Adult Forum takes place on most Sundays during the academic year at 10am in Miles Hall. A committee of twelve come together several times a year to plan interesting, formative and sometimes controversial programs to engage the congregation. Making use of many resources (outside speakers, the talents and passions of various parishioners, ministry leaders, and video and audio presentations), the committee makes every effort to challenge and meet the needs of the congregations. It is the hope of the committee to empower, equip, encourage and support individuals and households at each stage of life to integrate Christian practices into everyday life, so that they become an integral way of life for our parishioners in today’s world.
Beginning in September of 2012 we took a new approach to our Adult Formation programming. We decided to offer the same information to the “whole family of God” at St. Martin’s. Therefore, eight stories were taken from the Common Lectionary* on which to focus. The 2012-2013 academic year was sectioned off into four-week modules (taking into account Christmas, Easter, annual meeting, etc.). On the first Sunday of each module, everyone gathers in Miles Hall to hear “THE STORY.” On the three Sundays following “Story Sunday”, the Adult Formation Committee members lead the Adult Forum through a series of reflections on the story—basically unpacking the story in detail. The procedure used is being called “Hear—See—Do.” The first Sunday after the story participants are able to hear the story again as it is written in the Bible, with translation nuances pointed out and some background of the cultural and economic conditions present at the time of the story or the writing of the story. The second Sunday after the story the focus is on how the story relates to 21st century life, and the third Sunday after the story concentrates on what the story might be calling us to do.
During the academic year of 2012-2013 the eight stories told and dissected are:
· The Second Creation Story (Adam and Eve) - Genesis 2:4-3:24
· The Ten Commandments—Exodus 19-20; 31:12-17; & 32
· The Book of Ruth—Ruth 1:1-4—4:22
· The Visitation (Mary visits Elizabeth) - Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)
· The Baptism of Jesus—Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
· The Temptation of Christ—Luke 4:1-13
· The Good Shepherd—John 10:22-30
· God sends the Holy Spirit—Acts 2:1-21
The Spirituality of Parenting takes place on most Sundays in our Rector’s office and is led by either our Rector or our Assistant. Conversations among parents and clergy give our clergy to point to God’s presence in the good and bad of parenting. It is a popular class as it affirms parents and helps them to recognize Jesus in their family members—even in (or especially in) difficult times.
CHRISTIAN ADULT FORMATION ON OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK
Bible Studies * Tuesday: This group meets at 7:45am in the Choir Room and uses a reader response method that seeks insight from Holy Scriptures to discern how God is acting in our lives. The group is studying the Gospel of Mark. The study finishes at 8:45am for participants who have to leave for work.
* Wednesday: At 6:30pm on Wednesday evenings at a parishioner’s home, this group studies the lectionary readings* in preparation for the coming Sunday.
* Thursday: A Bible study on the theme “If God Loves Us, Then What?” meets on Thursdays from 7 to 8:30pm in the Choir Room. Participants will become familiar with the Old Testament character Jonah and the New Testament Book of Romans, and will find the historical settings and theological issues in both these books to be rich supports of their daily lives.
* Friday: Meeting in the Library at noon on Fridays this group studies the lectionary readings* for the upcoming Sunday.
Education for Ministry
Tuesday: This group begins each year in September on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9pm in Miles Hall. The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out whatever individual ministry to which a person is called. Through study, prayer, and reflection, EfM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of god’s kingdom. Participants dig deeper into the Christian faith, studying the Bible, church history and theological ideas and reflect on connecting faith with life experiences.
The Rule of St. Benedict
Wednesday: In January of 2010, a small group of parishioners at St. Martin’s joined together in morning prayer and reflection on the Rule of St. Benedict. In the Benedictine tradition, daily prayers include readings from the Psalms. This group also began reading Joan Chittester’s book of daily reflections entitled “The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages.” They meet at 6:30am on Wednesday mornings in the church.
*St. Martin’s uses the Common Lectionary which is a schedule of bible readings that are used in worship throughout the year. The intent is that the passages appointed for the day are to be read to the congregation and that the sermon is to be based upon them. The purpose of a lectionary is to assure that all parts of the bible are used in proportion to their relative importance, and at the right time of the year (that is, resurrection stories at Easter, nativity stories at Christmas, and so forth.).