Spiritual Formation & Christian Education
Announcements |  Contact Us |  Directions & Maps |  Worship Services
Calendar  | Rota & Assignments |  Refrigerator Sheet

    Spiritual formation in community is at the heart of everything we do.
    "Our core purpose is to create Christian community
    that fosters an experiential connection to God,
    that encourages spiritual growth,
    and that helps people discover and form the values and wisdom
    that lead to Christ-focused lives."
    "We intend to focus on building a community of
    conscious, intentional disciples of Jesus Christ."


    Sunday School Registration!

    The start of Sunday School is fast approaching and, for the first time, Sunday School registration is available online. If you have one or more children from pre-K through high school, please visit the registration form and sign them up. It's fast and easy!

    Spiritual Formation at St Marks

    • Baptismal Preparation
    • Bible Study: Thursday mornings at 9:30
    • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for young children (ages 3-12)
    • Confirmation Preparation
    • EfM (Education for Ministry):   Monday nights
    • Marriage Preparation
    • Sermons
    • Small groups, home Bible studies as formed
    • Sunday School - for adults, teens, children:   Sundays at 10 AM, year round
    • Worship services Daily Morning Prayer and the Holy Eucharist are an essential piece of our Spiritual Formation program
    • Youth Ministry:
      • R13 - Rite 13
      • J2A - Journey to Adulthood
      • YAC - Young Adults in Church
      • Youth Pilgrimages


    Thinking about Christian formation and Christian education:

    In modern times it would be common for first-time visitors to ask, "Does this church have a Christian education program?"

    Depending on the church, they might be told, "Yes, we have a Sunday School." Or "yes, we have home Bible studies." Or "yes, we have a Wednesday evening program for every age group."

    But during the last half of the twentieth century, many people began to realize that Christian education as we imagined it in the nineteenth and twentieth century was not accomplishing what we hoped it would accomplish. The modern idea that education would transform people had been well tested in our society, and had proven to be a false hope, socially, culturally, and spiritually. As General Omar Bradley observed, "The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. ..Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."

    As people thought, talked, reflected and explored, they began to rediscover Christian formation -- the more ancient practices of the Church which had fallen away in modern times, displaced by mere education. It became clear that Christian formation was not nearly so much about information as about a profound inner transformation, of persons, groups and humanity as a whole.

    As Christians continued to think, talk, reflect and explore, we found ourselves increasingly drawn more to the idea of "Christian formation" than to mere education. Many found themselves inspired by thinkers and practitioners, such as Doug Pagitt, Diane Butler-Bass, and Dallas Willard.

    Christian leaders are understanding more and more clearly that for effective Christian formation, study and learning are not enough. They are essential for effective Christian formation, but are only a part of the whole -- and not the most central part. Without diminishing our efforts in study and learning, we found that it is crucial to expand into deeper, broader ways into intentional practice within the context of building Christian community.

    There is a whole constellation of intentional practices that Christian people do together over time to address fundamental human needs. None of these are sufficient in themselves. But as a community of people practices the entire constellation together, they become a powerful tool for inner transformation and spiritual growth.

    These practices, done intentionally, and reflectively, in community, form the core of what a congregation does, in order to more fully experience the presence of God in our lives, to discover more clearly God's call to us, and to express more effectively God's healing, redeeming, and reconciling love for the world.

    These practices include, but are not limited to: Acts of Kindness, Alms, Availability, Confession, Contemplation, the Daily Office, Denial, Devotional Singing, Detection, Doing Good 'Little Things', Fasting, Journal keeping, Lectio Divina, Meditation, Retreats, Sabbath keeping, Silence, Solitude, Spiritual direction, Story telling, Study, Tithing, Travel and Pilgrimage, Weekly Eucharist.

    We Christians are beginning to rediscover how to see these as a constellation for the entire community to practice together, rather than as a menu from which individuals might choose one or two favorites.

Copyright 2007-2011 St Mark's Episcopal Church, 12700 Hall Shop Rd, Highland, Maryland 20777, (Phone: 301-854-2304).
Contact  Webmaster  with questions about this web site.
St Marks Episcopal Church is located in Highland MD, convenient to Columbia MD, Clarksville MD, Fulton MD, Burtonsville MD, Dayton MD, and Laurel MD, in Howard County, Maryland, halfway between Baltimore and Washington D.C.