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
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:
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.