Adult Ministries

St. Mary's Senior Luncheon JAN122012 009

In the baptismal service, we pray that the child be given “an inquiring and discerning heart.”  Our church is full of inquirers, and we offer a range of adult education programs to satisfy their curiosity.

Bible Study

The Wednesday Bible Study began its fall season on September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Led by Rector John E. Miller, the Bible group meets weekly in the Library of the Youth and Adult Education Building. Each study session focuses on the Lectionary readings assigned for the succeeding Sunday. Members are encouraged to bring a Bible in a translation or version that they enjoy reading. Annotated study Bibles in the New Revised Standard Version, the New International Version, the New English Bible, and other versions are available online at, at Barnes and Noble, at Cokesbury Bookstores, and other retail dealers.

All members and friends are cordially invited to attend and participate. Discussions are always enriching, and every point of view is appreciated. While no prior biblical training is required of group members, an open mind and readiness to learn and share insights are always welcome!

Education for Ministry Courses
Designed by the University of the South

Sometimes called “the layman’s version of a seminary education.”  Since 1997, we have offered two or three classes every year—the maximum number of students allowed in each section is 12 (ages 29 to 84).  A study of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament gospels and kerygma, a history of the church and its doctrines, theology and ethics, theological reflection.

EFM is a four-year course, but we ask student commitment for only one year at a time, meeting two and a half hours one day each week (morning or evening) except during the summer and the month of December.  A mentored approach to education, no canned lectures; students teach each other and take the initiative in homework and classroom studies.

A promise: your life will be changed (as well as enriched) if you complete this course.  Intense, enlightening, energetic, argumentative and enlarging.

Inquirers’ Class

The rector teaches an annual Inquirers’ Class for those who are interested in becoming members of the Episcopal Church. Most years, the class meets on a series of Wednesday evenings prior to the Bishop’s pastoral visit. The class schedule is posted in the parish Newsletter and on the Website. Curriculum for the class includes study of The Book of Common Prayer, Anglican history and theology, church government, and the story of St. Mary’s Church, Dover Parish, in the Diocese of Virginia.

Seasonal Offerings

During the season of Lent St. Mary’s offers a supper series on Wednesday nights. After dinner a keynote speaker addresses a series topic in weekly installments. The topics have ranged from biblical themes to world religions. Time for questions and discussion is always scheduled, and child care during the addresses is provided.

Occasional book or film studies are part of our observance of the season of Epiphany. In recent years, the rector has led discussions of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Hermann Hesse’s Siddartha, and Barbara Brown Taylor’sSpeaking of Sin, among other selections. These offerings are scheduled on weekday evenings and are open to members and friends of St. Mary’s. Watch for details about future classes in the parish Newsletter and on the Website.

Special Classes

From time to time special classes are presented on Sunday mornings between the worship services. Included in these adult education options have been such things as units of Bible study, a series on poverty, and a program on outreach mission initiatives. The classes usually meet in the Education building from 10:00-11:00 A.M. They are always posted in the Newsletter and on the Website.