The Rev. Dr. Helen Appelberg, an Episcopal priest from Galveston, Texas, first introduced our two faith communities to Community of Hope International (COHI) in a workshop last January 31. The workshop was attended by members of several other metro Episcopal churches. On February 1, Helen, the founder of COHI, presented a faith formation forum at Saint Mark’s on Benedictine spirituality and Community of Hope. Since Helen Appelberg’s visit, The Reverend Katherine Lewis and St. David’s Episcopal Church of Minnetonka’s pastoral care team, along with Dr. Helen Hansen, Pastoral Minister and Saint Mark’s Pastoral Care Committee, have begun preparatipons to offer Community of Hope training and formation to members of our congregations this fall. Our partnership in this effort draws together our considerable unique gifts for faith formation and education. We expect our COHI training will strengthen our relationships, ensure excellence in our training, and broaden our pastoral ministries.
Community of Hope is a 14-week curriculum of spiritual formation that prepares individuals and teams (“circles”) to discern their gifts and respond to their unique vocations. It utilizes Benedictine spirituality to teach us how to live more authentically both in our personal lives and within our faith communities. In addition, Community of Hope reflects the Anglican tradition’s roots in the Rule of St. Benedict. The training will assist us in determining how God is calling us to serve each other and the world. We believe that COHI is a superb fit with Saint Mark’s rich tradition, mission, and calling.
Community of Hope training will begin September 14, 2015, and meet Mondays, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm, alternating between Saint Mark’s and St. David’s. The participant cost of $40 will cover the cost of materials and faculty honoraria. The training will conclude with a retreat and formal commissioning in January 2016.
There will be three cohorts (“circles”)--two lay circles and one ordained clergy circle. The lay “circles” from Saint Mark’s and St. David’s will be composed of 10 to12 people each. All three circles will meet together for the formal training portion of each class session. Following formal instruction, the three circles will meet separately for dialogue and development.
We will use Joan Chittister’s book, The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century, as the text. It is a delightful day-to-day introduction to the Benedictine Rule. Chittister guides us in the application of The Rule to daily living. We also recommend Esther de Waal’s Seeking God. These books are both available in Saint Mark’s Book Store.
If you or someone you know desires a distinctive spiritual experience and wishes to expand awareness on Christian ministry, please contact Helen Hansen to learn how you might participate. You also can visit the Community of Hope International’s web site. Please consider this special opportunity prayerfully and contact Helen.