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.
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 forgivenessMay 18 - What is forgiveness?June 8 - Why do we need to forgive?June 15 - How is forgiveness possible?
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.
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.