The Reverend Jessica Schaap
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The long days and light of summer when gardens bloom and burst with vegetables, berries, and a rainbow of flowers can also be a time when we can bloom and grow in our faith. This post will offer an array of summer Christian formation opportunities. All are offered to those looking to deepen and integrate their Christian faith and ministry.

The Parish Development School

In this writer’s humble opinion, the school is one of the best learning intensives you could get in developing healthy, sustainable, transformative church cultures. Developed largely by our own Archbishop Melissa, the parish development school is a program that integrates head, heart, and action for the building up of leadership and the common good in our parishes. Best done with a team from your parish, but even if you come alone, you’ll come away with tools to help you not only in church life but home and work life as well. Dates: June 16-June 22. Location: Vancouver School of Theology. Register: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07efrzr5xqe4dcbd39&oseq=&c=&ch=

Summer Schools at Theological colleges

Every year, the Vancouver School of Theology hosts two weeks of summer school along with free public lectures by world class scholars. The classes are three hours long, mornings or afternoons for one week (Monday – Friday) between July 8th to July 19th. Course titles this year include: The Book of Acts: Reflections on Discipleship, Racial Identity, and Community; Indigenous Awareness 101: Becoming Indigenous Friendly in your Life and Ministry; Spiritual Care with Older Adults; and the Contemplative Parish.

Willie Jennings, Yale professor of Theology and Africana studies, will be giving a free public lecture at St. Mary’s Kerrisdale on July 8th, 7pm, entitled: We Are Creatures of the Living God: Helping Christians Have an Actual Doctrine of Creation.

Regent College on UBC campus also hosts a summer school from June 24 – August 2. Topics include: Biblical studies, ancient Greek or Hebrew, the Arts and theology, ministry in the neighbourhood, as well spiritual formation. The full listing is here: https://www.regent-college.edu/summer/courses/summer. They also have a very full calendar of summer evening lectures including one by renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright on July 24th. It’s free, but advance tickets need to be reserved.

Formation for the Whole Family

Families of all kinds can spend time learning, worshipping, playing and eating together at the Anglican-based retreat centre in Sorrento, B.C. Summer registration is now open for 5 weeks of programming which includes daily children and youth activity as well as adult sessions on topics such as the 21st century church, journalling, hiking, the theology of musical theatre, and community building. Newcomers and parish groups can also take advantage of some discounts here. Full service food and accommodation is available as well as camping options.