Adult Formation

New Formation Opportunities For Adults

The Adult Education & Formation 2022-23 program year is about to begin! Below are listed a variety of proposed offerings and the season in which they’ll take place. Specific dates, times, and place will be determined later. In addition to these, there will be other opportunities and support for things like Bible study and spiritual disciplines, depending on interest.

The Exploration of Prayer Group

The Exploration of Prayer Group begins on Thursday, December 8th at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. Would you like to make meaningful prayer a habit in your daily life? If your answer is “yes” or
even “maybe,” a new group is forming at St John’s that should be a great help. Its purpose is to explore a variety of prayer forms together and to offer support for one another, along with a bit of
often-needed accountability. The primary book we’ll be using as a guide is The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in Daily Life, by Fr.
Kevin O’Brien, SJ. For almost 500 years myriads of people have come to believe that there is no better guide than St. Ignatius Loyola if you desire to discover how faith and everyday life can
thrive together. Fr. James Martin, SJ, (author of My Life with the Saints ) has this to say about The Ignatian Adventure: “This beautifully written book will change the way you pray, the way you
experience God, and the way you live.” Although this quote might seem like the usual untrustworthy product endorsement, it is not. Why not give it a try?

Discernment of Spirits: An Ignation Guide for Everyday Living, Fr. Timothy Gallagher (Advent)

St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, is one of the most influential spiritual leaders of all time, yet many readers find his Rules for Discernment hard to understand. What can Ignatius teach us about the discernment of spirits (what is of God and what is not) that lies at the very heart of Christian life? In The Discernment of Spirits, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, a talented teacher, retreat leader, and scholar, helps us understand the Rules and how their insights are essential for our spiritual growth today. This book is for all who desire greater awareness of God’s action in their daily spiritual lives.

Welcome to Sunday, by Christopher Webber (Lent, 2023)

Deepen your appreciation of Christian worship as practiced within the Episcopal Church by delving into all aspects of the Episcopalian service, from the vestments and gestures to the church calendar. Welcome to Sunday is particularly useful for newcomers who may be confused by the worship service, but it is also an excellent book for any of us who could use some refreshing of our understanding of what happens on Sunday morning. Webber (an Episcopal priest) explains the postures, the Christian year, the colors we use during various seasons, and all the elements in the Service of the Eucharist.

Two books by Amy-Jill Levine, a Jewish theologian who has devoted her career to the study of early Christianity and the New Testament. Both book discussions will be led by Barbara Clarke, who is a retired Episcopal priest.

  • Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven (Epiphany)

You are invited to participate in a Bible Study of the Sermon on the Mount guided by New Testament scholar, Amy-Jill Levine, and led by Barbara J. Clarke+. The Sermon on the Mount,
Matthew 5-7, contains some of Jesus’ most profound and most memorable teachings. What might these teachings have meant to his disciples, and to the others who first heard them? How do they enhance our reading of the rest of the Gospel of Matthew, and how do they speak across the centuries to listeners today? How, if we pay careful attention to his words, does Jesus provide us a road map to living as God would have us live? We will be using the book, Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven, by Amy-Jill Levine. Dr. Levine is a Jewish theologian who has made her life’s work the study of Christian Scripture. She maintains that one can get a fuller understanding of what Jesus said if we consider Jesus’ Jewish context. Dr. Levine introduces the major topics in the Sermon on the Mount, explains historical and theological contexts, and shows how the words of Jesus echo his Jewish tradition and speak forward to reach hearts and minds today. This book provides a rich and challenging learning experience. This six-week course will run (on Zoom) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30, starting Tuesday, January 10th,
and continuing on January 17th, 24th, & 31st, and February 7th 14th. A password protected link will be provided to those who sign up. For questions or to sign up, email: Barbara Clarke+
  • The Difficult Words of Jesus (Lent)

Jesus provided his disciples teachings for how to follow Torah, God’s word; he told them parables to help them discern questions of ethics and of human nature; he offered them beatitudes for comfort and encouragement. But sometimes Jesus spoke words that followers then and now have found difficult. He instructs disciples to hate members of their own families (Luke 14:26), to act as if they were slaves (Matthew 20:27), and to sell their belongings and give to the poor (Luke 18:22). He restricts his mission (Matthew 10:6); he speaks of damnation (Matthew 8:12); he calls Jews the devil’s children (John 8:44).
In The Difficult Words of Jesus, Amy-Jill Levine shows how these difficult teachings would have sounded to the people who first heard them, how have they been understood over time, and how we might interpret them in the context of the Gospel of love and reconciliation.