This formation ex8674878261_75fa308cda_kperience will engage the tradition of Christian theological reflection on human action. We will explore Christian ideals of conduct, character, and community, with particular attention to their practical significance.  We will focus on the life of the church as well as the role of religion in public life. We will give special attention to the ways that Christian beliefs and practices interact with systemic social and ecological problems, particularly racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism. This course is an invitation to cultivate an ethical style.

Online: April 24 - June 12, 2017
In Person: May 6, 2017 at the Episcopal House of Prayer near Collegeville, MN

NVY photoInstructor: Nathaniel Van Yperen, M.Div., Ph.D. Adjunct Instructor at Saint Catherine University, United Theological Seminary, and University of St. Thomas

Course Materials: Robin Lovin, Introduction to Christian Ethics (Abingdon, 2011); Articles/Documents posted on Moodle.


This course mets online: February 20-April 10

This course meets in-person: Saturday, March 4, Episcopal House of Prayer near Collegeville, MN

The rhythms of the church year guide us annually through the great stories and themes of the Christian faith. But why do Episcopalians follow a liturgical calendar? Where did the idea come from, and how has it changed through the centuries? How do the liturgies in our Book of Common Prayer express the important themes of faith, and how can they be part of the church’s missional, outward focus? This course will offer an in-depth study of the rhythms and themes of the church year, with particular attention to the liturgies of Holy Week.


  • Familiarity with (and ability to talk about) the liturgical year and lectionary cycles
  • Ability to plan and participate in the liturgies of Holy Week, with attention to each faith community’s size and context, and with understanding of theology underlying liturgical choices
  • Understanding liturgy, particularly during Holy Week, as both an expression of the faith of the church and also an opportunity for missional engagement with the community

Book List

Required for the course:

  1. Book of Common Prayer
  2. Hymnal 1982 (Consider investing in the Accompaniment Edition, especially Volume 1, Service Music, which has extra music, supplemental material, and special indexes — very helpful for liturgical planning)
  3. Holy Bible, NRSV
  4. Westerhoff, John H. A Pilgrim People: Learning Through the Church Year. (New York: Church Publishing, 2005)
  5. Mitchell, Leonel L. Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the Great Fifty Days: A Ceremonial Guide. (Boston: Cowley Publications, 1996)
  6. Hatchett, Marion J. Commentary on the American Prayer Book (HarperOne, 1995)

Strongly Suggested (You will want them for your reference in the future):

  1. Book of Occasional Services, 2003 (this is the most recent edition)
  2. Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing, 2010)

About the Instructor:  The Rev. Lydia Huttar Brown is a priest in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. She has taught liturgy courses and workshops at United Theological Seminary and the ECMN School For Formation. She was part of the editorial and writing team for the liturgical resource booksChanges: Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passage andEnriching Our Worship 5: Liturgies and Prayers Related to Childbearing, Childbirth, and Loss.


Online: Monday, February 20 to Monday, April 10, 2017

In person: Saturday, March 4, 2017 at Episcopal House of Prayer near Collegeville, MN

The many ways of defining spirituality seem to have a basic underlying common theme of lived experience, or in Alister McGrath’s words, “spirituality is the outworking in real life of a person’s religious faith—what a person does with what they believe.” This course will provide an historical and experiential approach to different kinds and ways of praying within the Christian tradition, exploring both apophatic and cataphatic understandings of prayer. Additional topics include origin and impact of one's image and concept of God, practical approaches to discernment, models of faith styles, and spiritual direction to help maintain a life-long orientation to spiritual growth.

Throughout the course, participants will be expected to record daily entries in their prayer and learning journals (not to be turned in). A final project will be to outline a retreat experience for those in the participant’s faith communities, with the goal of helping people deepen their own spiritual journeys, while growing in an ever-deepening awareness of God’s love. Course content will include weekly on-line lectures (asynchronous) of approximately 20 minutes each, and an on-line discussion forum to exchange thoughts, experiences, ideas, and to pose questions. Readings will be selected articles, as well as on-line readings and links. There will be one full day meeting at the Episcopal House of Prayer near Collegeville, MN.

Required Readings:

The Way of a Pilgrim Translated from the Russian by R.M.French, New York: HarperCollins, ©1965.

Practical Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill. Columbus,Ohio: Ariel Press, ©1986. 

Faith Styles: Ways People Believe by John R. Mabry, Harrisburg, New York: Morehouse Publishing, © 2006 (avail at,, others)

Students are also required to purchase a journal for recording prayer experiences or significant learnings.


Mike Sirany, MA (theology)

Mike is a teacher and supervisor in the spiritual direction training program at Sacred Ground Center for Spirituality, St. Paul, MN. He taught for 12 years as an adjunct theology instructor at St. Catherine University, and is the current director of the Episcopal Spiritual Directors group in MN. He received his certificate in spiritual direction through the Wayzata Cenacle in 1997 and has a private practice of spiritual direction in Roseville, MN.  

This course meets online: January 16 - March 6, 2017

This course meets in-person: Saturday, February 4

Join ECMN Missioner for Missional Management, The Rev. Michael Pipkin, for Missional Management, a seven-week online course exploring the foundations and supporting structures for movements and institutions engaged in God's mission. This course meets in-person on February 4 at the Lay Leadership Day at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Roseville, with a dedicated workshop and time to take part in the other events of the day as well.

Online: February 20 – April 10, 2017
In person: March 4, 2017 | Locations TBA

Instructors: Richard Webb M.Ed. and Carrie Carroll M.A.

Building Bridges