These two terms are being used a lot now around St. Michael’s with the establishment of the new Christian Formation and Spiritual Exploration Steering Committee. But what do those terms really mean, and why should we care about them?
Quite simply, Christian formation and spiritual exploration are two ways in which we grow, enhance, expand, and deepen our faith lives! They add to the richness of a person’s church experience, and add vibrancy to our parish community. Christian formation is a term that refers to acquiring more information about the Bible, its origins, its context, and its meaning for us today. Through the process of Biblical exegesis, we study a book or books of the Bible in depth, in an orderly fashion. If done well, Biblical exegesis brings the Holy Scriptures to life for us in ways we haven’t previously experienced! Christian formation also includes the study of the theologies of the Church (what we believe about Christ, the Trinity, salvation, the Holy Spirit, and much more) and includes specific training in our Episcopal faith.
The other key part of growing as a Christian is spiritual exploration, not so much through the study of sacred texts or the historical thinking of the Christian Church, but by allowing the Holy Spirit to move us in our daily lives: through prayer, our activities and hobbies, our volunteer activities, and the journeys we each take through life. Spirituality takes many different forms for different people, and identifying and sharing those many ways to feel closer to God creates a joyous pilgrimage for us as a parish family.
St. Michael’s has established a Christian Formation and Spiritual Exploration Steering Committee with the goal of creating an on-going series of courses and seminars in these two areas that will be offered regularly throughout the church year. Our committee would very much like to hear your ideas and thoughts about what you would be interested in! Is there a particular book of the Bible that either interests or puzzles you? Is there a technique of prayer that you’ve heard about and would like more information on? Is there a burning question about theology, such as “why do we believe this and what does it mean?” that you would like to further explore? Do you have a spiritual practice that you’d like to share with others? Please don’t be hesitant to suggest anything you’d enjoy learning more about, or that you think would be interesting to the parish!
And finally, the Committee is actively looking for parishioners who would enjoy leading, teaching, or facilitating a course or seminar in the future! The Committee is ready to assist you in developing any ideas you may like to teach.
Please e-mail me with any thoughts, ideas, topics, or with your desire to participate as a course or seminar leader in any aspect of Christian formation and spiritual exploration!
Mtr. Ann Truitt