Christian formation and spiritual growth are integrated into all aspects of St. Peter’s community life. Centered in love of God expressed through worship, we enter into a “right” relationship that informs our study of scripture, service to others and spiritual practices and bring us into unity with God as members of the body of a living Christ. St. Peter’s provides the following avenues for deepening our spiritual journeys.
The Adult Forum, focusing on various aspects of Christian faith, life and service takes place in the Parlor between services on Sunday mornings beginning at 9:15am. The format for the Adult Forum changes throughout the year, but often presents speakers from within the congregation and outside the parish, who engage us in such topics as spirituality, ethics, theology, liturgy, and social justice.
The Adult Forum also offers opportunities for parish members to share their stories as a way of getting to know one another better and build community. It is an opportunity to equip our community for ministry and mission and to have the conversations we need to develop our parish work together. All are welcome to attend and suggest topics for future forums.
There are two gatherings for Bible Study on Tuesdays, each facilitated by Jane Chatfield. The 9:00am morning group looks at the lections for the upcoming Sunday. The evening group is currently exploring a variety of readings about Scripture: ways of reading, ways of praying with Scripture, the spirituality of Scripture. The Rector has put together a course pack of readings for them, copies of which are available to all by contacting the parish office. Those who want to study next week’s Sunday readings on your own are provided with copies of Synthesis CE (a study aid) on the table in the narthex.
On the first Saturday of the month a Men’s Group generally gathers for a fellowship breakfast, followed by Scripture study and prayer. Contact the Rector for additional details.
At least twice a year, usually during Advent and Lent, a “quiet day” is scheduled for St. Peter’s members as well as those in the greater community. Participants begin the day with worship followed by meditation reflections and periods of silence. During the silence, participants are encouraged to find a quiet activity and engage in a spiritual practice that nourishes their spirit. A simple lunch is shared at noon.
On Wednesday evenings during Lent, a simple supper is followed by a program focused on a particular topic. The Wednesday Evening Lenten Program is rooted in the understanding that Lent is a time to focus on study, prayer, fasting, and acts of mercy to grow closer to God.
Periodically, and often initiated by recommendations by or from members of the community, an ad hoc group is formed to meet for several weeks to discuss a particular book. These discussions may be facilitated by a lay person or the clergy. The general public is also invited to participate in these discussions. Recent books discussed include: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me; Atul Gawande, Being Mortal; and Joan Chittister, In Search of Belief.
Spiritual Direction and Retreats
Spiritual direction is the practice of being with a trained spiritual director to guide one into a deepening relationship with the divine and to learn and grow spiritually. Spiritual direction is not psychology therapy. St. Peter’s supports those who seek to work with a trained spiritual director by providing contact information for spiritual directors available in the Midcoast.
Spiritual retreats: Many people are nourished by taking time away from the demands of daily life to attend to spiritual concerns through a day-long or multi-day retreat. Retreats are offered through the Diocese of Maine at regional monasteries and abbeys and retreat Centers. Please speak with the Rector for guidance if you are contemplating a retreat.
Education for Ministry
St. Peter’s supports Education for Ministry (EFM), a unique certification program of experiential theological education for laity under the direction of The School of Theology of The University of the South (Sewanee). Since its founding in 1975, this international program has helped more than 30,000 students discover the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition and bring it into conversation with their experiences of the world as they study, worship, and engage in theological reflection together. Over the past twenty years, a substantial number of parishioners at St. Peter’s have participated as students and mentors in this four-year program. that includes: Year One: The Old Testament; Year Two: The New Testament, Year Three: Church History, and Year Four: Theological Choices.
Classes normally include students from several churches and different denominations. Currently St. Peter’s is not hosting EFM classes, but former mentors Jim Bowditch and Sarah Reynolds will be happy to visit with with interested persons to further discuss the EFM experience and identify available area groups.. It is also possible to participate through an online program HERE.