Christian Education and Formation at St. Anselmís include many things. We grow, learn, and are formed as Christians not only through traditional forms of educational experience, such as lectures, reading, and discussion groups but also through working, serving, playing, and praying together. In light of St. Paulís advice in his letter to the Ephesians, St. Anselmís parish offers many kinds of experience that "equip the saints for ministry." We all bring different gifts and need different kinds of educational and formative experiences to grow to our full potential.
The Christian Formation Commission coordinates much of the adult education at St. Anselmís. The Commission offers opportunities for parishioners to:
- Learn about the history of Christianity and the Anglican tradition as well as contemporary issues.
- Study world religions.
- Explore our individual faith journeys as well as learn about normal pathways of spiritual development.
- Experience diverse forms of prayer and spiritual practice.
- Share our stories and experiences with each other.
For example, we plan and facilitate:
- The annual six-week Lenten Series
- Retreats, including women's retreats held semi-annually or annually, and
- Speaking engagements, films, and discussions
Commission members regularly provide information about upcoming events at CDSP (the Episcopal Seminary in Berkeley) and the Graduate Theological Union as well as in neighboring churches. The commission, composed of lay members and the rector, meets periodically to plan new events, often in cooperation with other church committees and commissions.
The study group meets Wednesdays at 11 AM in the parish hall. Contemporary critical scholarship provides new insights into biblical interpretation. The group explores this information in readings and discussion.
We are currently reading St. Paul's letters in the book The People's New Testament Commentary, by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock.
Classes are open to all and participants may attend any or all sessions on a regular or drop-in basis. There are no class fees, but participants buy their own literature.
Church (Sunday) School
A Different Approach to Sunday School
During the 10 a. m. service children of an age to stay in the service, generally Kindergarten and above, are invited to the Youth Zone, an area in the northwest corner of the church that has been carved out for them. There are activities for them to do while they are in the service, and they may be invited to process in and out with the altar party. Of course, if they would like to sit with their parents, they are welcome to do so.
At some point in the service, children may be asked to come forward to participate in a five- minute question-and-answer session with Father John. These sessions are enjoyable for the children, father John, and the rest of us sitting in the pews. We get to hear what the children think and the children get to talk before the parishioners and perhaps receive some gently offered advice.
Nursery care for very young children (two to four) continues where it always has been, in the southeast corner of the administration building closest to the play yard.
We meet once a week during Lent to learn about our faith and to deepen it through a program offering. Program themes change from year to year. Past programs have included speakers, group activities, and films. One year we learned about Christian mysticism from Brother Bernard of the Order of the Holy Cross. Another year, we were taught about great biblical characters by parishioners who acted their parts.
The meeting begins with a simple communal meal. The meeting is then opened for discussion about the program's topic. Devotionals follow the discussion to close the evening.