Vestry Advisor – Ruth Goodson
Spiritual Formation programming at Holy Cross provides opportunities for all parishioners to grow in their love for God and for one another. As we enrich ourselves and one another in this awareness and practice of God’s love we enlarge our ability to serve God and others, both inside this church and in the world.
Whenever we gather, and whatever the topic, folks at Holy Cross learn and thrive in groups which foster discussion, prayer, contemplation and fun. Programs are aimed at deepening our spiritual growth in all areas of our lives.
Adult Christian Formation classes usually provide a mix of practical programs, Bible study or prayer life teachings, seasonal topics and calls for involvement. This year will include a series of informational sessions about preparing for the end of life called “Embracing Your Future”, back by demand from our retired friends. Holy Cross members will expand their spiritual development through Biblical studies, discussions of personal spiritual enrichment and use of literature and media to find God in the world.
Youth Programs are directed to our young members who are few but faithful. They gather
to learn the Episcopal tradition, study scripture, engage with other Christian churches, take field trips and fun and inspiring outings with their leader. Our youth serve at the altar and prepare for confirmation each year. They cook wonderful dinners annually to raise funds and by popular demand. They also light and set out luminaria at our memorial garden each Christmas.
Earth Ministry was formed at Holy Cross in December 2014 through the concerns of the vestry led by Claire Carey. There are Earth Ministry organizations in more than forty states. We seek to turn our church into one that is consciously green through better stewardship of God’s creation. We proclaim our love of Christ and our reverence of all his creatures by advocating for responsible use of the earth’s resources.
Daughters of the King has a different and wonderful tradition and approach to spiritual formation. Active daily prayer, study and service enrich their lives and those of the Parish family. Their monthly meetings give the chance for support and to request specific prayers for those in need. Some of their service projects include collecting winter clothing for Steps to Hope, a shelter for battered women and their children, as well as stuffed comfort animals for use by the Red Cross and several emergency service agencies in the area. They also sponsor a child in Durgapur, India. Their chapter members feel that their lives are blessed through contact with other Daughters throughout the diocese by serving on committees, hosting their events at Holy Cross and traveling to assemblies in both Province IV and the Diocese of Western Carolina. The Daughters invite all women to participate and sponsor quiet days to enrich the prayer life and growth of all.
Christian Formation at Holy Cross is based on the Episcopal foundation of tradition, scripture and reason. We are lucky to be able to call on so many willing hands, minds and hearts as we develop these programs and to have so many talents to use in this special service to God.
In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul instructs us to “pray without ceasing.” Here at Holy Cross, we take this command seriously. We pray to God corporately and privately using the Book of Common Prayer, a Parish Prayer List, Daughters of the King, and, in the privacy of our own rooms. During the day you will find us offering up “snatch” or “arrow” prayers to God Our Father and Jesus Christ His Son. We pray for healing, substance, discernment, protection, Grace, relationships; we give thanks and confess our sins and weaknesses.
Last year the Vestry added a new curriculum: Centering Prayer, a method of deepening our relationship with God. Simply put, Centering Prayer is silent prayer. It is “Being still and knowing that I am God.” Ps. 46:10. This prayer method goes beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him. In the ancient Christian tradition of Contemplative Prayer, it is a pure gift from God. It is given not to replace other kinds of prayer but rather to cast a new light and depth of meaning on them. Centering Prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond members together in mutual friendship and love.
What an opportune time to offer Centering Prayer as we discern the course for Holy Cross and the calling of a new rector. We are searching for a priest who is strongly pastoral and deeply connected to Christ to be our spiritual leader, inspiring us to be our very best and handle the day to day running of the Parish.