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.
The Way of Love, Practices for Jesus-Centered Life
An Invitation from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry to Practice the Way of Love
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17-19
In the first century Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement. A community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. Before they were called “church” or “Christian,” this Jesus Movement was simply called “the way.”
Today I believe our vocation is to live as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. But how can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world?
The deep roots of our Christian tradition may offer just such a path. For centuries, monastic communities have shaped their lives around rhythms and disciplines for following Jesus together. Such a pattern is known as a “Rule of Life.” The framework you now hold – The Way of Love: Practices for Jesus-Centered Life – outlines a Rule for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.
It is designed to be spare and spacious, so that individuals, ministry groups, congregations, and networks can flesh it out in unique ways and build a church-wide treasure trove of stories and resources. There is no specific order you need to follow. If you already keep a Rule or spiritual disciplines, you might reflect and discover how that path intersects with this one. By entering into reflection, discernment and commitment around the practices of Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest, I pray we will grow as communities following the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus. His way has the power to change each of our lives and to change this world.
Your brother in the Way of Jesus,
The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
What do you Seek?
Early in his ministry, Jesus of Nazareth was surrounded by crowds. He turned and asked, “What do you seek?” (John 1:38). For more than a thousand years, monastics have greeted pilgrims knocking on their doors by asking: “What do you seek?”
Today, each of us can pause with the same question. As much as the world has changed, the fundamental human hopes and yearnings that draw us to faith may not be so different. For many …
- We seek love
To know God’s love, to love and be loved by others, and to love ourselves.
- We seek freedom
From the many forces – sin, fear, oppression, and division – that pull us from living as God created us to be: dignified, whole, and free.
- We seek abundant life
Overflowing with joy, peace, generosity, and delight. Where there is enough for all because we all share with abandon. A life of meaning, given back to God and lived for others.
- We seek Jesus
The Way of Jesus is the Way of Love,
and that way has the power to change lives and change the world.
Summer in the City Adult Formation Series
The Summer in the City Series has concluded. If you would like to know more about the series, please see information below. Many of the talks were recorded if you would like to listen to the speakers.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
August 19, 2018 – The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt – Engaging 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.
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.
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
Making All Things New, An Invitation to the Spiritual Life – By Henri Nouwen
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