Christian Formation


Christian Formation

Christian formation is the lifelong process of growing in our relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. Every experience in our lives can provide us with the opportunity to express our faith; the challenge we face is recognizing these opportunities and learning ways to live a sometimes countercultural life in a secular world.

At the heart of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church is a dynamic, growing faith community of children, youth and adults! Our programs aim to foster God’s love in a progressive, inclusive setting.

For more information, please contact Roger Hutchison, Palmer's Director of Christian Formation and Parish Life.

Sunday Morning Classes
Sunday Evening Classes
Tuesday Classes
Great Wednesday Classes

Click HERE for a list of weekly Bible Studies.

  Christian Formation - Fall/Winter 2017

Beginning September 10

Sunday Morning
10:15 - 10:50 am


The Rector’s Forum - Realizing Education Equity in Houston, TX

This fall, The Rector’s Forum at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church will focus on the importance of quality public education for all children and lifting up how communities of faith are already strengthening public education in Houston and surrounding areas. You will have the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of practicing educators, experienced community leaders, and hands-on researchers. Our time together will focus on specific steps Palmer can take to build community through local partnerships, action, and service, with time for conversation and idea sharing. – The Rev. Neil Willard, St. Bede’s Chapel

*Guests already lined up to speak:

  • Tiffany Needham, Executive Director, Teach for America, Houston (9/24)
  • Wanda Adams, President HISD Board of Education 10/1)
  • Tracy Weeden, President and CEO, Neuhaus Education Center (10/8)
  • Carol Shattuck, President and CEO, Collaborative for Children (10/8)
  • Adeeb Barqawi, President/CEO, ProUnitas, Kashmere Gardens (10/22)
  • Charles Dupre, Superintendent, Fort Bend ISD (11/5)
  • Kristin Hutchison, Reading Specialist, Austin Parkway Elementary - Fort Bend ISD, Madden Elementary - Teacher of the Year, 2015-2016 (11/5)
  • Ryan Dolibois, Executive Director, Yellowstone Academy (11/12)
  • Kristi and David Lumpkins, Founders, Yellowstone Academy (11/12)
  • Michael Fahey, Director of Orchestras and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department, Stratford High School, Spring Branch ISD (11/26)

December 10, 2017 - Special Rector’s Forum: The Order of St. Luke

*Subject to change

The Rector’s Reception

We invite you to join us on the third Sunday of each month for conversation, coffee and refreshments in St. Bede’s Chapel.  This is an informal gathering that will give parishioners a chance to connect with people, including those who are new to Palmer.  The Evangelism Committee hosts this monthly event. September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17  The Patio or St. Bede's Chapel with The Reverend Neil Willard

The Wonder Class

Have you ever wondered who, what, why, when or where regarding Christianity? This is a class where questions are welcomed. No question will be considered ‘stupid’, so come and ask the things you’ve always wanted to know. We’ll weave the answers to your questions into Pilgrim, a course for the Christian Journey that examines some of the ‘basics’ of the faith. This class prepares adults for confirmation in the Episcopal Church, but you can come even if you don’t expect to be confirmed. - The Rev. Liz Parker, The Family Room

Where the Wild Things Are – Parenting in an Ever-changing World

Join us on Sunday mornings for Where the Wild Things Are – Parenting in an Ever-changing World. Through the sharing of classic and modern children’s books, children’s literature, and Holy Scripture, we will explore and discuss themes that touch, challenge, and inspire our lives as parents. This class is open to all – dual parents, single parents, stepparents, godparents, prospective parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, grandparents…come one come all! Facilitators for this class are Leigh Kent, Kristin Hutchison, and Roger Hutchison, Director of Christian Formation and Parish Life at Palmer. - Holy Cross Chapel

The Book of John

This returning Bible Study class will continue with its study of the Gospel of John. – Allen Sparkman, Adrienne Bond, Jim Key, Room A102

First Sunday

Are you new to Palmer?  New to the Episcopal Church? New to Christianity?  You may have a lot of questions or want to find out more about what goes on here at Palmer. A good starting point is to attend First Sunday.  It meets on the first Sunday of every month after both the 9:00 and 11:00 am Choral Eucharist. Look for the person with the First Sunday sign for directions.

Sunday Evening Class
5:30 - 6:30 pm

Living Compass Wellness Circle for Parents of Teens

Parents and families in the 21st Century are pulled in directions previous generations could never have imagined, and they need support and community. 

When parents engage in the types of learning and discussion created in a Living Compass group, a deeper, more authentic community is created and builds a richer support network at church. This program helps families contemplate how their faith can help them cope more effectively with the stresses of parenting in the 21st century and helps them think of the church as a rest stop in their busy lives.

This offering coincides with our weekly youth group meeting. Bring your teen to youth group and join other parents for the Wellness Circle for Parents of Teens. - John Wallace, Room A201

Tuesday Class
6:30 pm

Palmer Writing Group

Do you journal on a regular basis? Write poetry, fiction, essays, or are you working on a memoir? The Palmer Writing Group is a place for learning about the craft of writing and sharing your work in a community of supportive, encouraging fellow writers. Meetings include a brief writing exercise, discussion of different writing techniques, and--new this year--an opportunity to contribute pieces for critique. Join us Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm in Holy Cross Chapel starting on August 29, 2017. Email Emily Gordon at with any questions.

Wednesdays at Palmer
7:00pm - 8:00 pm

Great Wednesday will begin again September 13!


Jerusalem Peacebuilders

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” - In this weekly gathering, we will explore literature and film coming out of conflict regions in the Holy Land. Stuart Kensinger and The Rev. David Wantland, St. Bede’s Chapel

Stuart Kensinger brings to the table his experience of helping to lead peace camps that are comprised of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim young people from the Holy Land and the United States. He is the Co-Director and Treasurer of Jerusalem Peacebuilders. He is also director of the JPB Interfaith Citizenship Institute.

The Rev. David Wantland, Palmer Church’s new curate, came to Houston as a return to Texas. Originally from Dallas, David headed east to study at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where his interests in interfaith work culminated in a symposium on Faith and Global Citizenship. Part of David’s time at Palmer includes work with Jerusalem Peacebuilders. In fact, in his first month at Palmer, David served as one of the counselors at Jerusalem Peacebuilders' Interfaith Citizenship Institute here in Texas.

Ritual - What’s Love Got To Do With It?

When Tina Turner sang those words and asked that question, there was a sadness in her fear of opening her heart “when a heart can be broken.” So love seems to be pushed away. Some people mistakenly believe that ritual or written prayers or other kinds of traditions do the same thing, shutting out love and genuine faith that comes from the heart. But that’s not necessarily true, especially when you’ve been wounded by life as it really is. Rituals and other traditions are often the containers that hold your broken heart and surround it with love, precisely when you most need that love. This will be a weekly discussion of liturgies and the rituals and traditions that surround them in the Christian faith, generally, and in Anglican Christianity, specifically. If you’re curious about incense or the sanctus bell or church vestments or making the sign of the cross (or not making the sign of the cross) or finding your way around The Book of Common Prayer, this group is for you. Bring your questions for the Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, who will be facilitating these discussions. It will be fun! – The Rev. Neil Willard, Room A102 

The Rev. Neil Alan Willard has been the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, since 2014. In the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, he’s also currently a member of the Board of the Episcopal Health Foundation. Previously he was the Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota, for seven years and Associate Rector at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, for over six years. Before that he lived in South Carolina, serving congregations on Hilton Head Island and in Surfside Beach. He’s also worked as Bishop’s Clerk for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in Richmond.

Living Compass Short Courses

Three short courses this fall that focus on different aspects of wellness. – The Rev. Liz Parker, Room A202  

  • Enhancing Your Well-Being Through Spiritual Practices: 13- Oct. 11             A spiritual practice is simply any practice, habit, or activity that consciously connects us with both God and our deeper values. Caring for our souls deserves to be a top priority in our lives!
  • Mindful Eating: 18- Nov. 8                                                                                       Mindful eating consists of slowing down and intentionally enjoying food while increasing your awareness of the social, cultural, moral, ecological, and spiritual dimensions of eating.
  • Aging Well: 29, Dec. 13, 20                                                                                   Aging well requires us to be more mindful of the choices we make. Living Compass invites us to think about how we can age well in heart, soul, strength and mind.

The Rev. Liz Parker, Associate Rector at Palmer, grew up in Pennsylvania, spent her 20s in New York City, and graduated from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in Connecticut, where she met her Texan husband.  She then immigrated to Texas where she and her husband raised three sons and served in three churches in Abilene, Amarillo and Lake Jackson, before moving to Houston.  Liz’s husband, Andy, is rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in west Houston.

Seeking the Face of Jesus 

This is an invitation to experience Jesus more deeply. Through a multi-sensory palette of visual art, music, story telling, and prayer―participants will be invited to seek/explore/re-discover the face of Jesus. Through this encounter, our own hearts are certain to be transformed as we discover that we are to reflect the face of Christ to others. – Roger Hutchison, Holy Cross Chapel

Roger Hutchison is Director of Christian Formation and Parish Life at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. Roger is also an artist and the author of four books. My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes. - A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color is set for release in November of this year. Jesus: God Among Us, will be released in February 2018. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has written the foreword for this book.