Spiritual Formation PDF Print E-mail

St. Paul's is committed to offering opportunities for spiritual formation and Christian education, in response to the needs and concerns of our parishioners.  The following is a sampling of these opportunities.

Adult Forums

Several times a month we offer an opportunity to learn more about specific areas of ministry, mission, our Episcopal tradition, the Bible, and aspects of Christian life in the 21st century.  These forums take place at 9:00 on Sunday morning (in between our two morning services) and last for approximately 45 minutes.  For details of upcoming forums, check the parish calendar and Centre Point.

Our Sunday morning forum for May and June 2014 is The Power of Forgiveness -- a four part series that brings the concept of forgiveness back into focus as we relate to God and to each other.  Will you forgive?  Will you ask for forgiveness?  Will you allow yourself to be forgiven?  Come and take part in a guided discussion, following a short video which features Professor Everett J. Worthington, former Project Director for The Templeton Foundation's Campaign for Forgiveness Research.

The Power of Forgiveness takes place on Sunday mornings, 9:00 - 9:45 AM, in St. Paul's Library, on the following dates:

May 11 - The origin of forgiveness
May 18 - What is forgiveness?
June 8 - Why do we need to forgive?
June 15 - How is forgiveness possible?

You are welcome to attend some or all of the sessions.  For more information, please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Forgiveness" in the subject line.

A "Spirituality of Service" class is meeting currently, on occasional Sunday mornings, at 9:00.  The class  provides an opportunity for each of us to reflect and share about our spiritual journey and to learn from one another.  There is always a discussion question that focus our attention on areas such as, putting our spirituality into action, vision, mission, doubts and dry periods in our spiritual life, prayers, self-examination, patience, discerning God's will, etc. All are welcome.  For information on meeting dates and other questions, send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Spirituality of Service" in the subject line.

Heresy

On Wednesday, June 4, Frank Spinella will lead a discussion of his new novel Heresy (Wipf and Stock 2014), a fictional yet historically plausible account of the Arian controversy in the early Fourth Century, which galvanized Christianity into the Council of Nicea and the adoption of its famous creed. The book is available at Gibson’s Bookstore, online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and directly through the publisher at http://www.wipfandstock.com. The discussion group will meet from 6-7:30 pm. A sign up sheet will be available closer to the date, or you can sign up by sending an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Heresy" in the subject line.

How to Read the Bible

Have you tried to read the Bible, only to find yourself a bit overwhelmed by its complexity?  Are you disoriented by the huge gap between our modern culture and ancient Biblical times? Have you struggled to make sense of what you have read for your own life?  You are certainly not alone, but a few basic reading strategies and some easy to use tools can open up a lifetime of engagement in reading scripture and applying it to our lives.  Look for a program on the New Testament coming soon - keep an eye on the CentrePoint and Good News for an announcement of dates.

Other program offerings

Here is a sampling of past topics - some of which may be re-visited:

Via Media brings people together through a program that uncovers the truth and beauty of the Episcopal Church and explores what it means to be a part of our church in today’s world -- using the thoughts and discussions of respected theologians and religious scholars.

Via Media is ideal for people who are exploring Christianity or the Episcopal Church for the first time; those returning to the church after time away; and experienced churchgoers seeking to explore their faith more deeply. It is especially useful for adults considering or preparing for baptism, confirmation, or reception into the Episcopal Church from another denomination.

Catholic? Episcopal? What’s the difference? - Many newcomers to St. Paul’s – as well as many of our longstanding members – come from a Roman Catholic background, and we often hear the comment that our services are “almost the same!” There are some similarities between our two denominations, it’s true, and of course there are some differences too.  This series allows for discussion of the similarities in our ways of worship, the differences in governance and authority, and the ways in which belief and doctrine compare.

Belonging and Becoming - This is a series that helps us discern our own gifts and ways to use them.  The first part of the series concentrates on spirituality, the person of Jesus, the image of God, reading the Bible, and the history of Christianity.  Part two focuses more on the theme of “becoming” as we work together to discern our own spiritual gifts and ministries, and each individual creates a personal “Rule of Life”.


Education for Ministry (EfM)

EfM is a lay theological program, begun in 1975 by the School of Theology at Sewanee, which offers a grounding in the Christian tradition. The seminar format of weekly meetings provides deep opportunities for learning, reflection, spiritual growth, and eventual service. A trained mentor guides each of the groups meeting this school year at St. Paul's.  Because the Diocese of New Hampshire is a sponsoring diocese for the program, tuition costs are reduced for students, and financial aid is available for St. Paul's parishioners. According to the EfM website, "While the course materials provide substantial academic content, the focus of the program is on life as ministry and in understanding that ministry."

The EfM program, which can be completed in four years, provides Christians with the basic skills in theological reflection, which lay the foundation of Christian ministry.  Through this process, students sharpen their skills of personal and cultural assessment and enhance their ability to be effective in a variety of ministries.

There are three EfM classes meeting currently at St. Paul's and new participants are welcome to join a group in fall 2014.  If you think you might be interested, send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "EfM" in the subject line, or speak with one of our EfM mentors at church - Tamar Roberts, Jerry Tepe, or Shawn LaFrance.

Reading and Study

If you are interested in building your spiritual formation library, here are two online resources that may be of interest:

Episcopal Books and Resources

Episcopal Bookstore

St. Paul's has a library with books on many religious subjects.  If there is something you are interested in researching, please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will put you in touch with someone who is able to help you.
The library is located in the basement on the east side of the building.  Contact the office for access during office hours on weekdays.

For more information about spiritual formation at St. Paul's, please contact Rev. Kate Atkinson.