Klesis is a Greek word for calling, or call. In the Christian Scriptures it is always of the Divine call to salvation. “I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” (Ephesians 4:1) The KLESIS Project offers an adult curriculum of Christian formation that helps participants move from being outsiders wondering how they connect with the church to people covenanting together to discern and act on their calling, both individually and in community. This leads to two outcomes:
The curriculum is designed around a Biblical model of vocation and call, which can be represented as a bridge.
The components of the bridge are drawn from a slightly modified and expanded version of James Fowler’s model of vocation in Weaving the New Creation (San Francisco: Harper, 1991).
KLESIS is made up of three programs, Connect?, Commit?, and Covenant!. Each program focuses on some of these five aspects of vocation, as highlighted in the following descriptions. Each program builds on the previous one, a structure designed to move participants into progressively deeper commitment to God and increased participation in the congregation. Each program is self-contained, so that participants who do not continue to the next still benefit from the program.
In all three programs, participants meet in small groups to share a meal, listen to a presentation, share their stories, questions, and responses, and pray together. The shared stories and open discussion in an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect build, strengthen, and even rebuild bonds between individuals. Selected passages from Scripture and Tradition inform the work done in individual reflection and group discussion. The shared learning gives congregations a common language of church, calling and ministry.
The KLESIS PROJECT was conceived by John de Beer and Sarah Dylan Breuer while they were both on staff at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, Severna Park, Maryland. Sarah and John are the original authors. They may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively. Sarah’s website is www.sarahlaughed.net
Tricia de Beer, who was Co-Rector with John at St. Martin’s, wrote the original material on prayer and continues to contribute to Connect? She substantially revised the current version of Commit? while using it at the Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, Massachusetts. Catherine Owens rewrote Chapter 6 of Connect? and Chapter 2 of Commit? for use at St. Mark’s, Burlington, and has made many other contributions to all three courses.
Parishioners at St. Martin’s were the first to experience Connect? and Commit? and their whole hearted participation and feedback energized the formation of KLESIS. The Gifts Discernment program at St. Martin’s was a precursor of Covenant!
KLESIS is released at no charge under an open source license. Users are encouraged to help improve the curriculum. For further information see www.connect-course.org, or contact the Rev. John de Beer at firstname.lastname@example.org