Adult Forum

ADULT EDUCATION AT BETHEL DURING COVID-19

Adult education at Bethel features a one-hour Adult Forum, a welcoming, inclusive gathering of people who want to learn about and discuss a wide range of topics.  Among our interests are Christian life and faith, including personal life and faith journeys and spiritual growth; contemporary social and ethical issues; Christian history and tradition; understanding the Bible; and non-Christian religions. Session leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and include members of Bethel and visiting scholars and experts.  Those attending and leading the Adult Forum at Bethel engage with one another through open, respectful, questioning conversation.

The Bethel community has a commitment to excellence in Christian education. Over the years, the Adult Forum has also provided the venue for examining our congregational worship life, critiquing and supporting many of Bethel’s areas of mission—care for creation, non-violence, and inter-faith dialogue—and for growing together in spirit, community, and faith.

CONTINUING COVID CAUTION:

Because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, our Adult Education Board will continue to offer the Bethel Adult Forum via Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm for at least the fall season, before attempting to resume the traditional Sunday morning schedule.  Look for the Zoom link in your email usually the day before each presentation for more details about that Wednesday’s Forum.

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.

Previous Adult Forum Topics….

Mary WorksAdult Forum