Fall Formation Groups are Underway…

Fall Formation Groups

We encourage friends and members of St. Paul’s to join one of the six-week formation groups this fall! These groups provide a safe and open space for meaningful small-group discussions focused on a particular topic. They will meet for six weeks at various times throughout the week.

The offerings for this fall are:

1. Lectio Divina— Monday Afternoons @ 2:00-3:30 p.m., October 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, November 4th, 11th in the Church Library. Facilitated by the Rev. Bruce Birdsey. “Lord, teach us to pray,” they asked Jesus (Luke 11:1).  Over the centuries, the Church has evolved many traditional ways of praying.  We will learn about and practice divine reading (lectio divina, or praying with and through Scripture) and an “offshoot” of lectio: contemplative prayer, aka centering prayer or silent meditation. The time will include instruction, silence, supporting one another in prayer, and just enjoying being together.  Prayer is a way of learning to love each other in Christ.

2. E-Formation Spiritual Disciplines—these are e-mails sent on Monday mornings @ 9:00 a.m. October 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, November 4th, and 11th, written by Emily Nyce, a final level seminarian at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Each Monday, there will be a short reflection e-mailed to participants, along with a reflection questions and suggested practices for the week. For St. Paul’s electronic spiritual formation group, participants will consider the words of Colossians 3:12-17. These six verses will guide our six weeks slowly, deeply, and intentionally as we seek Christ within. Topics include, but are not limited to: forgiveness of others and self, how limits beget abundance, generative and generous love, and practicing gratitude for a harmonious presence. Not only will meditations be complimented with art, poetry, music or other media, each week will also offer a spiritual discipline for your embodied transformation in Christ. The autumn season has a tendency to busy schedules and heighten responsibilities. So while you start pulling out your sweaters, join us as we, above all, clothe ourselves with Love (Col 3:14). An optional online discussion board will be available, as well, which will provide a space to interact with other participants as well as Keli Cooper, Minister for Faith Formation.

3. Contemplative Book GroupTuesday Evenings @ 6:00-7:30 p.m., October 1st, 8th, 22nd, 29th, and November 5th, 12th (NO Meeting on October 15th) in the Palmore Room, coordinated by Janet Cook, Bev Lacy, Liz Whitehurst, and Sandra Whitfield. Join a group of seekers for six sessions of meditation practice and to read and discuss The Wisdom Way of Knowing by Cynthia Bourgeault, which seeks to explore and reclaim ancient Christian Wisdom traditions for our modern world. In his introduction, Thomas Moore recommends The Wisdom Way of Knowing, to any reader “looking into an uncertain future, feeling insufficiently prepared for the challenges of the complex culture of the 21st century.” Each week, we will enjoy a light supper, meditate and discuss several chapters of Cynthia’s book. Resource Needed: “The Wisdom Way of Knowing” by Cynthia Bourgeault ($18). Available for purchase from the church for $10: https://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Way-Knowing-Reclaiming-Tradition/dp/078796896X

4. Thursday Morning Book ClubThursday Mornings @ 7:45-9:00 a.m., October 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st, November 7th, 14th at Pop’s Market on Grace, facilitated by Keli Shipley Cooper, Minister for Faith Formation. Join us in fellowship and conversation at Pop’s Market on Thursday mornings for a six-week book club this fall. We will be reading Carol Howard Merritt’s Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God after a Experiencing a Hurtful Church,” in which she “addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith.” Street parking is available at Pop’s Market, or you may park at St. Paul’s and walk to Pop’s. Resource Needed: Healing Spiritual Wounds by Carol Howard Merritt ($10). Available for purchase from the church for $10: https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Spiritual-Wounds-Reconnecting-Experiencing/dp/0062392271

Registration will take place Sunday, September 8th through Thursday, September 26th. In order to register online, send an e-mail to Keli Shipley Cooper at kshipleycooper@stpaulsrva.org and indicate which group you would like to join. In order to register at the church, please sign up on in the Gathering Area of the Parish House on the clipboard that corresponds with that particular group.

Please email minister for Faith Formation Keli Shipley Cooper (kshipleycooper@stpaulsrva.org) with any questions or to learn more about these groups, and check out our Faith Formation page for more offerings and events this fall!