Adult Formation and Education

All Saints' offers opportunities for adult education throughout the year, part of our core value: We Learn.

Education Is a Justice Issue

Rev. Tanya went to seminary with the intention of focusing on liturgy and preaching, but changed her focus to religion and education. “Two things happened. 1. I realized everyone focused on preaching; and 2. because I went to an ecumenical seminary, preaching is very different than in the Episcopal Church.”

She also found she was intimidated by teaching, yet would need that skill in a parish. She took a course on the practice of teaching to fulfill a requirement and was transformed. “The class gave me experience and the tools to teach, but more than that, it empowered me to put myself in the teacher’s seat.”

“I worked with mentors who saw education as a profound matter of justice,” she said. She did field education placement for her New York City parish, St. Luke in the Fields, in Greenwich Village, and was in charge of adult formation there. She also taught field education at her alma mater, Union Theological Seminary.

As Canon Educator at St Paul’s Cathedral in Vermont, Rev. Tanya ran the Christian education and formation program for adults, youth and children, and served as a consultant for parishes in the dioceses and with the New England dioceses’ education network.

She brought that passion and joy for teaching to her ministry here. Rev. Tanya wanted to develop a strong children’s education program and make the church service a welcoming place for children, while setting aside a regular time for adult formation, so she restructured Sunday morning services.

She has offered forums on such topics as an introduction to The Book of Common Prayer, a seven-week series on the sacraments, an instructed Eucharist, Episcopal Church 101, and adult preparation for confirmation.

Adult forums are often offered as a series, but are designed to stand alone so people can drop in as they are able. In the spring, for example, Deacon Terry Hurlbut led lively discussions on Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward, on spirituality in the two halves of life. The book, and the group, looked at how our failures fuel ongoing spiritual growth. This fall, the group is discussing Walter Breuggemann's book, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now. 

All Saints' welcomes parishioners interested in offering a series in their area of expertise. For example, parishioner Mike Robinson, a Mt. Holyoke college professor of economics, led a series on economics and the Scripture.

Special Offerings

All Saints' has twice hosted John T. Grayson’s final Mount Holyoke College class of Spirituals and the Blues. Accompanied by Ruth Bass Jones on the piano, the Rev. Funteller Jackson, a Mount Holyoke graduate, spoke and sang. Her moving rendition of “Precious Lord,” is available on YouTube.

All Saints' also hosted an author reading and book signing to celebrate publication of Talking Taboo: Christian Women Get Frank About Faith. Lizzie McManus, a Mount Holyoke student who preached several times before she graduated, was one of the authors.

Coffee, Tea and Theology begins anew each fall. Members of three South Hadley parishes are welcome to meet once a month at Thirsty Mind in South Hadley Commons to talk about issues that matter from a faith perspective.

The Lawrence House program for young adults living in community includes a weekly education component. Some of these offerings will be open to the congregation. Area clergy and professors will address topics in their area of expertise. Two examples: parishioner Mike Robinson, for example, will look at economics and the Scripture. Parishioner Chisato Kitagawa, an Episcopal priest and retired professor of Japanese and linguistics, will talk about culture and Christianity and Christian life in Japan.

Mount Holyoke students meet on alternate Sundays for Bible study and a simple supper. Last year, students looked at women in the Bible.

These are just a few examples of special educational events. If there is a topic or special event you'd like to see offered, please contact Rev. Tanya.

Adult Forum

From the Sunday after Labor Day through June, adult education is open to all at 9:15, while young people are in church school. The vision is to have everyone—parishioners from the 8 and 10:30 services and our youth—participating in education, spiritual formation and nourishment at the same time, an Education for All Ages program. All adults are welcome to join the Adult Forum at any time, without expectation of long-term commitment. Simply join us at 9:15 and see what you might learn and how it might influence your journey of faith!