Adult Formation

Adult Forums

Sundays at 10:25
in the Church (during Parish House construction)

(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.

March Forums

Embracing Our Brokeness

By Michael Palmisano
 
The polarities of the Lenten season are quickly and seemingly falsely established in the first few lines of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. After we “worthily lament our sins and acknowledge our wretchedness…” (BCP 264), we are subsequently invited “…to the observance of a holy Lent” (BCP 265). We are seemingly invited to “crossover” from evil into holiness, but instead might find ourselves trapped somewhere between these two false binaries. If we’re lucky, we might narrowly escape this service marked by ashes and so frightened by God that we have no choice but to abandon chocolate for forty whole days. 
 
Of course, I’m writing in hyperbole and of course, there is so much more to it than that. For me, the Ash Wednesday service provides the time and space to recalibrate my sense of directionality. It provides me with the invitation to appropriately posture myself before God who at all times, and in all places, gives so generously and abundantly. It is God alone, who does not judge good and evil as we do. The Ash Wednesday service can provide the opportunity to look away from our constructed systems of “right and wrong” and instead consider what God’s righteousness might look like.
 
During the season of Lent the Adult Forum will provide the time and space to deconstruct some of the false binaries that naturally arise when discussing the “S word” ; “sin.” For four weeks we will be led by each of our Redeemer clergy through four forum topics: Anger, Evil, Righteousness, and Holiness. We hope that this offering will provide some new vocabulary for the realities of our everyday life. By examining and embracing God’s interaction with our daily anger and frustrations; our estimations of good and evil; God’s own righteous dealings with human beings; and God’s invitation to freedom through His own holiness, we might be better equipped to live into a renewed vision of the Lenten season and our daily call to live an examined life. 
As part of your observance of a holy Lent, I invite you to join us for The Redeemer’s Adult Forum beginning on March 5, immediately following the 9am service.
 
As we spend this Lenten Adult Forum both examining and “embracing our brokenness,” I also encourage you to consider joining our parish for the reading and studying of Bryan Stevenson’s stunning work, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Born from his own life and labor Stevenson so brilliantly and appropriately observes:
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us” (Stevenson).
February Forums

The Hope That is In You

By Michael Palmisano

Two years ago, I attended an Episcopal Church conference on “evangelism” held in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church is being led in a movement to “reclaim” evangelism in a way that builds up the Body of Christ through love. As part of this movement, the Episcopal Church has boldly rebranded the term “evangelism.” The Church now describes evangelism as the work which “…seeks, names and celebrates Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people – then invites everyone to MORE.”
 
I think there is something valuable about this definition. At its foundation is respect for the individual and respect for his/her story. It is a call for all of us to explore our own stories illuminated by Christ’s love… then go deeper. We must accept that the work of evangelism is not about indoctrination. Evangelism is about recognition, invitation, and celebration of Christ’s love in our lives together. Evangelism is about sharing stories.
To show how important storytelling is in evangelism, take this exercise as an example; Slow down for a moment. Begin by centering yourself. Now, recall the best meal that you’ve ever had. Where were you? Who were you with? What did the meal smell like? Taste like? What sounds were around you? How did you feel? Finally, how do you feel now? Now go and share the experience of this meal with someone else.  Can we possibly resist sharing our story of such a treasured memory without joy and excitement? 
 
The pleasure of a good meal provides only a taste of the joy and gratitude I have for Christ’s presence in my life. When we rehearse sharing any stories of joy, we are also practicing how to share with others our unique story with God. This is evangelism.
 
Our Winter Forum Series will be shifting gears in the first three weeks of February. We spent the month of January exploring the notion of “hope” from theological and applied perspectives. We will now narrow our focus to Peter’s assertion from 1 Peter 3:15 that demands that you always be prepared to present “…the hope that is in you.” In response to Peter, we will hear directly from individuals in the Redeemer community who will help us understand what it means for them personally to live out their faith every day. How does the Christian hope influence their time, their work, and their family? What exactly does it mean for them to walk each day with the hope that is in them? 
It is my hope that these conversations, these individuals, and their stories will illuminate the Christian hope for all of us and invite us to live more boldly into Christ’s promises during in the great season of Epiphany. Be on the lookout for our weekly news to preview each week’s guest.
 
On Sunday, February 23, there will be no adult forum as we will be celebrating our newly confirmed members of The Redeemer community.
Conversing. . .

Thursdays 7:00-8:00 pm — Parish House Annex, Room 4

“Cement,” I said. Someone immediately corrected me. “It’s concrete.” A couple of the foremen from W.S. Cumby, our builders, smiled at me. This kind of interchange happens with regularity in their world. I had never learned the difference well enough to keep the distinction. In my own vernacular, cement and concrete were roughly interchangeable terms. I could use either and not suffer any difficulties. For both substances are outside my trade. 
 
Nonetheless, what was being offered me was the opportunity to know and appreciate a little bit more about construction: an instance of practical education. I’ve lived a long time never needing to keep to the difference. I could easily continue with the confusion and never be stung by it. Someone else would get it right on my behalf. But now, politely corrected, I had a better feel for what is required in laying a foundation. And I was being invited in to various discussions of what needed to be done and why. I was given and acquired something valuable, that, possibly, I could put to good use. 
 
Near the end of this conversation someone added, “Don’t ask him about theology. He can make you dizzy with distinctions of his own.” Which was readily acknowledged. But no one took me up on it. Distinctions without a difference, they might have thought. Or, perhaps, the world I live within might not be of interest to guys with mud on their boots. I certainly understood the response. I’ve faced this reaction many times. But not to know or not to care about differences that could be made and articulated is to lose something — at least the capacity to engage and become skilled in understanding and applying one’s faith. No matter how abstract theology might seem, ultimately, it’s practical education. It shapes one’s whole life. It offers us the opportunity to be both grounded and nimble in the things that matter most. 
 
The Thursday evening gathering called “Conversing” is meant to provide a time when we can speak together about church, faith, beliefs, and any of the many distinctions in our talk about these matters that will allow us to bring God to speech more easily, fluidly, and naturally. Valuable practice that we can put to good use—particularly if we’d like others to know what it is about The Redeemer that is worth our time, our commitment, and, in turn, fashions our hope and gives us joy. 
Men's Bible Study

Thursdays
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 Michael Palmisano if you have any questions.

Contact: Michael Palmisano

Women Exploring Scripture

Thursdays   12:00- 1 pm, Parish House Annex
Bring your lunch if you wish

Enjoy the friendship of other females as we explore the stories of women in the Bible who made a difference. Although we begin each week in the scriptures, we never know where our conversation and insights will lead us. Join us on this surprising spiritual journey. No prior Bible knowledge is necessary, all questions are welcome, and there is no homework.  We wholeheartedly welcome new members!

Contact: Barbara Billings