Under the umbrella of the Living Church Institute, THE LIVING CHURCH undertakes in-person teaching ministry in parishes and dioceses across the Episcopal Church (soon in Canada and England); the publication of catechetical materials, aimed at various ages and audiences; and leadership development and discipleship work, based out of the beautiful Canterbury House at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Teaching in person
This work springs from our devotion to the Word and words of God, and to communicating the faith of the Church. It also springs from our 140 years of publishing and pedagogical know-how, network of teachers and talent spanning the globe, and social media and marketing heft.
- “Shaping Christian Community in a Lonely World,” with a panel of four speakers, including Dallas’s own Fr. Burdette and Abigail Woolley, moderated by Dr. Christopher Wells; held at Canterbury House, Southern Methodist University, Dallas (April 2018)
- “Lay Christian Education: How, Why, and What?”, an ecumenical conversation about how to approach Christian education today; held at Canterbury House, Southern Methodist University, Dallas (March 2018)
- “Life — and Death — in Christ,” Lenten talk by Christopher Wells at the Church of St. David of Wales, Denton (March 2018)
- “Wisdom Calling: A Conference on Local Formation” in the Diocese of Florida (Feb. 2018).
- “To the Bottom of the Night,” a teaching day on the season of Advent in the Diocese of Pennsylvania (Dec. 2017);
- “Anglo-Catholicism: Uncovering Roots,” a conference at Church of the Advent, Boston (Nov. 2017);
- “Living Sacrifices,” a conference at Nashotah House Theological Seminary on the vocation of Anglicanism (June 2017);
- Workshop by TLC’s editors at the Consortium of Episcopal Endowed Parishes, “Fair and Balanced? Communicating the Gospel in a Partisan World” (Feb. 2017)
Publishing books, tracts, and catechetical materials both for children and adults occupied a good bit of TLC editors’ time in the greatest period of our long history — when F.C. Morehouse and his son Clifford oversaw, from 1900 to 1952, the publishing of both our flagship and an exemplary catalogue of Christian literature under the aegis of the then-nascent Morehouse Publishing Company in Milwaukee. The catalogue grew over decades and lives today as an imprint in the care of Church Publishing, the official publisher of the Episcopal Church. TLC is now returning to this playbook and planning a line of catechetical materials — pamphlets, curricula, catechisms, and books for teaching the faith to all ages — that we hope will become a regular and beloved part of the lives of Episcopalians and Anglicans for the next generation.
Look out soon for Anglicans Believe, a set of 21 pamphlets given to brief, accessible introductions to the Christian essentials for Anglicans (God the Trinity, Jesus Christ, Creation, the Church, the Book of Common Prayer, and so on), written by some of the best teachers and scholars the world over.
Leadership development and discipleship
TLC gathers and serves a broad network of leaders, influencers, teachers, and creative thinkers, and shares their gifts with the wider Church. We also seek out institutional and geographical hot spots — seminaries and universities, vital parishes, and cities in which cultural, intellectual, and economic energies combine to inspire, by God’s providence, major change in the world, including spiritual change. Dallas, set within the booming economy of Texas, is among these. Projections anticipate population growth of 54 percent by 2040, and the Christian dynamism of the city is palpable, enriched immeasurably by a great influx of immigrants, speaking more than 150 languages.
TLC therefore jumped at the generous invitation of Bishop Sumner and the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas to set up a second office at Canterbury House — comfortably situated in the historic Episcopal chaplaincy across the street from Southern Methodist University and its excellent Perkins School of Theology. It presents an ideal laboratory for theological researches and teaching, meetings with leaders, and especially for sustained attention to formation and discipleship in an ecumenical mode. Our regular Faith Talks series anchors the academic year, surrounded by one-off lectures, meetings, colloquia, and more. Like the Living Church Institute’s Facebook page to hear about our events!
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
- Friday April 27, at 7 p.m. — “Liturgy and the Inside-Out Economy,” a conversation with the Rev. Dr. Nathan Jennings of Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, conducted by the Rev. Matt Boulter of Christ Church, Tyler, at Canterbury House (3308 Daniel Ave. Dallas, TX)
- Friday June 8 (3-6 p.m.) and Saturday June 9 (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) — “Hope in the Divided Church: Reading Radner,” the Inaugural Living Church Institute Seminar, led by Fr. Jordan Hylden and Dr. Christopher Wells at Canterbury House (3308 Daniel Ave. Dallas, TX)
- June 12 — “Liturgy: What’s Really Going On?: A Study Day for Clergy and Lay Leaders,” with the Rev. Dr. Nathan Jennings of Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, co-sponsored by the Diocese of Pennsylvania, moderated by Dr. Christopher Wells, at St. Mary’s Church, Ardmore, PA
- June 14 — “Anglo-Catholicism and the Urban Situation,” a lecture by Dr. Christopher Wells at Church of St. Edward the Martyr, New York City
- June 18-22 — “Augustine of Hippo, Teacher”: a course for credit or audit at The General Theological Seminary, taught by Dr. Christopher Wells
- July 7 — TLC’s triennial Conversation on the Church at General Convention in Austin: stay tuned for details
- July 23-27 — “Augustine of Hippo, Teacher”: a course for credit or audit at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, taught by Dr. Christopher Wells
- Oct. 1-3 — “Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness,” a conference at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Albany: register now
- Coming soon: conferences with Church of the Advent, Boston; the Diocese of Pennsylvania; St. George’s Church, Nashville; the Saint Francis Foundation; and several public teaching days with contributors to Covenant. Check back often for dates and details!
- Jan 17-25, 2019 — “Christian Unity in Rome: Anglican Ecclesiology and Ecumenism,” a Rome study tour and pilgrimage at the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Centro Pro Unione; register now
On a wall in the foyer of Canterbury House in Dallas we installed three black-and-white photographs taken by our friend and colleague, artist Richard Hill, that aptly depict the missionary challenge for a communications and teaching ministry like THE LIVING CHURCH. On the left, Eritrean immigrants exercise civil rights in their new home; on the right, Christian leaders pray for reconciliation in the face of continuing agonies over racial division; in the middle, centered on the cross, the unswerving call of our Lord is issued to the next generation — to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).
In the face of a broad decline of Christian culture in the West and too-little formation of the faithful, a living Church can only determine again to sow seeds of re-evangelization, and then head into the harvest with all the help we can muster (see Matt. 9:37). Working with Christ — in him, enabled by him — we cast anew the seed of the gospel along paths, among stones and thorns, and in good soil. We cannot know which seeds fall where, though we may be sure that God will give the growth at the proper time and in the proper way (Matt. 13:1-9; 1 Cor. 3:6). By God’s grace, moreover, and because of our Lord’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, we follow the faithful work of those who have gone before, “entering into their labor” (John 4:38; cf. Matt. 16:18).
In that spirit of loyalty to and love of the institution of the Church, given shape for us in our devotion to global Anglicanism as a visible movement within the broader Church Catholic, and above all as servants of the Word made flesh, who bids us follow him: because, in short, we believe in the unity of signs and things, as in the sacraments and the Incarnation of God himself, we see our ministry as subsisting in the enlivening word in all its forms — in print, and in the mouths of our Lord’s many servants whose feet come bearing good tidings (see Isa. 52:7) through varied teaching ministries, and in the sustained conversations of formative friendships over a lifetime.
Among the gifts that THE LIVING CHURCH brings to our educational work are the freedom and agility of an independent, disciplined nonprofit ministry with a clear and distinctive mission, long-since accustomed to responding quickly to needs, committed on principle to creative improvisation. We subject all of these to continual prayer, relying on the leading of the Lord. Like blood traveling throughout the body, we would be communicative missionaries in service of the whole “for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5). We seek to encourage common clarity, renewed zeal, and trust in all that is true, according to God’s promises and the created order.