or “similar point of view”) because it has been recognized that they share a large body of substantially similar stories. Most of what everyday Christians know or remember about Jesus comes from the material in the Synoptics. The weekly Sunday Lectionary is built upon the Synoptics as its foundation. And since Jesus is the center of the Christian faith, the material in the Synoptics is central to our understanding of him.

    This course is part one of two. It will introduce students to the Synoptic Gospels, discuss the issue of how each of the three is related to the others, and will then take a detailed look at the Gospel of Mark and the first part of the Gospel of Matthew. (Part two of this course, taught in another term, will examine the second part of the Gospel of Matthew and the entirety of the Gospel of Luke.)

    The weekly course work will consist primarily of online joint live class sessions, online lectures, blog posts with and among class members and the instructor, close reading of the gospel material, and reading of at least one scholarly commentary on each Gospel. Over the course of the term, students will also write a number of brief reflection papers as well as a few longer papers, exams or sermons.

    This course will focus on the dynamics of The Small Church, stressing the prophetic voice of the small church for the wider church today. The participant will observe the small church and leadership dynamics of the small church, listening and gathering the stories of small churches. Participants are expected to read the required reading, engage in discussion, meet together at the beginning and the end of the course, and prepare a portfolio of their work in the course.

     

    Over the course of two residential retreats, eight lectures, and associated assignments and tutorials students will

    1. Trace the development of Christian Mission in the Book of Acts
    2. Explore events and principles in the biblical text that inform parish ministry in Central Pennsylvania today.
    3. Become acquainted with missional movements, theories, and initiatives that inform contemporary congregations.
    4. Develop the tools to critique a congregation’s missional strategies.
    5. Learn the skills of engaging in culturally appropriate ways in the parishes they serve. 
    1. Introduction, Europe on the eve of the Reformation, The Humanists
    2. Martin Luther, his road to the Reformation and his theology
    3. Ulrich Zwingli and the early Reformation in Switzerland
    4. The early Reformation in Germany and the Peasants War 1524
    5. The Anabaptists and the spread of the Reformation to the Low Countries and England
    6. John Calvin and Geneva
    7. The Catholic response and the Council of Trent
    8. The Henrican Reformation in England… Through Edward and Mary
    9. Elizabethan Reform in England
    10. English Revolution and Restoration…  Review 

    This first part of this course deals with those background issues necessary for a proper understanding of the sacred texts: including inspiration, inerrancy, canonicity, biblical history, and how the reader is to interpret the biblical texts. The second part of the course applies these concepts to a study of the Pentateuch, concentrating on Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy.

    Introduction to Christian Ethics, Part I


    "Drawing on  insights, models, and tools from the fields of Organization Development, Congregational Development, and the Missional Church movement, this course is designed to help the leader think strategically about, and engage with, their community and their church as they strive to discern and join in the mission of God."

    Through required reading and assignments, class discussions, class meetings and video conferences, participants will learn about the unique gifts that can be found in small churches.  Stories of small church success and failure will be shared in the form of case studies.  This course is focused on vestry and warden leadership.  Teams from parishes are encouraged to engage in this learning together.

    Over the course of five online lectures, discussions and assignments, students will learn about:

    1. important teachers of Christian spirituality

    2. five main streams of Christian spirituality

    3. spiritual disciplines that can change our lives

    4. everyday techniques for Christian spiritual practice

    5. commitment to Christian spiritual living through a Rule of Life

    This module seeks to sort out some of the complex issues involved in the life cycles of parish mission and ministry with particular emphasis on understanding the management of communal loss and grief. These issues can apply on a macro level (e.g. the loss of parish identity) or on a micro level (e.g. the loss of longstanding ministries).

    The module uses a case study method and provides some resources of participants.

    A parish will never be able to develop a parish-wide life stewardship culture if the leadership of the church does not understand, personally practice and effectively teach and preach these principles themselves. Good life stewardship practices do not trickle up, rather they must trickle down. It must begin at the top. If we truly believe that we are stewards of God's gifts and that we as individuals are part of that gift regime, then we must be able to apply stewardship principles rooted in our own discipleship to the gifts we ourselves have received. This module seeks to help participants understand how they use their own "time, talents, and treasures" in the context of ministry to model stewardship effectively to others. 

    Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. Stewardship responsibilities include everything the organizational, service and management needs of an entire community, parish, or congregation.

    Most people think of stewardship in the context the management finances and the development of a sense of faithfulness in paying tithes and pledged offerings. However, stewardship essentially comprises a community's obedient witness to God’s sovereignty. Stewardship provides the motive for action that manifests belief in God and participation in divine purposes for humankind. Thus, stewardship defines the participant's practical obedience in the administration of everything under his/her control, i.e., everything entrusted to the participant and the subject community.

    This module seeks to assist participants to understand his/her responsibilities to shepherd and safeguard the resources of the subject parish so as to create an environment that is sustainable and capable to continuing development within the Church's mission.

    Communities do not just happen. They must be organized. Someone has to build strong enough relationships between people so they can support each other through long and sometimes difficult social change struggles and help transform it to support mission based action. Sometimes that requires reorganizing the community by identifying individuals who can move the community to action. Community organizing refers to the entire process of organizing relationships, identifying issues, mobilizing around those issues, and maintaining a sustainable organization.

    This module seeks to help participants develop a working community organizing model that will assist in understanding the power dynamics at play in the subject congregation, how to manage power as exercised within the congregation, and to develop strategies for empowerment as needed.

    If you want to provoke a vigorous debate, start a conversation on organizational culture. While there is nearly universal agreement that (1) it exists, and (2) that it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior in organizations, there is little consensus on what organizational culture actually is, never mind how it influences behavior and whether it is something leaders can change.

    This presents a problem, because without a reasonable definition (or definitions) of culture, we cannot hope to understand its connections to other key elements of the organization, such as structure and developmental systems. Nor can we develop good approaches to analyzing, preserving and transforming particular cultures. If we can define what an organizational culture is, it gives us a handle on how to diagnose problems and even to design and develop better cultures.

    This module assumes that congregations manifest the characteristics of family systems and seeks to use family systems theory to approach at least a tentative definition of the specific culture of subject parishes. Once the participant has begun to describe a tentative definition, the participant will focus on apparent needs and possible developmental dynamics for movement toward and sustenance of a healthy congregation. 


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