Adult Education
Adult Formation at St. John’s includes Adult Forums offered on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., Book discussion groups throughout the year, Inquirers’ Classes, Advent book studies, and Lenten midweek programs.
  • Adult Forums have included guest speakers on current topics where faith is discovered in the secular; video series offered through The Episcopal Church such as “The Way of Love”; a video series entitled “The Story”; Report of the Annual Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, Report of The General Convention.
  • Book studies have included Debby Irving’s Waking Up White; The Pilgrim Series: A Course for the Journey—a series from the Church of England; other courses from the same series covered The Eucharist and Church and Kingdom; Rachel Held Evans’ Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again.
  • Lenten Series have included speakers from the Connecticut Council of Interreligious Understanding, a local Rabbi speaking about anti-Semitism, planned lay and ordained Episcopal speakers on racial healing, justice, and reconciliation, speaker on religious architecture.
  • During Advent, parishioners were invited to write a reflection for the Season of Advent based on Holy Scripture. These reflections were offered daily via the St. John’s electronic news.
  • Men’s book discussion group – On Saturday mornings, this group gathers to discuss various books they have selected to deepen their spiritual journey with authors like Henri Nouwen. They gather to build community, support one another in faith and learn from their books and each other.
  • Inquirers’ Class – held periodically through the year for those interested in formally joining the Episcopal Church or wanting to know more about the Episcopal tradition. Discussion includes familiarity with The Book of Common Prayer, important history of the Episcopal Church, our governance, our liturgy, and what makes us unique in our Christian faith as Episcopalians who are part of the wider Anglican Communion.

January & February: Adult Forums

Parish hall | 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
january 30
annual parish meeting

In line with our recently revised by-laws, St. John’s will hold only one parish’s Annual Meeting in 2022. This meeting takes place on January 30th between the morning services (9-10 A.M.) in the church to accommodate more people and COVID safety. At this meeting, we will review the past year’s finances while also looking ahead to 2022. In addition, we elect new members to the vestry and delegates to the diocesan convention. Last but certainly not least, we celebrate the mission and ministry of the parish and the many people who contribute to the vitality of this congregation. This meeting is essential for those who are long-time members and those who are new and want to learn more.

february 6
intergenerational valentine’s card making

Join us for intergenerational Valentine’s Day card making! We will be making Valentine’s Day cards on Sunday, February 6th, at 9 A.M. in the Parish Hall. We will make Valentine’s Day cards for St. John’s parishioners with pastoral care needs. Supplies will be provided but feel free to bring supplies from home to share as well. We hope to see you there!

February 13
update on haiti from guest speaker and parishioner jenifer grant

With her long history (since 1956), Jenifer Grant will speak mainly about the two organizations in rural Deschapelles, Haiti, that St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, CT, has so faithfully supported for many years. Although Haiti, especially the area around the capital, Port-au-Prince, is suffering greatly, she will share all the positive things that happen in rural Deschapelles, in great part because of your interest and support.

February 20
The saint john’s bible: igniting the Spiritual imagination

Brad Neary, Director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program will be joining us in person from Minnesota to present the story of the original handwritten and illuminated folios of The Saint John’s Bible. He will be with us on Sunday, February 20, 2022, at 9 A.M. in the Parish Hall.

16 years in the making – as well as on the production of the stunning Heritage Edition. Limited to 299 sets, the seven volumes of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible are true to the scale, beauty, and artistic intent of the original manuscript.

Following his presentation, Neary will host an “open house” session for anyone interested in taking a closer look at the Gospels & Acts volume of the Heritage Edition.

brad neary, director of the saints john’s bible heritage program

Brad Neary serves as director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program. He also serves as a Senior Development Officer on Saint John’s University’s (Collegeville, MN) Institutional Advancement team.

Neary is a 1981 graduate of Saint John’s University and served as the University’s Assistant to the President from 1981 to 1984. Neary earned his master’s degree in industrial relations/human resources from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in 1987 and held senior positions at TRW, KeyCorp and Medtronic over the course of his 20-year career as a human resources executive. Neary resides in Seattle, WA, and is an active member of Epiphany Episcopal Parish, where he has served on the Vestry, co-chaired annual stewardship campaigns, sung in the choir and currently presides at Evensong.

February 27
Walk in love: Episcopal beliefs and practices by scott gunn and melody wilson shobe

Have you been attending St. John’s for years but still feel like you aren’t sure what’s going on? Maybe you’ve got things figured out but haven’t made it “official.” Or, perhaps you’re new to St. John’s and excited to learn more about this place. Whatever your reason, this class is for you! This class, taught primarily by The Rev. Kate Wesch, is a 7-part series on Sunday mornings from 9:00-10:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall. It begins on February 27 and concludes with Bishop Ian Douglas’ visitation on April 24, 2022.

The classes cover a wide range of topics, including the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, the sacraments, what it means to be a member, Episcopal polity, and more! Attending this class does not obligate you to be baptized, confirmed, or received, but it will prepare you if that is what you seek.

Who should attend?

  • All persons who have recently transferred to St. John’s from another denomination.
  • All persons who are seeking more information about the Episcopal Church.
  • All persons who are seeking a renewal course in the basics of the Episcopal faith and practice.
  • All persons who are exploring the Episcopal Church with a potential or desire for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, or Reaffirmation.

Baptism – Holy Baptism in the Episcopal Church is a sacramental rite. It is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church. The Episcopal Church believes in one Lord, one faith, one baptism. That is to say that we recognize all baptisms from all traditions. Baptisms take place at St. John’s on four major feast days throughout the year: Baptism of our Lord Sunday, the Great Vigil of Easter, Pentecost, and All Saints’ Day.

Confirmation – Confirmation in the Episcopal Church is a sacramental rite in which a baptized person makes a mature and public affirmation of the promises that are usually made at baptism by parents and godparents. After making these affirmations, a bishop lays hands on the candidate and prays a prayer of Confirmation. (See the Book of Common Prayer for the promises made at Holy Baptism, pp. 299-308, and for the proceedings at the service of Confirmation, pp. 413-419.)

Reception – In some dioceses, reception is reserved for those a bishop has already confirmed in another denomination (Roman Catholics or Orthodox). A more widely accepted understanding of reception is that it is a way of honoring anyone who has made a mature confession of faith in any other denomination by saying, in effect, we recognize and honor your spiritual journey in another fellowship, and we welcome you into the fellowship of the Episcopal Church, as you continue that journey. The bishop lays hands on the person being received and says, “We recognize you as a member of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, and we receive you into the fellowship of this Communion” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 418). So, if you have not been confirmed or received by a bishop, you may choose either Confirmation or reception, although tradition might nudge you toward Confirmation.

Reaffirmation – Reaffirmation is for people who have already been confirmed in the Episcopal Church. Some people presented to the bishop during the service of Confirmation are there to “reaffirm” their Christian vows. These might be people who have been away from the church for a period of time and want to make a new beginning. Others might be people who sense that they are at a new stage in their spiritual life and want to affirm this in ritual. Periodically, a spouse, fiancé́, or parent who is already a confirmed Episcopalian will go through reaffirmation as a way of honoring his or her family member’s decision to become a confirmed Episcopalian, saying in effect, “We are in this together.” We all go through many changes in our life’s journey, and reaffirmation provides a rite for those who want to take stock of their religious and spiritual life anew.

For those who wish to go deeper or think they may choose to be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed at the Bishop’s visitation on April 24, please buy a copy of the book: Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs & Practices by Scott Gunn & Melody Wilson Shobe.

Reading this book alongside the class will greatly augment your learning. We have copies for purchase in the Parish Office for $16. It is also readily available on Amazon and on Kindle.

To call the office, please call (860-767-8095) or email (chelsea@stjohnsesssex.org).