Menu

Spiritual Formation

St. Mary’s offers numerous opportunities for adults to learn and grow. Spiritual Formation includes programs that challenge you to think differently, help you to expand your knowledge base, deepen your prayer life, and engage you with the breadth and depth of Anglican history and contemporary expressions of the faith.


Summer in the City Adult Formation Series

Join us in the Fowler Hall Great Room between the 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. services (approximately 9:00 a.m.) for the August 19 and 26 programs of the Summer in the City adult formation series.

August 19, 2018 – The Rev. Dr. Paula NesbittEngaging the feminine face of God

The Bible offers rich imagery of God as Lord and Father. Less often do we encounter the biblical imagery of God that evokes feminine traits. Both masculine and feminine qualities are necessary in order to understand the full essence of God and the radical equality of all humanity that God has intended through our creation. This session will explore some of the feminine biblical images and theological understandings of God found in both Jewish and Christian traditions, and their meaning for our church today. The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt, St. Mary’s assisting clergy and visiting professor of sociology of religion at the Graduate Theological Union, has taught gender and religion in both seminary and university settings for two decades. Her publications on this topic include Feminization of the Clergy in America (Oxford, 1997) and numerous book chapters and articles. She currently serves on the International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group charged with developing a biblical and theological curriculum on gender justice for the Anglican Communion.

The Bible offers rich imagery of God as Lord and Father. Less often do we encounter the biblical imagery of God that evokes feminine traits. Both masculine and feminine qualities are necessary in order to understand the full essence of God and the radical equality of all humanity that God has intended through our creation. This session will explore some of the feminine biblical images and theological understandings of God found in both Jewish and Christian traditions, and their meaning for our church today.

Although many biblical and theological references to God as Lord or Father have been intended to imply that God is far greater than gendered imagery itself, too often our exclusive use of masculine language and metaphors has limited our ability to know God in ways other than as masculine. At certain times, it also has resulted in tendencies to understand God as triumphalist, militant, and as sternly judgmental without the balance of nurturing, peace-loving, and forgiving traits that a more nuanced understanding of both masculinity and femininity can offer.

The reasons for over-reliance on masculine imagery are many. Some are the result of biblical mistranslation, of ignoring passages or texts that offer differing understandings, and of interpreting passages to justify a particular theological perspective. Cultural concerns and practices at the time when certain passages were written also affecte the language used, as well as the gender of who wrote the narrative account. Over time, equating divinity with masculinity has also been used to justify women’s inequality, exclusion, and even abuse. Over the past sixty years, scholars have revisited many scriptural, historical, and theological texts and imagery in order to identify overlooked or suppressed feminine references to the divine and to women’s experience, in order to offer a more complete understanding of God’s intention for all humanity, and for developing a more complete knowledge and deeper relationship with God.

The feminine face of God, intended to open the way for a richer and fuller understanding of God and humanity, will become more visible across the Episcopal Church in worship and elsewhere as dioceses explore the use of more inclusive and expansive language and imagery for both humanity and divinity, as supplements to our Book of Common Prayer. These are intended to enrich our understanding of God and inspire us to value the fullness of our diverse humanity created in divine image and love.

Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt, St. Mary’s assisting clergy and visiting professor of sociology of religion at the Graduate Theological Union, has taught gender and religion in both seminary and university settings for two decades. Her publications on this topic include Feminization of the Clergy in America (Oxford, 1997) and numerous book chapters and articles. She currently serves on the International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group charged with developing a biblical and theological curriculum on gender justice for the Anglican Communion.

Sunday, August 26, 2018 – The Rev. Dr. Ruth A. Meyers, “Expanding the Language of Our Worship”

The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of God, male and female (Genesis 1:27). Yet the 1979 Book of Common Prayer uses only masculine images and pronouns to speak about God. This session will specifically explore what the Episcopal Church is already doing to expand the language of Episcopal worship, developments from the just concluded Episcopal General Convention and possible ways of The Church moving forward on questions of language. The Rev. Dr. Ruth A. Meyers is one of the Episcopal Church’s foremost experts on Episcopal liturgy. The Rev. Dr. Meyers is Dean of Academic Affairs and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and an assisting priest at All Souls, Berkeley. As Chair of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music from 2009-2015, she led the process of developing theological and liturgical resources for blessing same-sex relationships. In the months prior to this summer’s General Convention, she chaired a committee on theology and language that developed legislation for the Convention to consider

.
Ruth Meyers

Previous speakers:

John Kramar

Sunday, June 17 – John Kramar, “Immigration and Refugees in America Today.”
John Kramar is an Elder at Old First Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, with a life’s calling to welcome the sojourner among us. He is
an immigration attorney with twenty-six years as a civil servant with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). After a look at scripture to identify our Christian responsibility to immigrants, John will explore the foundations of immigration in the U.S., the current state of our immigration system, and “hot button” issues, as we identify them, that call for faith-filled responses. This program is sponsored by Immigration working group of St. Mary’s justice ministry.

Listen to John’s talk


Sunday, June 24 – Sara Miles, “Becoming Neighbors: Crossing Borders in San Francisco.”
Sara Miles introduces us to the realities facing immigrants in our own community today. Sara is the accompaniment coordinator for Faith in Action Bay Area (FIABA), a network of interfaith congregations and community leaders working to uphold the dignity of all people. Sara served for ten years as the Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, and is founder and director of The Food Pantry, which provides free fresh groceries to 400 families a week. Sara is author of several books on being a Christian in the contemporary world. (www.saramiles.net) She also will preach at the 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. services on June 24. This program is sponsored by Immigration working group of St. Mary’s justice ministry.

Sara Miles

Fr. Adam McCly

Sunday, July 1 – Fr. Adam McCoy, “The Benedictine Way: A Life of an Episcopal
Monastic”
Fr. Adam McCoy is member of the Order of the Holy Cross and is prior of Mt. Calvary Monastery in Santa Barbara. The Order of the Holy Cross is a Benedictine community of men in the Episcopal Church. The central expression of what Benedictine monasticism is all about is summed up in their vow: stability, conversion to monastic life and obedience. Brother Adam joined the Order of the Holy Cross in 1973. Previously, he served as Prior of Incarnation Priory, Berkeley, as the rector of St. Michael’s, Anaheim and St. Edward the Martyr, East Harlem, New York City. He is the author of the history of Order of Holy Cross, Holy Cross: A Century of Anglican Monasticism. He also will preach at the 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. services on July 1.

Listen to Fr. McCoy’s talk

Sunday, July 8 – Sandy Stadtfeld, “The Moravian Church in America – A Partner in
Communion”
The oldest active worldwide Protestant Christian denomination, the Moravian Church traces its history from fifteenth-entury Bohemia and the teachings of the reformer Jan Hus. Officially the Unitas Fratrum, or Unity of Brethren, the church emphasizes Christian unity, personal piety, missionary work, and music. Moravian settlers began coming to North America in 1735, establishing the church’s historic centers in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Moravian Church is among those with which the Episcopal Church (USA) is today in in full communion and that St. Mary’s will explore in worship this summer. Sandy Stadtfeld is a parishioner of St. Mary’s, where he sings in the choir, serves as a chalice bearer and helps out wherever he can. His interest in the Moravian Church stems from many years playing in brass and trombone ensembles, which figure prominently in the Moravian tradition.
Listen to Sandy’s talk

Sandy Stadtfeld

Martha Daetwyler

Sunday, July 15 – Martha Daetwyler, “Estate planning and charitable giving in light of
new tax laws”

How do the recent tax changes affect estate planning? What’s new and what remains the same in terms of charitable giving? Are there new opportunities for charitable giving in light of the new tax laws? On a practical level, what steps can you take now to ease the burden on your family and others when you die? What steps can you take now to provide for periods of illness and incapacity? These topics will be examined by parishioner Martha Daetwyler who is a member of the vestry and the choir. She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration and has many years of legal experience in helping families and individuals prepare trust and wills and other estate planning documents. Martha also works with clients on transferring assets after the death of a family member whether in the context of trust administration or probate.
This program is sponsored by St. Mary’s Legacy Society.

Listen to Martha’s talk

 


 

Making All Things New, An Invitation to the Spiritual Life – By Henri Nouwen

Making all Things New

Recommended reading –  If you would like to read this book, copies may be found on Amazon (CLICK HERE), bookstores, libraries or by electronic means. A few printed copies will be available in the church library.

The Rev. David Erickson