Bloy House News
Bloy House News
The Episcopal Theological School at Claremont

Greetings from Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont. In this season of Thanksgiving, please accept our appreciation for your interest and presence in the Bloy House community. For more information, please read on, click here, or call 909.621.2419. Thank you for helping to widen awareness of the work of Bloy House/ETSC.

Faithfully in Christ,
(The Very Rev.) Sylvia Sweeney, Ph.D.
Bloy House Dean and President

Barbara HarmsOur Lady of Guadalupe is focus for Educaton for Episcopal Leadership Lecture on Dec. 2 in Diocesan Convention Chapel

One of the most important religious figures in the lives of Mexican-Americans and native Mexicans is the figure of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Any church seeking to develop or revitalize a ministry to Mexican Americans will signal its openness to culturally sensitive Latino ministry by celebrating her saint's day and displaying her icon within its sanctuary. Why is this so important? What does she represent to people who venerate her? And how does her veneration help to support people in the celebration of their own identities as Mexican American Christians? What can the story of Our Lady teach all Christians about what it means to live fully into one's baptismal identity as a Christian person? Join us from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on December 2, just prior to the start of Diocesan Convention, as Dr. Jennifer Hughes, Bloy House Professor of Latino Spiritualities and Professor of Global Christianity and Latin American Religion at UC, Riverside, offers us a fascinating look into the history and the religious and cultural significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


Come see us at Convention!



'Claiming the Vision:
Baptismal Identity in the Episcopal Church'
Bloy House to release new video program on Baptism  

Barbara Harms      
Have you ever wondered who wrote the prayer book and how they decided what to put in or leave out?


By December 15, Bloy House, ETSC, will release an exciting new program for lay formation after several years of research and collaboration with the Evangelical Education Society and the Episcopal Church Center. "Claiming the Vision: Baptismal Identity in the Episcopal Church" is a six-hour video course designed to help lay persons, seminarians, and clergy develop a deeper appreciation for the history and theology of the baptism rite in our 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The program is built on a set of extensive video interviews that Dean Sweeney did with three of the authors of the baptismal rite of the prayer book and an author of one of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Prayer Book.


The Rt. Rev. Frank Griswold, former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rev. Dr. Leonel Mitchell, retired Professor of Liturgical Studies from Seabury-Western Theological School; the Rev. Dr. Daniel Stevick, retired Professor of Liturgical Studies from Episcopal Divinity School; and the Rev. Dr. Louis Weil, retired Professor of Liturgical Studies from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, offer their fascinating remembrances and insights into the development of the baptismal rite of our prayer book and what that rite continues to mean for the church today.


The program is divided into five segments, each of which can be viewed individually or sequentially. Each of these segments covers numerous related topics by providing brief five to ten minute video clips on the topic followed by a set of on-screen discussion questions. The segment and topic list is provided here:


Baptism and the Sacramental Life

  • The Meaning of Baptism
  • The Early Church's Pattern of Baptism
  • The Baptism Rite
  • Why the Baptism and Confirmation Rites Needed to be Rewritten
  • The Days Set Aside For Baptism
  • The Relationship between Baptism and the Eucharist
  • The Open Table: Can Those Not Yet Baptized Receive Communion?
  • The Relationship between Word and Sacrament
  • The Relationship between Sacraments and Daily Life
  • The Prayers of the People
  • The Peace
  • Christ's Presence in Our Worship
  • The Importance of Daily Prayer
  • Relating To Other Faith Traditions
  • How the 1979 Prayer Book Has Changed the Episcopal Church


The History and Theology of the Baptism Rite in

the 1979 Prayer Book

  • The Process for Developing the 1979 Prayer Book
  • The Early Work of the Christian Initiation Committee
  • The Last Band-aids on Cranmer
  • Key Principles of the Baptism Rite: The Priesthood of All  Believers
  • Key Principles of the Baptism Rite: Returning to the Ancient Rites
  • The Nature and Purpose of The Christian Initiation Committee's Work
  • How the Early Work of the Committee was received by the Church
  • Major Contributors to the Revisions


Understanding the Baptismal Ecclesiology of

the Episcopal Church

  • Baptism as Incorporation into the Body of Christ
  • Baptism and the Priesthood of All Believers
  • Clericalism in the Church
  • The Omnivorous Priesthood
  • The Meaning of Ordination
  • The Laity as the Ministers of the Church
  • What is a Priest?
  • What is a Deacon?
  • What is a Bishop?
  • Being an Episcopalian
  • Mature Faith
  • Life in Community
  • The Future of the Church


The History of the Rite of Confirmation

  • Two Historical Meanings for Confirmation
  • The History of Confirmation in the Episcopal Church
  • Confirmation and Rites of Passage
  • Confirmation Symbols
  • Reaffirming Our Faith


Advice for Those Designing Liturgies In the 21st Century

  • Innovation for Our Own Day
  • Important Principles In Liturgical Design: Balancing the Vertical and Horizontal Elements
  • Attending to Structure and to the Oral Nature of Worship
  • Bringing Expansive Language to Liturgy
  • Honoring the Needs of the Community
  • Creating Worship That Is Culturally Sensitive
  • Unbinding Episcopal Worship from Anglican Culture


The program design was created to allow individuals and congregations to enter and leave the material easily seeing one or two small discreet segments at a time and then being able to discuss them in greater detail. This was done so that communities that would like to see the program would have the flexibility to explore the depth of the material at a pace that would work for busy contemporary Christians. This design feature makes it possible for congregations to develop an adult formation program as short as twenty minutes in length or as long as a full day retreat. While we hope that people will choose to view "Claiming the Vision" in community and participate in the discussion questions that follow, the material also works well for those who want to use it privately for their own learning and inspiration.


Our dream has been to provide all those who have not been afforded the blessing of formalized graduate level Liturgical Studies course work with the same material presented to someone in seminary but offered in a way that is accessible to every Episcopalian. We developed a window into the process of writing the prayer book, showing the profound importance of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer to the life of current day Episcopalians. This resource can help all Episcopalians better understand the ways in which the baptismal theology and baptismal ecclesiology which came to full expression in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer have reshaped and renewed life within the Episcopal Church.   By doing so, all of us who have worked so hard and so long on this project believe we are doing our part to equip the church with leaders ready and able to minister in a 21st century world.


"Claiming the Vision" helps us understand what these bold, visionary church leaders were able to express to the Episcopal Church about what it means to be a follower of Christ. They witness to their Christian faith both in the superb theological insights they are able to present to listeners in a very accessible way and also through the depth of personal faith and faithfulness we witness in their own lives and their own stories. Those who see these videos will experience them as inspiring, challenging, and provocative, inviting us as Episcopalians to embrace more fully in our day and time the vision of faith and ministry proclaimed in the theology of our prayer book. We hope that many will choose to use them in Lenten programs and other adult formation programs over the coming years.

"Claiming the Vision: Baptismal Identity in the Episcopal Church" is available free online by going to the Bloy House website and clicking on Claiming the Vision. It is also due to be released to the wider church through the Episcopal Church Center library in December of this year.




Save the Date: February 11, 2012... Social Networking

Our Spring semester lecture will be a presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Drescher author of Tweet If You Heart Jesus and a recognized expert in the area of social networking as a form of ministry in the church. That workshop is scheduled for February 11, 2012.


Returning this spring: Saturday afternoon 'Congregational Communication' class to offer even more practical tips

Best practices with social media, community building, and overall communication planning are at the center of this course to be taught again this spring by Bob Williams, canon for community relations in the Diocese of Los Angeles who also served the Episcopal Church as director of communication from 2004 to 2008. To register, email

From the Dean
 It's not either/or, it's both/and 
Sylvia Sweeney

Either/or thinking at this point in our church's story has the power to do us in. This is a story about why we won't let that happen. 


Recently I received an amazing request-perhaps a historical one for all I know. I was asked to be one of four seminary deans of Episcopal seminaries beyond the historically recognized 11 accredited residential seminaries to offer a report to General Convention outlining the work of our school as it impacts and reflects the state of theological education in the Episcopal Church.


While this may seem a very small thing to many, it is reflective of some of the vast sea changes that have taken place within the Episcopal Church in this century.


We still love, support , and revere many of the wonderful institutions of our church that have typified what it means to be the Episcopal Church -- institutions including the National Cathedral, St. John the Divine, the office of the Presiding Bishop, and yes, our 11 residential centers for theological education in the Episcopal Church. We don't want our beautiful gray stone buildings, brocade vestments, organ pipe concerts, and exemplary, academically demanding prep schools to go away.


But we do know that in order to continue to be the Episcopal Church in this our "20 somethings" of the church, we must also become more. Not either/or but both and. The invitation to share our story with the larger church and to enter more deeply into the conversation about theological education in the 21st century is a sign of the church's need to stretch and grow and become more than it has been. Truthfully, sometimes we are being asked to be more than we even know how to be.


But we know that God is in the work of refashioning us-teaching us old dogs some new tricks, and helping us to imagine a world where our children, our grandchildren, and our grandchildren's children will find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. I sometimes ponder how we spiritually connect with a generation who can text faster than we thought anyone could type. I wonder how we make God as real and accessible for our young people as some of the fictional characters they have so come to love on their x-boxes. I wonder how we build communities of faith across these amazing global pathways our young people have already created in order to find their own sense of community and belonging. I can't help but believe that much of the growing edge of our church, the new growth on this robust old vine plant is going to be electronic, interpersonal, elastic, and amoeba-like, moving, morphing and changing in appearance but still solidly stable in internal constitution and identity.


Wherever we pray, however we worship, whenever we gather in this world or the cyber world, the Episcopal Church still has a message of love, of hope, of liberation, and of healing to offer the world. Just as we are finding new ways to be theological educators for our church, may we find new ways (to go along with the old) of being church for the world!


Faithfully in Christ,
(The Very Rev.) Sylvia Sweeney, Ph.D.

Bloy House Dean and President


Book Talk, with the Dean

Every year I ask my Liturgical Studies students to choose one book from a short list to read and present to the class. It is a way of offering students access to some great material that will enrich their ministries without burdening them with four or five more books on what is already a demanding reading list. Inevitably the book that attracts the most interest based upon its title is a tiny quick read by Don Saliers called Worship Come to Its Senses. In this book Saliers invites readers to explore four senses of worship and how critical they are to people's sense of encounter and transformation in worship. They are the senses of awe, delight, truth and hope. When you look at the worship taking place in your community on Sunday morning, does it instill a sense of awe in members of the community? Do participants experience delight in the goodness of God and the goodness of living in faithful community? Do they find truth spoken and lived in this place? Do they hear and see a message of hope and promise? For those of you who need to be once again inspired about how worship can change lives, I commend this tiny book to you. It will change what you see and experience the next time you enter your worship service!

In this issue: Please scroll down for more on spring courses and student, faculty activities.

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Barbara Harms

Professor Bob Honeychurch presents Francisco Garcia and Nancy Frausto with 2011 scholarship grants from the Society for the Increase of the Ministry


Seminarians need scholarship help 

What does it cost to go to seminary in 2011? In the last two years we have done everything in our power to keep the costs of theological education stable for our students, even as our costs for running the seminary have continued to increase. Students currently attending seminary at Bloy House pay tuition of $450 per credit unit for their classes at Bloy House. Those going on to complete their MDivs can then anticipate costs of $635 per unit at CST, $575 per credit unit at EDS, or $680 per credit unit at CDSP for their final year of study. Through the course of their program, diaconal certificate students will spend $21,600 on their formation program (not counting books and fees). Those pursuing a Master's of Divinity will spend $40,000 in order to complete their degrees (again not counting books and fees). Many of you may know of a time in the history of the Diocese of Los Angeles when the Bishop's office was able to offer generous grants to seminarians that covered the greatest majority of those costs. But that was then, and this is now. While Corp Sole is still one of the most generous contributors to seminarians of any Bishop's office in the Episcopal Church, more and more of the financial burden for a theological education is falling directly on the seminarian --even as prospects for full-time employment in the church continue to diminish.


This does not mean the need for effective, creative, educated clergy has diminished, only the capacity to offer them full or even part-time employment. Indeed, the church has been quite clear since the revitalization of diaconal ministry in the 1970s that deacons were expected to be bi-vocational, earning their living in the marketplace and serving the church in a non-stipendiary capacity, often engaging in the equivalent of two full-time jobs. In the future we can anticipate fewer and fewer lay professionals will be paid in the church, and fewer priests will have the wonderful gift of a full-time pay check.   But the work goes on! God's mission to the world is still real, and the need for effective leaders for the church is growing not diminishing. If we are going to continue to build a future for the church, it is vital that individuals called to further theological study (whether they be preparing for lay, diaconal, or priestly roles) continue to have the opportunity to reach their fullest ministerial potential through formal theological studies. In order for that to be possible, it is imperative that those who care about the future of the church invest in that future by supporting scholarship assistance to seminarians.


There is so much that Episcopalians can do in the world to transform the world and heal the world! We are poised at a place where our American society is in desperate need of courageous, moral, faithful, engaged, thoughful leaders who can help chart a new course for our life in community. Please give to the Bloy House scholarship program either in support of your own beloved seminarian or in support of all the seminarians who attend our wonderful school. Send checks to Bloy House, ETSC or click the donate button on our website to make donations. 



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