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.
We are currently preparing new class information for the winter of 2015 - here is what we have planned thus far!
Wednesday Evening Classes -
Here is a listing of the participating bishops and the topics that will be the focus of their sessions: February 25 - Rob Hirschfeld:"Dignity"; March 4 - Don Hart: "Foot-dragging Through the Wilderness of Lent"; March 11 - Bud Cedarholm: "Care for Creation"; March 18 - Stew Wood: "Lents that have been a gift to me"; and March 25 - Arthur Walmsley: "Lent, the Holy Spirit and Selma".
Throughout the year 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.
Beginning on February 1st join us for At the Top of Your Bucket List, led by the Rev. Keith Patterson. Most of us have a list in our minds of the things we want to do, or the exotic places in the world we want to visit before we die. But how many of us have a "good death" on that list? As a healthcare chaplain, Keith has vast experience with the process of death and dying. What are some of the health and faith concerns each of us will have to face? This adult formation will look at the spirituality of the end of life. Using movies, short articles, and our personal stories, we will explore the issues all of us will have to face in the future. Class meets in the library at 9:00 AM on Feb.1, 8, and 22, with March dates to be announced.
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.
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.
Reading and Study
If you are interested in building your spiritual formation library, here are two online resources that may be of interest:
St. Paul's has a library with books on many religious subjects. If there is something you are interested in researching, please contact the
and we will put you in touch with someone who is able to help you.
For more information about spiritual formation at St. Paul's, please contact Rev. Kate Atkinson.