Formation Offerings

For the 2018-2019 program year, our Adult Formation theme will be 

"But who do you say that I am?" -

 

Luke 9:20

Formation During the Program Year 

Resumes September 16, 2018.

"Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ They answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’"
- Luke 9:18-20

We live in a world filled with questions about identity. Modern life loudly tries to tell us we are defined by what we wear, what we drive, how we look, who we know. The tension between being unique and fitting in with the crowd sometimes wears us down. From early on in our lives, we search for answers to who we are, as humans, as members of a family or a community or a nation. And certainly this question of identity is central to our life of faith.

In the gospels, the question of Jesus’ identity is central to the narrative, as Jesus teaches his disciples through his words and his actions. They struggle to grasp what is being revealed; slowly, the answers begin to come. Jesus leads the disciples through this exercise of identity, first of who Jesus is and then of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He asks them who people think he is, and then he gets to the real heart of the matter: But who do you say that I am?

In the 2018-2019 Program year, we will spend our time in Christian Formation exploring this question of who Jesus is and how our identity as Christians is intimately tied to the answers. In the Rector’s Forum, the Rev. Beth Knowlton, along with numerous co-teachers, will explore these questions of identity as we get back to the basics of our identity as the community of faith. The class will wrap up the year with a special Faith in the City series.

Track Two classes will also delve into these questions of who we are, especially in the midst of changes, missteps, and the unexpected, looking at how resilience, imperfection, and planning for the different stages of life’s journey. These offerings will include a series featuring a look at Brene Brown’s work in resilience, Rising Strong; a study of The Spirituality of Imperfection; and a Planning for Life’s Seasons class.

This promises to be a year in which together we can explore our identity as followers of Jesus, Episcopal-style. With multiple ways to explore, we hope that everyone will find a way to be connected. Look for all the specifics in the Parish Life Handbook on Homecoming Sunday.

Week Days During the Program Year 

In addition to the Sunday formation offerings, we will continue to mark the important liturgical rhythm of our year with Advent and Lenten Quiet Days. The Adult Confirmation Class will convene beginning in January, culminating in the wonderful joy of the Feast of St. Mark’s and our annual Episcopal visit. Images of the Divine in Film will meet again this year, with two featured films. Weekly bible study will continue with the Rector's Lectionary Bible Study on Mondays, The Path Bible Study on Wednesday evenings, and Time Out Bible Study on Thursday mornings. Two EfM classes will be meeting in the year, one on Sunday and one on Thursdays. The Senior Tea will return in November. New for the Program Year will be a special class for families about the liturgy, Little Hands at the Altar, in February.

Other weekly adult formation offerings will continue, including Daughters of the King book studies on Wednesdays; Centering Prayer on Wednesdays;  and Gifted Years book studies in October and March.  

In addition to the weekly schedules, we will continue the invitation to follow the rhythm of the liturgical calendar with several offerings. In Advent, Adult Formation will join forces with our Music and Children’s programs to offer inter-generational activities for all. With combined services at 10.00am during Advent and formation at the 9.00am hour, this time will allow all members of the parish to join together in expectation and waiting for the coming Christ.

Monday morning bible study

Facilitated by The Rev. Elizabeth Knowlton
Monday 7.00-8.00am 
Gish Hall

Start your week with a study of the upcoming lectionary readings. Generally, we start with a reflection question and then read and study the upcoming gospel lesson for the next Sunday. Coffee is provided, and you may come as you are, whether that is in workout clothes, or professional attire. All are welcome beginning Monday, September 10. We end promptly at 8.

Daughters of the King Book Study

This group of women meets weekly at 5.00pm to study a book.  The group chooses at their first meeting what to read so that it is a group discernment.  Meetings begin September 5, 2018.

Group Centering Prayer

This weekly offering is a time prior to the Wednesday Eucharist during which people can gather in the Dean Richardson Room for quiet reflection as they center in prayer. Prayer time will begin at 5.00pm and last for 20 minutes.

THE PATH

Facilitated by The Rev. Elizabeth Knowlton
Wednesday 6.30-7.30pm
Dean Richardson Room

During the last Diocesan Council, we were encouraged by our Bishops to read the Bible in its entirety in the coming year. That can be an overwhelming task, especially for those who are newer to bible study. This year we will be using a resource published by Forward Movement called The Path which is a thematic approach to reading much of the bible. Using the actual text from the New Revised Standard Version, it is a way to engage major themes of scripture in a small group setting. This class is specifically intended for those who have not had much bible study in the past. It’s a great continuation of our Adult Confirmation class and will provide a regular midweek opportunity to gather for reflection and conversation. To ensure we have adequate study materials available, please sign up by expressing your interest to Rachel Dugger at .The first class will be held on September 12.

Time Out Bible Study

Facilitated by The Rev. Matthew Wise
Thursday 10.00am-11.15am
Gish Hall

Class resumes this fall on September 13 and will run through December 6 and then in 2019 will run from January 10 through May 16. Please join us as we continue to study the Book of Genesis. No prior participation in the class is required. Childcare available.

Images of the divine in Film

Facilitated by The Rev. Matthew Wise
October 12 and March 22 at 6.00pm
Youth Suite

God is often experienced in varied and unusual ways, and we often find images of the Holy in media and film. This class will be an experiential one in which we will share dinner, view films together, and discuss. We will meet twice during the program year on Friday nights. A wide variety of films will be a part of the curriculum, with the emphasis on images and experiences of the Holy.  

Education for Ministry

EfM classes will continue this year at St. Mark’s. A unique four-year distance learning certificate program in theological education that uses seminar groups as its format, EfM helps the faithful encounter the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition and then apply it to their experiences of the world as they study, worship, and engage in theological reflection together. Two classes meet for 36 weeks from September through May. For more information about EfM, email

Gifted Years Book Study

Tuesdays in October and March from 10.00-11.30am
Dean Richardson Room

Gifted Years will once again be exploring faith through a book study. All are welcome at this study aimed at anyone interested in reading and in group discussion for spiritual growth in connecting with the unchanging in a rapidly changing world. The year the group will read The Shattered Lantern by Ron Rolheiser. For more information, contact Lillian Morris or Lou Taylor.