Faith Formation at St. Mary’s
In our faith community, we take the words of Jesus very seriously. One of the chief commandments of our Lord was, “to go and make disciples of all nations.” To our congregation, this instruction reminds us that we are to share the meanings, ways and benefits of a life of faith with any who are open to exploring a relationship with God. In this section of our parish website, you will find some of the resources and programs we offer, to help you grow in your walk of faith.
ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
For those seeking to grow in their faith, St. Mary’s is a Christian community that seeks to nurture the faith that is within us, and commend it to others. St. Mary’s offers a variety of personal and communal opportunities for Christian Education not only for our younger members, but also for adults. Our focus for adults is to guide them through their spiritual journey, and present avenues that help our fellow Christians to travel deeper into the sacred mysteries of God, and to become one with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. For each individual this will mean different roads and routes. For an new inquirer or seeker, this road will lead through baptism and introductory explorations of the Christian faith. For those who consider themselves mature in their faith, there are opportunities to learn new paths of prayer and contemplation, or be part of groups where we draw together to share and explore God’s wisdom for us in scripture. All are welcome to join us or participate in these programs as you are able.
BIBLE STUDY PROGRAMS
St. Mary’s has a long history of our community gathering together to discern the word of God and to grow in our knowledge of His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. From the months of September to June, our parish runs programs for members of the community to study scripture. Our main opportunity for Bible Study is between our two Sunday Morning Worship Services. We gather from 9:15 am to 10 am in the West Wing of the church for our Sunday Morning Christian Education Program. We use an Anglican Program entitled Synthesis CE, which is a monthly package produced each month based on our Sunday readings. This program provides devotional and scholarly reflections for individuals to review at home and a series of questions to guide our study. The program is and groups is open and flexible, so that those new to community bible study can attend and listen without feeling out of place or under pressure to have to say something during every discussion. As St. Mary’s continues to work on expanding our Bible Study Programming, we are exploring other options such as expanding to offer more midweek programming and other small group gatherings as well. Please feel free to connect with the office for more info or to sign up.
During the seasons of the Church Year, we spend time exploring different aspects of the Christian faith. During the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, and the green seasons known as Ordinary Time we celebrate the triumph’s of God, or grow in our understanding of how our spirits can become one with God as we follow in the footsteps of His Son and saints. The other seasons of the church year, Advent and Lent, carry within themselves a sense of contemplation that invites Christians to explore the faith that is within them and then go deeper. During these seasons our parish clergy will often lead book studies that draw members of our community to read a reflective book and then communally share our experience of the work and endeavour to grow in our Christian walk of faith. Our 2019 Lenten Study will be on the book, “The Shattering of Loneliness, exploring a Christian Understanding of Loneliness”. Please contact the office if you need help in obtaining our program material or if you have any questions.
GREEN STEWARDSHIP PROGRAMS
As Christians, we believe that the earth belongs to God; that all things have been created, and will be redeemed, in Christ, and that we have been entrusted with the care of the earth. The Fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion calls us “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” The Green Team committee of St. Mary’s seeks to provide networking and resource support for our parish to make creation care an integral part of our worship, education, life and witness.
We seek to bring concern for creation into our prayer and worship. We also work to encourage others explore how the call to creation is woven into the biblical story through personal study and prayer. As you grow and have a deeper desire to participate in creation stewardship, we would hope you will look for ways to make you life and home more eco-friendly while saving money, enhancing your care for creation, and having fun at the same time! As we embrace this calling we pray others will becoming convinced of the urgency of this work and commitment to creation care, and join with others working for action on climate change and environmental protection.
Additionally, we commend these Canadian faith-based organizations working on environmental justice and stewardship.
Citizens for Public Justice, a Christian voice for social and environmental justice in Canadian public policy.
Faith and the Common Good, an interfaith organization assisting faith communities with practical greening through their Greening Sacred Spaces program.
KAIROS, a coalition of Canadian churches working together for justice and peace.
A Rocha Canada, a Christian environmental stewardship organization working in conservation, environmental education and sustainable agriculture.
Sunday School takes place on Sunday mornings during the 10.30 a.m. service.
Children follow the Teacher out of church during the last verse of the first hymn and are brought back to join their parents/family members in time to take communion with them. The class is held in either the Parish Hall or in the West or Centre Rooms, which are located in the ‘West Wing’, just beyond the kitchen.
All children are most welcome from approximately ages four to early teens: the format is currently that of a ”Holy Moly”. “Holy Moly” is a Curriculum produced by Christian publisher “Sparkhouse”, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church in the United States.
It is our aim to bring the Bible stories and simple aspects of worship, such as prayer and singing, to the children in age appropriate inter-active ways and activities that are interesting, joyful and fun.
We have several pairs of teachers who are scheduled in rotation, but we always need more! Orientation will be provided. If you are interested in helping, please contact me through the church office.
Lauren Wirtzfeld, Chair of the Sunday School Committee