“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
Hi, I’m Mary Corsair. I’m originally from Iowa, spent most of my adult life in St. Louis and had the glorious blessing of living in Sylva for almost 4 years before returning to Iowa in 2018 to be near to my mom as she needs more help.
Ever since I came back to the church as a college student, I have gravitated toward small groups of other Christians as a way of deepening my walk with Jesus. Sometimes those groups formed around a particular book study. Sometimes they have been more topic-focused. Sometimes my small group has been a Sunday school class or just a dinner group. Sometimes my small group has been a class that lasts only for a season, like Lent or Advent, but other times my small group has gone on indefinitely.
The first small group I was ever part of was through a high school friend’s church. I had quit going to church as an undergraduate student, partly because I worked every Sunday, but also because I had gone through a period of doubting whether all the things I had learned growing up about God, Jesus and Christianity in general were real and true. I was hungry to ask some of my questions out loud to a group of people who wouldn’t judge me for having doubts and I credit that group of kind, thoughtful, and accepting (Methodist) women for helping me re-discover my faith.
One of the hidden blessings of this Covid-season has been the chance to attend church once again with our Sylva FUMC friends and get to know Pastor Mary! One Sunday she preached about starting some small groups and I was thrilled to discover that I could be part of one through Sylva FUMC, even though I live in Iowa, thanks to Zoom! Our Wednesday morning meetings have meant the world to me as my husband and I have observed this time of quarantine pretty strictly.
I enjoy being part of a small group because it makes me set time aside to focus on how I’m living my faith. I have a hard time disciplining myself on a daily basis to study and learn, but that weekly appointment provides the structure I need to keep growing and connecting with God and with others. I like the setting of a small group to share our insights and struggles about how God is challenging us to live more fully into His purpose for our lives. Each of us hears God speaking in different ways and we learn from each other’s insights as we talk about certain passages of scripture or teachings of John Wesley each week. For me, small groups have been central to my spiritual growth.