Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Testimonials to Christian Education

Dear Parish Faithful,

As previously announced, we will begin our Fall Adult Education Class on Monday evening, November 7. We will read Metropolitan Anthony – Essential Writings. Please follow the provided link for further information about this book and its author, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom.

As is the case with many parish events/programs, we have developed a core group of parishioners who attend this class consistently from year to year. Wanting to understand their motivation – and hoping to recruit new members for future classes, including this year’s – I asked some of our participating parishioners to “testify” to their ongoing interest in the class. I have included three such testimonies here so as to share them with the parish:

Parishioner #1

I highly recommend the Fall Adult Education Class. The amount of reading material is just right and it is a good opportunity to interact with parishioners you may not see on a regular basis. We are fortunate to have Father Steven to lead the discussion and to share his deep knowledge of our Orthodox Faith. Simply put, it is a pleasant way to spend a Fall evening and to nourish your soul.

Parishioner #2

1) I find the reading interesting. It always introduces me to new ideas and sometimes to authors that are new to me.
2) I enjoy the discussion that we have. Different people have different perspectives on the material, and I learn a lot from what they say in class.
3) I enjoy the opportunity to get to know my fellow parishioners better.

Parishioner #3

Our Fall Adult Education Classes have been a very important part of my “continuing” theological and spiritual education here at Christ the Savior. The books used most recently have been some of the most important books I have ever read. I am indebted to Fr. Steven for the time he takes to read and prepare for this class and for fellowship with those who attend. I strongly urge everyone who is able to participate. I cannot think of a better way to spend a Monday evening.

One continuous thread that I read in these three testimonies – in addition to the quality of the reading material – is the stress placed on fellowship with other parishioners. It is a different setting from the “coffee hour” with a different set of priorities and goals. Reading, discussing, and sharing our thoughts about God, Christ, faith and doubt, the actualization of the Gospel in our daily life, etc., is a non-quantifiable – but highly qualitative – component of our six sessions. Mutual encouragement develops out of such sharing. Everyone who attends our classes realizes this.

I know that anyone can sit in front of the computer for hours on end reading excellent Orthodox material from a seemingly endless variety of sources. I certainly do this often. But the fact is, you are sitting in front of and facing a screen, not the human face of a fellow-parishioner, with his/her unique voice and perspective.

So, if possible, please think about “making this happen.” You will read a book by a very deep thinking Christian who offers an endless stream of deep insights into the Christian Faith and Christian living. The commitment of time and the effort needed to read, prepare and attend the sessions will undoubtedly expand your mind and heart in a potentially profound manner.

I hope to see you then!

Fr. Steven

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