Previous Adult Forum Topics

Adult Forum November 2021

FALL FOCUS

During our pastoral vacancy, Bethel is focused on assessing our ministry in terms of addressing questions such as “Where might God be calling Bethel to action?” Our Fall Bethel Zoom Forums will provide Bethel members and friends with opportunities to look at the rich variety of our current ministries, increase our awareness of Bethel’s community context, look at our social justice ministry commitments, and more.

November Theme: “Bethel’s Justice Ministries” are important to affirm during our time of pastoral transition as we articulate them for our Ministry Site Profile and Pastoral Candidates. Our current justice ministries include racial, economic, gender, environmental, generational, and more.

“Bethel’s Racial Justice Ministry Update”

Dr. Joe Bartzel, Bethel Member & Postdoctoral Fellow in the Study of St. Louis and the American Story in the inter-disciplinary program of American Cultural Studies at Washington University.

Wednesday, November 3, 7 PM

With Joe’s distinctive position on the faculty of Washington University, Bethel’s work on Racial Justice is being informed by his new teaching as our congregation’s efforts are being updated during this fall season. We are continuing our efforts toward racial justice in the St. Louis region. Our reading group and adult ed sessions over the past year have generated lots of enthusiasm among Bethel members around racial justice. We are carrying that momentum into this fall season with two related but distinct opportunities:

(1) The reading group maintains its focus on ensuring that our efforts toward racial justice remain grounded in the particulars of our local ministry context (the St. Louis area) and its unique history of racial injustice and struggle.

(2) Alongside the reading group, we are planning to launch a racial justice task force focused on action: building partnerships, and setting and implementing goals regarding racial justice.

Joe’s goal is for our efforts to remain focused on the theme of reconciliation that we have been exploring throughout many of our conversations over the past year. And, while the reading group and the task force will be differentiated from each other, his plan is that these two parallel efforts will continue to be mutually informed by each other. Members are still welcome to participate in one, the other, or both!

Bring your current questions and your interest to our first November Zoom Adult Forum on Bethel’s Justice Ministries or feel free to email Joe (jbartzel@gmail.com) if you have questions or want to get involved.

Bethel’s Green Team & Environmental Justice

Cindy Gross (Chair) & Members of Bethel’s Green Team, those at Bethel who plan and implement efforts that advocate for Creation Care and Environmental Justice

Wednesday, November 10, 7 PM

Bethel’s Green Team has a rich history of addressing environmental concerns in tangible ways that involve the congregation. In this Forum session they will address current issues of environmental justice that have impact on God’s Creation for humans, animal species, plant species, climate uncertainties, and more.

These critical current concerns have been approached creatively by the Green Team historically with such initiatives as the Green Congregation Action Plan, the Energy Stewards Initiative, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, solar panels, and much more. Bethel submitted its Green Team Action Plan and was certified as a Green Congregation in summer 2010; see green resource websites: webofcreation.org and lutheransrestoringcreation.org

There is much more for Bethel to pursue! Cindy will introduce the Earth Charter and we will talk about potential Creation Care projects for 2022. The Green Team welcomes new members and ideas. For more info, contact Cindy at cjgross10@gmail.com or 314/560-1112.

“The Prejudice of Ageism in a Spiritual Context”

Dr. Richard Johnson, Professional Counselor and Founder of both the Spiritual Strengths Institute and Lifelong Adult Ministry. Dr. Johnson has written over 40 books and numerous articles all focusing on God’s expansive Grace. He is nationally recognized for his pioneering work in Healing and Medical Behavioral Sciences and has led workshops and institutes around the country. We are thrilled to have Richard and spouse Sandra as a part of the Bethel community.

Wednesday, November 17, 7 PM

Prejudice seems pandemic in our culture today, and of course prejudice has been a (the) curse of culture from the beginning… think Cain and Abel, and every war over the millennia. Prejudice is fear-generated; we seem to “deal” with our fear by finding an enemy… someone or some group that’s responsible for our fear. As people of God we are striving to address the three “BIG” prejudices (fears) of: racism, sexism, and ageism. So why do we fear aging? Aging presents us with a paradox. We joke about aging… yet we curse aging. We (overly) focus on aging… yet we would rather forget aging. We want to ignore aging… yet aging won’t leave us alone. We need aging… yet we certainly don’t want aging. We seem to have a love-hate relationship with aging. Obviously aging presents us with a conundrum. So, what can we do with a prejudice like aging? How does our Christian faith instruct us in this dilemma?

ADULT FORUM: DECEMBER 2021

Wednesday Evenings in December are reserved for Midweek Advent Vespers and a Break for the Christmas Season. Our Adult Forums via Zoom will resume in January 2022.

Adult Forum October 2021

FALL FOCUS

During our pastoral vacancy, Bethel is focused on assessing our ministry in terms of addressing questions such as “Where might God be calling Bethel to action?” Our Fall Bethel Zoom Forums will provide Bethel members and friends with opportunities to look at the rich variety of our current ministries, increase our awareness of Bethel’s community context, look at our social justice ministry commitments, and more.

October 2021

Theme: Our October theme is “Loving Our (Academic) Neighbors” which acknowledges the fact that Bethel’s “parish” includes Washington University and Fontbonne as well as a number of academic institutions at which Bethel members and friends are engaged. That is to say that our Parish Ministry Profile (sent to the ELCA and to interested pastoral candidates) as well as the new Pastor will need to note that the mission of Bethel foundationally includes engagement with higher education in STL.

“What Inspires Me about German Language & Literature”

Dr. Evelyn Meyer, Bethel Member & Associate Professor of German & Associate Chair, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Saint Louis University

Wednesday, October 6, 7 PM

Evelyn is one of the actively involved Bethel members who are engaged in the academic arena at a number of area colleges and universities. She will be sharing with us what inspires her about her academic pursuits. 

Her research interests include Germanic medieval literature and culture; (illuminated) medieval manuscripts; construction of gender, race and the *Other* in literature and culture; the application of media & technology to second/foreign language acquisition; and integration of social issues in the teaching of literature and culture.

Evelyn’s Honors and Awards include the “2016 Best Article in Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German Award” by the AATG (American Association of Teachers of German), with collaborator Lee Forester, Ph.D. of Hope College. The article for which they received his award is “Implementing Student-Produced Video Projects in Language Courses: Guidelines and Lessons Learned,” Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 48:2 (2015): 192-210. The Award Presentation was at the Annual AATG/ ACTFL Convention, Boston, MA, November 19, 2016.

Evelyn is also the author of a number of publications.

What Inspires Me about Teacher Education

Dr. David Light Shields is a member of Bethel and, most recently since 2010, David has been teaching at St. Louis Community College at Meramec, where he currently is Professor of Education and Director of Teacher Education as well as Lead Faculty for Teacher Education at the Wildwood Campus

Wednesday, October 13, 7 PM

David is another actively involved Bethel member who is engaged in the academic arena at one of our area colleges and universities. He will be sharing with us what inspires him about his academic pursuits. 

A quotable quote from David summarizes his passion for educating: “We have too often equated excellence of education with the quantity of the content learned, rather than with the quality of character the person develops.” (Character as the Aim of Education)

As a teacher who practices what he teaches (and preaches), David continually receives sterling student reviews, such as: “Dr. Shields is a true philosopher of education. If you intend on entering the profession you are doing yourself a disservice by taking any other professor. His lectures are impactful yet concise, his tests are fair and accurately measure your ability to meet MIPEC/DESE requirements, and his teaching style is an exemplary lesson in and of itself.”

David is the author of more than 125 publications, some co-authored with Brenda Light Bredemeier.

Among his honors is the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Missouri Community College Association.

“What Inspires Me About the Study of Economics”

Dr. Gail Heyne Hafer is a member of Bethel and is a Professor in the Department of Business and Economics at St. Louis Community College Meramec. She has taught at colleges and universities for over 30 years.

Wednesday, October 20, 7 PM

Gail participated in the Teaching Innovation Project of the American Economics Association where she focused on infusing cooperative learning activities into the college classroom. More recently, she has participated in NSF projects to expand participation of community college faculty in the economics profession and to encourage Team-Based Learning. She currently serves as a member of the Economic Education Advisory Board of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and is featured in the Fed’s “Women in Economics” podcast series. 

Outside the classroom, Gail has published two curriculum guides for early elementary students with her sister Miki Heyne—Do a Zoo and The Gingerbread Man and several studies with husband, Rik. She has presented on teaching strategies at a variety of conferences including the American Economics Association, Robert Morris, the Professor’s Conference of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, and the Lilly Conference on College Teaching. 

Long ago, Gail earned a bachelor’s degree in General Business from Hendrix College and a Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech with additional graduate work in statistics at Penn State. She and Rik continue to enjoy talking economics even 44 years after their first chat. 

”Rooted & Open: a Lutheran Leads Interfaith Engagement @ WashU”

The Rev. Callista Isabelle, is a member of Bethel, was a former ELCA Church College Chaplain at Muhlenberg College, and currently is Director for Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life at Washington University in St. Louis.

Wednesday, October 27, 7 PM

As the Director for Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life, The Reverend Callista Isabelle implements an office that supports the religious, ethical, and spiritual life on campus, including interfaith understanding, dialogue, and pastoral care. She coordinates the Office for Religious, Spiritual & Ethical Life Affiliates, including LuMin and 20 others, and works with the student Interfaith Alliance.

Pr. Callista will share with Forum participants the blessings and challenges of overseeing programs about diversity and inclusion on a nationally ranked secular campus while being rooted in our Lutheran heritage.

Pr. Callista earned her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and a certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College. Callista is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Prior to joining the Washington University community, Callista served as Associate University Chaplain at Yale University, College Chaplain at Muhlenberg College, and Interim Pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Charles, MO.

She is the author of Embodying Confidence and Grace, a handbook for presiding ministers (Augsburg Fortress)

Adult Forum September 2021

FALL FOCUS

During our pastoral vacancy, Bethel is focused on assessing our ministry in terms of addressing questions such as “Where might God be calling Bethel to action?” Our Fall Bethel Zoom Forums will provide Bethel members and friends with opportunities to look at the rich variety of our current ministries, increase our awareness of Bethel’s community context, look at our social justice ministry commitments, and more.

SEPTEMBER 2021

Theme: Our September theme is “Where We Are . . .” to offer an intentional update on some timely continuing issues for Bethel that are of particular importance relating to our ongoing ministry commitments as well as during our time of pastoral transition.

Guest Speakers:

Sept 01: Dr. Joe Bartzel, “Where We Are in Our Racial Justice Endeavors”

Sept 08: Bethel Transition Team, “Where We Are in the Transition & Call Process”

Sept 15: Dr. Matt Kuhlmann, Wash U Med School, “Where We Are in COVID-19 Reality”

Sept 22: Bishop Susan Candea, “Where We Are as a(n) (Almost) Post-Pandemic Church”

Sept 29: Deborah Bohlmann, “Where We Are in the ’40 Days of Prayer’ with Diverse City Church and St. Margaret of Scotland Church”

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 7:00 pm 
“Where We Are in Our Racial Justice Endeavors” 

Dr. Joe Bartzel, Bethel member and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Study of St. Louis and the American Story in the inter-disciplinary program of American Cultural Studies at Washington University.

Bethel’s work on Racial Justice has a *new look* for the fall season. As the fall approaches, we look forward to continuing Bethel’s efforts toward racial justice in the St. Louis region. Our reading group and adult ed sessions over the past year have generated lots of enthusiasm among Bethel members around racial justice. As we carry that momentum into the fall, our racial justice efforts will have a new look

(1) The reading group will continue, maintaining its focus on ensuring that our efforts toward racial justice remain grounded in the particulars of our local ministry context (the St. Louis area) and its unique history of racial injustice and struggle.

(2) Alongside the reading group, this fall we will also launch a racial justice task force focused on action: building partnerships, and setting and implementing goals regarding racial justice. 

My goal is for our efforts to remain focused on the theme of reconciliation that we have been exploring throughout many of our conversations over the past year. And, while our reading group and task force will be differentiated from each other, my plan is that these two parallel efforts will continue to be mutually informed by each other. Members will, of course, be welcome to participate in one, the other, or both! 

Bring your questions and your interest to our first Bethel Zoom Forum for the fall on Wednesday, September 1st or feel free to email me (jbartzel@gmail.com) if you have questions or want to get involved.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 7:00 pm 
“Where We Are in the Transition & Call Process”

Jennifer Williamson, our Council President, will launch the discussion and coordinate the session along with other members of Bethel’s Congregation Council.

Please join the Council to discuss where we are in the transition process.  We will revisit the Central States Synod’s transition process, discuss timing for an interim pastor, and confirm who will lead worship and provide pastoral care until an interim pastor is engaged.  We will also introduce the role of a Synod “leadership developer,” who works with the transition team to compile the data used to populate the Ministry Site Profile, review the type of information included in the Ministry Site Profile that enables us to call a pastor, and answer your questions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 7:00 pm 
“Where We Are in COVID-19 Reality” 

Dr. Matt Kuhlmann, Bethel member and team member of Bethel’s “‘COVID Advisory Taskforce,” is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University School of Medicine. He also serves is the current president of the Infectious Diseases Society of St. Louis.

As the pandemic continues to be an important factor in our day-to-day living, Matt will share an update about the status of COVID-19, the delta variant, the status of risk, the anticipated time when the surge will peak locally, and anything else that Bethel folks need to be aware of for worship and community participation. We will have plenty of time for Matt to address our questions and concerns.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 7:00 pm
“Where We Are as a(n) (Almost) Post-Pandemic Church”  

Bishop Susan Candea, Bishop of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Bishop Candea will give us an update about the ‘State of the Synod’ with respect to the effects of COVID-19 on congregations, emerging forms of church, and anything else that we would like to hear about. She is also open to talk about the Synod’s role in coordinating Bethel’s Transition Process that is being led by retired Bishop Roger Gustafson.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 7:00 pm 
“Where We Are in the `40 Days of Prayer’ with Diverse City Church and St. Margaret of Scotland Church”

Deborah Bohlmann, member of Bethel, is coordinating Bethel’s participation in the “40 Days of Prayer” with two other congregations in St. Louis

A number of Bethel members have committed to participate in the “40 Days of Prayer” (For the Liberation of American Descendants of Slavery). Deb Bohlmann will update us about this effort that was announced in the “Bethel Connection” in recent months. She will tell us about the planned gatherings of the participating groups from the three area congregations. And, because of the surge of COVID cases nationally, Deb will also inform us about the status of the planned trip with participants from the three congregations to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, to visit and reflect on some important sites regarding the legacy of slavery in America.

Adult Forum May 2021

The Adult Forum will be delivered via a Zoom Meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. Information on how to connect to the Zoom meeting will be shared via a Bethel Connection email. If you are not receiving the Bethel Connection emails, please contact the church office office @ bethelstl.org to be added to the email list.

WEDNESDAY May 5 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“LuMin Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Pr. Tina Reyes, Campus Pastor, LuMin St. Louis, Campus Ministry of the ELCA for Colleges and Universities in the St. Louis Area, is completing her first *challenging* year!

Learn more about LuMin St. Louis, our covenant ministry partner and next door neighbor. First year Campus Pastor Tina Reyes has this inspiring overview for her time with us: “I have been enjoying my first spring in St. Louis and find myself blessed amid the ongoing reality of pandemic life. Campus Ministry is an important part of a student’s well being, and COVID has ilLuMinated that well. We continued to meet – virtually & person as weather and COVID rates permit.  We pack grab-and-go meals for our students on Sundays – so they still get a home-cooked meal. The Campus House is a refuge from dorm rooms, study cubbies, & everyday campus life.  We welcomed new students and returning students alike. Ministry has not stopped. A huge ‘Thank You’ to you all for keeping us in your lives with prayer and financial support.”

WEDNESDAY May 12, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

#TheWorkContinues: Advancing Racial Justice through Educational Equity

Dr. Michelle Purdy, Washington University in St. Louis; Associate Professor of Education; Director of the Undergraduate Program in Educational Studies; Affiliate Faculty, African and African-American Studies & Urban Studies.

Professor Purdy received her B.A. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in educational studies from Emory University. She combines her research interests in educational studies, history, and African-American studies as an associate professor in the Department of Education, and teaches undergraduate courses, such as The American School and History of Education. She is the author of the award-winning book, Transforming the Elite: Black Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools. Professor Purdy also directs the undergraduate program in Educational Studies, an interdisciplinary major that examines educational institutions, educational processes, and the social and cultural factors that affect them. Professor Purdy, an alumna of the John B. Ervin Scholars Program, is a former vice president and president of theWashU Student Union undergraduate student government. As an undergraduate and master’s student, she attended Bethel and worked with Pastor Lottes on the Wash U Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration.

What does it mean to achieve educational equity in the 21st century despite continued ant-Blackness and systemic inequities? What does educational equity mean for all types of schools including public, private, and parochial? Drawing on her research and teaching, we will consider these questions by addressing the following topics: the historical and contemporary ways Black students navigate interpersonal and institutional racism; the relationship among policies, practices and beliefs to foster diversity, inclusion, and equity; and how we can imagine schooling to counter racial injustice and anti-Blackness.

WEDNESDAY May 19, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Moving Into Bethel’s Future

The Rev. Dr. William L. Yancey, Pastor at Bethel for thirty-three years and assistant to Pastor Al Buls for the four previous years

Let’s use this last opportunity with Pastor Bill and the Bethel Family to have an informal hour to remember and give thanks for the remarkable moments that we have shared as a creative faith community. We at Bethel have been privileged to have Pastor Bill bless the congregation and community with his preaching, teaching, and pastoring gifts for more than a generation. He has shepherded this place of grace through pivotal and formative events: our Reconciling in Christ process, our Green Congregation action plan, our commitment to inclusive language in worship, the Campus Ministry (LuMin) Covenant, and much more. As Bethel moves into its future, which will also be shaped by changes coming soon in the missional structure of the ELCA, Pastor Bill will not only reflect on the formative events of the past 30+ years but also on emerging insights about what it means to be a Lutheran presence today for the healing of the world.

WEDNESDAY May 26, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“What Is Coming Now That Pastor Bill Is Retiring?”

The Bethel Congregational Council

The retirement of Pastor Bill and Valerie is a joyous occasion, and we have all been very fortunate to be members of Bethel while they have been here.  At the same time the retirement does leave a number of questions about the future of Bethel.  In this last Forum of the academic year, the Council will provide an overview of some of the things that are already going on to plan for our future.  Pastor Yancey is aware of this process and has participated with—and encouraged—the Council as we have engaged with the ELCA and the Central States Synod to understand what lies ahead. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

To help the Council prepare for your questions, you can submit questions (with or without your name) until 24 hours before the meeting here:  https://forms.gle/HWoScikn4mfqk2b3A

Adult Forum March 2021

During Lent, Adult Forum is on hiatus, as we gather for Vesper services. Adult Forum will reconvene after Easter.

Adult Forum February 2021

The Adult Forum will be delivered via a Zoom Meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. Information on how to connect to the Zoom meeting will be shared via a Bethel Connection email. If you are not receiving the Bethel Connection emails, please contact the church office office @ bethelstl.org to be added to the email list.

WEDNESDAY February 3, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“Mea Culpa: We Have Failed at Nurturing Character and Why It Matters”

Dr. Marvin W. Berkowitz is McDonnell Professor of Character Education, and Co-Director of the Center for Character and Citizenship, at UMSL.He directs the Leadership Academy in Character Education. His latest book is PRIMED for Character Education: Six Design Principles for School Improvement (for release this April)

 

As we look at the grand enterprise of supporting the progressive development of democracies around the world and the grander enterprise of Tikkun Olam (healing the world), it is clear that the last half century of diverse efforts to nurture the flourishing of human goodness has not succeeded as well as we would want.  However, if we look over longer periods of time (centuries, millennia), then we see clear human moral “evolution.”  Why are we now stumbling, why does it matter, and what can we do about it?  That will be the focus of this interactive session.

WEDNESDAY, February 10, 2021, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“The ELCA Extravaganza 21 & Bethel’s Mission”

Deb Grupe, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Bethel; and Sherman Lee, longtime youth leader and advocate at Bethel and currently Chair of the Communications Team at Bethel

Deb, Sherman, and other Bethel participants will share the highlights of “Extravaganza 21,” the outstanding Child/Youth/Family Ministry national conference just completed virtually on February 4- 6, 2021. Sixteen Bethel members have already signed up to participate via Zoom.  More Bethel folks are also welcome to attend. Check out the website, www.ext21.org, for a look at what’s planned, including workshop details and schedule. You’ll see that not all of the workshops and speakers speak only to those who are in professional ministry.  You may attend as many or as few sessions as you like. Let Deb Grupe know if you are interested but not yet signed up, and she can register you for the virtual conference.

Adult Forum January 2021

The Adult Forum will be delivered via a Zoom Meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. Information on how to connect to the Zoom meeting will be shared via a Bethel Connection email. If you are not receiving the Bethel Connection emails, please contact the church office office @ bethelstl.org to be added to the email list.

WEDNESDAY January 13, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Deb Grupe

“New Adventure: Service Learning Camps”

Deb Grupe, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Bethel 

 

Bethel is stepping into a new adventure with Service Learning Camps in 2021. We’d really like to see households attend together, as well as individuals or couples. You may have heard a little bit about this at our congregational meeting or at our 5th Sunday of Service. We will discuss the current status of this opportunity for members and friends of all ages. We are planning for late summer 2021, but will–of course!–remain flexible.

WEDNESDAY, Wednesday 20, 2021, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“What Can We Learn from Other Religions?”

Dr. David Oughton, President of the Board of Interfaith Partnership, Professor at St. Louis University, and Founder of St. Louis’ Dialogue Group of the World’s Religions and Philosophies

 

Looking beyond the traditional observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan. 18-25), Dr. Oughton will speak about possibilities for, and obstacles to, Christian unity and about interfaith dialogue and cooperation on the local level (Interfaith Partnership and Compassionate St. Louis) and on the global level (Parliaments of the World’s Religions and Compassionate Cities Initiative). 

WEDNESDAY, January 27, 2021, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“Women, Gender, & Feminine Images of Jesus”

Dr. Mary Streufert, Director for Justice for Women, ELCA (May 2006 to present)

As we celebrate Reconciling in Christ Sunday on January 31 and the almost 30 years of Bethel’s participation in the RIC movement, we have a great opportunity to expand our understanding of some of the implications of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Dr. Mary Streufert will lead us in a session that will touch on women, gender, feminine images of Jesus, and more.

Adult Forum November 2020

The Adult Forum will be delivered via a Zoom Meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. Information on how to connect to the Zoom meeting will be shared via a Bethel Connection email. If you are not receiving the Bethel Connection emails, please contact the church office office @ bethelstl.org to be added to the email list.

WEDNESDAY November 4, 2020, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“Election Perspectives – Conversations on the Day After”

Open Forum Discussion guided by the Adult Education Team

 

If preliminary forecasts and analyses are correct, on the day after the Election when we convene our regular Zoom Adult Forum, final results on national, state, and local elections will probably not yet be available.  Yet it is very important for Bethel members and friends to have the opportunity to listen and to talk with one another about where we find ourselves after a number of highly stressful political campaigns, especially the contentious campaigning for the office of President of the United States.  The electoral process has also been complicated by COVID-19, racial injustice, voting suppression, and more.  We will reflect together on the successes, challenges, and failures of an unexpectedly fragile election process.   Where are we as a nation and as a community of faith?  What do we as *Church* have to contribute to what lies ahead?  How are we to be faithful to the Way of Jesus as we move forward?  All are welcome to listen in or to join the conversation. 

WEDNESDAY, November 11, 2020, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“*Got Hope* Capital Campaign Update”

Steve Poplawski, Campaign Chair

 

The update will cover (1) a “Thank You!” describing the Phase 1 contributions that have enabled acquisition of technology for our hybrid in-person online worship service launch; (2) ideas from summer conversations about what could be included in the campaign to prepare for discussion at voters meeting about what should be included in the campaign; and (3) how Bethel’s current finances and current events inform the timing and size of the campaign.  If you want to share ideas or schedule a conversation regarding these topics separate from the Forum, please email Steve at sjp7219gmail.com 

WEDNESDAY, November 18, 2020, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“We Are Church, We Are Called: 50 — 40 — 10″

Pr. Kendra Nolde, Director for Evangelical Mission for the the Central States Synod and recently retired Pastor of Gethsemane, St. Louis

In this forum, Pastor Kendra Nolde will introduce us to the history of women’s ordination in the ELCA, talk about the mission of the church being enhanced by women’s ordination and women bishops, share information and stories from other ELCA Women related efforts (Thursdays in Black, International Women’s Leadership Fund, and more).  In 2020, the ELCA is celebrating 50-40-10 Anniversaries:  the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women; the 40th Anniversary of the first ordained African-American Woman; and the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the roster to persons in same-sex relationships.

Adult Forum October 2020

The Adult Forum will be delivered via a Zoom Meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. Information on how to connect to the Zoom meeting will be shared via a Bethel Connection email. If you are not receiving the Bethel Connection emails, please contact the church office office @ bethelstl.org to be added to the email list.

WEDNESDAY October 7, 2020, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“Holy Fire”: Documentary Film about Religion & Politics

Sam Roth, MA

Film Synopsis:

George Scott, a military veteran and Lutheran pastor in rural central Pennsylvania, takes a leave of absence from his church to run a competitive race for U.S. Congress in 2018, energizing the Democratic base while creating an uncertain future for his congregation. From a controversial policy ad to a sudden spike in national attention, Holy Fire roots us firmly at the center of the campaign drama as the outcomes of George’s decision manifest on Election Day.

Holy Fire depicts a religious leader navigating a complex political decision while observing the effect of the decision on personal relationships. In an age of pervasive communication and political polarization, it’s easy to pass judgment, make assumptions, and assign labels when considering political options. I hope that this film encourages people to analyze the motivations, actions, and character of representatives and others in positions of authority.

Link to the documentary film:

Password: bagelstaircase2459

Sam Roth is a recent MA graduate of the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri. He is a programming assistant for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and has screened submissions for the True/False Film Fest and DOC NYC. His directorial debut, Holy Fire, premiered at the Stronger Than Fiction Festival in Columbia, MO, winning the Jury award for Best Director and the Audience Choice award. The film had its NYC premiere at the Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look Film Festival in March 2020, and will have it’s West Coast premiere at AmDocs, an Academy-Award qualifying festival, in September 2020 (if safe to do so).

WEDNESDAY, October 14, 2020, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“The Best Choice: A New Way to Evaluate Political Candidates …”

Dr. Richard Johnson, Professional Counselor and Founder of both the Spiritual Strengths Institute and Lifelong Adult Ministry. 

I decided to write another book when I realized that I needed a new way to evaluate candidates for political office. I’ve learned that focusing on the ‘issues’ the candidate supported was necessary…but not enough! A wise voter needs to dig deeper. Our elected officials are regularly called upon to address the unforeseen people, passions, principles and even pandemics that couldn’t be known before election. How well are our elected officials, all the way from the President of our fair country, to my local town dog catcher (a very important position), prepared to handle this conveyer belt of unknowns? I reasoned that I needed a broader view to properly evaluate candidates, one that could look deeper into the person of the candidate rather than simply the “canned” stump speech the candidate spread around like ice cream on a hot August afternoon. I needed to know about the character, the leadership skills, and the personality of the candidate. I also wanted a clearer insight into the candidate’s devotion to civic virtue. That’s what my new book—and presentation!—are about.

Dr. Richard Johnson, Professional Counselor and Founder of both the Spiritual Strengths Institute and Lifelong Adult Ministry.  Dr. Johnson has written over 40 books and numerous articles all focusing on God’s expansive Grace.  He is nationally recognized for his pioneering work in Healing and Medical Behavioral Sciences and has led workshops and institutes around the country.  We are thrilled to have Richard and spouse Sandra as a part of the Bethel community.

WEDNESDAY, October 21, 2020, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“Shared Conversation About Our Current Forum Issues and More”

Open Forum Discussion Guided by Adult Education Team

The first five presentations of our Fall Zoom Adult Forum Series have addressed major timely crisis-related issues that have generated great interest and challenged us to think more broadly about unrecognized grief, fear that can give way to hope, multiple effects on our church community, political implications of being faithful, how to evaluate political candidates, and other issues that have emerged during our discussions.  As we continue to be impacted by these issues and more, we are pausing this week to reflect together on the implications of what we have been discussing.

WEDNESDAY, October 28, 2020, 7:00 -8:00 pm

“Navigating the Waters & Guiding Bethel”

The Rev. Dr. William L. Yancey, Bethel Pastor

Earlier this Fall we spoke of the dramatic changes in church structure and membership, already at work in our institutions, but accelerated by the pandemic.  We might also ask how changes in our theological understanding will determine and shape the nature and community of the church.  Can we move away from the language and theology of fear which inhibits relationship with Christ?  Can we experience the Christ as one sent to give life, not to die?  Can we expand our trinitarian understanding to become more deeply related to creation, more committed to following the non-violent Christ, more open to the “other” that religious boundaries no longer divide us.  These questions and the answers to them have inspired my teaching, preaching, and leadership for 30 years, and, I think, give some view to the future.

Adult Forum May 2020

The Adult Forum will be delivered via a Zoom Meeting. Information on how to connect to the Zoom meeting will be shared via a Bethel Connection email. If you are not receiving the Bethel Connection emails, please contact the church office office @ bethelstl.org to be added to the email list, or you can contact the Virtual Usher 30 minutes before the program begins to receive the information by emailing support @ bethelstl.org

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2020, 7:00-8:00pm

BIG Learnings: Children, Youth, & Family Extravaganza 2020”    

Deb Grupe, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Bethel; and Sherman Lee, longtime youth leader and advocate at Bethel and currently Chair of the Communications Team at Bethel

Deb and Sherman will share important learnings for Bethel from presentations, workshops, and informal networking at the ELCA Children, Youth and Family Ministry Conference – Extravaganza 2020 – that happened January 31 to February 3, 2020 in Anaheim, California.  Right after the Extravaganza ended,  Deb told Sherman: “the Extravaganza was one of those experiences where one feels they are trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant/fire hose…at this point, I’m still waiting for someone to shut it off so I can enjoy the drink of water and figure out what’s in it!”  The Extravaganza is the annual gathering of children, youth, and family ministry leaders from across the ELCA and is a place for inspiring speakers, special worship, learning from colleagues, sharing insights, and being stretched in new understandings and growth to be strengthened for ministry back home.

WEDNESDAY May 13, 2020, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“Anxiety in the Age of Pandemics: Hope and Help to Relieve Anxiety and Flourish in Uncertain Times”    

Facilitator: Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg

Even those of us who normally keep anxiety well in control are finding it challenging to do so in this time of pandemic and uncertainty.  We miss our normal outlets for work and social life, or may be stressed by working from home with children to manage.  We may fear for our health or that of our loved ones.  We may have lost loved ones recently and are separated from the friends and family we depend on for emotional support. Join us to discuss ways to reduce the emotional burden of anxiety and perhaps even flourish in this difficult time. Dr. Wehrenberg will offer her ideas and also take your questions during this session.

Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety. She is an international speaker and author of 8 books on anxiety and depression.  Margaret is a friend of Bethel and has presented at our Adult Forums in the past.

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.

THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER GOOD YEAR OF ADULT FORUM!

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

ENGAGING THE AGING: HEY GOD, WHAT ABOUT THESE EXTRA YEARS?

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