Fall 2018 Spiritual Formation Classes




9/16 @ 10 a.m. in the Great Hall

Preparing for the Spiritual Life

Rev Doyt Conn

This session will introduce Christian spiritual formation based on Renovaré Devotional Classics. Spiritual formation is the art and practice of knowing ourselves as God knows us, of being and becoming that full, whole complete, and healthy person God created us to be. Throughout this learning season, Epiphany Neighborhood Seminary will explore spiritual formation through a variety of Christian traditions written extensively by Christian saints, pastors, theologians and philosophers over course of Christianity’s recorded history
9/23 @ 10 a.m. in the Great Hall
Round Table

Giving All To Christ

CS Lewis / Jon Roberts & Steve Clemons


CS Lewis will be remembered as one of the most important Christian thinkers, writers and speakers of the twentieth century. It was in 1931 that he was “surprised by joy,” his words describing his conversion to Christianity. A brilliant scholar and writer, Lewis used his talents to reach thousands through the printed and spoken word. In the early 1940’s, Lewis delivered numerous talks on Christian topics over radio. Out of one of those talks, came the book Mere Christianity, a penetrating work on Christian apologetics. Many Christians today point to this book in particular as an essential part in their faith journey. The devotional for this program was taken from Mere Christianity but is focused on just one question – Is Christianity hard or easy?

Click on the links below to access the Devotional and forum presentation

Giving all to Christ

Giving All To Christ Devotional

9/30 @ 10 a.m. in the Great Hall
Round Table

Complete Surrender

St Augustine / Steve Clemons


St Augustine was the bishop of Hippo in the fifth century. At age sixteen he was sent to Carthage to study law where he developed a reputation as a skilled orator and philanderer. He took these talents to Rome where he founded a school of rhetoric. While in Rome, he came under the influence of the philosophy of Plato and the teachings of St Ambrose. After a long internal struggle, he embraced Christianity and returned to Africa to live a monastic life for thirty-four years. He was a prolific writer whose insights shaped not only the age he lived in, but all the subsequent centuries of Christianity. It is difficult to find any theologian today who has not been influenced by the teachings of St Augustine. The devotional for this session comes from his autobiographical work, Confessions and sheds light on the eternal struggle of the will and its surrender to Christ by retelling his own conversion to the life of faith.

Click below to access the Devotional and the presentation slides

Complete Surrender

Complete Surrender Presentation

Complete Surrender Narrative

10/14 @ 10 a.m. in the Great Hall

Introduction to the Contemplative Tradition (Prayer-Filled Life)

Rev Doyt Conn

The Contemplative Tradition (aka the Prayer-Filled Life) gives special attention to loving God through prayer. At the heart of each Tradition of the Church is God. Jesus is “God with us,” a physical presence to show us what God is like. His actions and words reveal God’s nature to us. When we practice ‘the prayer-filled life” – that is, the Contemplative Tradition – we discover the tender love of God. But what is interesting is the tremendous variety to approach a “prayer-filled life.”

Clink on the link to access Doyt’s presentation

Session # 2 The Prayerfilled Life Doyt’s Presentation

10/21 @ 10 a.m. in the Great Hall
Round Table

Ways of Meditation

Thomas Merton / Natalie Johnson


Thomas Merton was born in France in 1915. His childhood was painful and trying. In his late teens and early twenties, Merton led a prodigal, sensual life in search for fulfillment. In his mid-twenties, Merton experienced a profound conversion while attending Columbia University in New York. He joined the Roman Catholic church and entered Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky where he would remain the rest of his life as a Trappist monk. In 1948 he published his best-selling autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain. He went on to write many books on spirituality based on the importance of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He wrote a short guidebook entitled Contemplative Prayer for his fellow monks and excerpts from that book form the devotional  used in this session.

Click on the links below to access the Devotional and the forum presentation

Ways of Meditiation – Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton – Natalie Johnson v2

10/28 @ 10 a.m. in the Great Hall
Round Table

Praying in Faith

Martin Luther / Steve Clemons


Most of us know Martin Luther as the father of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. Many of us do not know Luther’s deep anxiety about his own salvation that created a journey for him to become one of the greatest theologians in the history of Christianity. Not only was Luther a brilliant theologian, but he was also a man of deep piety. The devotional used in this session was compiled from  a number of his writings and demonstrates his insight into the subject of prayer. He was deeply influenced by St Augustine and Bernard of Clairvaux. Luther’s faith was lively, earthy and practical; his logic was powerful; and his leadership skill was unparalleled.

Click below to access the presentation and narrative

Praying in Faith – Martin Luther – Devotional Classic pdf

Praying in Faith – Martin Luther

Praying In Faith narrative


10 am in the

Great Hall


Introduction to the Holiness Tradition (the Virtuous Life)

Rev Doyt Conn

God desires holiness, purity and virtue in our lives. A holy life has been defined as life that is functional and healthy and whole. But holiness, or purity of heart, is not merely obedience to certain rules – remember Jesus’ chastening of the Pharisees when he pointed out the difference between the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law.” Jesus openly challenged the division between inward purity and outward ritual. But Jesus also said not keeping the commandments is not even an option. In the Holiness Tradition, (aka the Virtuous Life), willing obedience to God comes from yielding our lives to God.

10 am in the

Great Hall

Round Table

Striving to Make Progress

Teresa of Avila / Natalie Johnson


Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada was born in 1515 and at the age of twenty, she entered the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation. She lived a very devout life and was known to have occasional supernatural experiences. In 1555, she experienced a “second conversion” and re-directed her spiritual calling in establishing new Carmelite houses focused on the contemplative life. She began her writing career with a spiritual biography Interior Castle which she wrote following a vision of a house with many rooms. She describes her journey through the rooms until she reaches the center room where the soul unites with God.

You can access both the forum presentation and the devotional by clicking on the links below:

Striving to Make Progress – Teresa of Avila

St Teresa of Avila presentation


10 am in the

Great Hall


The Charismatic Tradition (the Spirit-Empowered Life)

Rev Doyt Conn

The Holy Spirit has been called the forgotten person of the Trinity. Since the beginning on the day of Pentecost, the Church has believed in one God comprising three persons – “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit” – but the Holy Spirit, an equal in the Trinity, is often neglected. The Charismatic Tradition (aka Spirit-Empowered Life) focuses on the Holy Spirit who comes alongside us and animates and empowers our efforts. It is one of the great blessings in the Christian spiritual journey.

10 am in the

Great Hall

Round Table

Waiting upon God

Catherine of Genoa / Susan Pitchford

Catherine was born into a prominent Genoan family in 1447 whose love of God was matched only by her love for others. Though her writings are full of fervor and creativity, she is best remembered for her acts of charity. Her main work, Life and Teachings, along with her Dialogues, were her most important literary contributions. Click on the links to access both the Devotional Classics (“Waiting Upon God”) and Susan Pitchford’s presentationCathering of Genoa Susan Pirtchford Dec 2018 pdf

Catherine of Genoa rdevotional pdf


10 am in the

Great Hall


10 am in the

Great Hall


10:00 a.m.

Great Hall


10:00 a.m. in the Great Hall

Round Table

Movements Produced in the Soul

Ignatius of Loyola / Natalie Johnson


The Incarnational Tradition (the Sacramental Life)

Rev Doyt Conn

Round Table

A Magical Universe

GK Chesterton / Jon Roberts & Steve Clemons

The Evangelical Tradition (the Word-Centered Life)

Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.

Ignatius’s spiritual journey was, in fact, a collection of physical journeys. Born into a noble Basque family, he later was injured while fighting the French. While recovering he read The Life of Christ, and The Imitation of Christ along with the stories of St Francis. He resolved to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem but he was forced to remain in Manresa (Spain) where he had profound mystical experiences that led him to share his faith with others.  Stuck in Manresa he penned much of his famous yet simple book on spiritual exercise entitled simply, Spiritual Exercises.

Please click on the link below to access the Renovare Devotional Classic and Natalie’s presentation

Ignatius of Loyola – Movements Produced in the Soul

Ignatius of Loyola – Natalie Johnson pdf

The Incarnational tradition concerns itself with the relationship between Spirit and matter; they are complementary not oppositional. God loves matter. God creates “and it was good!” Liturgy is a way in which we use material symbols and gestures to point to the invisible spiritual dimension of existence. The sacraments of the church are a way in which matter points to the Spirit; they are a way by which the reality of God becomes embedded in our body, our mind, and our spirit.

G.K. Chesterton was said never to have produced a masterpiece. The reason is not because he never wrote a great book, but because he wrote so many. But if we had to pick one of Chesterton’s books as his best, it might be Orthodoxy—his case for Christianity. The Renovare Classic Devotional forum series continues with a look into a G.K Chesterton’s classic book Orthodoxy, which has been described as “philosophy for fiction” and greatly influenced fantasy writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The devotional used for this forum can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

GK Chesterton Devotional pdf

A Magical Universe – version for projection

Francis of Assisi said it well: “always preach the good news and when necessary use words.” The Evangelical Tradition (the word-centered life) focuses on three themes: the faithful proclamation of the Gospel; the belief in the centrality of Scripture as a faithful repository of this Gospel, and the confessional witness of the early Christian community as a faithful interpretation of this Gospel. The Good News is encapsulated in the birth, life, message and death of Jesus. This is a forum lecture introducing this tradition. During the Forum Rollover Conversation at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and again Monday at 6:30 p.m., a showing of Franco Zeffirelli’s “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” will be shown