Adult Forum

Special COVID-19 Announcement

Due to the COVID-19, Bethel is canceling all onsite events until further notice. We are in the process of scheduling several of the planned Sunday Adult Forums to Wednesday evenings via the Zoom video conferencing service. Please check the Bethel Connection emails with information about how to connect to Zoom-based Adult Forum sessions.

Adult education at Bethel features a one-hour Sunday morning 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.

Adult Education takes place in the Fellowship Hall from 8:45 – 9:45am on Sundays.

We welcome you to attend any or all of the Adult Forum sessions. You can move in and out of the discussions, depending on your interests.  Perhaps you would like to know more about a topic you have never explored, or maybe you are drawn to a conversation for which you have already formulated your own questions and thoughts.  Please come to listen, learn, and converse.  For information about upcoming Adult Forum sessions, please see below.

Adult Forum September 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 September 16, 2020, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“The New Face of Grief”

Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg

During the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic, rates of depression are skyrocketing. Often though, the depressed mood may actually be unrecognized grief. People are experiencing so many losses: time in community, such as church, but also events: graduations, prom,  celebrations for births and birthdays,  travel, and holidays. There are deeper losses, too, such as not being able to attend funeral gatherings for beloved family members and friends. Compared to being sick or dying, we may dismiss these losses as insignificant,  but they can still take a toll on our psychological well being.  Margaret (Peg) will discuss how we cope with unacknowledged grief to maintain our emotional balance in a topsy-turvy world.

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.

WEDNESDAY September 23, 2020, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“Blessing the Marriage of Fear and Hope in a Time of Crises”

Brenda Light Bredemeier & David Light Shields

None of us are immune to fear. Today our fears are augmented by crises like the coronavirus pandemic, environmental disaster, and systems of violence based on race and poverty. These realities have been revealed in our personal lives and on a global scale, and they intersect in ways that seem to fuel their strength and our fear. While fear can be destructive, it can also be a source of insight and wisdom about what is and what could be; it can inspire creativity and uncover resilience. We find these hidden treasures when we marry fear to hope. In this session, we will reflect on what we have learned from these crises about ourselves, our church, and our community, and will share ideas, resources, and strategies that have helped us and could possibly generate constructive actions and essential changes.

Brenda Light Bredemeier & David Light Shields, Bethel members, college and university professors, researchers, authors of over 100 publications, including 8 books, frequently focusing on character development and citizenship education.

WEDNESDAY September 30, 2020, 7:00 – 8:00pm

“Shared Congregational Issues in a Time of COVID-19”

The Rev. Dale Kuhn

This session will address the long-term impact of COVID–19 on congregational life as the church yearns for “New Life” post pandemic. Dale will discuss with us his learnings about what church life might look like once we are free to gather together again. His thoughts come from consultations with many local pastors and professional church workers as well as from expert opinions from church consultants from across the US. Congregations of all denominations have been going through significant changes in membership, worship attendance and infrastructures and programs that used to work, but no longer seem viable.  This pandemic seems to be speeding the transitions that are already taking place.

The Rev. Dale Kuhn, MA, MDiv, STM, LCSW, AAPC Diplomate. Dale is currently Clergy & Congregational Care Program Coordinator at Care & Counseling, where he has served over 40 years with that organization and retired recently as its Executive Director.

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.

Previous Adult Forum Topics….

Mary WorksAdult Forum