Ongoing Adult Spiritual and Study Offerings
Exploring the Word
Sundays, 9:30 a.m.-10:15 a.m. Not on the first Sunday in the month.
Resumes September 15.
A weekly drop-in group that meets to discuss and study one of the readings of the day.
Facilitator: Pam Nugent
Red Tent Book Group
The second Monday of the month, September-May, excluding December. 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
A group of women who love to read and discuss books, both fiction and nonfiction.
Contact Tobey Lee for more information.
The Holy Stitchers
Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-noon
A fellowship of people who knit, crochet, and do needlework, of all skill levels. They meet to make throws, afghans, and other handmade articles as a ministry for those in need.
Contact Charla Spann for more information.
Tuesday Afternoon Women’s Bible Study
12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
A weekly group that meets to read and study the Bible.
Facilitator: Terry Howell
Wednesday Morning Men’s Group
7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
A weekly time for study, prayer, and fellowship.
Facilitators: Al Niese and Ted Pettersen
Sharing and Caring Group
The first Wednesday of the month, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
An ongoing group that meets to offer support to those who care for or have lost loved ones.
Facilitators: Barbara Blanchard, Susan McCracken, Sandy Meyer
Wednesday Afternoon Bible Study
3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
A weekly group that meets to read and discuss the Bible.
Group led: Contact Julia Walkling for more information.
Intercessory Prayer Group
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
A weekly group that meets to pray for the needs of all.
Contact Nancy Hawkins for more information.
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
A weekly time for study, prayer, and fellowship.
New members welcome.
Facilitators rotate every six weeks.
Writing Spiritual Memoir
The third Thursday of the month, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Writing is a wonderful way to keep track of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Writing clarifies; writing helps us discover. Writing can also be an act of prayer, deepening our relationships with the Holy by helping us better understand God’s role in our lives. You don’t need to be a polished writer to come! All you need is your story (the one you’ve been “writing” all your life) and a desire to put your story down on paper and share with others.
Unfortunately, all spaces are filled at present, but contact Rick Wile if you’d like to add your name to a waiting list.
Facilitator: Rick Wile
Finding God in All Things: Ignatian Retreat for Everyone
Ignatian prayer is one resource for coming closer to God. It is based on the belief that God is in all things; that God loves us and is present with us; that God wants our love in return; and that we grow in that love through silence, listening, prayer, meditation, and service to others. The invitation to participants is to deepen their prayer life and their relationship with God.
This program begins with a group meeting on Saturday, September 28 for all who have signed up to participate. Only this first and the last meeting on Saturday, November 2 will involve the entire group. In the first meeting there will be three presentations (Moriah Freeman on Buddhist practice, breathing, prayer of loving kindness; the Rev. Ellen Shaver on praying with the imagination; and the Rev. Mary Ann Hoy on the Examen—detecting God’s presence and discerning his direction in our life—and giving thanks.
The first meeting will be followed by four weeks of meeting individually with one of the three facilitators, who will serve as prayer guides. Dates for these four meetings will be determined according to the convenience of the retreatant and his or her prayer guide. These weekly discussions will focus on a printout of readings and resources that will have been provided in advance. Participants will be asked for a donation to cover the cost of photocopying the weekly handouts and of the refreshments that will be offered at the first and last meetings, but making a contribution to help defray costs is completely voluntary. Themes for the readings are God’s unconditional love, Baptism, gratitude, reconciliation, creation, calling (of the apostles), and compassion. The final meeting will include sharing, evaluation of the program, and a closing ritual.
The same program has been offered by the Ignatian Spiri-tuality Partnership of Maine, which is based in Portland. Several members of St. Paul’s have already participated, but it is hoped that by offering this at St. Paul’s, access will be easier for those in the Midcoast region.
If you wish to participate, please contact the church office (725-5342 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up and receive a registration form. This program is limited to 12 people, so it is suggested that you sign up early.
Facilitators: Moriah Freeman, the Rev. Mary Ann Hoy, and the Rev. Ellen Shaver
When: September 28, 9:00 a.m.-noon; individual sessions sometime the weeks of September 30, October 7, October 14, October 21; November 2, 9:00 a.m.-noon
Homes for the Homeless: A Community Read
This conversation group has three components, which do not have to be taken as a whole, but signing onto all three is the best way to participate.
- Part 1 involves reading Kathy Izard’s new book The Hundred Story Home: A Memoir of Finding Faith in Ourselves and Something Bigger. It is part memoir and part information about her program, Homeless to Homes at the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte, NC. Parishioner Andree Appel calls it, “the story of the power of one person to make a difference, the realization of the limits of one’s power, and the power of faith” to accomplish great things. Books will be available for sale through Andree Appel before the October 1 presentation. (Free books will be available to anyone who needs financial help.)
- Part 2 involves attending a free presentation by the author on her book, to be held on October 1 at First Parish in Brunswick. (The time will be publicized as we get closer to the date.)
- Part 3 involves participating in a discussion of the book at St. Paul’s, facilitated by Andree Appel. The discussion dates are October 8 and 15.
This is a very readable book on a very current topic. It not only includes Izard’s struggle with her vision to involve herself with this underserved population to promote affordable and supportive housing but also highlights some of the human-interest stories of the homeless who were involved with this program. You will meet Ruth, who finally gets the medical attention she needs; Raymond, who is grateful for finally being able to get his very own Christmas tree; and Chilly Willy, who is not able to benefit from this housing program because of his erratic behavior.
This is a great opportunity to find out about a timely and important issue facing not only Maine but also every state in our country.
Please sign up with the church office (725-5342) to participate in the October 8 and 15 conversation groups.
Facilitators: Kathy Izard and Andree Appel
When: October 1 (time to be determined) and two Tuesdays: October 8 and 15 (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
Preparing for a Holy Death—A Special Lay Pastoral Visitors Presentation
What does a “holy death” mean? The Lay Pastoral Visitors ministry will offer us the opportunity to learn how to prepare for a holy death. Our rector will share her thoughts on how to plan a funeral. Cliff Ruprecht will address the legal issues that we need to know about. Myrna Koonce will then share her thoughts and experience in being with individuals and families as they approach their final days and hours.
Please join us in the Great Hall following the 9:30 service on October 6. Light refreshments and child care will be provided.
Facilitators: The Rev. Carolyn Eklund, Myrna Koonce, Cliff Ruprecht
When: Sunday, October 6 following the 9:30 service
Saint Francis and His Relevance Today: Moving Beyond
Many authorities think that Francis is the single most important Christian figure since the original apostles and the first modern saint. He wrote almost nothing, but he lived the gospels as no modern figure has. Why, then, do we associate Francis mostly with birdbaths or bringing animals to church for blessings? Is that all there is? This four-session conversation group will explore the radical ideals that Francis and Clare, his female counterpart, pursued and that continue to challenge us today.
Chick will first help us focus on an understanding of the lives of Francis and Clare, not only as lived but also the impact they have made upon us, something we may not even be aware of. If Francis and Clare had not lived, our world and our lives would be radically different today. Each of us may find ourselves changed when we complete our explorations.
Then Deborah will focus on modern manifestations of Francis, such as the current pope who chose the name Francis because “he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.” Pope Francis is committed to “climate justice”: urging citizens of the developed world to put aside our heedless materialism. Francis of Assisi saw all living things as evidence of God’s loving purposes for our world; the pope also speaks in terms of kinship: all beings are one family. The pope contends that each of us “grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.” We will explore his ideals of simple living as possible wellsprings for spiritual growth and joy.
Rick will address Francis’s contemplative aspects. Franciscan spirituality is lived more than it is discussed or debated. Francis told his followers, “You must preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” Still, Francis was a mystic who cultivated a conscious union with God. For Francis, the visible world—from rocks and trees to lepers and wolves to the sun and the moon and the stars—was a doorway to the larger invisible world. He further experienced God as forever here, right now, revealed through actions done in love. Franciscan spirituality is marked by a nonviolent, simple, yet liberated life; an identification with the poor, the excluded, and the creatures of the world; and by the bringing of joy to others.
Despite not leaving us a large body of writing, Francis’s living spirituality has inspired Christian writers and contemplatives from St. Bonaventure to Richard Rohr. It is also mirrored in Celtic spirituality and in mystics from other religious traditions. It’s a spirituality for all of us.
A final session will wrap up our themes and invite further reflection from participants. The presenters envision a participatory experience, not a series of lectures.
Please sign up with the church office (725-5342) if you’d like to participate.
Facilitators: The Rev. Chick Carroll, Deborah Goodwin, Rick Wile
When: Four Tuesdays: October 22, 29, November 5, 12 (2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.)
From Art to Auschwitz: The Tragic Story of Christian Anti-Semitism
- Session One—Gospel Readings and Misreadings. In this session we will examine selected passages in the Gospels that appear to be hostile to Jews and the Jewish religion. Considering that Jesus, all of his disciples, and most of his earliest followers were Jews, how did such apparently anti-Jewish passages end up in our Gospels? We will explore both the historical context of each of our Gospels as well as the history of their interpretation by the Church Fathers and other early Christian writers in order to learn how anti-Semitism developed within the Western Church. We will lay the foundation for understanding why contemporary biblical scholar Burton Mack can say, “The holocaust was also a gospel event.”
- Session Two—Anti-Semitism in Northern European Christian Art and Iconography. In this session, we will look at images of the art and iconography produced by the Church and the culture of Christendom through the Middle Ages and down to the contemporary era. From the theology behind allegorical works contrasting the figures of Ecclesia and Synogoga to the vicious and scatological images produced, primarily in Germany following the Protestant Reformation but also elsewhere, we will see how important it is to learn how to interpret the sacred texts of Christianity and Judaism so that they are not used as destructively as they have been.
Please sign up with the church office (725-5342) if you’d like to participate.
Facilitator: The Rev. Dr. Larry Kalajainen
When: Two Tuesdays: January 14, 21, 2020; January 28 is a snow date. (2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.)
Quiet Morning “Season of the Soul”
As days darken and the riotous colors of early fall fade to browns and russet, time slows. We are invited to enter what Nietzsche calls “the season of the soul.” Early November, before the rush toward holiday busyness, offers a time of stillness, a time for deep listening to the yearnings of our own soul and to the still, small voice of God within us. This Quiet Morning will provide a chance to acknowl-edge this season, in nature and in ourselves, through two brief talks and extended periods of silence.
Please sign up with the church office (725-5342) if you’d like to participate, so there will be enough handouts for everyone.
Facilitator: The Rev. Mary Lee Wile
When: Saturday, November 9 (9:00-noon)