From fall to spring, on Sunday mornings we offer “The Forum” at 9:15am, a chance for conversations and learning. Breakfast is served at 9:00am. Clergy or an invited guest give a presentation, and we have a chance to talk together and with the presenter about the topic. We often highlight social justice issues and opportunities for spiritual growth. The Forum is a great way to learn more about faith, and to get to know your fellow parishioners.
September 22 The Beloved Community Commitment with the Beloved Community Task Force The Episcopal Church continues to make national news with our work toward racial reconciliation, overcoming homophobia and trans-phobia, and our work grappling with a difficult past. In 2018, our congregation made a “Beloved Community” Commitment, based on our shared value of diversity. The Beloved Community Task Force seeks to build on this work and help Holy Communion become a force for building justice and equity and celebrating diversity. Come hear about their plans.
September 29 Responding to the Migrant Crisis with Cristosal This summer a team from Holy Communion traveled with leaders from Cristosal, our partners in El Salvador to learn about the human rights crisis in Central America and to share our own experiences of violence in St. Louis. Come and hear a report back about the trip, and learn how our parish is involved in work to build human rights at home and across borders.
October 6 No Forum (St. Francis Blessing of the Animals)
October 13: A Bold Practice of Generosity- The Stewardship Committee As we kick off our annual giving campaign, we look at models for giving. We’ll ask tough questions about how giving is often framed theologically, and we’ll talk about how the practice of generosity has a capacity to re-shape our lives. This presentation will also take you on a walk-through of our parish finances. As a congregation we are committed to transparency with money, so this presentation will include charts and graphs and talk about our bottom line.
October 20 Moving Toward Universal Health Care with Jennifer Heyl, Ph.D. & the Rev. Marc Smith One of the most heated discussions in our national and our local political life centers around health care. The debate has national and local repercussions. This forum will look at how both national and local policy effects clinical outcomes right here in Missouri. How can we move toward seeing health care as a human right? How can we help our leaders understand this is both good business and good medicine?
September 15 “Next 150” Renovations with Architect Dan Stauder: This summer the rector and wardens announced a change to the scope of the Next 150 renovations. With some hard work, and smart decisions, we were able to preserve most of the project. We think the final plan represents the spirit of the campaign and our values. This Sunday we spendtsome time with our Architect to understand the changes we have made to the plans and to answer questions.
September 8 Open Worship Committee Meeting: Join the rector and members of the worship committee for a conversation about worship this Fall. We will be de-briefing worship in our interim space in Mitchell Hall, making adjustments as needed. We’ll also open the discussion about which Scripture translation we want to use, and talk about the language we use to worship. It will be a wide-ranging, fun, and informative discussion.
May 26- Year end wrap up of the Forum
At the last forum of the year, the rector and the Rev. Marc Smith lead a discussion about the themes that emerged in our conversations, and hope for next season’s forum presentations.
May 19- Welcome Neighbor: Syrian Refugees
We invite you to join a Welcome Neighbor STL “Breakfast Club” to support refugee families recently settled in St. Louis. Eat well and do good at the same time. Breakfast will be prepared by our new refugee neighbors who will share their cooking skills by providing a table of traditional food from their country of origin and you will have an opportunity to hear their story.
May 12- Campus Ministry as a place of discernment
College seniors are facing the question: “What’s next?” a great deal. It’s a tough question. the Rev. Beth Scriven and a few representatives of the RockwellHouse campus ministry community will share with us about their experience of Rockwell House as a community of discernment, a place to ask that question with grace, humor, and a sense of call.
May 5- Climate, Justice and Environmental Racism
The Revs Mike Angell and Laurie Anzilotti lead a discussion about climate change, social justice, and environmental racism, looking at how human driven climate change disproportionally impacts US communities of color. Mike also looks specifically at the critical kidney disease epidemic among impoverished farm workers in El Salvador as a more subtle impact of climate change.
The video from the Atlantic:
The video the rector showed from PBS Newshour:
April 28 – Sustainability, Ecology, and Faith
On the Sunday after Easter, the rector leads a conversation about theology, ecology, and how people of faith can be involved in sustainability.
The video the rector showed from the Smithsonian:
April 21- Easter Morning: No Adult Forum or Breakfast
April 14- Preparing for Holy Week and making Palm Sunday Parasols
The rector and clergy will provide a brief explanation of every service during Holy Week. All those who are reading, assisting, ushering, greeting, and otherwise participating are encouraged to attend. We will also be making palm crosses and decorating parasols for the 10:30am procession.
April 7- Violence Forums Conclude: Forgiveness and Reconciliation
On Sunday, April 7, our ongoing Adult Forum series on the church’s response to violence wraps up, as the Rev. Marc Smith leads us in a conversation about Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
March 31 – Preparing for the cross, a conversation ahead of Holy Week
The Rector leads a forum about the cross, redemption, and the theological questions it raises. We’ll take a look at historical formulations and contemporary discussions of the cross from theologians like James Cone and Jon Sobrino.
March 24 – Update on the Next 150 Campaign
Join us for a conversation about the capital campaign, with updates from the architect and organ builder. We’ll also have a big announcement about how far we’ve come in pledges and donations.
March 17 – An Ongoing Discussion on Violence: Domestic Abuse and Sexualized Violence
On Sunday, March 17, our ongoing Adult Forum series on the church’s response to violence continues with a discussion of “Domestic Abuse and Sexualized Violence” led by The Rev. Kristin Leslie, Ph.D., Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care at Eden Theological Seminary, and The Rev. Marc Smith.
March 10 – The Next Bishop of Missouri: A Holy Listening Session
What gifts and qualities do we seek in the next bishop of Missouri? Bishop Wayne Smith will retire in April of 2020, and in November of this year the Diocesan Convention will elect the next bishop of Missouri. At the adult forum on Sunday February 10 (9:15am) Deborah Nelson-Linck, chair of the nominating committee will join us at Holy Communion. You will have a chance to have your voice heard in a listening session.
March 3: An encounter with the Spirituality of India, A Wisdom Journey with the Gospel of Thomas
This January our rector spent two weeks on pilgrimage to India. On Sunday March 3, he will present our adult forum. How have encounters with Hinduism and Buddhism shaped Christian spiritual practice? He will also introduce our Lenten series, an experiential encounter with the Gospel of Thomas, Contemplative Wisdom Traditions in Christianity.
Click the photo below for the album that accompanies the Rector’s talk.
February 24: Cristosal’s Global School and the opposite of a “Mission Trip” with Joseph Russ
Join a conversation about El Salvador, what a group from the church will do there this Summer, and how our partners at Cristosal are working against the “Mission Trip” model of international engagement. Joseph Russ is a young adult serving with Cristosal as Recruitment Director for Cristosal’s Global School. The adult forum and Sunday breakfast will take place in the Undercroft this Sunday.
The Rev. Ben Sanders, Ph.D., assistant professor of theological ethics at Eden Seminary, will discuss the development of black theology and its impact on the broader church. In addition, he’ll explore current trends in black theology and their potential to influence both religious faith and public discourse.
February 3 Annual Meeting of the Parish
Formation for Adults is in recess as we host the annual meeting of the parish. Read more about the Annual Meeting.
January 6 Epiphany Intergenerational Activity
Join us in the celebration of Epiphany. We’ll hear the Epiphany story through the Godly Play Curriculum, we’ll make star crafts, decorate crowns, and we’ll bless chalk for you to take home and mark your doorways for the magi. You can read more about Epiphany by clicking here.
January 13 The Rev. Chester Hines and the Rev. Mike Angell: “Preaching in the Black Church Today”
Join our deacon the Rev. Chester Hines and the rector for a conversation about the preaching tradition in the black church, its rich history, and to hear pieces of sermons from diverse voices from Black Church leaders today.
January 20 Constance Vale:Church Architecture: Connecting Us With the Divine
As Holy Communion prepares for a capital campaign and potential renovations, Holy Communion member and Washington University Assistant Professor of Architecture Constance Vale, will lead a discussion of the artistry of church ceilings and their capacity to connect us with the divine.
January 27 The Rev. Marc Smith: Series on Violence
The Rev. Dr. Marc Smith will lead our Adult Forum discussion on “Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis.” The presentation will address the prevalence and causes of gun-related violence and explore the role of the church in using evidence-based strategies to reduce it.
December 2 Dr. Adam Ployd “The Theology of the Nativity”
Dr. Adam Ployd, professor of Church History at Eden seminary returns to lead a discussion about the theology of the Nativity. We’ll take a look at classical depictions of Jesus’ birth together and talk about the meaning of various pieces. We will also show off our new nativity set from Bethlehem. Dr. Ployd’s forum last year was one of the most popular of the season, come for an engaging lecture and conversation about how the church has marked this season of preparation, and how we might engage the tradition today.
December 9 Eliana Haig and Dr. Alex Stefaniak “Christmas Music History and Traditions”
Join resident music scholars Eliana Haig and Alex Stefaniak as they talk about the history of some of the most beloved Christmas music. We’ll hear about the origins of much beloved carols, and traditions that have shaped our holiday celebrations.
December 16 The Rev. Marc Smith “An American Culture of Violence”
The Rev. Marc Smith continues his series on Violence, looking at the American culture and particular ways our country is shaped by the epidemic of violence.
November 18 Toward a Capital Campaign
The Rector and Vestry members are back to talk about the results of the feasibility study, and to walk the congregation through our priorities for the coming renovation. This Sunday’s Forum look in detail at the results of our feasibility study and discussed the initial plans with the architect. You can see the slides up close by clicking here. You can watch the forum below:
November 11 Becoming Bravely
Our partners from Bravely (the non-profit formerly known as Magdalene St. Louis) came and talk about their work with women who are survivors of addiction and sexual exploitation. A year ago, we began renting a house we own as a congregation to Magdalene, and graduates of their two year residential program have lived in the home. You can read more about our partnership here.
November 4 Intergenerational Formation: Dia De Los Muertos and All Saints
In Latin America, the dead are remembered – and celebrated – in a unique way every year. Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is celebrated on November 2, All Soul’s Day, with colorful, joyous altars filled with mementos and photos of the beloved to honor and remember those who have died. At Holy Communion on All Saints/All Souls Sunday, we made crafts together as we learned more about the celebration. We used our crafts to finish decorating our altar/ofrenda together.
October 28: The Violence in Scripture
The Rev. Marc Smith kicked off a series of forums looking at the Christian response to violence, and starting close to home. In this presentation, we took a look at the Violence present in Scripture. Marc’s series of forums, presented across this year, is the pilot of a church-wide curriculum to be published by Sewanee’s School of Theology, and is part of his ongoing work as the Bishop’s Deputy to Prevent Gun Violence. Come join a conversation about the complexity of Scripture. How can the Bible perpetuate a culture of violence? What images, stories, and teachings from Scripture can help us respond with peace and justice to a violent world?
October 21: Stewardship Kickoff – The Stewardship Committee
Join the Stewardship Committee, Treasurer, and Rector as we learn about annual giving at Holy Communion. We will talk about the practice of making an annual pledge, introduce the theme of this year’s campaign, and take questions. As a congregation we are committed to transparency with finances, so this presentation will also involve looking together at charts of our budgeted and actual income and expenses for the previous year. We want you to know how your gift can make an impact. (The charts and graphs referenced in the forum are available in the Rector’s Stewardship Letter. Download by clicking here).
Watch Stewardship Co-chair Donna Baudendistal’s Stewardship story:
October 14: Immigration Law with Dr. Stephen Legomsky
We continue our conversation about human rights as we look at the state of our immigration system, and the legal framework surrounding immigrants. Dr. Stephen Legomsky, Emeritus Professor of Law at Washington University served as Chief Counsel of US Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Department of Homeland Security from 2011 to 2013. Listen to a recent episode of NPR’s “1A with Joshua Johnson” featuring Professor Legomsky.
October 7: A Partnership with Cristosal and El Salvador
Did you know Holy Communion has a partnership in El Salvador? Columbus day has come into controversy in recent years. We thought there was no better time to look at issues of justice that continue to connect North America and Central America, and to talk about Human Rights. Noah Bullock, executive director of Cristosal joined us about the Human Rights based approach his organization has been taking in the region, and spoke about ways that people of faith can make a difference. They also joined us for a conversation at Washington University’s Danforth Center at 6pm on Columbus Day: Human Rights and Organizing, a Faith Informed Response.
September 23: Toward a Capital Campaign: Continuing the Conversation
The Rector and Vestry members are back to talk about the launch of the feasibility study, and to walk the congregation through some of the ideas we have for a potential renovation. We’ll also be talking about the difference between Capital Campaign Giving and Annual Giving. This Sunday’s Forum comes as we release the Feasibility Study. We will answer questions and take a look at the documents and the architects proposed plans together.
September 16: Doing Justice as the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement: The Rev. Melanie Mullen
The Rev. Melanie Mullen serves as the Presiding Bishop’s Director of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation-care. In this role she lead the Episcopal Church’s work on racial reconciliation and justice, domestic poverty, stewardship of creation, and the United Thank Offering. Melanie will be with us as our guest preacher and forum presenter to talk about ways our “Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement” is working practically across the world, for justice, reconciliation, and God’s dream. How can we be involved in the wider work?
Hear Melanie’s Forum:
September 9: Holy Communion Goals and Priorities for 2018-2023
The Rector and members of the vestry will present an update of our listening and discernment process. We will talk about our goals for the coming year, and the coming five years. We will be talking about ministry, program, and facility questions we face, and we will outline the steps ahead toward a capital campaign and facility rehabilitation. Where will our church be headed this year? What ministry calls us? Where will we seek and serve Christ in our neighbor? What investments do we need to make now, in order to prepare for what comes? Come be part of the conversation.
May 13: “This is My Body: Embracing the Messiness of Faith and Motherhood”
Hannah Shanks, the author of the brand new book “This is My Body: Embracing the Messiness of Faith and Motherhood” will lead a discussion about her new work, faith, and the challenges and joys of parenting.
May 6: “The State of our Organ”
Organist Connor Scott and the Rev. Mike Angell lead the Adult Forum discussion on the history of organ music in the life of the church and the state of our aging organ. If you missed the forum, you can watch the video here:
- April 29: “Sung Eucharist: from the Solemnis to the Beyonce Mass.”
Our rector will present a forum “Sung Eucharist: from the Solemnis to the Beyonce Mass.” We’ll talk about the theology of worship, and hear selections from famous choral works in preparation for the Missa Popularis premiere.
Take a look at some video from the Beyonce Mass:
- April 22: Susan Norris “Stewarding Our Food Resources,”
Susan Norris, our junior warden and a biologist at Monsanto, lead a presentation focused on the environmental, human and financial impact of food waste.
- April 15 Earth Dance Farms
This week our speaker at the adult forum is Deaconess Anne Corps Member Kevin Rysted. Kevin will share about his work at Earthdance farms, particularly looking at how this non-profit seeks to involve young people in work to grow their own food and care for creation.
- April 8 “Gospels in Glass: Stained Glass Windows in Missouri Churches.”
Adult Forum resumes at 9:15 AM with a continuation of our series of presentations on the beauty of holiness. Dr. Ken Luebbering and Robyn Burnett will present “Gospels in Glass: Stained Glass Windows in Missouri Churches.” Ken and Robyn are members of Grace Episcopal Church in Jefferson City.
- March 4 Deaconess Anne House Update:
Jillian Smith and the Corps Members will give us an update on Deaconess Anne House in north St. Louis. The Deaconess Anne House is a member of The Episcopal Service Corps, a federation of young adult service corps, dedicated to intentional community, spiritual formation, and service to the community.
- March 11: The Practice of Pilgrimage with the Rector
When we travel, how can we encounter the Holy? How can we intentionally spend time “away” not just for rest, but for reflection. This adult forum will be led by the Rev. Mike Angell will take a look at pilgrimage as a spiritual discipline. We’ll have a preview of this summer’s trip to the Holy Land, we’ll talk about last year’s trip to El Salvador, and we’ll talk about how we might transform time away into more intentional time with God.
- March 18″Psychological First Aid in Times of Crisis.” with The Rev. Dr. Barry Hong
Barry Hong, Ph.D. will lead the Adult Forum discussion of “Psychological First Aid in Times of Crisis.” Dr. Hong is Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, Psychologist-in-Chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and an ordained Lutheran minister.
- February 4 The St. Louis Slave Trade & the Church’s Complicity
To begin our commemoration of Black History Month next Sunday, Ken Winn, Ph.D. will lead Adult Forum in a discussion of “The St. Louis Slave Trade & the Church’s Complicity.” A doctoral graduate in history from Washington University, Ken is the former Archivist of the State of Missouri and the author and editor of a number of books and articles.
- February 11 Dismantling Racism
The Rev. Chester Hines will lead a discussion of the continuing work of the Diocesan Commission on Dismantling Racism and its newly revised 14-hour training program. Specific attention will be given to the structure of racism and specific strategies to confront it.
- February 18 The Social Construction of Race
Kenneth Pruitt, director of diversity training for the Diversity Awareness Partnership at Webster University, will lead a discussion about the social construction of race. We will take a look at how race has been constructed over history, and how that social construction continues today. Kenneth was recently featured on St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here” podcast speaking about the “woke spectrum” and the work the white community has to do in the dismantling of racism. How do we talk about questions of privilege and discrimination, and how do we “deconstruct” race?
- February 25 Bach as “The Fifth Evangelist”
Join us to explore the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, a composer known for his deep engagement with religion and spirituality. We’ll talk about how music and performance convey spiritual meaning, and how history and culture can transform this meaning.
January 7 Intergenerational Activity for Epiphany
Come and hear a Godly Play story about the Epiphany and then make crowns and stars!
January 14 “What is an Annual Meeting”
The Rector and Vestry Members talk about our pattern of self-governance, and take a look at the annual meeting coming up in two weeks.
January 21 “Growing Leadership for the Jesus Movement” The Rev. Emily Wachner
The Rev. Emily Wachner is a professor at General Seminary and director of integrative programs. She will lead a discussion about what it means to form Christian disciples today. What does it mean to be the “Jesus Movement?” Do we see Christianity as a set of teachings to be learned or a way of life? How do we form leaders?
January 28 ANNUAL MEETING
Formation for Adults is in recess as we host the annual meeting of the parish. Read more about the Annual Meeting.
- December 3 Dr. Adam Ployd on the History of Advent and Christmas
- December 10 What is a Deacon? with the Ven. Mark Sluss, Archdeacon of the Diocese of Missouri.
- December 17 The Rector talks about the history of Lessons and Carols
- The Adult Forum will be in recess for December 24 and 31
- November 5 Intergenerational Activity: Celebrating All Saints and Dia De Los Muertos
- November 12 Diversity Committee on the Diversity Statement
- November 19 What happened at Convention?
Come and speak with our clergy and delegates about the Convention of the Diocese of Missouri, hear news about our common life in the wider church, hear about important votes around immigration and poverty. We’ll also hear about the work being done by our Commission on Ministry to work to recruit the next generation of priests, deacons, and lay leaders.
- November 26 No Adult Forum (Thanksgiving Weekend)
- Oct. 1 St. Francis Day Animal Blessing (No Forum)
On St. Francis day we won’t host a breakfast or forum because so many of us will be busy getting our animals ready for the St. Francis Day blessing. Join us after church for blessings, and a fiesta!
- Oct. 8 One Book, One Parish: The Third Reconstruction
Join in our discussion of William Barber’s “The Third Reconstruction.”
- Oct. 15 Stewardship Kickoff – The Stewardship Committee
- Oct. 22 African-American Music – Dawn Padmore
Our special guest musician join us to talk about the music of Africa and African American culture just before our Music Festival featuring her voice.
- Oct. 29 Origin & History of Church Music – Conn0r Scott
Our organist leads a discussion about Church music.
- Sept. 24 Faithful Action Forum: The State of our Relationships with Rep Joe Adams, The Rev. Marc Smith, and the Rector
After a week and a few days of protests following the Stockley verdict, we pause to reflect on our collective voice in the face of racism and strife. How are we responding to the actions in our streets? How can we continue to build a movement for justice? What hopeful steps are possible? Come with your questions, frustrations, doubts, and hopes for our community.
May 7: (Un)Learning Violence, (Re)Learning Hope” with Dr. Mai-Anh Tran.
Mai-Anh Tran, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Christian Education at Eden Seminary, will lead this morning’s Adult Forum discussion, “(Un)Learning Violence, (Re)Learning Hope.” Dr. Tran, a deacon in the United Methodist Church, is widely recognized for her work on strategies for Christian formation.
May 14: Women’s Voices Raised for Justice with Lise Bernstein
Lise Bernstein, President of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, will discuss the organization’s mission and recent “Lock It for Love” partnership with the diocese at our May 14 Adult Forum. Ms. Bernstein was recognized as a St. Louis Woman of Achievement by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for her her social justice advocacy and is an active member of Central Reformed Congregation.
May 21: Victims’ Advocacy
Kate Alexander, a Victim Advocate at Crime Victim Advocacy Center (CVAC), will lead the Adult Forum discussion of the social and psychological consequences of violence and public policy options in response to them.
April 2: Handel’s Messiah in Lent
The Rev. Marc Smith presents the final chapter of the discussion he started in Advent about the influences of Handel’s master choral work, the church history and politics of the time, and what Handel has to say to Christians today.
April 9: Presenting Holy Week
The clergy lead an inter-generational conversation about Holy week, giving us a preview of the week ahead.
April 16: Easter Sunday, there was no adult forum.
April 23: Update on the Gannon House
Kara Cummins from the building committee gave us an update on the Gannon House. You can see her powerpoint presentation online here.
April 3o: Housing the Lost Boys
Continuing our March Conversation, “Making a House a Home for Justice,” our junior warden Susan Norris led a discussion about the work of her former church in the Boston area that houses a group of the Lost Boys of the Sudan.
March 2017 Series: “Making a House a Home for Justice”
In March, we’re used the adult forum as a vehicle for conversation as we discern how we will use our house. Holy Communion is renovating a house we own on Gannon Street, immediately behind the church. We’ll be hearing from leaders involved in various “housing based” ministries.
March 5: “For I was a Stranger,”
Debbie Morris Smith, volunteer coordinator for the International Institute of St. Louis (and wife of Bishop Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri) lead us in a discussion about how faith communities can welcome refugees (and sometimes even house them).
March 19: Magdalene House
The Rev. Hope Jernagen, Executive Director of Magdalene House will be with us to talk about this new program, founded through the Episcopal church. Magdalene St. Louis is a residential community for women who have survived lives of sexual exploitation, violence and addiction. Women receive up to two years of housing, healthcare, and a compassionate community of sisterhood and support.
March 26: Talking about Sanctuary
Annie Rice, a local immigration attorney, will be with us to talk about the Sanctuary movement. This session is not legal advice, but a discussion about how various religious organizations are responding to the needs of undocumented immigrants under threat of deportation. For background on sanctuary, and some great articles and podcasts, check out our resources from this month’s theology on tap.
Also in March:
March 12: Handel’s Messiah in Lent
The Rev. Marc Smith continues the discussion he started in Advent about the influences of Handel’s master choral work, the church history and politics of the time, and what Handel has to say to Christians today.
February 5: Why I Marched, a Holy Communion discussion about Activism, moderated by The Rev. Marc Smith and including stories from Mary Haggerty, Susan Norris, and Karen Payne
February 12: Toward a Diversity Statement: The rector and members of our Diversity task force talk with the congregation about naming diversity
February 19: Imaging the church: Deborah Nelson Linck, of Hands On Black History, kicks off a collaborative art project with the parish.
February 26: The State of Anti-Racism with The Rev. Chester Hines, chair of the Dismantling Racism Commission is our guest presenter (and preacher) as we look at the legacy of anti-racist work in the Diocese, the future, and we unveil a portrait of The Rev. Emery Washington, our longtime priest associate.
January 15 and 22nd: The Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause, Dean of Eden Seminary
Dr. Krause will be our guest presenter for a two-part series focusing on Matthew’s Gospel. Dr. Krause is Eden Seminary’s Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament. An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Deborah serves the church through social justice advocacy work, teaching, preaching and scholarship. Mark your calendar and plan to attend!
Hear Dr. Krause’s presentations:
January 29: Annual Meeting the annual meeting of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion will be held between the services on Sunday January 29.