GROWING IN FAITH
Sharing God’s Love from Generation to Generation
Experiencing God’s love in worship, and in reaching out to our neighbors, we become a community of faith, an extended family in which we share our lives, support each other, learn from each other, and have fun together!
Whether it’s our usual round of Sunday School ... Vacation Bible School ... adult study and fellowship groups ... our intergenerational Christmas pageant ... our chapter of the Girls’ Friendly Society ... leading worship for the residents of Arden House ... a parish picnic ... or, during a public health emergency, finding new and creative ways to gather, learn, share, and celebrate ... or, at any time, witnessing to civic celebrations, gatherings, protests and rallies that occur at Hamden Town Hall right across from our front door ... we’re here for each other and for our neighbors.
This video is a sharing of our parish gifts for Pentecost on the theme of “What have you been up to while staying at (or near) home for the past several weeks?”
Thanks to all who contributed. Thanks to Chloe Barajas for the opening song
(You Raise Me Up by B. Graham and R. Lovland).
GROWING IN FAITH DURING LENT
Seeing Beyond Difference: Jesus’s Kingship of Kinship
Our 2020 Lenten series was to include a weekly sermon/presentation and coffee hour conversation reflecting on the challenges faced by a variety of groups in our communities that may, for one reason or another, feel separate from (perhaps undervalued or even oppressed by) others. In turn, we anticipated that we would all be challenged to recognize, and to begin to dismantle, obstacles that may exist towards these groups in our own hearts and in our social, community and economic structures.
Of the intended five Sundays of topics, we were able to present only two, before the COVID-19 lockdown.
DISABILITY: Jonathan Sigworth, co-Founder and President of More Than Walking - March 1
GENDER: Bola Akanji - March 8
The issue of seeing beyond difference has only become more urgent,
and we fully intend to continue this conversation.
A meeting was held in July via Zoom, in which the third intended topic, that of RACE, led by Whitney Batson, received lively attention.
More conversations, and probably a group study, are in the planning stage.
GROWING IN FAITH WITH CHILDREN
Our wonderful Church School Director is Allison Batson. Every Sunday during the school year, Allison and a parent helper welcome the children as their parents bring them downstairs to the undercroft (the church basement). The youngest little ones go to the nursery area to play under the watchful eyes of two trained leaders. The school age children settle into the comfortable seating around the children’s altar. After a light snack and some friendly conversation, there is a time of prayer and a lesson based on the same cycle of Bible readings as the adults are hearing in church upstairs.
Allison explains, “The curriculum comes from the Episcopal Church and is called Lesson Plans that Work. We use this as a starting point for our weekly lessons and then add to it or adapt it with our particular children in mind. Some weeks we may reflect on our lesson through art; painting, drawing, or crafting. Some weeks we may recreate the stories by acting them out or playing a game. Our goal is to have God be an active part of our children’s daily lives.”
We are watching with pride as a cohort of nine-to-eleven-year-olds is on the verge of growing into a youth group!
Children’s projects are creative and open-ended, allowing time for thought and conversation. Here: making Easter gardens, and brainstorming prayer concerns.
GROWING IN FAITH WITH CHILDREN
Vacation Bible School
Since 2017, we have offered a Vacation Bible School for a week in August, open to children from our own church and the community. We do not use a packaged curriculum but take this time to explore Bible stories and imagery more deeply, and connect the stories and images together, to show the “whole story” of God's inexhaustible love for us.
VBS 2019: “Here I Am, Lord: Heroes of the Bible.” Worship and story in the (air-conditioned!) sanctuary with the Beulah Land feltboard ... making Abraham and Sarah dioramas and Jacob's ladders ... baking bread ... free play with the feltboard story elements
GROWING IN FAITH WITH ADULTS
Opportunities for Conversation, Learning, and Sharing Our Journey in Faith
Bible studies, forums, and discussion groups are an important part of developing and fostering mature faith. At Grace & St Peter's we have several ongoing groups and a varied mix of short-term seasonal offerings for adults.
The Faith Study Group, an ongoing group for Bible study and learning, has existed since 2013. Open to all, it normally meets two Tuesdays each month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in parishioners’ homes. During the pandemic emergency, the group is meeting via Zoom, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
Short-term programs in Advent and Lent, usually meeting on Sundays after the 10:00 am service, focus on a single theme related to these seasons of preparation for Christmas and Easter.
The Older and Wiser Group meets for prayer, fellowship and lunch on the third Thursday of every month.
4th Fridays at 5:30. Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
At the end of another busy week, treat yourself to a time to breathe and unwind. Learn simple skills that have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, improve cognitive function and increase physical health. Join Rev Bob for meditation and quiet conversation on the 4th Friday of the month, at 5:30 PM in the Undercroft. Stay for Dinner for a Dollar!
Study, prayer or meditation groups or events may be called together at other times in response to specific occasions or topics.
ADVENT PROGRAM 2019
Caring for Creation
Our Advent program of prayer and conversation met in the Brewster Room, after the 10:00 am service, for the first three Sundays in Advent.
On Sunday, December 8 we were joined by Anne Rowthorn, author, environmentalist and wife of former ECCT suffragan bishop Jeffery Rowthorn. Anne also preached at the 10 am service. Read her sermon here.
Our theme this year was Environmental Stewardship. We looked at the central role that Creation plays in the biblical narrative and at the witness of other spiritual traditions to the importance and beauty of Creation. We reflected on and shared our own personal connections to the natural world. And we undertook to consider ways that we, as individuals and a community, can become better stewards of a Creation under siege in the modern world.