Adult Formation

Adult Forums

Sundays at 10:30
Parish House Lower Level, Room 1-2-3

(during the academic season)

Adult Forums are scheduled weekly. Subjects cover a broad range of topics and guest speakers lead us in contemporary issues of the day and theological discussions. See the most recent issue of the weekly News from The Redeemer for details.

December Forums

Rediscovering the Art of
Faithful Conversation

By David Romanik

There are many aspects of our common life that have become intolerable over past several years. Interacting with strangers has become a perilous enterprise, and there are many topics that we simply avoid with our friends and neighbors. People have attributed this erosion of our discourse to a variety of factors, including political polarization, the fracturing of the media, and the behavior of certain elected officials. I wonder, however, if one of the broader reasons for the toxicity of our common life is that few of us know how to have an actual conversation anymore. In the popular imagination, the ideal conversation is when one side “destroys” the other, or conversely, when each side simply listens to the other without reacting at all. True conversation necessitates respectful listening, but also requires a measure of conviction that creates opportunities for dialogue and transformation. During Advent, our forums will explore the nature of faithful conversation and how it can change our experience of the world.

December 2
“Art is Essential, Not Decorative”
Bono, Eugene Peterson, and the Psalms

Several decades ago, Bono, the frontman of the Irish rock band U2, contacted Eugene Peterson, the biblical scholar and author of a contemporary translation of the Bible called The Message, to express admiration for his translations of the Psalms. Thus began a fruitful and unlikely friendship, rooted in a deep regard for what the poetry of the Bible can teach us about God and about ourselves. In 2016, a film was made about their friendship and their love for the Psalms. Join us as we view the film and consider how the Psalms can be catalysts for sacred conversations.

December 9
Two Tales of a City

In the Hebrew Bible, few of Israel’s enemies were more despised than the Assyrian Empire. Nevertheless, portions of the text are surprisingly ambivalent about Israel’s historic adversary. In particular, the books of Nahum and Jonah offer two radically different approaches to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. Join us as we explore how these two prophets are in conversation with one another, and consider what the tension between them tells us about the grace and mercy of God.

December 16
Flirting with the Bible

In many ways, the gospel of John is a gospel of conversations. Some of the most important moments in the first half of the gospel take place during conversations between Jesus and someone else: from an admiring member of the religious establishment, to a group of his ideological opponents, to, in one case, a woman who flirts with Jesus. In many ways, it is this final conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well that says the most about what Jesus represents. Join us as we investigate this and other flirtatious interactions in the Bible.

December 23
Reclaiming Conversation

Long an enthusiast for the promise of digital technology, the author and researcher Sherry Turkle has recently observed that we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection. This leads to a variety of deleterious effects, including the loss of empathy. In a new book, however, Turkle argues that the time is right to reclaim conversation. Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools, and the workplace, Reclaiming Conversation posits that we have come to a better understanding of where our technology can and cannot take us. Join us for an introduction to Turkle’s book and a discussion of how we can reclaim the art of Christian conversation.

November Forums

November 4
Rights-based Development in Africa:
Challenges and Opportunities

Conversations about human rights often occur in the abstract. Even as proclamations are made about the rights to which all people are entitled, the means of securing those rights is often unclear. In recent years, many development agencies and NGOs have endeavored to address this discrepancy by fostering human rights through economic development. Susanna Wing, professor of political science at Haverford College, has devoted much of her academic career to exploring the ways human rights and economic development intersect, especially in Africa. Join Dr. Wing as she discusses the promises and pitfalls of the rights-based approach to development.

November 11
The Full Spectrum of Human Rights:
Consensus on Respecting Human Dignity

Over the last 70 years, our society has achieved a remarkable consensus: that there are certain rights to which all people are entitled, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Significantly, these rights are generally understood not just in a civic and political context, but also in social and economic terms. Indeed, the concept of “universal human rights” has driven American foreign policy and shaped international cooperation. Join James O’Sullivan, professor of social ethics at Saint Joseph’s University, as he briefly examines how the concept of human rights became codified in the 20th century and how it continues to shape the world we live in today.

November 18
Women’s Rights in the Middle East

Western popular culture tends to caricature the Middle East as a place of authoritarian rule and religious violence, but the reality of life in that part of the world is more complicated. This is particularly true when it comes to the question of the rights of women in the region. Join Sarah Bush, professor of Political Science at Yale University, as she attempts to untangle the knots and provide a more subtle perspective on the rights of women in the Middle East.

November 25
The Reign of Christ

In the Episcopal Church, along with many other denominations, the last Sunday of the church year is designated “Christ the King Sunday.” Unlike most Sunday observances, Christ the King Sunday is a fairly recent addition to the liturgical calendar. It was celebrated for the first time in 1925. On the surface, this is surprising; we might imagine that emphasizing the “kingship” of Christ was antiquated even 100 years ago. In reality, however, the designation of Christ the King Sunday was a direct and prophetic response to the contemporary political climate. Moreover, in an age of authoritarian impulses and easy solutions, the question of Jesus Christ’s kingship has become desperately relevant today. On Sunday, November 25 at 10:30, join David Romanik in Room 1-2-3 as he discusses the origins of this feast and its continued significance.

October Forums
October 7
The Burden of Christian Freedom: The Dynamics of Rights and 
Responsibility in the Bible
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds his congregation that they “were called to freedom.” In the very next breath, the apostle exhorts the Galatians not to use their freedom as “an opportunity for self-indulgence.” This brief passage summarizes the Bible’s seemingly ambivalent approach to the concept of rights. On one hand, the gospel articulates a radical, practically unlimited freedom. At the same time, our faith seems to suggest that freedom must exist within certain parameters. Join David Romanik as he examines the complex biblical understanding of rights, and considers how it might shape our approach to the world.
October 14
Just Borders: Place-Specific Duties and the Rights of Immigrants
There is currently a hot political and legal debate about whether and why immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States. If we put partisan politics and legal considerations aside for a moment, however, we can ask an important question: What is the right moral criterion to decide whether an immigrant should be allowed to stay in a liberal democratic country? Recently, many scholars have argued that legal citizenship cannot be the sole source of rights, and hence they have advocated for place-specific rights for immigrants. Should physical presence in a territory confer social and political rights on all those present? Join Paulina Ochoa Espejo, professor of political science at Haverford College, as she explores this question and considers the moral dimensions of the immigration debate.
October 21
Human Rights and the International Criminal Court
By many accounts, the 20th century was one of the cruelest in human history. Acts of genocide were distressingly common and civilians were often slaughtered indiscriminately. In response to this widespread inhumanity, the international community developed new language and new legal categories to charge and punish those responsible. Eventually, an International Criminal Court was created to prosecute these “crimes  against humanity.” Andrea Cayley is a Redeemer parishioner and a lawyer who has spent much of her career bringing those who commit crimes against humanity to justice. Join Andrea as she discusses her work and explores how the concept of human rights has shaped the postwar order.
October 28
Does Gender Matter? Rights, Identity, and Society
Gender matters to many of us personally and socially. But, should gender be considered in the policies that govern institutions such as government-issued ID documents, public restrooms, college admissions, and sports?  If so, why and how? Join Heath Fogg Davis, professor of political science at Temple University, as he explores these questions and investigates the difference between sex discrimination and sex-identity discrimination.
September Forums

Both Here and There
The Sacredness of Space

By David Romanik


Shakespeare’s Othello includes one of the first known instances of the phrase “neither here nor there” in the English language. Historically, saying that something was “neither here nor there” meant that it was irrelevant. This is because the idiom has been nonsensical for most of its history: It has been impossible literally to be “neither here nor there.” With the advent of social media, however, we interact with one another on platforms that do not occupy any physical space. It has become possible, in other words, to exist in a “place” that is “neither here nor there.” This raises an important question: to what extent is this acceptable? Can we live in a world where our primary mode of existence is “neither here nor there”? The Christian faith has always depended on an understanding of place. In fact, our faith insists that self-consciously inhabiting and exploring the places where we live helps us understand ourselves and our relationship with God. For our forum series in September, we will explore the various ways that “place” remains crucial to our faith and our understanding of the world.

September 9
Reclaiming the Sacred:
The Redeemer as an Anchor Institution

One does not have to spend much time on The Redeemer’s campus to realize how central it is to the community. On a daily basis, dozens of local residents come to the parish house for 12 step meetings, walk their dogs through the churchyard, or teach their children to ride their bikes in the parking lot. In this way, the church and its grounds are a space for sabbath rest, even for those who are not members of the parish. Much of the campus development plan that has been discussed over the past few years has focused on acknowledging and developing The Redeemer’s role as a sacred place in the community. Join Peter Vanderveen as he offers an update on Legacy into Promise, responds to questions, and discusses the ways our campus can continue to be a place of sabbath for this community.

September 16
Making Room for the Sacred:
The Work of the Interfaith Hospitality Network

At its most basic, hospitality is about making room in our lives for others. Indeed, it is one of the essential tasks of the Church: Christians are meant to create space in their lives, not only for other people, but for God. For many years, The Redeemer has been involved in the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), an organization committed to helping homeless families and single women in our area achieve lasting independence. While it is easy to think about our work with IHN as a form of “outreach,” it has primarily been about making room in our lives for people we would not normally encounter. Join Allegra Cressman, the new Executive Director of IHN, as she discusses the mission of the organization, shares the joys and challenges of practicing sacred hospitality, and explores ways you can help.

September 23
Encountering the Sacred:
Healing through Education in Malawi

For many years, the African Children’s Mission (ACM) at the Church of the Redeemer has worked with the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) to improve the lives of children affected by HIV/AIDS in the small African nation of Malawi. In their decades-long commitment to Malawi, GAIA and ACM have come to recognize that health education is the most effective and sustainable way to transform communities. Join Mark Conley-Buchsieb, Director of Development at GAIA, as he discusses discusses the ways GAIA is striving to prevent HIV among vulnerable youth in Malawi through education.

September 30
Discovering the Sacred:
Music and Mission Tour Retrospective

This summer, more than 50 parishioners traveled to Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy for The Redeemer’s biennial Music and Mission tour. The trip was life-changing for those who participated and those who were visited. Join members of our choirs as they share stories of the places they visited, the people they met, and the work they did as they represented our parish.


Men's Bible Study

7:30 am, Ardmore Station Cafe

Join us for breakfast on Thursdays at 7:30 am at Ardmore Station Cafe (near the Ardmore train station) as we discuss Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and explore the ways that Scripture intersects with our lives today. Please bring a Bible. Contact David Romanik if you have any questions.

Contact: David Romanik

Women Exploring Scripture

Thursdays   12:00- 1 pm
Bring your lunch if you wish

Catch the Spirit. Enjoy the friendship of other women as we explore the Acts of the Apostles and learn about the formation of the early church.  What happens to Jesus’ followers after His death and resurrection? How does the Gospel spread? No prior Bible knowledge is necessary, all questions are welcome, and there is no homework. Expect to gain new insights into your understanding of the scriptures and to have a good time. We wholeheartedly welcome new members!

Contact: Barbara Billings