Previous Adult Forum Topics

Adult Forum in May 2018
May 13:  “100% Clean Energy Future”
In keeping with Bethel’s goal of caring for God’s creation, we will welcome Andy Knott, the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal Campaign” representative for Missouri.  The speaker has focused his career on air and water quality and energy policy for environmental organizations and governments on state and local levels.

May 20:  Year-End Review Session

All are invited, regardless of the level of involvement with the Adult Forum.  We want to hear from everyone as we begin to plan for next season.  This will be the last Adult Forum session until next September.

April 2018 Adult Forum


April 8 – “A Diverse (and Sometimes Fiery) Career”

Bethel member Suzanne Sebert will discuss her career path that included managing social service programs in Appalachia to working overseas with international-non-profit organizations. She also served for ten years as Assistant Commissioner in the New York City Fire Department supporting the families of those who lost in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and those who died later of related illnesses. She is co-founder and board member of the Quest Scholarship Fund in St. Louis which enables high-achieving students from low-income minority families to study abroad.

April 15, 22, and 29
Laurel Koepf Taylor, Eden Seminary
“Genders in the World of the Bible”


April 15:  “Biblical Bodies: What’s a Eunuch?”

Did you know that the Bible assumes more than two genders? This morning’s presentation will examine the complex ways in which the Bible categorizes bodies, what this meant in the world that produced the Bible, and how such knowledge can intersect with our own expanding understanding of gender.
April 22  “Working it Out: Gendered Division of Labor”
It can be easy to assume that the “traditional” gendered division of labor is universal across cultures, but the Bible presents a far more nuanced picture. From agriculture and childbirth to religious and political leadership we will explore the cultural expectations of the ancient world and the ways in which God interrupts that order within the biblical text.
April 29 “Beyond Binaries: Gendering God” 
When using expansive language for God, we sometimes run up against this question “But what does the Bible say?” This morning’s adult education time will go deeply into this question including the use of metaphor, the difficulty of translation, and how the complexity of gender in the Bible can inform our understanding of the divine.

Adult Forum March 2018
March 11 and 18 – “Confronting Worry, Anxiety, and Depression”
Guest speaker:  Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy.D., author and international lecturer.


March 11
The Purpose  of Worry (and how to manage it) – In this session we will explore worry as a response to anxiety that makes anxiety worse. We will look at several helpful ways to stop worrying and be more effective at managing anxious feelings.


March 18
Managing Depression: Changing Helpless and Hopeless thinking – Recognizing that “ruminative thinking” in depression centers on themes of helplessness and hopelessness, we’ll look at ways to change that thinking, stop ruminating and develop a more hopeful frame to approach life’s challenges.


March 25 – “Faith and Science in the Post-truth Era” 
Speaker: Bethel member Kevin Powell


Kevin Powell holds MD and PhD degrees and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, specializing in the care of hospitalized children. Prior to medical school he worked as a chemical engineer in industry and academia.  He has chaired hospital ethics committees, performed clinical ethics consults and was on the board of the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science, and Technology.  Reflecting his deep interest in promoting awareness and dialogue about the interface between science and faith, his current research is on the theory of knowledge and the limitations of Evidence Based Medicine.
Adult Forum in February 2018

“Psalms of Lent”

Professor Clint McCann, Eden Seminary, will lead us in discussions about selected psalms that are appointed for use in the season of Lent.  The goal for each of the three sessions will be to discern how these ancient poems still speak to us today in a world that is remarkably different from their original context and how these psalms contribute to our observance of the season of Lent.

Sunday, Feb. 11 Confession
Sunday, Feb. 18 Lament
Sunday, Feb. 25 Praise and Thanksgiving
Adult Forum January 2018

January 14 – “Early Childhood Trauma”

Drawing on both his training as a psychologist and his experience working in mental health centers, with prisoners, on military bases and with the Children’s Home Society in Creve Coeur, Bethel member Martin Miller will talk about the biological consequences of trauma in the development of a child’s brain and the long-term results on behavior and relationships, even as adults. He will describe principles to follow in helping these individuals and their families and will entertain questions and discussion.


January 21 – “The Nature of Evil”

Bethel member Barry HongProfessor of Psychiatry and Vice-Chairman for Clinical Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine, will facilitate a discussion about the nature of evil including views from scripture, biology, psychology and theology.  He will challenge us to think about the question of whether there are some people who are evil or whether all people are capable of great evil.

January 28 – “Workers’ Rights”

Episcopal priest Teresa Danieley, who focuses on the intersection of faith and workers’ rights, will describe the efforts of Missouri Jobs with Justice, a coalition of community, labor, student and religious groups, and individuals across the state working for economic justice in areas such as adequate wages, safe workplaces, and fair treatment of employees.
Adult Forum December 2017
December 10  Sunday Adult Education Special Event at 11:30 in the Youth Room
Instead of a Sunday morning Adult Forum, we will gather for a light lunch after church and for a presentation by Dr. Ed Weisbart, Chair of the Missouri Chapter of Physicians for Health Care Reform.  There will also be a video about the pharmaceutical industry.
On December 17 at the regular time of 8:45am Pastor Yancey:  “The Gospel of Mark” – What is central in Mark’s message; how does this Gospel differ from the other Gospels; how does Mark’s Gospel relate to modern day life?
There will be no Adult Forum on December 24 and December 31.
Adult Forum November 2017
November 12 & 19: The Gospel of John with Pastor Yancey.

Pr. Yancey will lead a reading of various passages in John and discuss such questions as: Why Jesus came.  What is faith?  How is  John’s Gospel different from the other Gospels?  How does it guide us as “reformers?”

November 26

Miriam Bohlman Kunz will tell us about her recent experience living in Hungary for nearly 11 months and working in a Lutheran congregation as part of the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program.




Adult Forum October 2017


October 8 – “Music and Church Renewal: a Conversation with Dr. Stephen Mager” – You are invited to submit questions or discussion topics to Valerie Yancey in person or by sending an e-mail to


October 15 – “Renewing the Church: Facing the Crisis of Identity” – Dr. Michael Hoy and Pr. Yancey will propose that just as Luther struggled with doubt and fear, so we also contend with doubts and fears about meaning and identity. They will show that the message of the Gospel can  inspire us and set us free in the midst of this crisis and will invite responses and discussion.

October 22 –“Reforming Questions, Radical Hearts”  Pr. Rebecca Boardman, Lutheran Campus Ministry, will lead a discussion on how young adults create community, experience faith, and seek meaning beyond Church.


October 29 – “Other Reformations” – Dr. Adam Ployd, Eden Theological Seminary, will examine the wide range of reform movements in the Church and how they shaped our current Western Christian world.



Adult Forum September 2017
September 10

“Faith and Life: Taking Leaps and Jumps Not Knowing the Landing Place”

Pastor Mary Etta Skinner, Bethel member



September 17 and 24
“The Basics of Islamic Faith and Practice”
Imam Eldin Susa, St. Louis Islamic Center
Adult Forum April and May 2017

April 9

Professor Ben Sanders from Eden Seminary is continuing his presentation from last October on Black Liberation Theology.

April 23, 30 & May 14

“Stories from Genesis: Children and Family Values”

Presented by Dr. Laurel Koepf Taylor (Eden Seminary)

Based on research and stories from Genesis, Dr. Laurel Koepf Taylor will lead conversations about biblical family structures, the importance of children in the world of the Bible, and biblical family values for today.

May 21

Everyone is invited to gather to review the Adult Forum sessions held this past year and to discuss ideas for next year.


Bethel Adult Forum May 2014

May 4- Center Service   NO ADULT FORUM
May 11-Wrap up Adult Forum Breakfast.  For program,  Instead of our regular forum planning session, we will have the opportunity to view a film “Bag It.”  We had scheduled the viewing earlier in the year for an evening educational event but we were snowed out.  The film helps us learn more about how we can be green advocates in a very simple way.


Valerie Yancey
Deacon, Adult Education

 Bethel Adult Forum  April 2014

April 13-Palm Sunday NO ADULT FORUM
April 20-Easter Sunday NO ADULT FORUM
April 27- Dr. Barbara Leighton will share her experiences from her 2014 medical mission trip to Ghana.  Join us to hear remarkable, sobering, and hopeful stories (and pictures) of medical practice and education advocacy in Ghana.


Bethel Adult Forum March 2014


How often have we heard that we have an “aging” church, communities, and country? Have you noticed that increasingly more TV commercials and magazine ads are geared to people over the age of 65? The March Bethel Adult Forum features topics related to aging. Maybe the topics are interesting to you because you are “getting up there” yourself, or you want to understand how to help better and companion an elderly grandparent, parent, or friend. This series is for YOU!   Please feel welcomed to attend adult forum, especially if this is your first time, for great speakers, great topics, and great conversation (and coffee, too).

March 9: Rev. Walt Schoedel, Director of LSS Church Relations, will begin our series on Engaging the Aging, with his vision and call for church ministry to aging populations. The title of his presentation, “Engaging the Aging or Hey God, what about these extra years?” sets the theme for the remaining discussions in March. We will be “doing” aging ministry by bring these health and faith discussions to our adult forum discussion. The following presentations are offered to us by University of Missouri-St. Louis Gerontology Program faculty members who have nationally recognized expertise in aging issues.

March 16: Dr Tom Meuser: Driving & Aging: Timing the Driving to Non-Driving Mobility Transition. Driving is important for personal mobility in advancing age, yet not something we can all do safely past age 70. This presentation will review what’s known about aging and driving, and provide suggestions for staying behind the wheel safely when appropriate and retiring with grace when not. Video clips will highlight different teaching points

March 23: Dr Hedva Levy – Knowing & Managing Medications for Successful Aging As we age, our bodies and metabolic patterns necessarily change. At the same time, we often need more medication to manage health conditions. It becomes increasingly important that we understand the unintended effects of medications in an elderly population to avoid medication related health problems.

March 30: Dr. Suzanne Doyle– Learning & Growing at the End of Life. Elders and their family members and caregivers face challenging issues when approaching the end of life:  recognizing predictable changes in aging bodies, differentiating normal aging from pathology, making decisions about medical care that may be lifesaving or merely death-prolonging, and developing ways to make the richest use of remaining time.

Please join us for meaningful conversations about these topics and more!


Bethel Adult Forum February 2014

Join Dr. Clint McCann,  Evangelical Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Eden Seminary, for two more sessions on Old Testament Biblical interpretation.  Dr. McCann introduces this series:  As the Bible itself recognizes, violence in self and society is not a new problem, but it seems particularly acute, pervasive, and threatening in our time.  In these sessions, we shall engage in a basic question:  In confronting violence in the world is the Bible a help or a hindrance?

February 16:  Violence and Vengeance in the Psalms (Psalms 109, 137, 139)
February 23: Jesus and Non-violence


Bethel Adult Forum January 2014

January 12- Faith and Life- Sherman Lee

Sherman will share his faith journey which includes: a childhood trying to fit in as an unchurched Chinese-American in a WASP society; a deep appreciation for pop culture which surprisingly helped bring him to church; his eventual baptism as a grad student by Pastor Bill at Bethel in 1985; and subsequent years of lay ministry with youth, music, and the Crossings Community.

January 19 and January 26   ELCA Social Statements Discussion with Vicar Tina

On August 17, 2013, the ELCA National Assembly approved the social statement, “The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries”.  On Sundays January 19 and 26, Vicar Tina leads us in a discussion on why the church is called to talk together about tough social issues.  After exploring the ELCA process of discernment for Social Statements and Social Messages, we will take a deep look at portions of the Criminal Justice Statement.  If you are interested in looking at the entire statement, please download a copy from the ELCA webpage or contact Vicar Tina to have a copy printed for you.

Bethel Adult Forum December 2013

December 1
Center Service. No Adult Forum. Join us in creating advent wreaths as we also stand with others across the globe in remembering World AIDS day.

December 8
ADVENT SING and brunch!   Stephen Mager will join us at the piano as we Prepare the Way in song! We will provide the music books and take “requests” to sing your favorite advent hymns. The fellowship hall will be filled with advent activities: The Fair Trade Bazaar, our music, and an advent brunch.   Please join us!

December 15
Jesus: The Way of Peace and Non-violence. A central meaning of the cross of Christ is that violence has forever lost all justification. As the community of Christ, we are called to encounter the non-violence of Jesus and to work for the restoration of life for those for whom life is threatened and diminished by violence. Join Pastor Bill for the last of our presentations on thinking through the social, theological, and scriptural concepts of violence and non-violence.

December 22
Open Forum on Violence and Non-violence.  Realizing that in offering over the last 6 weeks many provocative topics around violence and non-violence, we will use this hour for a group discussion, providing people with an opportunity to voice their questions, opinions, and insights.

Mary WorksPrevious Adult Forum Topics