Creating time and space to listen for the “still, small voice,” the Spirituality Committee assists the Rector in providing opportunities for intentional spiritual reflection throughout the liturgical year. In 2019 the committee hosted Quiet mornings; a multigenerational Meditative Walk at our local botanical garden, Tower Hill; a meditative drumming event; and a two-night retreat focused on Creation Care at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport, Maine. Plans for a 2020 retreat were side-tracked by the pandemic.
The Gathering offers an opportunity to grow in the contemplative life. This is an interfaith group that meets weekly (in 2020 on Zoom). Participants explore their spiritual lives with others. The group is ecumenical and welcomes all. The sessions involve poems, silence, short readings, and a slow-paced discussion. One participant said,
“Among the people who gather to meditate and share I found acceptance, affirmation, respect and love. Sharing with others is a priceless gift. No one judges anyone else — we just listen, hear each other’s joy and pain, and try to offer one another a bit of balm.”
Emmaus is an evening series that usually takes place during Lent. It is hosted by both laity and the clergy, centered on topics in spirituality. The evening begins with a simple shared meal followed by a presentation, break out groups, and re-gathering. The most recent series was “Soup and Psalms” with guest presenter Canon Rich Simpson.
A movable labyrinth was made for the outdoor courtyard at All Saints several years ago. It is currently used inside occasionally in connection with Compline or Evensong services.
There are plans for more walks led by the Rector, and several Evensongs in the fall of 2021, There also will be a hybrid evening series (combination of in-person and virtual) that will revisit The Way of Love by Archbishop Michael Curry A second series is an all-congregation book talk based on Proclaim, by Marcus George Halley. These will be Sunday Forumsessions that will focus on parish discernment.
Traditionally, adult Christian formation took place before the 10:00 am service. Lay and clergy leaders led various events focused on specific ministries or topics. The most recent forum offered through the Spirituality Committee was the All Saints International Film Festival (ASIFF), which centered on “movement of the Spirit” using brief films and discussion. Another popular summer forum series has been book talks that were led a different person each week. Other events have occurred evenings or Saturday mornings.
Children and youth
Most recently, Sunday School for children took place during the twenty minutes in the early part of the 10:00 am service, to allow our young choristers to participate. Our Youth Fellowship met either after the 10:00 am service or in the evening on Sunday. Before Sunday School had to be suspended, this diverse group of youngsters was increasing in numbers. They are described as an outspoken bunch that enjoyed the safe space that their meetings offered for conversations. Their last project before the disruption of the pandemic was hosting a pancake breakfast during which they sold raffle tickets to fund grocery gift cards for Hope for Housing.
Our congregation sees that we have work to do in Christian Formation programs. This is a high priority for our work with a new rector. A planning committee has been formed to develop new models for Christian Formation, especially for children and youth.