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.
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.
April 23: The Poetry of Christian Wiman. Mother Nora Johnson leads us through more poems by contemporary writer Christian Wiman. Formerly the editor of Poetry magazine, Wiman rediscovered his faith when he was diagnosed with incurable cancer. This is a follow-up session to our February 12 session, but you don’t need to have been there for that introduction to attend this session. Come read wonderful poems as we discover Wiman’s work together.
April 30: Contemplative Prayer. This Eastertide, Saint Mark’s will begin a Contemplative Prayer gathering every Thursday morning between the early Mass and Morning Prayer. Join Mother Johnson for an introduction to the group’s work and a gentle review of the principles of silent prayer.
May 7: Religious Life in the Episcopal Church. Brother Robert James McLaughlin, a member of the parish and of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, will talk to us about life as a professed member of a religious community.
May 14: Newly Confirmed and Received. Come meet some of the members of this year's confirmation class, who were confirmed or received on Saint Mark's Day, April 25. They will share some of their experience of preparing for and making this profound commitment.
May 21: Little Gidding. In 1625, Nicholas Ferrar, his mother, and other members of their family decided to live as what we might now call an intentional religious community. Little Gidding was deeply controversial in its own day, but later celebrated by T.S. Eliot and many others. Come learn about this family experiment in Anglican piety.
May 28 and June 4: Religious Experience. Parishioner Roy Clouser, a philosopher of religion, will lead us in a two-part discussion of the experiential aspect of religion. He will talk about this topic from a theological, philosophical, and personal perspective.