Christian Education and Formation for Adults
by Rev. Mathew Potts, PhD, Theologian-in-Residence
We’ve enjoyed a wonderful rebirth of our children’s program in the last year. Children are not the only people who can grow and learn in faith, of course. As Louise and I have observed this flourishing among our children, it has also occasioned some rethinking of our education programs for grown-ups. So, based upon some successful programs of the past and some new ideas for the future, I will be developing a year-long adult formation program that will be open and welcome to all.
Whether you are a newcomer to the Episcopal Church or were baptized at St. Barnabas, whether you know the bible back and forth or you can’t name a single commandment, you will find a place to learn and grow at these forums throughout the year.
Fall Conversation Series: What is ‘Episcopal?’
This forum will meet on Sundays, September 24, October 15, and November 12, in the hour between the 8 AM and 10 AM services. We will talk a bit about what Episcopalianism is, how it differs from and is similar to other strands of Christianity, and what the core beliefs and practices of the tradition are. These will be conversations— not lectures!—moderated by me, with participants’ own memories, experiences, and questions providing the basis for our discussion.
Advent Forum: The Reason For the Season
During the season of Advent, when we turn our attention to practices of preparation, waiting, anticipation, and self-reflection, we will meet each week in the hour between the 8 AM and 10 AM services on December 3, 10, and 17. In these forums we will discuss the traditions and customs of Christmas—trees and carols, mistletoe and holly, Santa Claus and stockings—and explore the histories and meanings of these traditions. Once again, your own memories and traditions will inform our conversations. And while we’ll affirm the worth and goodness of these traditions, we’ll also be especially concerned to consider how and why they foster a sense of the real ‘reason for the season’—the birth of Jesus and the meaning of his life for us as Christians.
Lent Forum: Death and Tea Cakes
Last Lent we held this new forum so people could share their ideas, concerns, fears, and hopes about dying, death, and grieving in a safe, unstigmatized setting. The forum was a real success, so we are going to host this forum again on three Sunday afternoons in Lent 2018.
Spring Conversation Series: What Does It All Mean?
Our spring forum will meet for a month on a few Sundays after Easter in the hour between the 8 AM and 10 AM services. In this forum we will raise questions of faith that exceed the bounds of Episcopalianism, or even of Christianity. Who or what is God? What should we think about miracles? Why is there suffering and where does evil come from? Topics will be chosen by participants in the group and I will provide context for what Christianity and other major religious traditions have taught about these questions in the past. But once again, these will be conversations with participants’ own memories, experiences, and questions providing the basis for our discussion.