St. Bartholomew The Apostle Center For Spirituality

The Center for Spirituality at St. Bartholomew’s is a new ministry that has created a great deal of energy within our community. The role of the center is to consider creative and engaging ways to encourage and equip individuals on their spiritual journeys.

Ways in which we envision the center in fulfilling its mission would include a variety of experiences. Offering classes or forums that vary in length from one evening or morning, to as long as a year or more are being considered. The content of the classes would vary from biblical studies, spiritual teachings unique to our tradition, methods of prayer and meditation, worship experiences and retreats, and understanding the philosophy and content of other traditions.

Currently, we are experimenting with a form of Christian Formation (education that touches the heart as well as the mind) that takes advantage of the entire community. We call it Intergenerational  Learning. Intergenerational Learning includes all the members of our parish who wish to participate. One of the principles of this method of learning is the belief that we all bring something meaningful to the community regardless of age or perceived ability. It is also a lovely metaphor in action of how a family supports and learns from all its members. Opportunities for mentoring and the fostering of special relationships abound in this setting.

During 2010-2011 we are in the process of learning and visiting our core stories as a Christian community. We allow teams or individuals to present stories from our sacred writings, and then discuss as a group how these stories impact, inform and challenge our lives.

Another method of story telling that we employ is the result of a lifetime of work by Dr. Jerome Berryman.  Jerome is an Episcopal priest and has devoted himself to the spiritual life of children. His work is recognized around the world, and is entitled Godly Play. The focus of his work enables people to experience the mysterious way in which God is present to each of us while we listen and participate in sacred stories and other elements of our worship and tradition. We are fortunate to have Jerome as a frequent visitor and friend of our parish.

Another desire of our center for spirituality is to offer our unique gifts and perspectives to the community outside of our parish walls. Just as we believe that all the participants of intergenerational learning enrich the learning experience for everyone, so too, we believe that entering into dialog and learning with groups and individuals of the larger community in which we live, will create dynamic opportunities to learn and enter more deeply into what the Spirit my wish to show us all.

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