Previous Adult Forum Topics

Adult Forum September 2019
September 8
“Liturgical Dance” featuring insights by Laura Roth

Bethel member Laura Roth will share her experiences with liturgical dance and her creative process behind them.  The presentation will also include group discussion on the potential uses of dance in worship and a video clip and other images related to liturgical dance.

September 15
Welcome Bishop Candea!

Pr. Susan Candea, who will take office as bishop of the Central States Synod on September 1, will lead a discussion on Synod priorities and will field questions about the work and life of the Synod and the ELCA.  She will also be the guest preacher at the 10 am service.
September 22
“Migrant Children Seeking Asylum”
Brenda Bredemeier & Kathy Petersen

Both speakers are faculty at UMSL and will share their experiences as witnesses to the plight of migrant children in Homestead, Florida.
September 29
“Intergenerational Service Sunday”
Deborah Grupe, Director of Child, Youth & Family Ministries at Bethel

During the education hour for this first “Fifth Sunday of Service, Deb will introduce herself in her new position at Bethel and tell us about the emerging priorities of her ministry. Then participants of all ages will work together on some small care packages for our college students.
Adult Forum May 2019
May 12
“Faith and Life: Personal Reflections”
Pr. Roy Ledbetter, Bethel Member

May 12
“Faith and Life: Personal Reflections”
Pr. Roy Ledbetter, Bethel Member

May 19
“A New Constitution for Bethel”
In preparation for a vote by the congregation on June 2, Steve Poplawski and Allen Mueller will give a background of the proposed constitution and bylaws, explain how they differ from our current documents, and answer questions.Breakfast will be provided by the Board of Adult Education at 8:30 on May 19. The presentation will be repeated on Sunday, May 26 after church.

Adult Forum April 2019

April 14 (Palm Sunday)
“Parenting for Human Goodness” – Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, UMSL, will offer a presentation that will include parenting strategies for promoting human goodness in children.

April 28 (Sunday after Easter)
“History, Scriptures, and Beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” – Mike White will discuss and answer questions about Mormon beliefs and practices.

Adult Forum March & April 2019
March 10
“Living Lent: The Way of Jesus”

Pastor John Lottes

We will engage in a study of Lenten readings from the Gospel of St. Luke both to enhance our Lenten observance and to discover practical applications for our lives.

March 17 (rescheduled from February 10)
“Resilience: The Queen of Virtues”
Dr. Richard Johnson
Resilience is a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, or loss — a  “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. Join a discussion about resilience led by Dr. Johnson, a friend of Bethel who specializes in issues related to adult spiritual development.
March 24
“Legacy and Financial Decisions”
Stephen Phelps, Bethel Member
Stephen will describe his role as ELCA Regional Gift Planner for the Central States Synod and will lead a discussion on legacy planning and making personal financial decisions.
March 31 & April 14
“Children’s Character and Moral Development”

Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, UMSL

The speaker will address aspects of promoting positive character development in children toward becoming healthy adults who are effective moral agents and contributors to their societies. For more information about Dr. Berkowitz, including his publications, professional activities, and awards, see
Adult Forum February 2019
February 10
“Exploring Resilience”
Resilience is defined as a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, tragedy, and loss — a “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.  Some call it the “queen of virtues.”  Is resilience a behavior or a power (grace)?  Join the discussion about resilience led by Dr. Richard Johnson, friend of Bethel, prolific author and lecturer, and “a dynamic and engaging teacher.”
February 17
“Cuba:  History, Culture, Politics, and Religion”
February 24
“El Salvador:  History, Culture, Politics and Religion”
Both Cuba and El Salvador are products of revolutions that swept through Latin America, beginning in the mid 1950s and continuing into the 1990s.   We’ll explore how and why the two countries have turned out so differently, and why people of faith should care about what has gone on and is going on in Latin America.
Led by Dr. Clint McCann, Professor of Old Testament at Eden Seminary, frequent teacher at Bethel, author, seminar leader, and scholar in the field of liberation theology.
Adult Forum January 2019
January 13

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri – Janice Raeber, VP for Development, will discuss the history and services of LFCS, which traces its beginnings to an orphanage established in 1868, and how the critical needs of families and children are being met today.

January 20 and 27

“Roamin’ Through Romans” – Dr. Toby Winright, St. Louis University, will lead us through a critical look at Romans 13:1-5 where we read “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.”  We will learn about the original context of these words and how they have been interpreted throughout the years, including by Martin Luther.  We will conclude with discussion about how they continue to be used today and what their meaning can be for us in our complex world.

Adult Forum in December 2018
Refreshments at 8:30
Forum at 8:45
All are invited
December 9
“Sex Trafficking in the United States”
Presentation led by Dr. Andrea Nichols
Author; professor at Forest Park College;  Lecturer at Washington University; Coordinator, Anti-Trafficking Initiative, Washington University.
 December 16

“Refuge and Restoration for Victims of Sex Trafficking”
Presentation by Jessica Cardinas, Covering House, St. Louis, which works with sexually exploited children and teens
Adult Forum in November 2018


November 4

No Adult Forum

November 11

Join a congenial group for an informal discussion of matters of common interest or come just to listen.  There’s no agenda or expectations.

November 18

Pr. Karen Scherer, retired pastor of Unity Lutheran, Bel Nor, and member of a Central States Synod task force on refugees and immigrants will speak on the Sanctuary Movement.

November 25 – Legacy of James Cone

Pr. Yancey will discuss the thought and legacy of Black theologian James Cone (d. April 28, 2018) called “the most important theologian of his generation” and “the founder of Black Liberation Theology.” James Cone was the subject of Pr. Yancey’s Ph.D. dissertation.

Adult Forum in October 2018

October 7, 2018
No Adult Forum

October 14 & 21
“Perspectives on Gun Safety, Gun Violence, and Gun Legislation”

Oct. 14, Gun owners Rik Hafer & John DeLuca

Oct. 21, Gail Wechlser, Volunteer St. Louis Faith Outreach Leader for the Missouri Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

October 28 (Reformation Sunday)
“What does it mean to be evangelical?”
Bethel member Dr. Michael Hoy

Adult Forum in September 2018
September 9
“Welcome! Embodying God’s Hospitality”
Pr. John Lottes

Bethel member Pr. John Lottes will lead us in exploring these questions: What does it mean to be a community of faith that is welcoming, hospitable, and inviting?  How can classical biblical stories and the ministry of Jesus inform us about what we are called to do? What special–and even new–opportunities does Bethel have to be welcoming, hospitable, and inviting?

September 16
“After My Stroke:  Faith, Hope, and Love”
Guest Speaker:  John Kindschuh

On September 10, 2013, John had a near-fatal cerebellar stroke at the age of 35.  He will share what he thought about in the ICU and how his stroke affected his faith and his family.  He will talk about his many hours of therapy and the extensive community support he received, all of which he considers to be part of his “miraculous” recovery.

September 23
“Bethel Youth Report on Summer Gathering in Houston”
Claire Flesch and the Bethel Youth Group

September 30
“Faith and Life: The Road Less Traveled”
Jessica White

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