|Bible study helps growth in faith
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
February 19, 2004
The Bible study group at St. Michael Parish in Kingsley uses the gift of the
Bible to help in their faith life. The group started in the fall of 1999 and
still meets once a week when the weather permits.
"I felt a need to do this as I know as Christians we are constantly
looking at ways to grow in our faith, and what better way to do it than in a
Bible study group," said Marie Washburn, who started the group. "I
viewed several different series from the diocesan office that Deacon Larry
Sitzman loaned to me. I settled on the Little Rock Series as it looked the best
The group reads and discusses two or three different Bible study books per
year depending on the length of each book. Some books contain six lessons and
some up to 15.
"We use the Little Rock Scripture Studies published by the Liturgical
Press," said Washburn. "A 20 minute video session goes along with each
The group utilizes videos from the diocesan media center at no cost. Each
person purchases his or her own study guide set.
The group consists of up to 12 people at a time that are mostly retired
ladies from St. Michael's Parish, although some are not.
"It's a group of girls that I don't see all the time," said Pat
Stratton, a St. Michael's parishioner. "When we have Bible study, we get
together and have coffee and a little breakfast, and then we have our Bible
study. It is social besides being something that we can learn. I have enjoyed
The women take turns hosting the group in their homes. The hostess provides
rolls, coffee, juice and a TV and VCR. The sessions start at 8:30 a.m. after
Mass and go until 10:30-11 a.m. The group meets throughout the year each week,
weather permitting, and not during the summer.
"It originally started out as meeting for one hour, but over the years
people have opened up and are willing to share more of their personal walk with
Jesus," explained Washburn.
Each session begins with a prayer, followed by a Christian song that goes
along with the lesson. Then the group goes over 18 questions relating to the
material the group has studied for the week. There is an answer guide to go
along with each lesson.
"I really wasn't very versed in the Bible from the very beginning,"
said Stratton. "We used to have Bible study in school and things like that
but it was never anything like this. I was really happy when they started
something like this in Kingsley. I thought it would be a good opportunity."
Stratton explained that the group has helped her tremendously. It helps her
understand the Bible much better, especially the Old Testament.
Another parishioner, Jeune Vondrak, commented that she attends the Bible
study to get more meaning out of the Bible. "We have a deeper meaning of
God and understand his ways much more. I think the women in the Old Testament is
what we have really enjoyed working with," she said.
After the group finishes looking up answers in their Bibles, they share their
answers and discuss the lesson material. Then they watch a 20-minute video,
which is facilitated by a priest, deacon, nun or lay person. The person on the
video gives background information about the Bible that might be helpful in
studying and learning.
"I have learned so much in my spirituality growth," said Karen Malm,
who is part of the Bible study group. "The Bible study that we are doing
has just been phenomenal. I enjoy the fellowship. I enjoy listening to the other
ladies and how they grow in their spirituality. The Holy Spirit is right there
among all of us."
They close the session with prayer. Each person adds to the prayer with
prayer requests and thanksgiving prayers.
The Bible study group tries go out to eat and to Trinity Heights once a year.
They usually do this after serving a noon meal at the Gospel Mission in Sioux
City. This group will be making the cookies and helping out as group leaders for
the upcoming Diocesan Disability Retreat which is being held in Kingsley on Feb.
"The best thing about our faith sharing Bible study group is this is a
time to bring your needs, prayers, concerns and hurts to others," said
Washburn. "We pray for one another. These ladies also pray for all of my
catechists and students in our religious education program. I keep them abreast
in what is going on with the youth. They in turn support all of our undertakings
with prayer. I can tell when their prayers are being poured out."