Welcome to St. Mark’s Christian Education Program 2016–2017

Christian Education at St. Mark’s hopes to provide a variety of open–hearted, innovative, functional and creative educational approaches that connect us through our stories and experiences to each other and to the people who came before us; with the understanding that we (people of all ages and stages) are involved at many levels in a search for meaning, relevance and community. We look to the parish members for their invaluable input as we carefully consider their suggestions, their willingness to volunteer, their responses to our survey regarding our Sunday School program and their amazing support and encouragement we receive throughout the year. Our thanks to all of you!

“I dreamed of a faith community that valued my questioning skeptical mind. I kept coming back because on my first visit I heard a sound, intriguing sermon that kept me thinking long after I left the building.” – Marilu

We have designed a program with the intention of including a variety of educational approaches. Our Sunday School program starts with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which uses a Montessori–like approach introducing the younger children to Bible stories. The Middle and Senior High classes utilize the Penniman method (functional education) to explore the religious underpinnings of facing life issues. The adult classes range in method from experiential to Penniman to Meditation, and in content from faith and the challenges of daily life to addiction and spirituality to what it means to be a skeptic. Each of these classes holds out the promise of openly engaging one another in our life experiences, so that as we worship together, take and teach classes together, and serve the greater community together, we grow and thrive as a spiritual community.

“I love St. Mark’s because it offers me space to explore who I am and what I believe, and challenges me to grow in faith through worship and relationship in community.” – Jessie

As a result of our discernment process, we have set our focus for the Christian Education program this year as: “Exploring our Spirituality by Honoring our Tradition and Embracing New Possibilities.”

Our program hopes to spark your interest in spiritual growth and renewed belonging to the St. Mark’s community. Our hope is that each of you says “yes” to a class that meets you where you are on your journey.

Christian Education Catalog 2016-17

Functional Education

Many of our educational programs for adults, teens, and older children are based on the work of Charles Penniman, a mid-20th-century Episcopal theologian who wanted Christianity to assist people in their daily lives. Instead of simply focusing on Bible stories, Penniman took the teachings of scripture and developed a program, called Functional Education, which would provide people with ways to address the problems of life. Click here for a detailed exploration of Penniman’s ideas, with annotations from the Tenth Rector of St. Mark’s, James R. Adams.

Youth Education

St. Mark’s has a vibrant Youth and Family Ministries program that provides a creative space and supportive community in which children and their parents can grow spiritually. With specific emphasis on outreach, education, worship, and the arts, St. Mark’s youth are integrated into every aspect of our communal life.

To receive weekly information about upcoming events in the Youth and Family Ministries program, click here to subscribe to the weekly Youth E-News.

For information about our Sunday School program, click here.

We also have a variety of great activities for children of all ages to make connections with each other, build relationships and have fun. These include:

Parish Picnic (September)
Halloween Dance (October)
Christmas Pageant (December)
Family Ski Trip (February)
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper (February)
Easter Egg Hunt (Easter Sunday)
Claggett Parish Retreat (June)

Family Fellowship Events: At least four times a year, families with children of all ages gather after Sunday School for a fun activity at the parish or around Capitol Hill. Ice Skating, Museum visits, trips to the Arboretum, and picnics in Garfield Park are just a few of the memorable activities!

Monthly Family Outreach: Each month we offer an outreach project that allows families and children a space and time to give back to the community. We decorate cards for those in our parish who need a word of encouragement, work in the garden, pick up trash in our neighborhood, and collaborate with the various homeless outreach organizations in our area.

Fall Day Retreat (October)
Spring Lock-In (March)
Summer Service Trip: FLOC Outdoor Education Center, 2016 (July)
Outreach: Monthly Salvation Army sandwich making, Capitol Hill Group Ministry Family Nights, Help the Homeless Community Walk, etc.

Fall Retreat (September)
Spring Retreat (April)
Summer Service Trip: New York City, 2016 (June)
Outreach: Monthly Salvation Army sandwich making, Capitol Hill Group Ministry Family Nights, Help the Homeless Community Walk, etc.

The fabulous acoustics of our church building have helped make music a longstanding priority for the community. We embrace the participation of our children in music by having two different youth choirs; The Boys and Girls Choir, open to children in grades 1 through 8, and the Teen Choir, open to children aged 13 and over.

Parents Support Groups: We offer monthly gatherings for parents to enjoy a potluck supper and conversations about the triumphs, challenges, and lessons learned in family life.

For more information, contact Caroline McReynolds-Adams: caroline.mcreynoldsadams@stmarks.net