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.

Churchwide Book Group this fall – An invitation from Rev. Liberty

This summer, I took advantage of a 20-hour training for ministry leaders on “Developing Brave Leaders and Courageous Cultures,” based on Brene Brown’s book “Dare to Lead.” These days, we have many opportunities to practice courage in this church, as well as our daily lives. This material is a tremendous resource for reflecting on ourselves and all the communities in which we participate. I have shared the book with vestry members, and I’d love to share it with everyone this fall! On a few Sundays in October and November I’ll be inviting folks to discuss it informally during Community Time (coffee hour). Here are a couple introductory links to the book, if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself.

A Journey Through Acts: 50-Day Bible Challenge (Sundays, September 25-November 20 on Zoom at 1:00pm)

Our annual fall 50-day Bible Challenge returns, this time with the Acts of the Apostles which tells the story of the birth of the Christian church. Follow in the footsteps of the apostles Peter and Paul and many others, all bearing witness to Jesus’s saving grace. Each of the fifty days of readings are accompanied by reflections and prayers by spiritual leaders from around the world. Please contact Pat if you need assistance in purchasing a book.

The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in Daily Life, by Fr. Kevin O’Brien. (Beginning in October)

Would you like to make meaningful prayer a habit in your daily life? Are you intrigued by the possibility that prayer could become a highlight of your day? In The Ignatian Adventure, Kevin O’Brien, SJ, offers a unique way of making that a reality using St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises as a guide. For over 500 years many 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. The first part of O’Brien’s book provides helpful background information, including a brief history of St. Ignatius, an explanation of the Spiritual Exercises and their purpose, and a description of different ways to make the Exercises. The book’s core offers 32 weeks (not a typo!) of prayer and meditations to draw participants into a deeper encounter with God.

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)

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?
In Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven, Dr. Amy-Jill 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 for the individual reader and for study groups.
  • 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.