The women at Holy Cross are planning to gather regularly for special presentations, worship opportunities, outreach or just for fellowship. Please share any ideas you have about things we can do together to increase our spiritual formation or that you think would be fun.
Holy Cross is part of the Episcopal Church, which is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Like Roman Catholics, we have sacraments, bishops and priests, the Eucharist on Sunday, and many other traditional elements. On the other hand, we have no centralized authority like the Pope, women share equally in all roles in the church (including bishop and priest), clergy may marry (our vicar has a wife and two grown children), and there is in general great leeway for individual beliefs and interpretations.
In the Episcopal Church, it’s become customary to talk of “formation” rather than “education.” Christians are made, not born. We are formed in the ways of Christ, a process that involves hearts and hands as well as heads. Formation is lifelong. At Holy Cross, we take formation seriously, trying to offer thoughtful, enjoyable programs for all ages.
Sunday morning formation opportunities at Holy Cross include something for ages 3 through adults. During our formation year (generally early September through Pentecost in May or June), breakfast is served for the whole family beginning at 9:00 a.m. At 9:15, children and youth are invited to their formation programs. Adults lingering over breakfast begin their formation time.
The Montessori-based Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is offered to children age 3 to Grade 6 in classrooms (called atriums) located in our old church building. During our formation year, the children enter the atriums at 9:15 a.m. and join the regular service, which begins at 10:00 a.m., at the exchange of the Peace, which is about 10:40 a.m.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd originated in 1954 in Rome, inspired by the Montessori principles of “self-teaching.” This approach to religious education honors the spiritual potential of children and seeks to offer the essentials of the Christian faith in a way that engages and delights them.
An interpersonal relationship is always a mystery, all the more so when that relationship is between God and the child. We believe that there is a deep bond between God and the child which produces in the child the desire to draw near to God.
The role of the catechist — the adult who is with the children in the atrium –is to prepare an environment and to make presentations that call forth the child’s response rather than pour in information. Catechists listen with the child and together ask, “God, who are you? How do you love us?”
The catechist is a co-wonderer with the children as they together enjoy meditating on the questions generated by the Scriptures with the materials in the atrium as a developmental aid.
To read more about our children’s formation program, follow check out the Website of the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Anne McCausland is the catechist in the Level 3 Atrium, which is for ages 9-12, Laura Arvin is the catechist for Level 2, ages 6-9, and Laura Starr-Houghton is the catechist for the Level 1 Atrium, age 3-6.
Each Sunday, after the 9:00 am breakfast and before the service begins at 10:00 am, a special time is set aside for the adults to ponder, learn, pray and plan. We speak of formation, rather than education, at Holy Cross because Christians are made, not born. Our journey into the fullness of Christ, into understanding ourselves and God’s love and purpose for us, is lifelong. So this Adult Forum time is an important part of our Sunday mornings. The topics we touch on are varied. They’re usually stand-alone, which means you aren’t going to “fall behind” if you aren’t able to make a Sunday.
This year we’ve been spending a lot of time on getting to feel comfortable with the Bible, using as a resource Marcus Borg’s Reading the Bible Again for the First Time. During Lent, we took a breather from this study to talk about the ways in which the fear and anxiety gripping the world today, much of it hyped by our exposure to media, erodes our sense of being grounded as people of God. How could we develop Lenten practices that help us renew an appreciation of our wholeness? What is the role of silence, of simplicity, of sabbath in our lives? In May, we turn to a comprehensive review of our liturgy and worship, with the adult discussion times devoted to this area of our life.
We don’t seek one-size-fits-all answers at Holy Cross. We open questions, share experience, and search for ways to apply the wisdom of Scripture and Christian tradition to our very modern lives.
From time to time we also offer special adult formation programs at other times. These may include Saturday workshops and weekday evening series. See Happenings Now for information about what may be going on currently.
Coming to church if you have little kids is, we know, a struggle. We do everything we can to make it comfortable for both the children and their parents. Instead of providing a separate nursery, we’ve been having success with a “Godly play” area set aside in one corner at the back of our Worship Space. There children play quietly on a rug with soft toys, puzzles and picture books oriented to religious themes. Their parents sit right there.
Acolyte – those who assist at the service, at Holy Cross usually young people, vested in red cassocks and white cottas.
Alb – the white under vestment worn by ministers at the Eucharist, symbolizing the purity of baptism.
Altar – the Holy Table at which the Eucharist is celebrated.
Altar Guild – a group of volunteers who prepare the vessels and vestments for services.
Bishop – a person ordained to have oversight for a Diocese; in the Episcopal Church, ordinations are for life, so Holy Cross member Arthur Walmsley, though retired, remains a Bishop. (He was Bishop of Connecticut.)
Chasuble – the vestment worn by the Presider at the Eucharist.
Chalice – the Cup containing eucharistic wine (based on ancient tradition and Scripture, the Episcopal Church requires the use of wine, not grape juice, for Communion).
Diocese – a subdivision of the national Episcopal Church, in our case comprising the state of New Hampshire.
Eucharist – (Greek for thanksgiving), the ritual liturgy celebrated on Sundays from the very beginning of the Church.
Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) – lay persons licensed by the Bishop to assist in administering Communion.
Font – the baptismal Font that stands by the entrance to the worship space, normally filled with blessed water as a reminder of baptism.
Hymnal – the red song book contained in the book rack beside each chair; we also use music from a green paperback book, Wonder, Love and Praise as well as from other sources.
Intercessor – the person who leads the Prayers of the People.
Lectern (or Ambo) – the Bible stand from which lessons are read.
Lector – the person who reads a lesson (gospel readings must be read by an ordained person.
Presider – the priest or bishop who presides at the Eucharist.
Stole – the scarf worn by an ordained person, symbolizing the authority of the Church.
Vestry – the elected body responsible for the temporal affairs of the congregation.
Vicar – the priest in charge of a mission or aided congregation.
Warden – the two senior elected lay officers of the congregation.
Worship Booklet – the seasonal booklet contained in the book rack beside each chair which contains the texts for the Eucharist; these are drawn from the Book of Common Prayer and authorized supplemental sources.
In general, the colors take on the following meanings: blue for the heavenly realm, the place where God lives; green for the growth given us through the Holy Spirit; gold for the light of Christ that shines over the world and imbues it with spiritual knowledge; white for the purity given us as a gift during baptism; and red for Christ’s redeeming blood and for the fire of the Holy Spirit that burns away sin and gives new life in Him.
Holy Cross is part of the Episcopal Church, in turn connected to the worldwide Anglican Communion. Most of us, however, did not start out as Episcopalians, and many of us would not define our faith with a denominational label. Holy Cross welcomes people from many faith backgrounds, as well as those without any prior church connection. The roominess of Anglicanism offers a particular welcome to folks from a variety of backgrounds. This web page, which is available at the church in booklet form, is designed to help those coming from the Roman Catholic Church to better understand the Episcopal or Anglican tradition.
Holy Cross is part of the Episcopal Church, in turn connected to the worldwide Anglican Communion. Most of us, however, did not start out as Episcopalians, and many of us would not define our faith with a denominational label. Holy Cross welcomes people from many faith backgrounds, as well as those without any prior church connection. The roominess of Anglicanism offers a particular welcome to folks from a variety of backgrounds. This web page, which is also available in booklet form at church, is designed to help those coming from other branches of Protestantism to better understand the Episcopal or Anglican tradition.