If the prayer book is the cornerstone of Anglican theology, then it makes sense to see the Book of Common Prayer (aka BCP) as the cornerstone for Christian education in the Episcopal congregation.
The 1979 BCP is very clear with regards to the purpose of education and formation. Its purpose is directly prayed for every Sunday during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. We pray, as we believe, that each baptized member – no matter what age or stage – is called to engage in an active ministry and mission, to be “sent out to do the work God has given us to do.” That calling is the purpose of education and formation.
When planning a Christian education offering, the congregational leadership for Christian education needs to determine the ways they will discern the development of the members of the congregation. In order to do this, observation of how people engage in ministry and mission is important. Or we might ask, “How does each individual put their faith into action?”
There are four ways we do this:
This companion book to the Book of Common Prayer is intended to gather in one place information and counsel for living, learning, and engaging the questions of everyday life through the cycle of the church year. We live by many calendars – social, seasonal, personal. The rhythm of our experiences and commitments shapes each of us and provides a context in which we can search for meaning in our personal lives, in our relationships with God and others, through our work and play, in joy and pain, in our very living and dying.
This book gives us an opportunity to delve deeper into each of the Sunday’s lectionary readings, church seasons and feast days, and ways we can connect the scripture and our worship in our daily lives.
Each repetition of season and feast holds the possibility of seeing something new, a fresh surprise that can illuminate our understanding and bring us to deeper faith and commitment. The roots of education that are based in lectionary and worship go very deep in our heritage.
Use this book alongside your prayer book, bible and hymnal. If an educator, use it to discover ways of engaging the Sunday readings in your preaching and teaching. If a parent, discover ways you can celebrate the seasons of the church year at home. Everyone can develop a greater sense of how they can live out their Baptismal Covenant throughout the year.