Adult Formation and Education
All Saints offers opportunities for adult education throughout the year, part of our core value: We Learn.
Summer Learning Opportunities
This summer, for the first time, we had a once–a-month series on the spiritual practices of hospitality, generosity and mindfulness, held following the 9 a.m. service.
Parishioners meet for Bible study on Wednesdays at noon. Using Richard Rohrbaugh’s Listening to Scripture: Strategies for Interpreting the Bible, the study looks at context—historical, literary, and cultural—as a path to deep reading of the Bible and how it speaks to us today.
The Wed@12 group continues this fall, using the strategies learned to delve into the book of Mark. Everyone is welcome—no need to have begun at the beginning to deepen your understanding of the riches in the Bible. Bring a lunch and be ready for fascinating and far-ranging discussion.
From the Sunday after Labor Day through June, adult education is open to all at 9:15, while young people are in church school. The vision is to have everyone—parishioners from the 8 and 10:30 services and our youth—participating in education, spiritual formation and nourishment at the same time, an Education for All Ages program.
Education Is a Justice Issue
Rev. Tanya went to seminary with the intention of focusing on liturgy and preaching, but changed her focus to religion and education. “Two things happened. 1. I realized everyone focused on preaching; and 2. because I went to an ecumenical seminary, preaching is very different than in the Episcopal Church.”
She also found she was intimidated by teaching, yet would need that skill in a parish. She took a course on the practice of teaching to fulfill a requirement and was transformed. “The class gave me experience and the tools to teach, but more than that, it empowered me to put myself in the teacher’s seat.”
“I worked with mentors who saw education as a profound matter of justice,” she said. She did field education placement for her New York City parish, St. Luke in the Fields, in Greenwich Village, and was in charge of adult formation there. She also taught field education at her alma mater, Union Theological Seminary.
As Canon Educator at St Paul’s Cathedral in Vermont, Rev. Tanya ran the Christian education and formation program for adults, youth and children, and served as a consultant for parishes in the dioceses and with the New England dioceses’ education network.
She brought that passion and joy for teaching to her ministry here. Rev. Tanya wanted to develop a strong children’s education program and make the church service welcoming place for children, while setting aside a regular time for adult formation so she restructured Sunday morning services.
She has offered forums on such topics as an introduction to The Book of Common Prayer, a seven-week series on the sacraments, an instructed Eucharist, Episcopal Church 101, and adult preparation for confirmation.
Adult forums are often offered as a series, but are designed to stand alone so people can drop in as they are able. In the spring, for example, Deacon Terry Hurlbut led lively discussions on Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward, on spirituality in the two halves of life. The book, and the group, looked at how our failures fuel ongoing spiritual growth. This fall, the group is discussing Walter Breuggemann's book, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now.
All Saints welcomes parishioners interested in offering a series in their area of expertise. For example, parishioner Mike Robinson, a Mt. Holyoke college professor of economics, led a series on economics and the Scripture.
In the past year, All Saints hosted John T. Grayson’s final Mt. Holyoke College class of Spirituals and the Blues. Accompanied by Ruth Bass Jones on the piano, the Rev. Funteller Jackson, a Mt. Holyoke graduate, spoke and sang. Her moving rendition of “Precious Lord,” is available on YouTube. One of Prof. Grayson’s students will be a Lawrence House intern this fall.
All Saints also hosted an author reading and book signing to celebrate publication of Talking Taboo: Christian Women Get Frank About Faith. Lizzie McManus, a Mount Holyoke student who preached several times before she graduated, was one of the authors.
Coffee, Tea and Theology begins anew in the fall. Members of three South Hadley parishes are welcome to meet once a month at Thirsty Mind in South Hadley Commons to talk about issues that matter from a faith perspective.
The Lawrence House program for young adults living in community will include a weekly education component. Some of these offerings will be open to the congregation. Area clergy and professors will address topics in their area of expertise. Two examples: parishioner Mike Robinson, for example, will look at economics and the Scripture. Parishioner Chisato Kitagawa, an Episcopal priest and retired professor of Japanese and linguistics, will talk about culture and Christianity and Christian life in Japan.
Mount Holyoke students meet on alternate Sundays for Bible study and a simple supper. Last year, students looked at women in the Bible.
Rev. Tanya will begin a series on what it means to be an Episcopalian in anticipation of next summer’s General Convention. Ever wonder what General Convention is and why we have one, why we have bishops, or how the Episcopal Church differs from other Christian churches? This will be the time to find the answers.