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Resources for group-based theological study

The following list is descriptive of a variety of resources in use within dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada and does not suggest official endorsement of any of these programmes by the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee or the General Synod. We encourage you to check out the websites of the resource-providers to help you in your discernment of what might be a useful programme for your community and context.

This resource list is a work-in-progress. If you have any suggestions of programmes, resources or networks that might be helpful additions to this webpage, please contact Eileen Scully, Director, Faith, Worship, and Ministry by email.

Additional resources for theological education for lay people can be obtained by contacting Educational Institutions Affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada

Animate consists of three units of seven sessions, each with a different theme and focus. The themes are Faith, Bible and Practises. In each session the group will watch a video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith, spend time on personal reflection and journaling, and share ideas with the group. The order of each session is up to you and what works best for your group. Session resources are available as a complete curriculum or a la carte.

To run this program you will need a facilitator who is willing and comfortable to present materials but then let the group take the lead on where they want to go. The Facilitator Guide contains plenty of notes, ideas, and a structural framework for facilitating each session.

Samples of all of the materials are available on their website.  This program is highly visual with lots of drawings and doodles in the materials provided.

The Pilgrim Course consists two stages or streams, the “follow stage” is designed for those new to the Christian faith and is formed around the question “do you turn to Christ?” The “grow stage” is for those who wish to go deeper in the faith and is formed around the question “will you continue in the Apostles teaching and fellowship?”  Each of the stages consists of four units each broken down into six sessions with different themes.  Each unit has its own book which contains all the materials needed for each of the sessions and the videos are found online and are a free download. Each session has opening and closing prayers, conversation starter video, a reflection on Scripture, a short article from a Christian writer, questions to further the conversation and “sending out” section with further reflections and suggestions for daily living.

This course is led by a leader. A leader’s guide is available and provides an overview, background and the thinking behind how the course was created. There is also advice on how to facilitate a group and the different learning styles. Extra liturgical resources and advice on further reading is also provided

Five courses provide comprehensive training for Baptism, confirmation, spiritual gifts assessment, discipleship and worship (with instructed Eucharist).  You may structure an hour-long program, several morning-long classes or a weekend retreat to complete the confirmation class. Selected segments may be used to enhance your current education programs, such as Baptism preparation, adult education programs, prayer, or for your Sunday Christian formation hour. A facilitator’s video and workbook pages with small group lessons are also included with the series. No particular training is needed for someone to facilitate the group except preparation for each class. Materials include five courses, a facilitator’s video (how to set up the classroom), and a printed Facilitator’s/Participants’ Guide. The participant pages are available online for those who purchase the series so they can be copied locally. Each course has two to four segments (about 15 minutes), each of which is intended to be followed by group work (about 45 minutes), led by a local facilitator, using copies of the Facilitator’s and Participants’ Guide.

Education for Ministry (EfM) is a program of theological education by extension for lay people. There are four years of study, but participants commit for one year at a time, meeting in small groups with a trained mentor. The program combines academic study with integrative components to help participants take what they learn about Scripture, church history, theology and ethics into their own lives and hearts, supporting them in living out a vibrant baptismal ministry in the church and in the world. EfM Online provides people who cannot attend a weekly face-to-face group an opportunity to participate in this course of study. A trained mentor is needed to lead the program and must participate in training sessions offered by EfM.

Emmaus: the way of faith, is a program that provides books and material to help churches walk alongside those who are making the journey of faith. The course contains three parts: contact, nurture and growth.  Contact is one book and nurture and growth are two separate courses each containing fifteen session.

At least one leader who is confident enough in their Christian faith is needed to give teaching input each week, answer the different questions an enquirer will ask and oversee the life of the group. The group will also need co-leaders who will be involved in getting to know those who come and led small groups.  A minimum of one leader and two co-leaders for even the smallest of groups with additional co-leaders for every four group members.

The Kerygma Program’s primary purpose is to promote and facilitate responsible, effective study of the Bible in the church. The Program Design encourages leaders to make adult Bible study an integral part of congregational life. They are best used with a specific schedule, a registration process, and good promotion. Kerygma’s Adult Education Idea Book offers step-by-step guidance in planning for adult education. In addition, a variety of supplementary resources related to administration and promotion have been developed and are available. Training is available for leaders but is optional.

Lifecycles is used as the formation process for mutual ministry teams which will provide the primary pastoral leadership in congregations. Some members of the congregation will be ordained, others will be commissioned for leadership ministries within the congregation while others will be sent forth to carry out their ministries in their daily lives. The materials are organized in units of six sessions. Each session includes worship, the reading material and discussion questions, group activities. Each unit introduces an academic skill, a prayer method and/or a leadership skill that is practiced during that unit. Specific issues, skills or topics are address in the Practicing Theology Units which can be any number of session and can be used when the group chooses. Training is available and strongly recommended for the “mentors or companions” of the small groups.

Living the questions 2.0 consists of 21 sessions which may be offered in sequence or as three programs (“Invitation to Journey,” “Reclaiming the World” and “Call to Covenant”) of seven units each. Each session may be conducted in one hour or expanded to include a meal and personal sharing. The 20-minute video segments include conversations with leading voices of faith, digital stories illustrating aspects of an evolving faith, and concrete spiritual practices and disciplines.” Downloadable and printable leader and participant guides with weekly readings and discussion questions are available.

Via Media introduces participants to Anglican terms, individuals from history who were a part of the tradition, and deeper reflections on the basics of the Anglican heritage using excerpts from the New Church Teaching Series and personal witness statements. Designed to be modular, the program can be used as three separate 8 week courses (using one of the three modules for each); can be used for three week discussion forums (picking Modules A, B & C for an individual topic); or can be used as an intensive 24 week Anglican Education course. The via media curriculum comes to you on a CD. Two versions of the curriculum are provided; a .pdf version that’s ready to be printed and duplicated and a MS Word version that you may edit as you see fit. A Coordinator’s section, to help the person overseeing via media to prepare all the materials; this section includes a script for each session, to help participants and facilitators know what to do next. A Facilitator’s section, to help the table leaders prepare for each weeks’ session; this section will include several suggested discussion questions to go along with each video. A Participant’s section, including take-home materials (a Theology Statement, a Question for Reflection, etc.) aimed at helping participants to reflect on what’s been presented at the via media session. Also provided are several different kinds of closing worship, tied to the subjects for each week, that aim to provide an introduction to different methods of prayer.