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.
Every Sunday 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 at 10 a.m., ending in time for the 11 a.m. Mass. Contact Mother Nora Johnson if you have questions or would like to hear more.
January 8: Coming into the Church. Mother Nora Johnson talks about her work with those who come to be baptized, confirmed, or received at Saint Mark’s. This session is a way to hear more about what this year’s Confirmation Class, which begins in January, is going to be like. It’s also a chance for the parish to talk about how we receive new members and what new Christians need to know about living a life of faith.
January 15 and 22: Alternative Christianities. Parishioner and historian Barry Levis will lead this three-part series. The assertion that Christians have consistently held the same beliefs since the beginning could not be further from historical reality. While many Christians did share common beliefs, others who regarded themselves as true to the original teaching of Jesus held often radically different views. In these sessions we will meet groups spanning periods from the early church through the Reformation and examine their relationship with the mainstream Christians of their day.
January 29: The Ministry of Acolytes. Join Mother Johnson and servers from the parish for a discussion of the work of serving at the altar. Are you curious about learning how to serve? Would you like to ask questions about what we do? What part does serving at the altar play in the spiritual life of a Christian?
February 5: Annual Parish Meeting. All members of the parish are invited to join Fr. Mullen and Rector’s Warden David Marshall to learn more about the life of the parish and to join in a discussion about our ministry.
February 12: Poetry and Faith - Christian Wiman. Mother Johnson introduces the work of a contemporary poet whose profound writings reflect on illness, struggle, Christianity, and hope. Formerly the editor of Poetry magazine, Wiman rediscovered his faith when he was diagnosed with incurable cancer.
February 19: Poetry and Faith - John Betjeman. Parishioner Solade Thorpe will give us an introduction (or reintroduction) to the work of John Betjeman, who was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom until 1983. Betjeman wrote wonderfully accessible and often comic poems that also ask deep questions about faith. He was a passionate scholar of Victorian architecture.
February 26: Alternative Christianities, Part 3. Parishioner and historian Barry Levis offers the third and final session of his series on the broad range of beliefs within the history of Christianity. This session will deal with the Albigensians, a medieval French group ultimately put down by a crusade and the Inquisition.
March 5: An Informal Discussion with Stanley Hauerwas. Join members of the parish for a lively, informal discussion with a renowned theologian. Dr. Hauerwas will also preach at the 11 a.m. High Mass.
Lenten Series: The Scriptures of the Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil is marked not only by rich forms of ritual action like the kindling of fire and the lighting of the Paschal candle, but by a long series of readings from the Hebrew Scriptures, interspersed with psalms and prayers. Join parishioner Jay Blossom, leader of our parish Bible study, and Mother Johnson for a closer look at these selections. How do these writings from the Old Testament help us prepare for the resurrection?
March 12: Creation and the Flood. We’ll spend some time in this session talking about how this particular series of readings came to be part of the Easter Vigil. As we look at Genesis chapters 1-3 and 7-9, we’ll consider what the story of God’s first creation and the fall tells us about salvation, and how the story of Noah and the ark are related to Easter.
March 19: Abraham and Isaac. Join us for a discussion of one of the most perplexing and painful stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. We’ll be reflecting on the ways this story (Genesis 18: 1-19; 22:1-19), in which God asks Abraham to prepare to sacrifice his own son, has been read by Christians.
March 26: Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea. We’ll be looking at the Bood of Exodus, chapters 1–15, with a special focus on on chapters 1, 2, and 14:10–15:1. The crossing over of Israel out of bondage in Egypt is one of the central motifs in the Christian Scriptures.
April 2: A renewed Israel and an offer of salvation. Parts of the Book of Isaiah describe a wonderful renewal and an outpouring of grace. Come hear how Isaiah chapters 2, 4, 53, and 55 have resonated in Christian tradition.
April 9: A new heart, a new spirit, the gathering of God’s people. This session will look at the offer of renewal and the powerful “valley of the dry bones” prophecy in Ezekiel 36 and 37:1-14. We’ll also look at the prophet Zephaniah’s call to repentance and promise of deliverance in chapters 1-3.
There will be no Adult Forum on April 16, Easter Day.