Areas for Christian Formation

Prayer, Life tasks/Milestones, Church Life, Justice/Civic Life

In addition to the study of scripture, many, if not all aspects of life, can yield Christian formation. Below are some of these aspects and study resources to help discern a faith-based perspective. The majority of these resources are:

  • tried and tested in the diocese
  • free or low-cost
  • online and/or downloadable
  • Anglican

Not sure what area of formation parishioner's are most interested in or need to know more about? Check out this editable Google survey that you can use in your own parish or group.

Prayer/Spiritual Practices

The Vita Retreat - Prayer that makes us whole
The diocesan Vita Retreat works to create an environment for people to encounter the Holy Spirit and reignite their lives of prayer and ministry. The Vita Retreat is available in a half-day, two day, or three day format. The core of the retreat is to introduce people to contemplative and creative prayer practices, provide time to reflect on their experiences, and begin and end with the daily office and worship of the Anglican tradition. Upcoming events are listed here: https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-ministries/the-vita-retreat

Transforming Questions Session 6 - Does God answer prayer?
A 25 minute video from the Transforming Questions course exploring honest questions about prayer and some practical basics for getting started.

Apps for Prayer
From the daily office to guided meditations, this is an annotated list of accessible prayer aids.

The Centre for Spiritual Renewal has several offerings online and in-person to try different prayer practices, including centering prayer, lectio divina, welcoming prayer, and the labyrinth.

Labyrinths are an ancient form of walking prayer. Here is a list of parishes that offer a labyrinth. Some are indoor and others are outdoor. Contact the parish for location and hours.

Vancouver
St. John’s Shaughnessy
St. Paul’s, West End
Christ Church Cathedral (special occasions)
St. Mary’s Kerrisdale

Richmond
St. Alban’s

Fraser Valley
All Saints', Agassiz
St. Dunstan’s, Aldergrove
St. John's, Sardis

Sunshine Coast
St. Hilda’s, Sechelt

Just Begin: A Sourcebook of Spiritual Practices
An accessible guide to 25 spiritual practices with a focus on experimenting and reflecting to find the practices that work for an individual or small group. Particularly good for teaching different practices.

Life Tasks and Milestones

AGING

Living Compass: Aging Well A four session small group course from the Living Compass organization. Leaders will benefit from online training via video before offering it, but it is free and can be taken on your own time. The organization offers a number of health and wellness programs with a spiritual dimension and grounded in Anglican tradition. All the resources are free or low cost for participants. The content creators are the Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner and Holly Stoner, licensed marriage and family therapists.

Redeeming Dementia This is a short online course with a series of bite-sized video lectures by Dorothy Linthicum, an Anglican lay minister and instructor who has written the book Redeeming Dementia. It offers a view of dementia and Alzheimer’s through a Christian lens and is for caregivers and congregations who want to understand and care for those caring and living with dementia.

PARENTING

Parenting for Faith
A free eight session video-based course for parents to grow in confidence and ability to nurture their children and teen's relationship with God. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, foster parents, and ministry leaders can also find lots to use in their relationships. There's an outline of how to adapt the course to a completely online version here. The website is clear and easy to use. It's produced by the UK based Bible Reading Fellowship which has Anglican roots and sponsors Messy Church - a family-based worship ministry used in the diocese.

Conscious Parenting - Centre for Action and Contemplation
Fr. Richard Rohr's popular website for spiritual formation includes a number of short articles on contemplative parenting. This is an archive of all the articles.

Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents
Many parents may feel reluctant or unsure how to share their faith with their children. Some are hesitant to bring faith practices into the home for a variety of reasons. This is a simple, gentle book that offers a variety of ways to practice prayer, bible reading, and marking the church’s calendar. Written by a progressive Episcopal priest who specializes in children and family faith formation.

Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time
A non-judgemental, welcoming approach to bringing more sabbath rest to a busy family schedule. The writer recounts with honesty and humour how their family tried to bring sabbath into their lives and offers other families the chance to do it in doable and realistic ways.

Living Compass - Parenting Wellness Circle
A six-week small group course or individual workbook from the Living Compass organization. It is intended for a group of parents who desire a group for support and companionship as they work on increasing their family’s well-being.  In the program parents take an assessment that covers all eight areas of wellness, then over six weeks work on paying more attention to one of those areas. The parenting program is offered as a secular program with a faith-based resource as a supplement. All the resources are free or low cost for participants.

RECOVERY

Is My Loved One Addicted? Following a clinical and disease-based model of addictions, Rob Benz a pastor and clinical counsellor offers an overview and practical resources for friends, families, and churches to recognize and support people living with addictions. It’s a short one hour course. The instructor has also written the book, The Recovery Minded Church.

Breathing Under Water: A Spiritual Study of the 12 Steps An online course and book by contemplative, Franciscan writer, Richard Rohr that delves into the possibilities for healing from addiction alongside the wisdom of the 12 steps and Christian tradition.

WORK/VOCATION

Fruitfulness on the Front Line A 6 week, DVD based small group program, FoFL, provides a way for people to integrate their Sunday worship with their Monday lives. Participants watch a 8-13 minute film and discuss challenges and opportunities of growing as a Christian in the realm of work and weekday life. Preaching aids are included but are not lectionary based. Parishes who’ve run it: St. George’s Maple Ridge

Career and Life Discernment Process A series of 6 small group conversations to help individuals discern next steps in their lives. The Career and Life Discernment Process is aimed at, but not exclusively for, the professional or para-professional who is in, or about to enter, career transition, and particularly those exploring faith and sense of spirit and how that faith and spirit connect with their work and livelihood. Persons/parishes who’ve run it - Alisdair Smith (designer of the process), Marnie Petersen, St. Brigid’s and Christ Church Cathedral. Email the Missioner for Christian Formation to review a copy of the guide.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer
A classic book on discernment and finding a life of purpose and meaning.

GRIEVING

Living Compass: Living Well in Grief and Loss A four session course for small groups to journey together through bereavement. Leaders will need online training via video before offering it, but it is free and can be taken on your own time. The organization offers a number of health and wellness programs with a spiritual dimension and grounded in Anglican tradition. All the resources are free or low cost for participants. The content creators are the Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner and Holly Stoner, licensed marriage and family therapists.

WELLNESS/HEALTH

The Sanctuary Course An eight week small group course to learn, explore, and discuss questions about mental health and faith. The course is available online and the diocese has an access code to view it (cost per parish to register: $100.00). Each session includes a short film, discussion questions, and prayer. The course looks at mental health through a psychological, social, and theological lens. Films include testimonies from people who have faced mental health challenges as a person of faith. Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: Sharon Smith, St. Catherine’s, Capilano; Christ Church Cathedral

Living Compass: Adult Faith and Wellness: A collection of free or low-cost programs for small groups to address life choices and issues from a holistic Christian perspective. Aimed at building spiritually, emotionally, financially, and vocationally healthy lives in service to others. Leaders are trained to offer the program. Includes resources for teens, families, and adults. The approach is focused on building “wellness circles” of fellow pilgrims including a facilitator. Four-session guides are also offered for these topics:Living Well in the Midst of Grief and Loss, Forgiveness, Parent Wellness, Aging Well, Mindful Eating, Emotional Wellness, Building Healthy Relationships, Enhancing Your Well-Being With a Spiritual Practice
https://www.livingcompass.org/programintroduction

I Intend...A Rule of Life
A five session program to develop a rule of life. Developed by Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora, Ont. and available as a free download, it includes a program guide and a participant workbook. Each session includes prayer, lectio divina, group discussion, and other resources such as video/audio. Participants come away with a filled workbook that outlines the commitments they desire to make in five areas: creation care, time, talent, treasure, well-being. Can be done individually or in small groups. The guide also comes with sermon and worship resources to align with Sundays during the program. Available here: https://www.anglican.ca/gifts/i-intend/

 

CHURCH LIFE

For some of us, our ministries call us to support and uphold the life of parishes and/or the diocese.These include roles in worship, church governance, formation, committees, and outreach. Parish development helps us grow and learn new skills to carry these ministries out faithfully and effectively.

See the Parish development section of the diocesan website. Especially consider the School for Parish Development - a wonderful, immersive program to build your skills in ministry with others.

Revive: A discipleship program to develop the spiritual leadership of lay leaders. The course takes place over 10 months comprising three modules of six, 2 hour sessions and an opening and closing retreat day. The program is aimed at developing the prayer lives of wardens, property managers, treasurers, parish council members, synod delegates, youth ministers, etc. and give them confidence to lead public prayer and short Bible meditations, and grow in spiritual maturity through reflection on big topics like forgiveness, death and dying, the creeds, and spiritual gifts. Participants craft their rule of life by the end of the program and will have planned their funerals in a pastoral environment.

Learn more at: http://renewalworks.org/revive/

Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: St. John’s, Squamish, Holy Spirit Whonnock

SSJE - Small Group Series Designed mainly for Lenten small groups, the SSJE (Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Anglican monastic order) have produced small group programs on a Rule of life, the Gospel of John, the Marks of Mission, and Symbols of the Church. Courses are all free and come with downloadable resources including participant and facilitator guides as well as daily videos and email reflections for personal participation. https://www.ssje.org/monasticwisdom/

EVANGELISM - Telling our Stories

Spirit of Invitation: A resource from the diocese of Toronto to explore what Christian invitation means and how Anglicans can engage in organic and authentic ways to share their faith. It’s six sessions of two hours each with video, discussion guide, opening and closing prayers. It’s not necessary to do each session, the materials can be adapted. Printed copies can be ordered for a small fee but the whole resource, including films, is free to play and download.https://spiritofinvitation.com/invited/

Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: St. George’s Maple Ridge

Talking Jesus: A video based 6 session course to encourage Christians to talk naturally and authentically about their faith life. Developed by an ecumenical group in the U.K. including the Church of England.

Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: Holy Trinity, Vancouver

Listening and Spiritual Conversations by Sue Pickering
An Anglican priest and spiritual director gives a guide to active listening and authentic telling of spiritual stories of one’s own and of Jesus. Could be used by an individual or in a small group. Reflection questions are included.

Persons/parishes who've read it: Rev. Peggy Trendell Jensen, St. Clement's, North Vancouver

Embracing Evangelism by Virginia Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Church USA
A free, six session, video based course that takes an Anglican approach to telling our stories as part of the great story of God's redeeming work in the world. Can be used by parishes and small groups and includes activities, discussion questions, and facilitator guide.

 

JUSTICE & CIVIC LIFE

ANTI-RACISM

Diocesan Dismantling Racism Training

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to take the diocesan training – Dismantling Racism – stay tuned for announcements of dates and locations on the event page. Consider whether your parish may wish to host a workshop. The workshop is facilitated by trained people from the diocese and is free and open to clergy and lay people. The particular emphasis of the training is to raise awareness of how white privilege operates.

Parishes who have formed book study groups and/or courses to address anti-racism: St. Hildegard’s, St. Catherine’s Capilano, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Dunstan’s Centre for Spiritual Renewal, St. John’s, Squamish, Holy Trinity, White Rock, St. Mark's, Ocean Park, St. George's, Maple Ridge

INDIGENOUS JUSTICE

See the Indigenous Justice section of the website and/or contact Kerry Baisley, Missioner for Indigenous Justice

Reconciliation Toolkit - Anglican Church of Canada
This is a collection of resources and ideas to learn about the history of indigenous peoples in Canada, the residential schools, and indigenous languages, as well as practical ways to build relationships and practice reconciliation through our parishes. https://www.anglican.ca/tr/reconciliation-toolkit/

CREATION CARE/ECO-JUSTICE

For the Love of Creation
A faith-based, Canadian resource that offers free, small group conversation guides for dialogue on climate change issues. The guides can begin a conversation with those who haven't discussed climate change in a group before and subsequent guides can help groups discern a course of reflection and action. https://fortheloveofcreation.ca/resources/

CIVIC LIFE

A Guide to Civil Discourse for Church Groups: Sometimes public conversation gets rancorous, what is a Christian response? This is a free online course from ChurchNext to help us build dignity and respect in our conversations. This is a five session video based course that comes with a facilitator's guide covering topics:

  • Civil Discourse in Context with Ranjit Matthews
  • Tenets for Civil Discourse with Shannon Ferguson
  • Values-Based Conversations with Alan Yarborough
  • The Complexities of Policy with Rebecca Linder Blachy
  • Sacred Space for Debate with Marcus Halley

SOCIAL JUSTICE

A Possible World: An introduction to justice seeking for individuals and parishes. It’s a free, easy to use, 7 session course for small groups with short videos and a work booklet. It’s published by the Church Mission Society and has references to the UK but can be adapted to our context. Could be helpful for discerning concrete ways to respond to neighbourhood needs.

https://churchmissionsociety.org/resources/possible-world-study-and-videos/

Just Faith: A Roman Catholic based series of courses to equip Christians for justice and service work. Topical studies on migration, food security, non-violence are available alongside spiritual practices such as centering prayer and lectio divina to accompany justice work and outreach. The 24 session Just Faith course focuses on cultivating Christian approaches to the poor, the neighbor (esp. racial equality), and the earth. It can be divided into three shorter courses.

https://justfaith.org/programs/

Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: St. Philip’s, Dunbar