The Purpose and Value of Christian Education
I am a lifelong Episcopalian. My parents insisted that I attend church and some form of Christian Education every week until I left home for college. As a result I attended Sunday school from K through my sophomore year in college. In my early 20s I taught 5th grade Sunday school, in my late 20’s-early 30’s I taught teens and I currently teach adults. I think this intentional exposure over time made a positive impact on my adult life.
Christian Education (also known as Christian Formation) is the lifelong process of growing in our relationship with God, ourselves, others, and all creation. This knowledge helps us realize that every experience in our lives provides us with the opportunity to grow in our faith; express our faith; cope with challenges we face and seize opportunities to live as part of a countercultural Christian force in a secular world.
Elements of Christian life include: developing and practicing a prayerful life of worship; intentional study of the Christian history, faith and Bible; and intentionally engaging in outreach, advocacy and community service. This pattern of life is reinforced in Church as we hear the Word of God proclaimed, engaged the Word of God through the sermon, learn to honor the Church’s teachings, and embrace the joys of Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist as the two vital sacraments.
Over time we learn to accept our responsibility to spread the Good News of the risen Christ to all and to help in the ministry of the Church. This includes responding to the needs of our constantly changing communities in ways that reﬂect diversity of different cultures. Finally, we learn to hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people, by boldly engaging biblical messages about:
Creation; God’s Covenant with humankind; the effects of Sin, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness; the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt; the claiming of the Promised land; the ministry of the prophets; the birth, life and ministry of Jesus; the coming of the Holy Spirit and the development of the early Church.
This is why Christian faith formation in the Episcopal Church is lifelong growth, because it helps develop the knowledge, service and love of God in every believer. It is intended to prepare each of us to become committed followers of Christ and is informed by Scripture, Tradition and Reason. This knowledge leads us to the understanding that through the Episcopal Church, God inspires God’s people. So, we use Anglican liturgy as a way to draw us closer to God, to help us discern God’s will for our lives and to encourage us to share our faith journeys with others.
As a result of our formation:
We study Scripture, mindful of the context of our societies and cultures, seeking God’s truth while remaining fully present in the community of faith.
We develop new knowledge, equip ourselves as disciples for life in a world of secular challenges and carefully listen for the words that embody the teachings of Christ.
We use every experience and all our learning to prepare for a sustainable future by becoming a community which serves as guardians of God’s creation.
• At Saint Hilary’s we offer WeBelong, A Place to Grow in Christ, for all ages:
• The Nursery is open every Sunday from 9:45 – 11:15 AM for our littlest members
• Children’s Church begins at 9:45 AM for children ages 3-11.
• YOSH (Youth of Saint Hilary’s) for middle and high schoolers, offers a chance to socialize, while exploring the Bible, and Christian ideals.
• Wed@6 is an evening covered dish dinner, with prayer and discussion for adults.
• Bible Study is offered during the fall and winter seasons.
• Community Groups meets throughout the year at various locations.
• Confirmation classes are offered in anticipation of our March visitation by the Bishop.
• Baptism classes are offered for those who wish to be baptized, and
• Pre-marital Counseling is available for couples preparing to be married.
Please see the announcement in the bulletin or the website for details. We always need participants and volunteers.
Please contact Fr. Charles if you are interested or have questions.
Father Charles Cannon