Adult Forum

Special COVID-19 Announcement

Due to the COVID-19, Bethel is canceling all onsite events through at least April 4th.

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 March 2020

March 8, 2020

“A Closer Look at J.S. Bach’s  St. John Passion

Dr. A. Dennis Sparger, who is celebrating his 34th year as Music Director and Conductor of the Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra, also founded and was conductor of the Masterworks Chorale in Belleville, Illinois, 1974-2007, and the Masterworks Children’s Chorus, 1985-1990.  Among his many other accomplishments, from 1999 to 2010 Dr. Sparger was associate producer and writer of JOY!, a weekly program of sacred choral music heard on CLASSIC 99.

Dr. Sparger will lead us in an overview of J.S. Bach’s masterful work of the St. John Passion, a dynamic telling of Christ’s journey to the cross that reaches into the soul and is sure to evoke a deep sense of spirituality.  This work will be performed by the Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra on Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 3:00 pm at Webster Groves Presbyterian Church.  Additional participants in the performance of the St. John Passion will include six Baroque soloists drawn from across the country.  Linda Lee has more information about this wonderful concert opportunity.

March 15, 2020

“Business Ethics in a Time of Political Turmoil”

Timothy Schoenecker, Dean of the SIUE School of Business and member of Our Lord’s Lutheran Church, Maryville; and Keith Womer, retired Dean of the UMSL College of Business Administration and member of Bethel.

Historically and also in our day, “business ethics” sometimes seems like an oxymoron.  From the Robber Barons and the Captains of Industry at the end of the 19th century who were challenged by Theodore Roosevelt to the multi-national corporations in our day who monopolize some of our industries and dominate business practice, often fuzzing the distinction between what is legal and what is ethical and all-too-often pay little or no taxes, we are seeing that this ethical disengagement of the business realm has a parallel set of ethical and legal concerns in today’s political realm.  What are “business ethics” and “political ethics” at their best?  How can the message of Jesus and our Christian faith inform our purchasing habits as well as our political decisions and advocacy?

March 22, 2020

“Fiftieth Anniversary of Ordaining Women in American Lutheranism”

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

In the middle of Women’s History Month, Pastor Kendra will introduce us to the 50th Anniversary Year of Women’s Ordination in the ELCA’s predecessor bodies, 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), as well as look ahead to possible 50th Anniversary celebrations that may be in the works close to the November 22, 2020 official celebration.  In 2020 also, 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.

March 29, 2020

“Fifth Sunday of Service”

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

At our next Service Sunday event on March 29, Deb Grupe will lead some exercises and conversation, and we will work together to assemble 100 care kits for God’s Helping Hand, a ministry coordinated by Janis Hutchinson and supported by several ELCA churches for the North St. Louis City. Come serve and learn with friends of many ages (and pick up a Thrivent t-shirt)! Deb will also give us a preview of our all-ages VBS for 2020: “Who Is My Neighbor?”  ALL ages are welcome!

Previous Adult Forum Topics….

Mary WorksAdult Forum