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Learning About God and Ourselves

At St. B, learning is a priority. Here are some of the classes and workshops we’ve experienced so far.

Recently we offered a Bible study on the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, led by Wally Arnold, our former-pastor-in-residence. In early 2014, we met for about 45 minutes after coffee hour for several weeks. It was very exciting to gain some new insights as Wally led us through passages that have come to be very special to him. We had an amazing turnout, and none of us will think of these familiar truths of scripture in quite the same way again. Thank you, Wally!

Joe Summers, friend and vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, visited us in March, 2014, and led us through a very enlightening study of the Purity Code and the Good News of the Gospel. Through a procession of verses in Luke, John and Acts, Joe showed us how Jesus systematically debunked practically every “purity” code rule, revealing that the true abominations were something quite other than what people generally believed. What a knock-you-off-your-chair session! Do you want to “be holy, as He is holy”? Then love, as He loved! We’re hoping that we can have Joe back very soon.

In fall/winter of 2014-2015, we had two consecutive Bible studies on Isaiah, led by Janis Fletcher, who we’ve come to cherish as just about the most excellent Bible teacher we’ve known. Several of us had traveled to St. Patrick’s in Madison Heights to participate in Janis’s study series on John, Matthew, Names of Christ, Revelation, Life of David and Genesis, and we finally persuaded her to come out to Chelsea to open the book of Exodus to us in 2013. Our narthex was bursting at the seams, including several participants from other area churches. Janis and her husband, Mike, have moved East, but that doesn't mean the learning possibilities are over. Our Isaiah classes were held remotely via Skype! So we don't have to do without Janis's many insights, with her rare balance of academic, spiritual and emotional integrity. And none of us will read scripture without thinking about “time zones” again! Thank you, Janis, for helping a few St. B-ers gain a richer understanding of the truth God shares with us through the Word!

In 2012, we had a very interesting class on icons, led by Fr. David and our very dear friend, Deacon Tom from St. Mary. We met for a series of three classes and learned much about these “windows to heaven.” For the last class, we traveled to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Ann Arbor, where Fr. Nick shared with us his iconographic insights, how icons are used in orthodox worship, and their plans for installing icons throughout their sanctuary. Just last month (June, 2014), a number of us witnessed the first phase of that plan as we took a tour of the partially finished sanctuary, and were amazed at what had been done in just a year.

Our last confirmation class was held in 2010, but another is being planned for the near future. Our attendees included far more than confirmands! It was great to get this refresher on what we believe—and why.

All-church retreats are held every couple of years, with our most recent one held in Jackson in January, 2014. We had a remarkable turnout for our overnight adventure, and we began a new phase of our journey together by seeking to better understand what our individual gifts are, and how they fit into the unique mission of St. B. On June 1, Ann Doyle gave us an introduction to Myers-Briggs, helping us understand the differences between our various personality types. Where do you fall on the scale of introversion-extroversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, and perceiving-judging? For us, there were some surprises! This session really opened our eyes to the difficulties, challenges and blessings of living in a community of very different people!

Teaching moments are held at various times during our services, where Fr. David, Fr. Bill and others explain a little more of the foundation of our faith, and the reasons why we worship the way we do. Have questions about our liturgy, worship practices or beliefs? Let us know, and maybe we can schedule a teaching moment just for you!