Book of Alternative Services online: A low-tech hack! Beginning on pg. 146, you could start with a great bible study of all the passages listed in the middle paragraph that speak to baptism. Ask about meaningful experiences and images of water from their lives. Move through the liturgy and offer a time of meditative conversation, questions, and enjoyment of the rich imagery and scripture that accompanies baptismal liturgies. Pretty much the whole story of salvation is told through the “Thanksgiving over the Water” on pgs. 156 and 157. Explore which of the baptismal promises on pg.159 they are drawn to and which they are most challenged by. Do a rehearsal of the liturgy allowing for time to touch vessels, font, vestments, etc. move through the space, smell the chrism, etc.
Being Christian. Rowan Williams’ slim volume is a simple but eloquent introduction to the core of Christian faith: Baptism, Bible, Prayer, Eucharist. Each chapter could form a session. Ask people to underline what they loved and circle what they had questions about in each chapter for preparation for your sessions. Or you could use/adapt this simple study guide.
The Pilgrim Course: Turning to Christ. A seven session course that explores each of the affirmations and renunciations of baptism and trust in the triune God. The whole course is available in a compact, reasonably priced booklet. Each session includes prayer, discussion, scripture, reflection, an optional video, and selections from over 2000 years of Christian tradition.
Baptism: Sharing the Divine Life: Part of the SSJE (Society of St. John the Evangelist) series: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life. This is an essay on baptism that emphasizes the invitation and promise of Trinitarian life. It’s downloadable for free in an attractive magazine format.
Baptism: A Lifelong Celebration (2004): A video that is a bit dated but produced by the Anglican Church of Canada and a pretty accurate reflection of how baptism is celebrated in our church. It also includes discussion questions at moments to pause and engage the viewers. The video could be watched together and discussed at the paused sections.
Godly Play Story of Baptism: This 8 minute video offers a good introduction to the symbols of baptism, and yes, it was written for children's formation, but it allows the life of the symbols to awaken imagination and reflection. This could be very helpful for a family preparing for baptism of one or more of their members. If meeting in person is not possible, this gives a sense of the tactile experience of baptism too. Email the Missioner for Christian Formation if you'd like to see the script and learn the story to tell it yourself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Juatr2NVOeY.
Celebrating Baptism (2016): A 3 part video series from the Episcopal church, which is attractively produced and more up-to-date, but features only one family and so is lacking in representation of the diverse range of candidates for baptism; it could be used as a supplementary resource. A nice feature is the group discussion guide offered for each video.
For those exploring faith for the 1st or the 50th time; adults preparing for baptism, confirmation, reception into the Anglican Church, or reaffirmation of baptismal vows. In 11 sessions, we seek to move deeper by engaging in some of faith’s most basic questions: Who is Jesus? How should we read the Bible? Why is there suffering?. Participants gather for prayer, hear a presentation, and then join in small-group discussion. Through listening and sharing, all will wrestle with these foundational questions in each other's company. As we do so, we will learn more about ourselves, one another, and the Jesus we are seeking.
Do you want to offer Transforming Questions in your own parish, deanery, diocese? You are welcome to view and download the The Facilitator's Guide and The Participant's Guide below which have everything you need to put on the course including online and on site options.
An 8 part course for newcomers and those wishing to deepen their faith. Developed by the Church of England, each session in the course follows a similar format: worship, scripture study, reflection, a film, and discussion. One course at any time and in any order can be offered. The 8 courses are designed for small groups and focus on core aspects of the Christian faith: Baptism, Lord’s prayer, Creeds, Eucharist, Commandments, Beatitudes, Bible, Church and Kingdom. Each course is 6 weeks long and comes with a booklet (~12.00 ea.) and films that are available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PilgrimCourse/featured. The books are now available to ship in Canada from www.parasource.com
Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: St. Anselm’s, St. Christopher’s, St. Catherine’s, St. Stephen’s West Van, St. John’s Shaughnessy, St. John's, Squamish
An updated video series of the popular introduction to Christianity from Holy Trinity Brompton in England. Still works best when it allows people to gather together for a meal. Alpha Canada has resources to support multiple language formats, a youth version, as well as additional courses for marriage prep. Includes well-designed planning and promotional tools. View previews of videos and tools at: https://run.alphacanada.org/ Persons/Parishes who’ve run it: St. George’s, Maple Ridge; St. Timothy’s, Burnaby (youth version); St. Laurence, Coquitlam (youth version); St. Mark’s, Ocean Park;
Animate on ChurchNext: Geared more toward individual study, this course includes short videos of big-name theologians and teachers introducing core aspects of Christianity: (1) Faith (2) Bible (3) Practices. Each course includes short reading assignments, videos, online discussion, and even self-assessments. It could be done with a group but it might need participants to login to the course and then logout to discuss in Zoom or over email or some other program. It also costs $10.00USD per course (up to 9). It's pretty engaging and accessible material and it honours the big questions people have. The speakers include: Lauren Winner, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Brian McLaren, Bruce Reyes-Chow, etc. It could work well if there's only one person in the parish whose interested and available. Clergy or lay leaders could include a Zoom or telephone call to have further conversation and build relationship.