The Sunday Forum convenes on Sunday mornings, 10:10 a.m.-11 a.m., in the Large Fellowship Hall, September-May. You do not have to be a member to attend, and no registration is required. On most Sundays, the rector or other St. Stephen's clergy speak. On occasion, we welcome outstanding guest speakers. When an audio file is available of a particular forum session, it will be found on the Forum audio page.
Books by our guest speakers are available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's. (Authors are indicated with an asterisk.)
Other Sunday morning offerings are described here.
Winter/Spring 2017 semester
January 15-February 26 // Gary Jones, "What it means to be an Episcopalian"
A six-part series (no Forum on February 5) // Recordings are here; some sessions were not recorded
The Episcopal Church is sometimes called "a big tent." Those who are devoted to this Anglican way of practicing their Christianity tend to be at home with mystery, ambiguity, and even contradiction when it comes to pondering the Divine. And when it comes to human expressions about God, Anglicans tend to shun absolutes, except that they can be wholeheartedly devoted to One whom they admit they cannot comprehend. Join us for a six-part Forum series with the rector on the gifts of Anglicanism, and why it's an important time to be an Episcopalian.
All of the books used in this series are available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen's:
- Those Episkopols by Dennis Maynard
- The Book of Common Prayer
- All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy by Diarmaid MacCulloch
- A People Called Episcopalians by John Westerhoff
(Top: Archbishop Thomas Cranmer; middle: Elizabeth I; bottom: Cape Henry, Virginia, site of the first Anglican Eucharist celebrated in the New World)
March 5 // Stephen McGehee, Associate Rector
An introduction to the newest member of our clergy staff; listen here
March 12 // Allison Seay, Associate for Religion and the Arts // The Vacancy Made Visible
The German theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart claimed that “God is found in the human soul not by addition, but by subtraction.” Just as silence can be illuminating when studying the Bible (as practitioners of lectio divina know), so can negative space in the visual realm. Allison will introduce “Erasure Art,” which makes use of negative space, removal, and reclamation as a way of discovery and rebirth. In preparation for Jane Hirshfield’s reading later this month, this presentation will offer other ways of thinking about the possibilities of poetry and your ability to delight in its form. Audio and slides are here.
March 19 // Pittman McGehee // The Paradox of Love
Based on his book of the same title, this Episcopal priest and Jungian analyst will discuss the three different Greek understandings of love--eros, philia and agape--and the healthy implications, and the dark side, of each one. Read more about Dr. McGehee here.
March 26 // Michael Sweeney, Director of Family Ministry // The Cafe
Michael and members of the project team planning our new cafe report on their progress and take questions.
April 2 // Gary Jones // Pilgrimage
April 9, Palm Sunday // Bill Sachs // Compassion and Holy Week
April 16, Easter Day // no Forum
April 23 // Everett Worthington // How Does One Become a More Christian Christian?
How do we become more Christian in our daily lives? We do so not by willpower, which seems to "tire out" easily. Rather, we do so by forming habits. This is how we develop "the mind of Christ," which is not to be equated with simply rationally or reasonably thinking like Christ, but rather living like Christ, through building forgiveness, humility, and even patience.
Everett L. Worthington, Jr. is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research interests include forgiveness and other virtues, religion and spirituality in clinical practice, and the hope-focused approach to counseling couples. He has written over 30 books on topics including forgiveness of others, self-forgiveness, character strength, religion and psychology, and couples' therapy, and he has published over 350 scholarly articles and chapters. Worthington is frequently cited as an expert on these topics in scientific literature and public media.
April 30 // St. Stephen's Youth and Michael Sweeney
On Senior Recognition Sunday, our high school seniors will not only be recognized and blessed in church, several of them will speak in the Sunday Forum about how being part of St. Stephen's Church has affected their lives.
May 7 // Legacy Society presentation and "Ask the Rector"
The leadership of our planned giving society will speak for part of the Forum, and the rest will be an opportunity for you to ask questions of the rector in the last Forum of the program year at which he will speak.
May 14 // Outreach presentation
Hear from staff and the lay leadership of our outreach ministries about what St. Stephen's is doing in the community and in the world.
May 21 // Bishop's visit; no Forum
May 28 // Summer schedule begins (two morning services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and no education hour)
Fall 2016 semester
September 18 // Gary Jones, "Buried Treasure," part 1 | audio
Drawing on sources ancient and new, from the Bible to modern writers on the spiritual life, the rector reflects in this five-part series on ways to cultivate a life-giving spirituality in the 21st century. The series is meant as a theological response to the events of the past summer. When the world around us is so full of turmoil, how do we regain our spiritual bearings, our inner peace, our ability to move forward in our life with a sense of equilibrium?
October 2 // Gary Jones, "Buried Treasure," part 2 | audio
October 16 // Gary Jones, "Buried Treasure," part 3 | audio
October 23 // Outreach leaders | audio
October 30 // Paul Wallace*
An astrophysicist who holds a Master of Divinity degree, Paul Wallace will explore one of the strangest accounts of creation in scripture: the divine monologue of Job 38-41. In these chapters, in response to the poor man's pleas for justice, God takes Job on a wild, woolly, and very unexpected tour of creation. Job's cosmos stands in accord with certain aspects of scientific thought: it values experience over tradition, offers a radical critique of conventional views of God, and removes human beings from the center of all things. These similarities make the book of Job a promising point of departure for those who seek dialogue between Jewish and Christian religious traditions and modern science.
November 6 // Allison Seay, "We Become What We Behold," part 2 | text
November 13 // Gary Jones, post-election Forum | audio (includes the audio of the TED Talk)
TED Talk shown in the Forum on November 13
November 27 // Gary Jones, "Buried Treasure," conclusion | audio
December 4 // Gary Jones, a year-end conversation with the rector | audio
December 11 // Greg Garrett*
In a presentation titled "Seeking the Sacred in Harry Potter," Garrett finds this best-selling saga to be much more than a children's story. He argues that it's a powerfully spiritual tale whose phenomenal appeal results both from J. K. Rowling’s gifts as a storyteller and her story’s engagement with the topics of community, compassion, redemption, and sacrifice. Garrett has written a book on the subject, One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter.
No Forum December 18 or December 25