All are welcome!

A Reconciling in Christ Congregation

Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Faith Dialogues at Saint Mark welcomes Dr. Susan Pitchford for a weekend of discussion and learning.

A Spirituality of Joy: Saint Francis for Today


October 16th — 18th, 2015


All events are free and open to the public.


Saint Mark Lutheran Church
790 Marion Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Map »


Faith Dialogues – Dr. Susan Pitchford Brochure (pdf)


All events are open to the public — All are welcome! 

7:00–8:30PM Francis and Clare of Assisi:
A Spirituality of Joy
Saint Mark Sanctuary
Doors open at 6:30pm
8:30PM Fellowship & Reception

Fireside Lounge

9:00–10:15AM Faith Beyond Sunday:
Having a Rule of Life
Saint Mark Sanctuary
10:30–11:45AM Faith Beyond Sunday:
Creating Your Rule of Life
Saint Mark Sanctuary
9:45–10:45AM Sunday Forum
Fireside Lounge

Session Descriptions

Friday Opening Keynote

Francis and Clare of Assisi: A Spirituality of Joy

Eight hundred years ago, two young people in Assisi, Italy created a radical new way of discipleship that had a lasting impact on the church and is still drawing people to this day. Both saw poverty—of body and spirit—as the path to joy, and both embraced the poor Christ with a passion that remains infectious. Francis and Clare lived in an urbanizing society with a growing gap between rich and poor, one that prized upward mobility, tightly controlled women, and often erupted in violence. In short, it was a world much like our own, so they still have a lot to say to us today. There are a wide variety of ways to tap into this tradition that is old yet surprisingly fresh. Perhaps one of them is right for you.

Saturday Morning First Session

Faith Beyond Sunday: Having a Rule of Life

Why have a rule of life? Who needs more rules in their life? While there are times when following Jesus closely comes naturally, much of the time it’s a challenge. It requires being active and intentional about our spiritual life, rather than drifting passively through our days and hoping we’ll hit the target now and then. A rule provides a structure that continually brings us back to the practices that draw us closer to God. It helps us spend less time spinning our spiritual wheels, and more time in a place where the Spirit can transform us. It is that transformation that enables us to enter into the joy that God has prepared for each of us.

Saturday Morning Second Session

Faith Beyond Sunday: Creating Your Rule of Life

Most Christians have an implicit rule of life, which consists of spiritual practices they’re committed to following regularly: attending church, praying, donating money, and so on. In crafting our own rule, it’s helpful to start where we are, and then consider what practices we’re drawn to trying out. In this session we’ll look at the rules we’re already following and then consider how we might be called to experiment with some new things and perhaps let go of others.

About Dr. Susan Pitchford

Susan Pitchford is a sociologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a professed member of the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis. Her course topics mostly focus on the consequences of various forms of inequality and conflict, and she has led study abroad programs in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Belfast.

Dr. Pitchford has also led programs in Rome, focusing on the tension throughout the church’s history between the original vision and call of Christ, and the seduction of worldly wealth, status and power. She is the author of Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone; God in the Dark: Suffering and Desire in the Spiritual Life; The Sacred Gaze: Contemplation and the Healing of the Self; and Identity Tourism: Imaging and Imagining the Nation.

She is a frequent conference and retreat speaker, and loves nothing more than exploring with others how to go deeper in the life of faith.