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.

Wednesday Evening Program

Beginning September 16th, join Dr. Albert LaChance for a new and exciting program which looks at the Christian Mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  Dr. LaChance is a psychologist who has written about this Jesuit mystic as well as so much more.  More details about de Chardin, Dr. LaChance and this program many be found here. A view of our flyer for the series is available here and we invite you to share this with others you know who may be interested in attending.  The series will be held on the following Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 PM : September 16, 23, 30, October 7, 21, 28, November 4, 11, and 18.  There will be a sign up sheet available beginning August 17th.  You may also call the church at 224-2523 or send an e-mail to the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Adult Formation" in the subject line to add your name to the list.

It is suggested that individuals read the book The Third Covenant - The Transmission of Consciousness in the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry and Albert J. LaChance by Albert LaChance and Rebecca Goodwin LaChance prior to the start of the series.  The book is available locally at Gibson's Bookstore and through Amazon.com.  (If you are a regular Amazon shopper, please designate St. Paul's as your charity of choice through their "Smile" program.)

Adult Forums

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.  Check the Centrepoint monthly for an announcement of new offerings.

Advent 2015

In this year's Sunday morning Advent adult formation class, we will read Listening for God, volume 1 edited by Peter Hawkins and Paula Carlson. This literature by well known authors (Flannery O'Conor, Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard, Alice Walker, Raymond Carver, and Garrison Keillor) touches on the themes of boredom, loss, disappointment, and grace.  The book is readily available on Amazon (Don’t forget to use our Scrip program and Amazon Smile to benefit St. Paul’s with your order!).  The Rev. Michael Spencer, Dean of Faculty and Humanities teacher at St. Paul's School will facilitate these discussions.  Listening for God will begin on Sunday, November 29 at 9:00 AM.  Additional sessions will be December 6 at 11:30 AM, December 13 at 9:00 AM and December 20 at 11:30 AM.

Our Wednesday evening Advent program begins on December 2nd.  Each Wednesday through December 23 deacon intern Shawn LaFrance will facilitate a Lectio Divina study of a bible verse at 6:30 PM, followed by Compline at 7:00 PM.  You are welcome to attend one or both parts of these sessions.  We hope this opportunity will allow individuals to take a moment to slow down and enjoy the season.

A "Spirituality of Service" class is meeting currently, usually on the first Sunday morning of the month, 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 please check our calendar and for other questions, send an This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Spirituality of Service" in the subject line to be put in touch with the group.

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 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.

There are two EfM classes meeting currently at St. Paul's.  If you are interested in finding out more about this program, 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 and Mike LaFond.

Reading and Study

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.  Our library is now open on Sunday mornings beginning at 9:00 AM.  Please come and see our collection and know that one of our library volunteers will be here to assist you.   (Meetings in the library will take precedence - please check our calendar)

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