Church is committed to providing opportunities for Christian Education and Formation in the Christian life for everyone. Whether we’re baptized as infants or very mature adults, we never stop learning from each other and from our tradition what it means that we follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and grow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for ministry in the Church.
Sunday Mornings: 9 a.m. Education Hour
Children, Youth, and Adults use this time, sometimes together, more often in age-appropriate groups, to learn the Christian story, to explore what it means that we are part of that story, and to ask the difficult questions raised as we try to live a life of faith in an increasingly secular world.
Children: Godly Play and Living the Good News
Godly Play is a Montessori-based program, centered on the stories of our faith, in which children hear a story, are invited to wonder about the story and their own place in it, and then make a response to what they’ve heard in art or further story-telling, or some other way that deepens their involvement in their own faith development. Godly Play is based on the assumption that all children have a spiritual life and a relationship with God—it’s our job as the Church to give them the vocabulary, the time, and the space to express and explore that relationship. The question for parents to ask after Godly Play is not, “What did you do and what did you learn?” The question for parents to ask is, “What was the story today?”
Living the Good News
An educational program based on the readings from Holy Scripture each Sunday during worship, Living the Good News engages children in the stories and reinforces key concepts in their response to those stories both within and outside of worship. What the children hear in church, they also hear and talk about in Sunday school. In this way, they make a stronger connection between what they do on Sunday morning and what happens in the rest of their life at home and at school. Take-home materials include possible topics for children and parents to discuss, having heard the lessons together in church.
Middle School and High School: Journey to Adulthood and Living the Good News
Journey to Adulthood is a program for young people is based on the assumption that we become men and women by virtue of biology, but we become adults by learning the skills of adulthood. As Christian adults, it is our responsibility to nurture young people in … Young people in grades 6-12 move through three groups—Rite 13 (a two-year class, during which a child turns age 13); J2A, turning age 15 or 16 in this two year-segment; and YAC (Young Adults in the Church), generally sophomores through seniors in high school.
The Journey to Adulthood program focuses in four main areas for each age-group: Self, Society, Spirituality, and Sexuality. Two adult leaders—mentors—not the parents of children in their own group, lead each group. At the Rite 13 level, young people explore what it means to become men and women, including leading a portion of worship after their thirteenth birthday. In the course of the J2A program, young people will go on an Urban Adventure and a Mission trip. It is also during this time period that they will receive Confirmation instruction and decide whether or not to be Confirmed. In the YAC group, young people explore adult opportunities for service to church and community and continue to practice the skills of responsible adults made in the image of God.
Adults: Adult Forum
This Sunday morning program for adults is topical and thematic, exploring a variety of aspects of the Christian life, from The Baptismal Covenant to mission work in New Orleans, life and ministry in and with our companion diocese of Lui in the Sudan, to health care, end-of-life issues, Bible Study, book study, explorations of The Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the historic creeds of the Church. Periodically, we do a presentation called, “Episcopalians 101,” which may address the Prayer Book, the structure of The Episcopal Church, decisions of The General Convention, or hands-on cooking for Lent. Guest speakers, videos, presentations by the Rector and fellow parishioners, and visits to the parish kitchen, Memorial Garden, or Labyrinth are all part of Adult Forum programs.
Special Sundays: Intergenerational Events
On or before the First Sunday of Advent (four weeks before Christmas), and on or just after the First Sunday in Lent (six weeks before Easter), we offer special seasonal programs for all ages. These take place in our parish hall or outside the building, or both. In Advent, we make wreaths to take home. We also offer some crafts for children, young people, and adults to do, and we provide resources for home observance of Advent, using the Advent wreath and/or an Advent Calendar or Jesse Tree.
In Lent, we offer various crafts and activities which teach about the Passion and Death of Jesus and ways to observe the season of Lent at home. Among the activities also is the opportunity to plant a seed to be growing by Easter and to make butterflies to decorate the church on Easter Day, both symbols of the Resurrection to come.
In September, we have held Welcome-to-Sunday
School Carnivals and other events primarily for children but with adults and young people as participants and leaders. Periodically, we have offered intergenerational events on Palm Sunday, the Day of Pentecost, or All Saints Sunday.
Inquirer Classes and Newcomer Classes are offered periodically, usually beginning at Noon on Sundays.
Preparation classes for Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation are offered in a variety of formats, both on weekdays and on Sunday mornings or evenings, for children, youth, and adults.
Week Day Education and Christian Formation
Wednesday Morning Bible Study
This weekly Bible Study group includes men and women, members and non-members of Trinity
Church. We have studied every book in the New Testament and a significant amount of Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament). Everybody brings his or her own Bible, AND we have several translations of the Bible available for those who just drop in or who do not have a portable study Bible of their own. We read and discuss the text, look at background material which includes charts and maps of biblical history and world history. We refer to commentaries and Bible handbooks and other material—even the occasional video—to deepen our study. Every week we begin with prayer, which is a gathering of the prayers offered both silently and aloud by all those present. Every week we end our study with the Lord’s Prayer.
Short Term Programs
From time to time, we offer four and six-week programs of study on particular topics, such as Covenant, or the Book of Psalms, or Reconciliation, or books, such as The Purpose-Driven Life. We have used materials from the Kerygma program for some studies, or videos and study guides from a variety of sources. . We have also done a short series of movies and discussion, and a program in speech-making with materials from Toastmasters International. Typically, Lent and Advent are times we have offered these programs, but also other times as determined by interested people.
Education for Ministry Program (EFM)
This is a program of study and theological reflection offered in a 33-week format at Trinity with mentors trained by the School of Theology at the University of the South. Over a four-year period, EFM groups study Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), Christian Scriptures (New Testament), Church History, and Theology. Participants sign up for one year at a time, and a group of six is the minimum number necessary to form, and/or to continue each year. The Diocese of Missouri subscribes to the EFM program, which means that the fees paid by students are lower than they would be if Trinity
Church ran an independent group. Mentors are required to attend 15 hours of training every 18 months.