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Bible Study - Abraham & Sarah Narratives
Sundays (starting September 10), 9:00 am
Library & Zoom
Bible Study returns on September 10 with the continuation of the Abraham & Sarah Narratives in the book of Genesis. All are welcome to join the conversation (previous attendance is not required)! For more information and for the Zoom link, please contact the office.
Stewardship Spotlight: Christian Formation
In both the domains of nature and faith, you will find the most excellent things are the deepest hidden. - Erasmus of Rotterdam.
This is why I participate and feel passionate about Adult Formation. Education does not stop when we graduate, especially in matters of faith. We grow into faith, and if you want to learn, there will always be something more to find. This is true in Bible study. The Bible has so much depth, and it works on so many levels. When someone opens up your eyes to a new way of seeing even the most familiar Biblical stories, you cannot stop seeing it. And, you will soon learn that many ways that seem new are actually ancient. Our current Bible Study on Sundays at 9:00 am (taught by yours truly) is on the formation history of the Bible.
We have some excellent leaders of Adult Formation here at A&HT. Colleen Mathews has been leading seminary-level Bible classes for years. In her classes, you have the opportunity to study the Bible verse by verse. We also have other book studies and discussions, recently led by Rev. Eric with The Church Cracked Open and Bridget Glover with Braving the Wilderness.
Adult Formation meets in person, typically in the library, and we also have a virtual option on Zoom, which allows you to sleep in some more. If you only remember one point from reading this, please know that at our adult formation classes, you are under no obligation to attend any other classes. If you want to drop in on one class and then feel it's not for you, there will be no hard feelings about it.
A&HT has a rich tradition of adult Christian Formation offerings which are usually presented on Sunday mornings, but also as occasional series in Advent or Lent. These are most often conducted by parishioners or our own clergy. To this point, historically, this parish has been blessed with outstandingly talented and dedicated leaders. Participation in these Christian Formation opportunities is a cornerstone of my spiritual life at A&HT and a building block on my faith journey.
Apart from the obvious content learning, the collegiality of my fellow parishioners, with arising questions and discussions, helps to clarify my understanding of lifelong beliefs. This in turn deepens my worship and daily life experiences by focusing on being open to new perspectives. During the current challenges and changes occurring during the pandemic, I find that the weekly promise of spiritual nourishment provided by this time of reflection and education truly feeds my soul.
One of my very favorite passages from the Book of Common Prayer, one that makes me proud to be an Episcopalian, comes from the Baptism service. When praying over the newly baptized person, the priest asks that they be given “an inquiring and discerning heart.” It’s one of the very first gifts the priest asks God to bestow, and it is meant to be an integral part of our faith journey. In the Episcopal church, not only is it okay to ask questions about our spirituality and faith – we’re expected to ask them! And in my experience, the Christian Formation ministries at AHT are a wonderful place to do this.
As a parish, we have come to recognize how very important diversity is, and the fact that A&HT is so diverse theologically is a precious gift. Christian Formation participants have learned so much from our gifted and articulate teacher, Colleen Matthews, and from the other discussion leaders as we’ve walked this journey together. We have also learned from each other. For me, these gatherings have always been a safe place to say what is in my heart, to risk asking hard questions, to try to listen with an open heart. And as I’ve gotten to know my fellow seekers through our sharing, I’ve begun to see that even those I may differ most from theologically are my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially during this time of the pandemic, the formation groups have provided a warm haven of fellowship when ordinary in-person meetings weren’t possible. Whether it’s Colleen’s Bible study, one of the book discussion groups, or some other offering, I warmly encourage you to participate in A&HT’s Christian Formation programs.