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.
Other Sunday morning offerings are described here.
The 2018-19 forum resumes September 16 with a series on re-centering and re-focusing our lives through renewed attention to Jesus. It will be led by the rector.
There are a couple of exceptionally poignant moments in the ancient liturgy of the Episcopal Church that address the volatility, chaos, and anxiety of our time. The first is that moment when an acolyte goes from the high altar with the Gospel book and processes it down the center aisle among the people, and we all turn to listen again to Jesus in our midst. It is much more than an educational moment; it is a mystical one, as we remember that the Lord himself is still with us, addressing us even now.
The other poignant moment is when the people all leave their pews and come up the aisle to the altar to receive Jesus’ body and blood. This, of course, is much more than a memorial moment; it is again a mystical one, in which we are receiving the divine life into our own bodies and pondering the fact that this same divine presence is in everyone. No wonder the Lord pleaded with us to love each other, to be especially kind to strangers, and said that as we do to each other, especially to the least, we will be doing so to him.
The Lord comes to us from on high, and we all turn to face him with open hearts and attentive minds. Then, at his invitation, we all come up to the Lord, and we receive him in this strangely graphic way into our bodies. In contrast to the daily chaos and the ugly divisions of our day, these two poignant moments in our worship are meant to lift us out of our smaller selves and into our larger life together. They help us transcend the forces that divide us, so that we can surrender ourselves to the one who heals and unites us. We turn together to center our attention on Jesus, and we open our palms to receive his life into our bodies, so that over time we might come to the realization St. Paul had, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Many of us could benefit from renewed attention to Jesus. We might call on him when we’re in trouble, but we often don’t really know what to make of his teaching when we turn to listen to the Gospel, or for that matter, what to believe about what is going on when we receive Communion. Maybe now is a good time to refocus our lives. If there is a “peace that passes all understanding,” it is not coming from Washington, D.C., nor social media.
In this spirit, Gary Jones will offer a series in the Sunday Forum on Jesus, using an engaging and accessible bestselling book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, by James Martin, SJ (Society of Jesus). As the author makes his way through the Holy Land, visiting sites where Jesus lived and taught, this Jesuit priest uses his pilgrimage, the Bible, Ignatian prayer, and his own life experiences to illuminate the life of the one who is still companioning us today. Martin’s book has been praised by biblical scholars and spiritual writers, from Richard Rohr and Kathleen Norris to Harvey Cox and Desmond Tutu, and it will be an enriching companion to this series. Copies are available in the Bookshop @ St. Stephen’s.
Fall 2018 Forum Schedule
September 16--Gary D. Jones
September 23--Gary D. Jones
September 30--The Rev. Becky McDaniel; an introduction to our new associate rector
October 7--Gary D. Jones
October 14--Gary D. Jones
October 21--Gary D. Jones
October 28--Gary D. Jones
November 4--Gary D. Jones
November 11--The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler discussing Kahlil Gibran
November 18--Deb Lawrence discussing Episcopal Community Services
November 25--Gary D. Jones
December 2--Advent Fair
December 9--Gary D. Jones
December 16--Gary D. Jones
No Forum on December 23, December 31, or January 6. Forum resumes Sunday, January 13, 2019.