Adult Education

Adult Education at St. Peter’s aims to engage you spiritually, intellectually, creatively, and emotionally. We offer multiple classes to pique your interest each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. All classes take place on the second floor of St. Peter’s School at 319 Lombard Street, unless otherwise noted. Some classes overlap, so please review the schedule carefully. Questions? E-mail Rev. Sean Lanigan.

January 13 – Exploring the Research: Understanding Boundary Violations in Faith Communities

Many factors contribute to boundary violations by clergy (sexual and otherwise), including situation, personality, and spiritual formation issues. This presentation will explore the unique status of clergy misconduct in comparison to misconduct by other professionals. It will also explore the range of offenders that exists. Presented by Julian Slowinski, a St. Peter’s parishioner and clinical psychologist (formerly in practice at Pennsylvania Hospital) who has served as a consultant on issues of professional misconduct to both religious organizations and the medical community.

January 27 and February 3 – Please, Thanks, Sorry, Wow, Breathe

Presented by St. Peter’s parishioner Marianne Lipson, this two-part gathering will blatantly exploit the analogies of singing and prayer. We will do some shared breathing, talk and think about how many ways our inner approaches to God — and to everything we do — come from our core hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses. There might be some very minimal singing activity, but this is not at all a “singing” workshop; it’s about learning about ourselves and our own ways of praying. Marianne has an MM in Music & Liturgy, years of vocal training and teaching, and is always starting over with prayer.

January 27 and February 3 & 10 – Sustainability 101 with Amy Cornelius*

All of us are being bombarded with news about climate change and warned that, without quick action, dire consequences will come. This is disconcerting and even a little scary. It also leaves us wondering what we can do to make a difference. In Sustainability 101 we will explore the issues, the risks, and opportunities for actions that we can take at home, in the office, in our community and in the world at large. Presented by Amy Cornelius, a St. Peter’s parishioner and sustainability consultant who works with clients to develop practical ways to reduce utility consumption and adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

*Pre-registration required. To register, please e-mail Rev. Sean at [email protected].

February 10, 17 & 24 – Reading and Writing Poetry

Maybe you’re curious about poetry. Or maybe you’d just like to begin spending 10 minutes a day reading something you can think deeply about. For centuries poetry has offered busy people a path to meditation, which many of us find we need for balance, for sanity, for any kind of spiritual life. In this parish we have often talked about the poems of John Donne, George Herbert, and John Milton, the great English Renaissance poets. For three Sundays in February we will take a guided tour through some contemporary poems. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, join us as we read and talk about poems and perhaps do a little writing ourselves. The workshop will be led by St. Peter’s parishioner Jeanne Walker, who teaches poetry at Seattle Pacific University’s Low Residency Master of Fine Arts Program and whose 9th book of poetry will be out this spring.

February 17 – A Conversation about Grief and Loss

Loss is a non-negotiable ingredient of our human experience and can visit our lives in many forms, whether through the death of a loved one, unemployment, injury or betrayal. While grief and loss often create a sense of alienation from others it is, paradoxically, a condition we all share. This conversation will explore how grief and loss can impact on our identity, our social roles, our sense of safety and our relationship to meaning and our faith. We will also explore the resilience we sometimes encounter in loss, and how reflection, relationships and communal ritual can foster vitality amidst pain. Facilitator Sanjay Nath, PhD is a St. Peter’s parishioner and clinical psychologist who is in private practice in Philadelphia and a professor at Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology.

February 24 – The Widower’s Notebook: a conversation with author Jonathan Santlofer

Join us for a conversation on healing and love with best-selling author, Jonathan Santlofer, as he discusses his memoir The Widower’s Notebook. What happens when an ordinary day turns into heart-wrenching terror? How do we survive the loss of a beloved partner and friend? How do we find courage to continue? Joyce Carol Oates said of The Widower’s Notebook, “This is deeply moving … beautifully written and modulated, with a dollop of droll, black humor. It is such an achievement, like running uphill against a strong wind.” For an excerpt of Santlofer’s interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, click this link:

March 10, 17, 24 & 31 – An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation*

Feel rushed? The busy pace of life can be a source of chronic stress that can negatively impact our health, relationships, effectiveness at work, and our overall enjoyment of life. Mindfulness is a skill we can incorporate into nearly every aspect of our daily life to cope with stress, to help us see our lives more clearly, and to help us make the kind of conscious choices that are more self-affirming and supportive of our physical and mental well-being. Mindfulness increases our ability to focus our attention, empathize, communicate effectively, and to notice the simple joys that are in front of us nearly every moment of life.
During this 4-week mindfulness skills course, we will:
* learn the meaning of mindfulness
* discover how mindfulness impacts our stress physiology
* engage in a variety of mindfulness practices
* receive support for practicing at home
* explore how to use it in daily-life activities
* and experience the benefits!
Facilitator Robert Pileggi, MSS, LSW, is a social worker and psychotherapist who trained to teach meditation through the mindfulness institutes at Jefferson University and UC San Diego.

*Pre-registration required. To register, please e-mail Rev. Sean at [email protected].

March 10, 17, 24 & 31 – Lenten Bible Study

Please join Rev. Claire for an exploration of the texts and themes of the Lenten season and an opportunity to nourish yourself spiritually during the journey toward Holy Week and Easter.

March 24 & 31 – Understanding the Opioid Epidemic and Philadelphia’s Response

Our country is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. In Philadelphia, the epidemic resulted in over 900 deaths in 2016, 1,200 deaths in 2017, and is on schedule to have caused even more deaths in 2018. Learn more about the history of the epidemic, as well as Mayor Kenny’s mandate that city departments “fail fast” as they attempt to find strategies to address, abate, and treat those with opioid abuse disorder and the communities trapped by its impact. Facilitated by Jeffrey Hom, MD (Policy Advisor for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health) and Beverly Woods (St. Peter’s parishioner and Assistant Deputy Managing Director for Health and Human Services for the City of Philadelphia).

April 7 – Preparing for Holy Week

Please join Rev. Claire and Rev. Sean for a conversation about how to engage fully with Holy Week, as we journey with Jesus toward his death and resurrection.

April 28, May 5, 12 & 19 – The Art of Collage and Mixed Media*

Art making is a spiritual practice, as it allows us to quiet the mind and find a deeper part of ourselves. It is also fun and surprising! This four-session class will include a brief introduction about materials and composition; thinking about subject matter – realistic, fantasy or abstract; using various materials to create papers for our collage; working on our pieces with coaching from me and reflections from the group. All materials will be provided.

Fran has taught Collage and Mixed Media, and Discovering Your Creativity at the Fleisher Art Memorial for many years. Her belief is that each of us has all we need to make art, and is especially enthusiastic about welcoming “first-timers” to art making. She has had numerous shows, and was a part of the Rosenfeld Gallery. Her most recent show was at the Cerulean Arts Gallery, on Broad and Fairmount Avenue in October.
More of her work can be seen at and

*Pre-registration required. To register, please e-mail Rev. Sean at [email protected].

May 5, 12 & 19 – What’s So Funny?*

Everyone is funny in their own way. Over the course of three weeks, through improvisation and storytelling, we will explore what makes each of us uniquely funny. No acting or comedy experience necessary, just a willingness to show up, say “yes and” and laugh. The class will be led by parishioner Jennifer Childs who is the producing artistic director of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s All-Comedy Theatre Company.

*Pre-registration required. To register, please e-mail Rev. Sean at [email protected].

May 19 and June 2 – Creating Race in America

If you have been surprised at the resurgence of white supremacy groups after a seemingly successful Civil Rights movement that even resulted in the election of a black president, this two-part series will help explain the tenacity of these ideas and practices. In an interactive discussion, we will examine a series of laws passed between 1639 and 1705 in colonial Virginia to understand how ideas about race were created and woven into the very fabric of our legal systems. Our discussion will link these long-ago laws with frequent examples of the persistence of white supremacist attitudes and practices today. Handouts will be provided. Presenter Catherine Kerrison is a St. Peter’s parishioner who teaches courses in early American history, race, and gender at Villanova University.