Pentecost 16 September 20, 2009

Proverbs 31:10-31                                                              

James 3:13-18; 4:1-3, 7-8a                                                              

Mark 9:30-37

George Herbert is one of the greatest poets in the English language. He is also a saint in the Episcopal Church. He is honored as a saint not so much for his poetry, though most of it is religious, as for his life as an Anglican priest – a country parson, as he called himself. Born into one of England’s great noble families in 1593, Herbert withdrew from a life of political ambition and power to become the rector of a little country parish, not unlike Holy Cross. There he ministered and wrote his poetry until his untimely death at age 44. Herbert also wrote a book called The Country Parson, a guide for himself and others to the life a priest should live. In his book, he talks about prayer and preaching, about study, about keeping the church building clean and neat, about the ordering of the parson’s personal household.

And he devotes one chapter to “The Parson in Circuit.” Every weekday afternoon, Herbert says, the country parson should get on his horse and ride through a section of his parish, where he will find members of his flock, not dressed up and on their good behavior as on Sundays, but “naturally as they are, wallowing in the midst of their affairs.” And as he visits them, he is to commend them for what he finds good and reprove them where they need correction.

Herbert is careful to describe how this reproof part of the parson’s work is to be done, not arrogantly or abusively, but he is clear that it is to be done, without hesitation and in detail. A major part of the parson’s life, indeed a major part of the work of the Church in Herbert’s day, had to do with the practical moral formation of the people. It was expected and it was accepted, whether or not it was liked or paid attention to.

Women of Holy Cross

Women at Holy Cross

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.

Christian Formation

Education Opportunities for All Ages

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.