Trinity’s Christian Formation Commission completed its five-session Lenten series, "Growing a Rule of Life,” this week with participants putting the final touches on their plans to create new spiritual disciplines. The program, developed by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) and the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at the Virginia Theological Seminary, used workbook exercises, daily videos from the SSJE monks, and gardening metaphors to help participants think through what would support their personal growth and connection to God. They were encouraged to examine their relationship to God, self, others, and nature.
According to an article on the website “Faith & Leadership,” which recently highlighted the success of the monks’ social media efforts, the program had 7,000 subscribers to the daily video feed. (You can read the entire article here.) The Christian Formation Commission chose the series because of the monks’ ability to engage so many people. “This year we wanted to focus on Lent as a communal experience,” said commission chair Sophfronia Gregory. “We thought this was a great opportunity for Trinity to observe Lent within this larger experience made possible by the brothers of SSJE.”
The communal aspect was definitely a part of the classroom dynamic. “I loved the discussions we had as a group during the Lenten series,” said participant Ben Toby. “Just being able to listen thoughtfully to each other, where we are on our spiritual journey and how we can improve our connection to God through wellness of mind, body, and relationships to each other and to God’s creation. Somehow this series – and the wonderful discussion leaders! – really led to meaningful conversations that I enjoyed and am very thankful for. I hope we can do many more like it!”
This year students from two of the youth church school classes (J2A and YAC) joined the program as well and benefited from sharing the learning with adults. “The Lenten series helped me reflect on the spiritual practices that I do and the relationships I have with the many facets of my life, and has helped me see which places I need to strengthen and what I can to do make that happen,” said J2A student Rachel Tramposch.
In the last class one of the videos the class viewed focused on the special importance of a Rule of Life when life gets tough. “At times it’s actually very easy to live the life of faith,” said Brother Geoffrey Tristram. “Prayer comes to us naturally, we feel drawn to God, and we look at God’s creation and our hearts are filled with joy. But there are other times in our life when life becomes more barren, more bare. Perhaps we have experienced a bereavement or a change in our plans or our hopes. In those times, it’s much more difficult to embrace life. But actually, in my own experience, it is exactly during those times when having a Rule of Life in place becomes so important. It is then that we really need to turn to those rhythms, those disciplines which we have grown and established, because they will uphold us and they will support us and strengthen us when we feel that life is very, very difficult.”
Participant Maureen Costello observed, “For me the most important thing is to keep my Rule of Life simple so that I will do the several practices I have committed to. Once I have been consistently faithful to those few practices I will gradually add to the garden. The Lenten series was helpful in giving me the jumpstart I needed.”
If you missed the program and would like to create your own Rule of Life, the videos and downloadable workbook are available at http://ssje.org/ssje/growrule/.
Trinity Adult Education News
Adults walk through Trinity's doors with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, understandings and questions. We welcome this diversity and look to learn from each other as we explore questions of faith, life, spirituality and meaning
Our Sunday morning and weeknight classes, workshops and prayer groups seek to provide opportunities for spiritual growth, intellectual development, deepening connection to God and faithful living.
Go here to view our Spring schedule and list of ongoing programs.
At Trinity, adults will find a safe and exciting place to grow in their life in Christ.
Come join us!