Christian Formation

Emmanuel Episcopal Church has a comprehensive program of Christian education. For younger children, it provides basic studies to develop and foster an awareness that everyone can have a special relationship with God, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirt. For youth and adults, the program encourages individuals to question and grow in their faith. We support everyone who struggles in their own way and at their own pace with their personal faith journey.

At Emmanuel Episcopal Church, we call our educational programs Christian formation because we offer more than simply classes. Whether we are participating in a Bible study, a service event, an opportunity to teach, an adult forum, or a youth meeting, we are being formed as a community of faith and as disciples of Jesus Christ. In roles as teachers and participants, we are all students together. Emmanuel Episcopal Church provides a wealth of opportunities for Christian formation, from forums on broad topics to classes promoting discipleship on a more intensive level.

Seasonal offerings for adults, children, and youth include Advent and Lenten studies, periodic book groups, and summer forums for discussion of lectionary readings. As Emmanuel Episcopal Church continues to grow each year, we change our schedule of classes to offer new and exciting opportunities for Christian formation. Check the Announcements page under Calendar & News, or the yellow insert in the weekly bulletin for more information and to view specific details of our educational offerings.

Our church members also regularly assist the campus ministry, which serves James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, and Bridgewater College with its own full-time Episcopal minister.

Educational Objectives and Goals for Emmanuel Episcopal Church

  1. Biblical Literacy: this is more than merely knowing Bible facts. This means understanding the stories as a part of the broad theme of the Bible and how all of the Bible informs us with an intriguing and exciting Salvation History that points to Jesus Christ as revealing God’s love and desires for his whole creation. All of the “begats” should actually lead us to the great “Behold!”
  2. Understanding our Anglican Heritage: being able to articulate why we say what we say and proclaim what we believe. If someone stopped you in the supermarket and asked, “Why are you an Episcopalian? What does your church believe?” what would you say? We should all be able to explain why our faith community is the Episcopal Church and why we profess to be linked with every Christian and see ourselves as being a community of Christ for the rest of the world.
  3. Understanding why we are a Sacramental Community and why we use our liturgical forms and the words we say in our worship: This means taking seriously our words about Stewardship, spreading the Good News, loving and accepting all people into God’s Grace.
  4. Understanding how we personally fit in with our smaller and extended community: What is our individual responsibility to others, to Emmanuel, our neighbors, Harrisonburg, the world? How do we personally grow in Grace? How do we nurture our unique individual faith story? How do we work together as a unique individual and are yet bound in unity with other unique individuals?

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