St George’s offers a wide variety of spiritual growth opportunities to all adults.
Rector’s Forum – The Gospel of St. Mark
The first Gospel written for the Church in the first century, about 35 years after the central events of Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection, was that of St. Mark. Each of the four Gospels was written for a particular Community of Christians at a particular time, but were part of the essential apostolic witness to Jesus as the Savior of the world attested to in the opening words of each of the Gospels. It is because of the Apostolic witness that we know anything at all about Jesus’ true nature as Lord. While there are many other references to Jesus in non-Christian writings (which we will talk about), the New Testament consisted as writings about Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets and Writings (the three fold shape of the Jewish Hebrew and Greek Scriptures).
In his History of the Church, Eusebius wrote this about the first Gospel, quoting a bishop of Hierapolis, Papias, in the early second century: “And the Presbyter (c. mid to late first century, a close disciple of John the Apostle and Evangelist) used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order of the things said or done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had he followed him, but later on, as I said, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark did nothing wrong In thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”
I was amazed at this careful remembrance of how Mark’s Gospel came to be written, and that this could be traced historically! Adult Christians need to study the Scriptures at Church, because the Bible is unknown to so many in our secular culture, and often not taught or misinterpreted by uneducated preachers. And it needs to be learned in the Christian community.
Join me for the study of the Gospel of Mark every Sunday in the Parish Hall.
Prayer has held a central place at St. George’s all through the parish’s history. The congregation holds vigils for major events and initiatives, is active with the Diocesan Prayer Fellowship and the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, and encourages members to attend retreats and conferences on prayer and the spiritual life.
The Wednesday morning prayer group is one of our most enduring witnesses to the importance of prayer at St. George’s. Carrying on a tradition of more than 30 years, these faithful pray-ers meet each week after the Wednesday morning Eucharist, review and update the parish’s intercessory prayer list, and maintain the prayer tree, by which urgent prayer requests go out to participating parishioners. More information see Carol Ludwick or Toots Schilling.
The Order of St Luke the Physician
This group is just one facet of St George’s healing ministry. The group offers a healing prayer station at the main Eucharist that is available for anyone that wants to pray for their own healing or to offer intercessory prayers for another. Prayer teams are also available (through the priest’s referral) to pray with people in homes, or in the hospital. Through God’s grace, the group is witness to many real instances of healing of body, mind and spirit, right within the congregation. Periodically, the group also sponsor formal training for those interested in healing ministry in general, or feel called to participate in healing prayer. Members continue learning about healing prayer through monthly continuing education opportunities.
The local group is affiliated with The International Order of St Luke the Physician, which is an ecumenical organization dedicated to the Christian healing ministry with members throughout North America and the world. Contact: Bob Vaughn for more information
The worldwide Cursillo movement has been a powerful means of spiritual formation and growth since the 1940s, beginning in the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and spreading around the globe, including to the Episcopal Church in the United States in the 1970s. “Cursillo” is Spanish for “short course,” and the three-day Cursillo weekend is in fact a short course in Christian faith and practice. It is also a unique opportunity to live in Christian community, a time of deep fellowship, great singing and some unrestrained hilarity.
Graduates, also known as “Cursillistas,” can take part in continuing programs, including periodic regional gatherings and weekly “reunion groups,” which provide a time for reflection about one’s spiritual life and planning for the coming week. St. George’s is part of the Diocese of Springfield Cursillo community; well over 100 of our parishioners are Cursillistas. More information: Vicki Hall, 566-4310 (email@example.com).
The Lenten season is “spring training” for Christians. At St. George’s, Lent means weekly soup suppers, with proceeds going to worthy causes (Heifer Project International, Honduran housing relief, and the national church’s Relief and Development Fund are recent examples). An educational program follows. In some years, we conduct these programs jointly with St. Mark Lutheran Church. Watch the Lance after the Christmas holidays for more information.
Inquirers and Confirmation Classes
Each year, the rector conducts a class for adults interested in joining St. George’s. Frequently it also includes parishioners who just want to brush up on the basics of the faith and the church. This class begins in winter and concludes with the annual bishop’s visitation and confirmation late in the spring.
Also preparing for confirmation, the junior high Sunday school class provides confirmation instruction for seventh- and eighth-graders in alternating years. For more information see the rector.
Like our bodies, our spirits need exercise. Much of that exercise comes from daily devotions and weekly worship, but the occasional marathon or two-week ramble is a helpful addition to our exercise regime. The Spiritual Enrichment Commission, collaborating with other parish organizations, plans annual renewal programs to help us get in trim. They include conferences, workshops, dramatic presentations and more. Frequently outside speakers or groups lead these events. Watch the newsletter for more information.