Welcome to the St. Mark’s Christian Education Program
The goal of Christian Education at St. Mark’s is 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 parish members for their invaluable input, their willingness to volunteer, their responses to surveys regarding the Sunday School program and adult classes, and their amazing support and encouragement 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 to introduce younger children to Bible stories. The Middle School and Senior High classes use an experiential method to explore the religious underpinnings of facing life issues. Adult classes range in method from experiential (Guild for Transformational Studies and Functional Education) to meditation to interactive instruction and in content from faith and the challenges of daily life to spirituality and what it means to be a skeptic. Each class 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.
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.
Our Christian Education History
Our Christian Education history at St. Mark’s began in the 1960s when Rector Bill Baxter wanted to bring experiential learning to our church. With Christian Education lay leaders, he provided rich and relevant educational programs for adults, teens, and older children 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 focusing on Bible stories alone, Penniman took the teachings of scripture and developed a program, called Functional Education, that 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. Each year, we continue to offer courses at St. Mark’s using the Functonal Education method.
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.
Learn more about the Youth and Family Ministries program at St. Mark’s here.