Sunday Formation Sessions

  Sunday Formation Sessions  
Recordings of previous Sunday Formation Sessions can be found here.

At Trinity, we offer several Sunday Formation Sessions every year that focus on different topics in our church and spiritual lives.   Over time, we have discovered that it works best for our congregation to offer these sessions after church on select Sundays.   

Our time table for Sunday Formation is as follows:
  • 11:15 -- Lunch in Trinity Hall (following our 10 am worship service)
  • 11:45 to 12:45 -- Formation Session for Adults
  • 11:45 to 12:45 --  Children's Activity  and Youth Program
This schedule gives us a great opportunity to have some fellowship together and engage with one another around an important topic.    


Formation Sundays for 2018-2019

This year, we will not be having Sunday Formation Sessions (though we will certainly be having some lunches and social gatherings spread through the year).  Instead, we will be inviting people to participate in group-based spiritual formation.  More information will be forthcoming soon.  

Past Events - 2017 - 2018 Program Year

Sunday, September 24:  "The Gift of Time"
Rev. Matthew will lead this Formation Session about our relationship with time, perhaps one of the most important gifts that we have in our lives.  Some people find that time is a scarcer resource than money!  How do we receive the gift of time in our lives?  How do we give thanks for that gift?  How can we be better stewards of time?  A timely topic for life in Silicon Valley.   

Sunday, November 12:  Interfaith Program - Jihad and Pluralism in Islam
Special guest Sumbul Ali-Karamali, an attorney and local author,  will lead us in a talk related to this year's Interfaith Harmony theme at Trinity.   Sumbul will talk with us about the much misunderstood (and misused) concept of Jihad in the Muslim tradition, and about the way in which Islam approaches religious pluralism.
   We will have a related program for kids and youth.

Sunday, November 19:  Interfaith Program - Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes
Special guest Maha Elgenaidi is Founder and Executive Director of Islamic Networks Group (ING)  a non-profit with affiliates around the country that are pursuing peace, and countering all forms of bigotry, through education and interfaith engagement while working within the framework of the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom and pluralism.  Maha will lead us in a talk about Muslim women, helping us to go beyond stereotypes to find a richer understanding of the faith and lives of women in the Islamic tradition.
 We will  have a related program for kids and youth.

Sunday, December 3:  Advent Festival & Lunch
Our annual Trinity tradition returns this year as we gather for an Advent Festival of Food, Singing, and Wreath-Making.  We are combining our annual (pre-)Christmas party, with carol singing, together with our annual Advent Wreath making event.  This is a great way to kick off the Advent season and enjoy some fun and fellowship together as Christmas approaches.

Sunday, January 14:  GAIA Program
The Trinity community has been a supporter for a number of years of GAIA, the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance, and their work in Malawi, Africa.  Currently, the group embodies the international component of our Outreach ministry.  GAIA will offer us a program on their work, helping us to understand the current status of the AIDS epidemic in Malawi and how our support makes a difference.

Sunday, March 4:  Lenten Program
We wil have two Formation Sundays during the Lenten season.  Details on those offerings will be forthcoming.

Sunday, March 11:  Lenten Program
This is the second of our two Formation Sundays during the Lenten season.  Details on those offerings will be forthcoming.

Past Events - 2016 - 2017 Program Year

Sunday, September 18 and Sunday, Sepember 25:  The Middle Way ("Via Media") of our Tradition
Our first two formation session Sundays will focus on the ethos or spirit of The Episcopal Church and the Church of England, from which we came.   Often described with the Latin phrase, "Via Media", the Episcopal tradition seeks to be a "middle way" between Catholicism on the one hand and Protestantism on the other hand.  In these two sessions, we will look a little bit at the history of this Middle Way, how we have tried to live that out, and the challenges to that path that have arisen in recent years.   These sessions will help people to understand a bit more about the approach of The Episcopal Church generally, and Trinity in particular, to the Christian faith.

All-Church Retreat, September 30 to October 2:  The Eucharist
While the annual retreat at Bishop's Ranch is not exactly a Sunday Session, we will be using this opportunity to spend some time learning more about the Eucharist, the central act of worship in our church.   In what we hope will be a fun and engaging model, we'll explore the various parts of the service, what they mean and where they came from, and put that knowledge to work in a special Sunday Eucharist that will mark the close of our retreat at the Ranch.   Information about the Retreat, including a link to online registration,
may be found HERE.

Sunday, November 20:  Advent and Advent Wreaths
This Sunday, after lunch, we will have the opportunity to learn about the seasons of the church year, with a special focus on the first season of the year, Advent -- the season that leads us into Christmas.   As part of that learning, each household will have the chance to make an Advent Wreath to take home with them, along with a guide for using that wreath as a household spiritual practice throughout the season.  Our rotation through the seasons of the church year has a big influence on the shape of our worship and spiritual practices, and this Sunday will give us the chance to deepen our knowledge of and connection with that rotation.

Sunday, December 4:   Faith and Science 1
There is a lot of talk about the relationship between the Christian faith and science.  A number of Christians, and Christian churches, seem to think that there is some fundamental opposition between faith and science.  But this has never been the position of The Episcopal Church, which finds an integration between the kind of knowledge discovered through scientific exploration and the kind of knowledge contained in our faith traditions.  The Rev. Dr. Mark Richardson, Dean of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (our Episcopal seminary in Berkeley), will be our presenter.   Mark was also a scholar in residence at Trinity a number of years ago.

Sunday, December 11:  Faith and Science 2
Our discussion of Faith and Science will continue with the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.   We are excited to welcome Bishop Jefferts Schori to Trinity to share her insights into this topic.  On November 1, 2015, she ended a nine year term as the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, a position to which she was elected after serving as Bishop of Nevada.  Bishop Jefferts Schori is a graduate of Stanford, and holds a PhD in oceanography, a field in which she worked until discerning a call to the priesthood.   The bishop is in residence this year at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley.

Sunday, March 5 & 19 (Lent):  The Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer defines, more than anything else, the life of The Episcopal Church.  It is iconic of the Episcopal tradition, and reflects that notion that how we pray shapes how we believe.   Unlike the Protestant Reformation on the European continent, which began with doctinal debates and the writing of alternative confessions of faith, the Reformation in England -- from which The Episcopal Church descends -- began by reforming the worship of the church.  Thus, the Book of Common Prayer is exactly that:  a guide for how we pray, as a church, together.  And this way of worship shapes how we hold and live our faith.

Throughout these Lenten sessions, we will explore the hisotry of the Book of Common Prayer, look at how the current Book of Common Prayer is structured, what it contains, and how it is used; and at ways in which a new Book of Common Prayer might be different from or curent Prayer Book.