Our approach to adult spiritual formation involves the acceptance of doubt and the forthright encouragement of inquiry as mature and unthreatening spiritual values. At All Souls, this engagement with the truths passed down through the centuries and present in our day can happen in many ways. Whether it is in the large, parish-wide programs in Advent and Lent with world-renowned speakers, topical series on everyday issues of Christian ethics or smaller groups under lay and clergy leadership that meet regularly for Bible study, there are many opportunities throughout the year to deepen your understanding of the Christian life. Most classes meet for about an hour at 10:10 am on Sundays. We generally have three options: a lectionary Bible study and two other classes that change every month or so.

Winter Adult Formation Classes

2017-18 Formation flyer

Sounding the Liturgical Year, with Jamie Apgar
Meeting at 10:10 am on January 7, 14, 21, and February 4

Living in that entity called “the West,” we have received from European precedents—often unknowingly—peculiar ways of experiencing and thinking about music. These idealizations can tend not just toward the universal but even toward the socially destructive: music is essentially emotional or more broadly communicative, its own “language,” a domain in which great artists create out of inspiration and ennoble listeners, even facilitate spiritual transcendence, through works of genius. Such notions are variously problematic and contingent, particularly in universalized formulations: mostly unexamined until the ascendance of post-colonial critique were the power imbalances by which the model of the inspired genius or easy equivalences between music and language have served to oppress particular groups. Just as importantly, these ideas have served to occlude other perspectives that support different accounts of the political and cultural work that music performs. Until the last few decades, for instance, the social functions of music lay largely at the periphery of scholarly and popular discourse. This course will seek not so much to tear down the core aesthetics of Western artistic cultures as to contemplate them alongside other modes of engaging music, to situate music within the broader category of sound, and to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks of our many spiritual, social, and sensual experiences of music. It will do so with reference to the principal context in which music is used in the Episcopal Church: the liturgy. Through scripture, historical examples, discussions, and perhaps even a little of our own music-making, we will explore not just what music has done but also what we might think we need it to do.

Environmental Justice: Case Studies in the Spirit of Resistance, with Lewis Maldonado and Harry Allen
Meeting at 10:10 am on January 14, 21, and February 4

This three-session class will first look generally at the concept of environmental justice — what it means, its origins, and why it is important — and the relationship between environmental justice and our Christian faith. We will then examine several instances where faith communities have engaged in struggles for environmental justice, e.g., the No Coal in Oakland campaign, the Standing Rock opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline, and the efforts of the Navajo people to address contamination from abandoned uranium mines. Some environmental justice campaigns have been successful and others have not or are still in progress. Regardless of the immediate outcomes, efforts to work towards environmental justice are worthy of our reflection and discussion, as examples of our Baptismal vows to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.

Ongoing:

Reading Between the Lines: Lectionary-based Bible Study 
Join us as we study one of the texts for the following Sunday in a lectionary-based Bible study designed for small groups. We meet in the Common Room right after the 7:30 am service, in the Chapel during the 10:10 formation hour, or on Thursdays at 11 am in the Common Room. On-going class; drop-in, occasional attendees welcome.