It's long been said that one of the strengths of the Episcopal Church is that you don't need to check your brain at the door. In fact, we encourage you to bring your brain, to use it, exercise it, even stretch it. A variety of opportunities to grow in faith and understanding, or to explore ideas about God and issues in the world, are available at Saint Mark's.
On Sundays at 10 a.m., our parish gathers for discussion and teaching on topics that matter to us as Christians. Usually our talks are energetic and fulfilling, with lots of great ideas in the air. Come by for a good cup of coffee, stay for a great class and a rousing discussion! All classes meet in the Parish Hall, ending in time for the 11 a.m. Mass. Contact Mother Nora Johnson if you have questions or would like to hear more.
Forum Topics for October and November 2017
October and November at the 10:00 Sunday Forum are filled with opportunities to learn more about faith and worship. Parishioner Roy Clouser will talk about some puzzles in the scriptures in his “Exegetical Detective” series. Mother Johnson will take us through some liturgical questions that seem basic but are actually complex. How do we receive Holy Communion? Why do we use incense (and what are those prayers getting said in the sanctuary while the incense is laid on)? Why do we make the sign of the cross before we pray? We will also continue our exploration of space and time in Christian thought with a discussion of what “sacred space” is. Come when you can, enjoy a cup of coffee and a chance to talk to your fellow parishioners, and learn more about the journey of faith we are taking together.
October 1: The Body of Christ. Join Mother Nora Johnson for a discussion about receiving the Eucharist. We’ll cover questions large and small. What is “real presence?” How do we hold our hands? What is the history of the words used to administer the sacrament? This is a great opportunity to ask about those things you have always wanted to know.
October 8: Roy Clouser, “The Exegetical Detective,” part one: Romans 1: 18-35. This controversial section of Paul’s letter to the Romans castigates those who have “changed the truth about God to a lie” and indulged in “unnatural passions.” Who is Paul talking about? Who is it that “holds fast to the truth” but does so "in unrighteousness"? Who knew God but "changed the truth about God into a lie”?
October 15 Roy Clouser, “The Exegetical Detective,” part two. Puzzle One: In Matthew 16:19 Jesus tells Peter he will build his church on a “rock.” Is the rock Peter? What are the “keys to the Kingdom?” Did Jesus really say to Peter “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven?” Puzzle two: what is going on at the transfiguration? How did Peter, James and John know it was Moses and Elijah who were speaking to Jesus? Why did Jesus meet with them rather than anyone else? What is the intended message of this story?
October 22: A Sacred Place. What do we mean when we call St. Mark’s or any church a “sacred place?” Are we saying that other places are not sacred? Come learn more about how we use physical space in an intentional way.
October 29: A Great Cloud of Witnesses. What is a “saint” in Anglican tradition? What is the difference between All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2)? What does it mean for us to say that we are living in community with those who have gone before us?
November 5: Stewardship. Join members of the Stewardship Committee to talk about how your financial contributions foster the life of this community and to learn more about the work the committee is doing this year.
November 12: “May my prayer be counted as incense before You.” Why do we use incense at Saint Mark’s? How do we use it? Come learn about the scriptural background for this beloved and sometimes controversial liturgical practice. Deepen your experience of the liturgy by deepening your understanding.
November 19: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We invoke the Holy Trinity when we pray, and we make the sign of the cross on our bodies as we say the words. Join Mother Nora Johnson for a meditation on this way of praying. Why and how, exactly, do we speak “in” God’s name?