“The fully Christian life is a Eucharistic life: that is, a natural life conformed to the pattern of Jesus, given in its wholeness to God, laid on His altar as a sacrifice of love, and consecrated, transformed by His inpouring life, to be used to give life and food to other souls. It will be, according to its measure and special call, adoring, declaratory, intercessory and redemptive: but always a vehicle of the Supernatural.”
– Evelyn Underhill, The Mystery of Sacrifice
Becoming a Christian may be as simple as receiving the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, but that is not the end of the journey. We believe in a full sacramental system of initiation, and offer year-round instruction in the faith.
If you are interested in any of these courses, please contact the office to arrange a meeting with the Rector to discuss further details and find out when the next classes are scheduled.
St. Thomas 101 – Membership Class
Every few months a ‘newcomers lunch’ is held to welcome those who are new to the parish and to review the duties of churchmanship. This brief course lays out expectations for instruction in the faith necessary for Baptism, Confirmation, and the general duties and expectations of attendance at worship, maintaining an active life of prayer, actively giving for the work of the church, and serving the church and the community. The course also gives a brief description of St. Thomas, the Diocese of Central Florida, and the wider Anglican Communion.
Basic Instruction in the Christian Faith – Baptismal Preparation
This six-session course is offered for sponsors and parents (godparents) as well as baptismal candidates who can speak for themselves, whether older children or adults. Godparents are encouraged to take the course with the candidates in the case of older children. The course reviews some of the key elements of the Christian faith: God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), Humanity, the Church (the Body of Christ), and the Baptismal liturgy itself.
Anglicanism 101 – Introduction to Anglican Church History and Prayer Book Spirituality
This three-session course introduces people to the history of the Church in England and the United States, and traces the development of Prayer Book Anglican spirituality. It is meant as a supplement for post-baptismal study, as well as in particular for Christians who may come from other traditions, and may not be familiar with these historical developments.
- Church History
- Liturgical Ceremony: What we see in Church
- Common Prayer: Praying Together in the Anglican Tradition
Catechism Class – Confirmation Preparation
Confirmation is undertaken when it is considered age appropriate, anywhere from age 13 and up. In the Episcopal Church, it is normative that all baptized Christians sixteen or older be confirmed. Training is required, and confirmations may only be held when the Bishop is available. This six week course examines key elements of the Book of Common Prayer including the Nicene Creed, Decalogue (ten commandments), Lord’s Prayer, the Catechism, and the Confirmation Liturgy itself.
This course is completed in between 6 to 8 sessions, depending on how many people are preparing and how long it takes to review questions.
Confirmation classes can be run even when the bishop has not yet been scheduled for a visit, and simply allowing for a refresher shortly before the bishop’s arrival, ensuring that everyone can be confirmed as soon as possible.
Coffee & Conversations
Every Sunday either between masses or after the summer mass, there is a social time in the Parish Hall called Coffee & Conversations where the Rector or a guest will give a brief 10 minute presentation on some aspect of the Christian life. This is a casual form of Christian Education suitable for children and adults. It is welcome for all to attend, and you need not even attend mass to come join us for this time of fellowship and learning. The talks run about 10 minutes and the whole social time generally runs between 30 to 45 minutes.