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Holy Communion 101 

with James Hamilton

 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me."   John 6:53-57

The word Eucharist is from the Greek for "thanksgiving," and it is this act of thanksgiving that Jesus commanded us to perform, in remembrance of God's gift of salvation through Christ's death and resurrection. It is the "family meal" shared by Christians, an act of communion-- of sharing as a community-- and an act of faith.  If you are a member of a liturgical Protestant church, chances are you celebrate Eucharist regularly, and yet you may be unfamiliar with the rich layers of tradition and meaning in this sacrament.

In this course the Reverend James Hamilton, who leads the Church On the Square in Baltimore Maryland, walks us through each prayer, act, chant, and moment of Holy Communion, explaining their history and significance in fascinating detail.  You will learn why we do what we do, and this knowledge will deepen, enrich, and renew your worship experience.

Creating Common Good: A Christian Response

with the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of  Canterbury

While the issues of economic inequality, injustice, and poverty may seem overwhelming and insurmountable, Archbishop Justin Welby -- and the Christian Church -- offers hope. Just as we are all implicated in sinful systems, we are likewise equipped to effect change from within. We as the body of Christ are poised and ready, on the ground, in every community, to help those in need. After all, when we follow the call of Jesus, miraculous things can and do happen.

In this course, the fourth of our Creating Common Good series in partnership with Trinity Institute, we explore how we as Christians can lead the charge in restoring balance. The Church's belief in the intrinsic value of each human being reminds us that "common good" is not some economic term for increasing wealth; rather, it is a focus on sharing our bounty so that each individual can flourish. We know -- and can help others understand -- that all we have comes as a gift from God; we can remember where we came from and what we are called to do with our resources. We can help ourselves and others turn our focus outward, on service and sacrifice. For these, as we know, are the paths to joy in abundance. Archbishop Welby encourages us to focus not on what we can't do, but what we can. 

English Origins of the Book of Common Prayer
with John Dally

In addition to accessing the course on line, join us Early Bird Education Hour on Sunday mornings, July 19 & 26, at 9 am for a lively discussion of ​​English Origins of the Book of Common Prayer.  CLICK HERE for more information.

 The most popular Prayer Book in the world came at great cost to the writers, whose work continues to feed the spiritual lives of millions of people today. In this class, author, priest, and professor John Dally walks us through the amazing historical development of the Book of Common Prayer.

The Anglican Church has a long and sometimes violent history.  Whereas our conflicts over the revisions to the Book of Common Prayer in the 1970s may seem tense, we forget that people died for the sake of their beliefs in the early years of the Church of England.  The 1500s were a time of upheaval and change, politically, socially, and economically, and these considerations profoundly influenced religious change.  In fact, the formation of the Church of England was as political and economic a revolution as it was theological.  Henry VIII's desire for a divorce was merely the means to what many viewed as a long-needed reformation of the Roman Catholic Church.

In this course, we will learn about the factors that affected the early decades of the Anglican Church, from Cranmer's 1549 Book of Common Prayer to Elizabeth I's 1559 version; from the first English Bible to bloody rebellion in Cornwall; from kings and archbishops to queens and wives of powerful men.  We will learn just what it meant to establish a mass in English, to institute a national Book of Common Prayer, and to make the English monarch sovereign over the pope. We will see how the tolerance and diversity of the Anglican Church we know today arose out of real need in the 16th century.

Making Sense of the Crossng
with Davd Lose

In addition to accessing the course on line, join us Early Bird Education Hour on Sunday mornings,  beginning April 3  @ 9 am  for a lively discussion.  CLICK HERE for more information.

As Christians, we sometimes forget that our entire belief system is centered on a cross. This happens for a variety of reasons: the cross is fearsome, it is difficult to comprehend, it is threatening, and it can be muted or limited by our theories and theologies. Yet the cross is the pinnacle of God's story of creation, love, forgiveness, and grace. Jesus' death and resurrection are what animate our entire faith. But what exactly does the cross mean for our daily lives?

 David Lose invites us to set aside all our ideas and theories about the cross and instead to think of it as an experience. He asks, "What if the gospels aren't just a record of the cross but an invitation to experience God?"  As he reminds us, there's a big difference between reading about something and actually doing it.

The cross is the culmination of the story woven throughout Scripture, and it teaches us the truths at the heart of the gospel: that God knows us -- truly knows us, inside and out -- and, perhaps unfathomably -- loves us. In fact, these truths, while they are the best news in the world, are also threatening to our sense of control and independence. They are the reason Jesus was rejected and crucified. Our human longing to be known and our simultaneous fear at being known, at acknowledging our brokenness and our need for God, are what the cross enacts. Through Jesus on the cross, God says, "I know you. I love you." When we hear those words, we die and we rise again.

When we begin to see the cross as an event in which we learn -- and constantly relearn -- the truth of the gospel, we can more clearly understand what we are called to do and how we are called to be. We can rethink what it means to live in community, to go to church, to live as a new people in an old world. We can join God in renewing and restoring Creation, in working towards reconciliation and atonement. When we experience the cross we can see with Jesus' eyes and feel with Jesus' heart.

The Rev. Dr. David Lose is the president of Luther Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He is a sought-after speaker and author. 

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Online School

St. Luke's School of Religion

In our online school, we can study with some of the best teachers around. You'll log in at home -- or wherever you can get online -- at any time of the day or night, and then we can meet at St. Luke's to discuss what we've learned. Now our busy schedules won't get in the way of our inquiring and discerning hearts!

If you would like to become a part of our online school, please email Rosalie DiSimone-Weiss:


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