SUnday Morning Adult Forum:


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 inquring 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 are always welcome.

SPRING 2018 Adult

Forum Presenters

Adult Forum runs each Sunday from 9:10-10:10 in Tidemann Hall beginning on Sunday, January 7th  (it is on vacation for the summer!) and is free and open to the public.  We work hard to balance three areas of learning: Holy Scripture, Social Engagement, and the Arts.  We have a fascinating list of presenters for this fall, and we hope that you will join us!

  • January 7

    College Possible Minnesota

    MagdAlena Wells

    One of the greatest determining factors of a person's success in life is based upon the access they have (or do not have) to a post-secondary education.  How is this possible for those who live in poverty or who are systemically denied access to high education?  Join us as we welcome Magdalena Wells of College Possible Minnesota, an organization that seeks to make a post-secondary education a reality for every child in Minnesota.

  • JANUARY 14

    Kirkegaard and the Modern Age

    Andres Albertsen

    Andres Albertsen is a visiting fellow at the Howard and Edna Hong Kirkegaard Library at St. Olaf College, and pursuing a doctorate in Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary.  Who was Soren Kirkegaard, and what does this reluctant Lutheran saint have to teach us in the modern day?  

  • January 21

    The Sheridan Story

    Avivah Brown

    Over 200,000 children in the state of Minnesota live in food insecurity and do not always know if they will receive their next meal. The Sheridan Story’s purpose is to respond to this need by closing the weekend food gap between Friday and Monday, when children are not able to participate in the free or reduced meal programs at school.  Join us as we hear about this program...and how SPR might get involved.

  • JANUARY 28

    Rondo Community Land Trust

    Greg Finzell

    The Rondo Community Land Trust's mission is "to strengthen communities by providing permanently affordable, sustainable housing for families and individuals below the median income."  In 2018, the CLT will be constructing a new complex of senior housing along Selby Avenue.  What will this look like, and how can partner organizations - like Churches - help to create communities where affordable housing is available to all?

  • Febuary 4

    Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans

    Jon Lovald

    Veterans returning from combat zones throughout the world face many challenges, particularly when it comes to reintegration into civilian life.  Mental health issues, addiction, and depression are just some of the ways that serving in war zones can have a lasting impact on a person's ability to flourish.  What are the particular challenges that face veterans in Minnesota, are communities working together to make stability and success a reality?  Come and join us as we welcome the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans and hear about the important work they are doing in these areas.

  • FEBUARY 11

    Mary's Pence

    Katherine Wojtan

    Mary’s Pence was founded by women to support women on the margins at a time when women-led social justice projects were overlooked and under-funded. More than 30 years later, an all-woman board and staff – along with the women, men, churches, and religious congregations who support Mary’s Pence – continue the still necessary work of our founders by providing funding and holistic support to women working for justice in Central America, Mexico, the United States and Canada.

  • February 18

    "OutNorth: the history of Glbtq persons in minnesota and the fight for equality"

    Daniel pierce bergin, twin cities public television

    In the fall of 2017, Twin Cities Public Television produced "OutNorth," a documentary that detailed the struggle for GLBTQ rights in the State of Minnesota.  The stories told in this documentary were wide and varied, and working with both historians and scholars throughout the state, tell a story of both challenge and hope.  Several members of St. Paul-Reformation were included in this work.  Join us as we hear about the challenges, joys, and struggles of making this documentary, remaining mindful that how stories are told impacts the future.  Clips from the documentary will be shown.

  • FEBUARY 25

    The Spirit and the Sky: Lakota visions of the cosmos

    Mark Hollabaugh

    The interest of nineteenth-century Lakotas in the sun, moon, and stars was an essential part of their never-ending quest to understand their world. The Spirit and the Sky presents a survey of the ethnoastronomy of the nineteenth-century Lakota and relates Lakota astronomy to their cultural practices and beliefs. The center of Lakota belief is the incomprehensible, extraordinary, and sacred nature of the world in which they live. The earth beneath and the stars above constitute their holistic world.   Mark Hollabaugh offers a detailed analysis of all aspects of Lakota culture that have a bearing on their astronomy, including telling time, Lakota names for the stars and constellations as they appeared on the Great Plains, and the phenomena of meteor showers, eclipses, and the aurora borealis. Hollabaugh’s explanation of the cause of the aurora that occurred at the death of Black Elk in 1950 is a new contribution to ethnoastronomy.

  • March 4

    Safe Spaces for all: Breaking the cycle of violence

    Jessica Owen, Indigenous Women's LIFE NET

    The Indigenous Women's Life Net (Project) is an initiative of the Minneapolis American Indian Center that works with native women and families who are living in situations of domestic violence, with the goal of breaking the cycle and finding safe spaces for all.  Through case management, housing case work, and advocacy, the Women's Life Net Project works with the large Native populations in the Twin Cities.

  • March 11

    The holy feast: the mysticism of food

    Dr. patricia beckman, st. olaf College

    Trish Beckman received her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School and BA from Gustavus Adolphus College, including work at the University of Heidelberg. Her research and teaching focus on the history of Christianity with particular emphasis on the diversities of Christian thought and practice; feminist theology; and comparative mysticism.  She co-teaches in the Great Conversation Program.  Her current research project explores mystical theology of food in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Preaching and teaching regularly in various denominational churches, she is an advocate for the public understanding, discussion, and debate of all things religious.

  • March 18

    Creating a Sisterhood: Islamic women reclaiming the narrative

    Nausheena Hussain, Reviving Sisterhood

    5 years ago, Nausheena Hussain entered the nonprofit world as a newly minted grant writer. She observed in the Muslim community that there was an abundance of charitable giving and wealth, but it was all individual donor based. She also noticed women were donors, doing the work, but never acknowledged or in leadership roles. Coupled with anti-Muslim rhetoric, a rise in discrimination and hate towards Muslims, she realized something needed to be done.  That was the launch of Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE). As the network grew, it became apparent that many many women were creating an impact in their communities but were going unseen. Reviving Sisterhood has become a platform to amplify the voice and power of Muslim women showcasing the changemakers, the trailblazers, and leaders having social justice impact in our society.

  • March 25

    Luther, feminism, and the cross

    Deanna Thompson, Hamline University

    Dr. Thompson is a professor of Religion who also teaches classes in African American Studies, Women Studies, and Social Justice. During her twenty years at Hamline, she has been awarded Faculty of the year by faculty and students, and she has also received advising awards. A respected scholar in the study of Martin Luther and feminist theology, many of Thompson’s publications—including her book, Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross (Fortress, 2004)—focus on bringing Lutheran and feminist theology together in generative ways. Since the publication of her theo-memoir, Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace(Cascade, 2012), Thompson speaks and publishes widely on thinking theologically about living with cancer.

  • april 8

    The "Protestant principle" as the end of protestant churches

    Gerald schlabach, university of St. thomas

    Gerald W. Schlabach is Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.  He holds a Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. in Theological Studies from the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  During much of the 1980s Professor Schlabach worked with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Nicaragua and Honduras on church-related peace and justice assignments. Upon returning to the U.S. he wrote two books based partly on these experiences -- And Who Is My Neighbor?: Poverty, Privilege and the Gospel of Christ (Herald Press, 1990) and To Bless All Peoples: Serving with Abraham and Jesus (Herald Press, 1991). Together with Philip McManus he also edited Relentless Persistence: Nonviolent Action in Latin America (New Society Publishers, 1991), and contributed two chapters to that volume.  In ongoing observance of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Dr. Schlabach will help us to do thinking about the relationship between the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches, and how the tradition of each may shed light on future ecumenical dialog.  

  • April 15

    The Iraqi-American RECONCILIATION Project

    Erin Hart

    The mission of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project is to promote reconciliation between the people of the United States and Iraq in response to the devastation that has affected Iraqi families, society, and culture. IARP recognizes the common humanity of the people of Iraq and the people of the United States.  Erin Hart is the Deputy Director of the IARP, and served as a Foreign Service Officer and Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of State from 2008 – 2016. Her assignments included public affairs and consular positions in Washington, DC; Kabul, Afghanistan; Muscat, Oman; and most recently at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Erin holds a Master’s of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in History and German from Grinnell College. She speaks German and Arabic and previously worked in Rostock, Germany, and Berlin, Germany for an international exchange non-profit. Originally from Duluth, Erin enjoys travel, reading, and flute.

  • april 22


    Stay tuned!

  • April 29

    unlimited potential: education and opportunity in an age of diversity

    Fartun Ahmed and

    Jen Westmoreland-Bouchard

    Fartun Ahmed and Jen Westmoreland-Bouchard recently ran and won as a ticket on the Hopkins School board, electing the first Somali-American to a seat on that body.  From the vantage point of a European American and a Somali-American, what were the challenges, victories, and opportunities in their campaign, and what can education in Minnesota look like when people of differing backgrounds work together?

  • May 6

    Lutheran commitments to children and youth: wisdom for framilies, Congregations, and faith-based organizations today

    Dr. Marcia Bunge, Gustavus Adolphus College

    Marcia J. Bunge, Ph.D. is Professor of Religion and the Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. She received her B.A. in English and Music from St. Olaf College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago.  She has written widely on Lutheran theology, Lutheran higher education, and conceptions of childhood in world religions.  Over the past few years, Bunge has edited five foundational volumes on childhood. In this session she will briefly introduce her work on religious perspectives on childhood, and in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation will focus on “Lutheran Commitments to Children and Youth: Wisdom for Families, Congregations, and Faith-Based Organizations Today.” In her remarks Bunge will explore six central theological grounds for commitments to children found in the Reformation and the Lutheran tradition; highlight several influential Lutheran figures who promoted faith formation, education, and child protection; and draw implications for how families and congregations might build this wisdom to strengthen faith formation, child advocacy, and child-adult relationships today.

  • may 13

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  • may 20

    Family drama: understanding  family structure and expectations in the roman empire of Jesus' day

    Dr. Beth severy-Hoven, macalaster college

    Professor Beth Severy-Hoven is a Roman historian who specializes in the study of gender, sexuality and slavery in the ancient world. Her first book, Augustus and the Family at the Birth of the Roman Empire (2003), explores how the development of an imperial family shaped the political institutions of the empire. Her Latin textbook The Satyrica of Petronius: An Intermediate Reader with Commentary and Guided Review, won the 2015 Pedagogy Book Prize from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. She has taught in Rome at the Intercollegiate Center, and at Mac teaches the courses Women, Gender & Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, Roman World, and the Senior Seminar, as well as Greek and Latin courses and January programs in Rome and Egypt. Professor Severy-Hoven was awarded the Jack and Marty Rossman Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.