Sunday Adult Forum
Faith seeking understanding

Learning is never over, and "faith seeking understanding" (as St. Anselm said) is part and parcel of the Christian vocation.  What do we have yet to learn, and how is the life of the spirit enriched by the discourse of the mind?  As part of our commitment to formation - not just for children - St. Paul-Reformation presents a weekly Sunday Morning Adult Forum from 9:10 a.m. until 10:10 a.m. each Sunday during the academic year in Tidemann Hall.  These presentations are free and open to the public, and all you need to do is bring an openness to learn and an inquiring mind.  We seek to present on a variety of topics from the arts to current events to contemporary theological issues.  You are welcome to ask questions...or just sit quietly and listen.  And, wherever you are in these marvelous conversations...you are always welcome.

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September 18 | SAM GRABER
American Refugee


Sam Graber is the Twin Cities-based host of American Refugee, a podcast that explores the heartwarming, challenging, and sometimes hilarious stories of refugees coming to America…and leaving America.  Rooted in the immensely complex matters of human rights and hospitality, Sam will lead us through what he has learned and how we can continue to welcome the stranger among us.

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September 25 | ROLF OLSON AND NANCY KOESTER
Christian Nationalism and Why It Matters I


American Christians have always struggled with the relationship between church and state. But in recent years the alignment between right-wing politics and Christianity has taken on a new intensity in a movement called “Christian Nationalism.”  This power grab co-opts the language and symbols of Christianity, deceiving many and harming both our faith and democracy.  Pr. Rolf Olson and Dr. Nancy Koester lead our conversation in a two-part series.

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October 2 | ROLF OLSON AND NANCY KOESTER
Christian Nationalism and Why It Matters II
American Christians have always struggled with the relationship between church and state. But in recent years the alignment between right-wing politics and Christianity has taken on a new intensity in a movement called “Christian Nationalism.”  This power grab co-opts the language and symbols of Christianity, deceiving many and harming both our faith and democracy.  Pr. Rolf Olson and Dr. Nancy Koester lead our conversation in a two-part series.

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October 9 | DEE DEE DEEKEN
Beyond the Binary: Understanding Gender Identity Beyond Either/Or


Dee Dee Deeken is an educator and instructional coach who focuses on all forms of equity that lead to transformational and systemic change in schools. She has spent the past 27 years at Eden Prairie High School in many different roles, striving to help create an inclusive environment for all students, especially those of color and LGBTQ+ students.

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October 16 | PHIL DURAN
Rainbow Health Initiative


Phil Duran serves as the Senior Advocate for Aging & Gender Care Access, advocacy, and research programs for Rainbow Health (formerly the MN AIDS project).  As an experienced attorney and civil rights advocate, Phil also assists Rainbow Health’s legal team with cases in the areas of trans health and human rights.  Phil will lead a conversation on the health challenges faced by GLBTQIA+ individuals, especially seniors.

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October 23 | DR. YELENA BAILEY
How the Streets Were Made: Housing Segregation in Black America


Yelena Bailey, Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and former professor of English and cultural studies. She enjoys writing about race, power, policy, and culture. Her most recent project is How the Streets Were Made, which examines the creation of “the streets” not just as a physical, racialized space produced by segregationist policies, but also as a sociocultural entity that has influenced our understanding of Blackness in America for decades. 

Note: Dr. Bailey’s book will be available for purchase in the narthex several weeks prior to this forum.

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October 30 | DR. STARR SAGE
Beyond Easy Answers: Race, Tokenism, and Real Talk


Dr. Starr Sage teaches in the Department of Public Health at the University of St. Thomas and is the founder of Sage Idea, an organization dedicated to helping foster the conversation on race and racism in our society.  Dr. Sage will lead us in a conversation on how we move beyond the superficial to action in our world.  What makes a real difference…and what does not?

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November 6 | PR. PATRICK SHEBECK
My Neighbor Is Not For Sale I


Minnesota has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the United States.  In this four-part study by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, we will gather as a parish to learn about human trafficking in our midst and how Christian communities can be advocates for victims.  Pr. Patrick leads the first three sessions; Joy McElory of LSS’ Cherish All Children leads the capstone session.

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November 13 | PR. PATRICK SHEBECK
My Neighbor Is Not For Sale II

Minnesota has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the United States.  In this four-part study by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, we will gather as a parish to learn about human trafficking in our midst and how Christian communities can be advocates for victims.  Pr. Patrick leads the first three sessions; Joy McElory of LSS’ Cherish All Children leads the capstone session.

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November 20 | PR. PATRICK SHEBECK
My Neighbor Is Not For Sale III

Minnesota has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the United States.  In this four-part study by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, we will gather as a parish to learn about human trafficking in our midst and how Christian communities can be advocates for victims.  Pr. Patrick leads the first three sessions; Joy McElory of LSS’ Cherish All Children leads the capstone session.

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November 27 | JOY MCELROY
My Neighbor is Not For Sale: Capstone Session


Minnesota has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the United States.  In this four-part study by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, we will gather as a parish to learn about human trafficking in our midst and how Christian communities can be advocates for victims.  Pr. Patrick leads the first three sessions; Joy McElory of LSS’ Cherish All Children leads the capstone session.

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December 4 | DR. NICHOLAS SCHASER
Jesus' Own Judaism


Dr. Nicholas Schaser is professor of biblical and Jewish studies at Macalaster College in St. Paul, holding a PhD in New Testament from Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Schaser will lead us through a conversation on what the Judaism of Jesus’ own day looked like, and how Jesus understood his own Jewishness.  What would the daily practice of Jesus’ religion have looked like to him…and what would it have meant to his family?

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December 11 | Lisa Gidlow MORIARITY
Which Way To God?  Using SPR's Labyrinth As A Spiritual Tool


Lisa Gidlow Moriarity is the Executive Director of Paths of Peace, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of labyrinths as spiritual tools.  Lisa will lead us in an overview of SPR’s Labyrinth, how one might use this valuable tool in prayer, and we will have an opportunity to use it!  One never knows what blessings are hiding just below our feet!  Join us (and wear socks!).

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December 18 | DR. PAUL WESTERMEYER
Handel's Messiah: Christmas Favorite or Baroque Trash?

Dr. Paul Westermeyer is Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Luther Seminary.  In this discussion, he will lead us through the backstory on Handel’s Messiah, a Christmas favorite in America.  But why has it become a favorite of audiences the world over, and…is its story quite as magnificent as it sounds?

Note: This Adult Forum will coincide with an opportunity on December 18th at 2:00 p.m. at the Ordway to hear a full performance of Messiah by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  Watch for information on group tickets through St. Paul-Reformation…it is not to be missed!