The Belonging Class
The key goal of the Belonging Class is to provide participants with a safe and supportive environment that encourages belonging at St. Mark’s. For many it is a gateway to membership and the official step of joining St. Mark’s; for others, it is a way of deepening or refreshing the bonds of connection and belonging, throughout years of membership.
A sense of belonging — of knowing that you are a meaningful part of another person’s life or the life of a group important to you or a place that holds special significance — is one of our most basic human needs. We all want to belong. And we want to belong at many different levels. We have belongings that come with birth (family, culture, race, or sexual orientation) and belongings that are chosen later in life (a new partner, a second family, a group of close friends, a team at work, a club, a church).
The Belonging Class looks at both birth and chosen belongings, as well as ways in which each of us faces into the joys and challenges of belonging. Class members voluntarily talk about and reflect on their real-world experiences with each other and are brought into sharper touch with their choices by examining the tensions in their everyday lives as they choose, faithfully, to be themselves and to know their own inner truths. Members can reflect on how to respond to the dilemmas that such choices may pose. By exploring Christian symbols and lore each can come to discover the possibility that these stories and symbols can uphold and support them in living up to their commitment within their belongings.
The key goal of the Belonging Class is to provide participants with a safe and supportive environment that encourages belonging at St. Mark’s.
The sense that you belong to a church –that you can call St. Mark’s your church home — can come from simply knowing a core set of parishioners with whom you’ve shared common ground – and this class, through its content and the experiences of those in the circle provides that common ground. The class appeals to new members as well as those who have been members at St. Mark’s for some time, and many take this course, again and again, to make new friends and continue to experience belonging at a deeper level. Your connection to fellow participants in the Belonging class will become your touchstone within the larger St. Mark’s community.
The Belonging Class is typically held once a year in the Spring for 9 weeks, with one or two weekend retreats. One of the clergy often leads the class, thereby providing a special opportunity to get to know their church leaders. Several lay teachers join the clergy in bringing this thoughtful material to light through experiential exercises.
No prior preparation is needed to join this class.