Praying with the Desert Fathers and Mothers: Houston Lay School SMU Perkins

Date Posted: 1/10/2019

By: Sherri Gragg
Learning from Ancient Voices
Each year, during February and August, Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology gives laity the chance to be seminary students for a day. Men and women from throughout the Texas Annual Conference gather to learn more about religion, church leadership, theology, and spirituality from some of Perkin’s most gifted professors. February 16, 2019, they will turn their hearts and minds to the past to hear from some of the most ancient voices in Christianity- The desert mothers and fathers.

Perkins Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity, Dr. Tamara Lewis, will introduce lay school participants to these heroes of the faith who shunned all comforts and conveniences in the quest to more clearly hear the voice of God. “Through the class, we will rediscover the riches of the ascetic mothers and fathers of the desert who left mainstream society to devote themselves to worship, prayer, and contemplation of Christ,” said Houston Lay School Board Member and President of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Frankie Watson.
Empowered to Share the Gospel
Sandra Bordelon, Vice Chair of the Houston Lay School Board, is a passionate believer in the program. As a regular attendee of the classes she has not only found scripture come to life within the walls of Perkins, but that the teaching she received there has helped deepen her understanding of the sermons her own pastor preaches on Sunday morning.
The education she has received in the Houston Lay School has also empowered her to more confidently share her faith with others. “I am more open about evangelism and encouraging people to go to church and attend presentations like the Houston Lay School. I feel confident to get face to face with others, talk to them and encourage them. It is so much better than simply handing them a brochure,” Bordelon said.
Bordelon points out that consistent attendance to the Houston Lay School yields a cumulative value over time. Laity who attend both sessions each year, over the course of several years, have the opportunity to gain a wide range of theological training at the seminary level.
Bordelon expects a strong turnout for this February’s exciting offering and encourages laity throughout the Conference to register as soon as possible. “I don’t know anything about the desert fathers and mothers,” she said. “I am excited about this one!”
For more information, visit SMU Perkins School of Theology at