Bexley-Seabury Offerings

The Diocese of Rhode Island, as part of Province I, has partnered with Bexley-Seabury Seminary to offer Pathways for Baptismal Living. Currently there are two courses we bring to your attention:

Backstory Preaching’s Sermon Camp

Over the course of seven weeks, you will learn an adaptable rhythm of sermon preparation so you routinely complete your sermons by Friday. This rhythm incorporates your spirituality so you preach Good News you believe, and preach it more effectively. This process of studying the sermon text is adapted from the ancient rhythm of Lectio Divina: read, study, express, and pray. While you will learn to employ this process over five contiguous days, it is expected you will adapt this process and schedule to suit your personality and calendar. In addition, you will learn and apply BsP’s “Heart of the Message” process to clarify and articulate your sermon’s message and content. You will also appraise sermons based on BsP’s definition of an effective sermon, with two sermons of your own and two of your peers. By the end of this course you will:

  1. Write better sermons faster
  2. Consistently complete your sermons on your desired schedule.
  3. Grow closer to God in the process of sermon prep.
  4. Create a sermon prep process to sustain you throughout your ministry.
  5. Preach into the uncertain state of the world.

This course is for those preparing for a Lay Preaching License and is meant for those who have gone through Education for Ministry, or taken the pre-requisite courses. Additional information on this course is here. If you are interested in becoming a Licensed Lay Preacher or Minister, please begin here.

More information and registration for Bexley Seabury courses is found here.

Discerning my path for faithful living

More than a course, this innovative communal process invites participants into a time of deep listening, practice of ancient and modern spiritual disciplines, and insights offered and received regarding individual gifts and passions — all within a brave/safe circle of trust. In addition to monthly synchronous Zoom meetings in small groups of 6-8 with a trained facilitator, participants will engage classic and current texts, videos and articles on discernment, spiritual practices, and the ministry of the baptized. Our journey together will be enriched with activities for self-reflection, guided conversations with others, and exploration of our own contexts. Our goal is to encourage each person to practice discernment of their call as a baptized Christian and equip them to actively be the Body of Christ in daily life.

This discernment process is meant to assist persons in finding their lay vocational ministry; it is not intended as a step towards ordained ministry.

More info here.

You can watch informational videos from the Instructor, and past participants.

Complete this online form.

The Diocese of Rhode Island is offering to pay $100.00 towards each tuition; it is expected that the participant and their parish will make up the difference. There is scholarship funding available, based on need.

Other formational opportunities with Bexley-Seabury will be coming. Please stay tuned.

Grant money available for your congregation’s Way of Love events

The Congregational Development Commission (CDC) would love to help fund events and programs sponsored and run by YOUR congregation which would invite people across the diocese to experience the different practices in the Way of Love.
Every three months the CDC will focus on one of the specific spiritual practices, and hopes to sponsor at least one congregation’s event each quarter. What is it that you might be able to plan that we can help fund so that you can share it with the entire diocese?
Apply for a CDC grant here.


Which practice we will focus on each quarter:


April-June 2019: Turn
July-Sept. 2019: Learn
Oct.-Dec. 2019: Pray

Jan.-Mar. 2020: Worship
April-June 2020: Bless
July-Sept 2020: Go
Oct.-Dec.: 2020: Rest

Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John

Have you ever wished to deepen your relationship with God? To experience a warm friendship with God? Maybe even fall in love with God – again – or for the very first time?

Meeting Jesus is a six-week journey and reflection on the Gospel According to John that includes videos from the monks of SSJE, a beautiful prayer journal, facilitation guide for small groups and more.

The Center for Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary has created resources to help your community get small groups going. These resources include:

  • Step-by-step small group facilitation guides for teens, young adults, adults, older adults, online, multi-parish, and diocesan small groups
  • Weekly small group curricula for teens, young adults, adults, and older adults
  • Daily, image-based, postable questions for online small groups
  • Discussion questions & activities based on the prayer journal
  • Faith at Home questions, prayers and activities
  • Quiet day planning tips, schedule and content
  • Timelines and helpful guidance for getting a new group going
  • Recommendations for dealing with “Extra Grace Required” folks
  • Moderated Facebook support group for facilitators
  • Facilitation coaching and live online facilitation Q&A sessions
  • Meeting Jesus orientation video
  • Communications materials

To download these resources, click HERE

SSJE (The Society of St. John the Evangelist better known as the Cowley Fathers) is  an Anglican religious order for men. The members live under a rule of life and, at profession, make monastic vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. SSJE was founded in 1866 at Cowley, Oxford, England (hence the common name for the order). The order house closest to Rhode Island is located in Cambridge, MA with a retreat center, Emery House in West Newbury, MA. The brothers offer spiritual direction, individual and group retreats, workshops and you are always welcome to attend worship. Visit their website at You can also explore the possibility of becoming a brother by starting with this page on their website:

Rule of Life

A Rule of Life is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. A Rule establishes a rhythm for life in which is helpful for being formed by the Spirit, a rhythm that reflects a love for God and respect for how he has made us. The disciplines which we build into our rhythm of life help us to shed the “old self” and allow our “new self” in Christ to be formed. Spiritual disciplines (or Spiritual Practices as described HERE) are means of grace by which God can nourish us. Ultimately a Rule should help you to love God more, so if it becomes a legalistic way of earning points with God or impressing others, it should be scrapped. If the traditional, ancient term “rule” concerns you because it sounds legalistic, think of “rule” as a “rhythm of life” or as a “Curriculum in Christlikeness” (Dallas Willard), or as a “Game Plan for Morphing” (John Ortberg)… The Rule which you write should include three things: a self-assessment, an explanation of how you will practice your chosen disciplines, and your form of accountability.

DOWNLOAD this short essay from The C.S. Lewis Institute which offers many discipleship resources, including this process for developing your own personal Rule of Life. These instructions quote, paraphrase, and adapt Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast, chap. 9, and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, pp. 35-39.

Growing a Rule of Life

Relationship with God, Self, Creation & Others

A six-week journey of reflection on growing a rule of life is available from the monks at SSJE as an anytime series for individuals and groups. Subscribe to receive the series’ video meditations from the SSJE Brothers directly in your inbox, or view the videos on their website. This video offering is accompanied by a helpful workbook, and facilitation guidance for small groups.

You can find the materials for this resource at


SSJE (The Society of St. John the Evangelist better known as the Cowley Fathers) is  an Anglican religious order for men. The members live under a rule of life and, at profession, make monastic vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. SSJE was founded in 1866 at Cowley, Oxford, England (hence the common name for the order). The order house closest to Rhode Island is located in Cambridge, MA with a retreat center, Emery House in West Newbury, MA. The brothers offer spiritual direction, individual and group retreats, workshops and you are always welcome to attend worship. Visit their website at You can also explore the possibility of becoming a brother by starting with this page on their website:

Forward Movement

Best known for Forward Day by Day, a daily devotion providing meditations on scripture readings, Forward Movement continues to build on its history of encouraging discipleship and evangelism.  In the past it was mostly known for its brochures along with the Forward Day by Day meditation booklet. Today they offer books and ebooks for small groups, individual study, and prayer, Christian formation courses, leadership events, Spanish and bilingual resources, pamphlets, downloadable resources, a daily podcast, apps for your smartphones or tablets, and online engagement opportunities.

Church Publishing

Church Publishing is the foundational imprint owned by the Church Pension Group (which provides pensions for clergy and lay employees of our churches). Launched as the Church Hymnal Corporation, the original church publishing house was dedicated to publishing a single work, The Hymnal 1918, which remains in print to this day.

In the nearly 100 years since its first publication, Church Publishing has emerged as an important provider of liturgical and musical resources for The Episcopal Church, along with works on church leadership, pastoral care and Christian formation. With its growing portfolio of professional books and resources, Church Publishing is recognized as the official publisher for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States and publishes documents authorized by the General Convention. Through the years, Church Publishing has consciously broadened its program, reach, and service to the church by publishing books for and about the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Morehouse Publishing was independently founded in 1884 and specializes in works for laity, “the people in the pews.” Like Church Publishing, Morehouse serves The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, but the Morehouse program also reaches out to the broader Christian community with works designed to provide spiritual enrichment and practical guidance to people from all walks of faith. Morehouse seeks to expand and deepen the Church’s ministry by publishing leading-edge titles in genres including faith and spirituality, women’s issues, youth, and family.

Seabury Books is our “trade” imprint, targeting the retail book market at large. Seabury titles reflect the rich and diverse world of religious belief, thought, theory and application. Seabury Books publishes fresh, new works and classic titles for general readers, professionals, students, and scholars, from the viewpoints of many faith traditions. The Seabury Books imprint has become a progressive, ecumenical trade imprint, publishing a rich and diverse list of thought-provoking books in areas including theology, ethics, culture and society, Scripture, and homiletics.

Morehouse Church Supplies (MCS) provides a single-source solution for securing high quality church-related products in many categories. While the Episcopal Church is its largest customer group, MCS also caters to parishes, congregations, church schools, and professionals from many denominations.

Product lines include Episcopal gifts, jewelry, certificates, stationery, and others. Parish registers and forms are also in the product mix as well as items for individual and corporate worship and prayer, including lectionary bulletins, and annual planning calendars.

Morehouse Education Resources (MER) is the CPI division publishing exciting Christian formation and curriculum programs such as Living the Good NewsGodly Play®, and Weaving God’s Promises. Some MER programs are specific to The Episcopal Church (Weaving God’s Promises) while others, like Godly Play®, are ecumenically focused.

Church Publishing Incorporated is also a provider of useful and relevant online and downloadable e-Products for use in worship planning and other ministries. Examples of these important resources include The Rite Stuffritebrainritesongriteworship, and Preparing for Sunday. The diocese pays for a license for the ritesong for all of our churches so they are able to use music, print lyrics in their bulletins, etc.



RenewalWorks is a catalyst for refocusing parishes (and the individuals in them) on spiritual vitality. It has been tailored to the Episcopal tradition, adapting 10 years of research that has uncovered key characteristics of flourishing congregations. It will inspire your congregation and leadership to rediscover who Jesus is, and what it means to follow him. Through a guided methodology of self-reflection, sharing and workshop discussion, RenewalWorks challenges parishes to refocus on spiritual growth and to identify ways that God is calling them to grow. Several of our diocesan congregations have used this survey and the follow-up materials to help them deepen the spiritual lives of their members. You can learn more about the program that their website: RenewalWorks.

The RenewalWorks process begins with an anonymous, confidential, online inventory (Episcopal Spiritual Life Inventory) taken by congregants, exploring that individual’s spiritual life. When the responses are viewed as a group, the inventory provides a snapshot of the spiritual vitality of the congregation. The data is supported by additional research information from more than 1,800 churches (of all denominations) and almost 500,000 congregants.

Workshop1A parish team is gathered to delve into the specifics of the inventory data over four guided workshops. This group contemplates the following questions, one at each workshop:

  1. Where have we been?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. Where do we feel called to go?
  4. How will we get there?


You can learn more by watching a video interview with the Presiding Bishop and the  Reverend Jay Sidebotham (RenewalWorks Director) from The Episcopal Diocese of NC on Vimeo.


Curious about how the RenewalWorks process works?  Here’s a quick look at it from beginning to end (which is also a beginning).  

Step 1 The vestry and rector decide to work toward making spiritual growth a priority in your church’s life and ministry. (The Resources page contains materials to download and share with your leadership and congregation.)

Step 2 Your church signs up through Forward Movement, using this link. The cost is $500*, which buys you:

  • The Spiritual Life Inventory and a personalized report, based on your congregation’s data and benchmarked against more than 1,800 churches of all denominations that have also taken the survey over the past decade.
  • A timeline for the process, along with webinars and other materials to assist your planning and communication efforts
  • Three copies of Footsteps by Jay Sidebotham, which explains the importance of spiritual growth and the methodology behind RenewalWorks. Discounted copies are also available for your workshop team and congregation.
  • Support for your workshop team that includes
    – webinars and weekly phone check-ins with your facilitator
    – a step-by-step Facilitator Guide
    – a Participant’s Workbook for each team member
    – templates created by Jay Sidebotham to print and post as visual aids

Often parishes within a diocese participate in the process together. In those instances, the churches complete the Spiritual Life Inventory at the same time and share best practices, preparation, and training, etc. Please contact us directly if you are interested in sharing this idea with your diocese. We’re glad to help.

Step 3 Complete the church profile to give us more information about your congregation, and select a date for launching the Spiritual Life Inventory. The Inventory and workshop dates go on your church’s calendar and you begin telling the congregation about the program and how their participation and prayers can help. Prepare a promotional plan 4-6 weeks prior to the SLI launch to ensure enough time to get the word out.

Step 4 Select a workshop facilitator and a team consisting of nine to twenty-four parishioners, depending on the size of your church. The team includes your clergy leader and should represent a cross section of your community. Team members should be willing to commit to the four workshop sessions and the homework assigned to help them prepare.

Step 5 Spiritual Life Inventory Launch:  The congregation completes an anonymous, online Spiritual Life Inventory, which is available for three weeks. The survey is designed to learn where people are in their spiritual journeys and how their churches help in that journey and where they might do better.

Step 6 Workshops begin two to three weeks after the Inventory closes. Each session begins and ends with prayer and reflection and builds on the work of the previous sessions. Facilitator and Participant guides will walk the team through each workshop.  Here’s a quick look at the four workshops:

  • Workshop 1: Where have we been? 
    The main topic for discussion is spiritual growth. Workshop exercises help team members reflect on the dynamic nature of their own faith and the role played by their church and clergy in supporting and encouraging spiritual growth.
  • Workshop 2: Where are we now?
    The team looks at the Inventory data from their congregation, along with basic information on demographics and growth for their church and area. This session builds a picture of where the church is now that can be used in the last two sessions as they consider new ways to help their church grow in love of God and neighbor.
  • Workshop 3: Where do we feel called to go?
    Using RenewalWorks research and your congregation’s data, this session focuses on how your church can encourage and support spiritual growth. The team explores five best practice principles found spiritually vital churches and considers how those principles can be applied in the congregation.
  • Workshop 4: How will we get there?
    After reviewing what they’ve learned, the team develops a few concrete next steps for refocusing on spiritual growth to present to the vestry and congregation. Team members consider their individual commitments to spiritual growth, and close the series with thanksgiving to God for this time and work together and with hope for its impact on the future.

Step 7 The Workshop Team shares what it has learned with the vestry and congregation.

Step 8 Spiritual growth emerges as the priority in your congregation, bringing new energy to every aspect of your life together and your mission in the world.


* The Congregational Development Commission has funded or assisted congregations with the cost of RenewalWorks. To apply for a grant go to Apply for Money in the Rescource Library.

Spirituality Resources

The Presiding Bishop has called our church to follow the Way of Love — practicing seven spiritual practices (turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, rest). You can learn more on the Way of Love website or by checking out the resources in the Way of Love section of this Resource Library. You also can find a wealth of resources on the topic of spirituality on the internet or at your local bookstore. The following are just a few we recommend to help get you started:

  • Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People (2nd Edition, book)
    • “Many Christians are looking for ways to deepen their relationship with God by practicing their faith in everyday life. This best-selling guide helps take belief out of the realm of theory and shows how to live it out in a series of twelve central practices such as hospitality, forgiveness, healing, testimony, and keeping Sabbath.”
  • Practicing our Faith website contains many resources and links to useful websites.
    • “Christian practices are not activities we do to make something spiritual happen in our lives. Nor are they duties we undertake to be obedient to God. Rather, they are patterns of communal action that create openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us. They are places where the power of God is experienced. In the end, these are not ultimately our practices but forms of participation in the practice of God.” (Craig Dykstra)
  • Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living (book)
    • “This book holds timeless appeal for readers who hunger for a meaningful and creatively balanced framework for life. It offers a simple blueprint, based on the Rule of St. Benedict, to order one’s time and create physical and inner space, to step back from the demands and pressures of the moment, and to step into a place of peace.”
  •   At Home in the World: A Rule of Life for the Rest of Us (book)
    • “Margaret Guenther offers a warm and sensible guide…to create a helpful and balanced rule of life to help us in our search for faith. She explores ancient and contemporary meanings for the classic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, along with the distinctively Benedictine ethos of stability and conversion…and the different elements of a rule of life — such as authority, money, pleasure, stinginess, friends, enemies, and living through hard times. The final chapter gives practical ideas for crafting a rule of life that encourages each of us to grow, stretch, and flourish.
  • Every Earthly Blessing: Rediscovering the Celtic Tradition (book)
    • This concise and clear introduction to Celtic spirituality provides an overview of all aspects of Celtic understandings. Esther De Waal looks at their understanding of core Christian concepts, such as sin, sorrow, salvation, and the cross. Excellent for parish study as well as individual reading.
  • Soulfaring: Celtic Pilgrimage Then and Now (book)
    • In the past few years pilgrimage—going to ancient holy sites in search of God—has become increasingly popular for people seeking to deepen their relationship with the Holy. Soulfaring explores the history of pilgrimage, beginning in Celtic times, and moving through the early Christian period, the Middle Ages, and even the revival of pilgrimage today. She explores fifteen sites in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.
  •  Teach Us to Pray: Prayer Practices for Today’s World (downloadable program)
    • This program introduces participants to the full spectrum of Christian prayer methods and encourages them to incorporate these practices into their daily lives. Twenty-two lesson plans can be used as a year-long course, as four separate courses or as individual sessions. Also can be used to introduce a group to a specific prayer method (see list below). Appropriate for adults and youth groups.
  •  Six Smooth Stones: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life (book)
    • Sister BJ introduces you to five spiritual practices that can be used for Lent or any time of the year: Spiritual Reading, Prayer of Attentiveness (contemplation), Fasting, Works of Kindness (mercy) and Worship in Community. Each of the six chapters includes an introduction, practical steps and a list of additional resources.


Diocesan Library

The Diocese has a variety of books, curricula and other resources that are available to congregations. These resources are stored in bookcases in the upper conference room and the in the lower level hallway. There is no requirement to “sign out” a resource or even to return it. Feel free to take what you need — return it if it seems good to you. Or contribute a resource you’d like to share.

We’d love to have someone sort and organize these resources, label the shelves and prepare a page that tells people where different topics are stored. If you’re inspired to offer this service, contact or call Mary Ann Mello at 401-274-4500.