The Forum

The Forum is a conversation at Holy Communion about faith, life, justice, arts and culture. Since our buildings are closed to group gatherings, the Forum in Fall of 2020 will take a different shape. Each week we will premiere a conversation on our Facebook and Youtube channels. On the following Sunday morning, during our Virtual Coffee Hour, you’ll have a chance to engage the forum through discussion and Q&A. We also post most of our forums audio on our podcast.

2021 Fora:

May 13: Grace Gathering Update with Hannah Shanks, MSW

This week on the Forum: our rector is in conversation with our consultant, Hannah Shanks who has been working with Grace Gathering since the Rev. Laurie’s departure. Grace gathering is a welcoming worship experience for people of diverse ages, abilities, and faith journeys. It is a place where families and caregivers worship along-side those they care for in a service that makes room for wiggles and shouts. You can learn more about grace gathering at: Join us Sunday at 11:30am for Virtual Coffee Hour and a conversation with Hannah. Sign in information is here.

May 6: Bible 101 Micah on Discipleship with the Rev. Marc Smith

In our final “Bible 101” of the season our priest associate, the Rev. Marc Smith, explores the fundamental elements of faithful discipleship in “What Would God Have Me Do: Micah on Discipleship.”

April 30: Revisiting Sustainability, Ecology, and Faith

This week on the Forum: We revisit a forum from 2019. The Rector leads a forum about faith, ecology, sustainability, and climate change. What does it mean for our faith that humans are the factor most influencing our climate today?

April 21: Evangelism Matters with Canon Whitney Rice

This week on the Forum: How do Episcopalians approach evangelism? The Rev. Canon Whitney Rice talks about the need for Episcopalians to reclaim their work as evangelists, and to tell the good news in real vulnerable relationship with others.

April 15: The Forum: Housing Policy and Gentrification with Professor Todd Swanstrom

Click here for the slides

This forum is part of our ongoing discussion around housing policy. Professor Todd Swantrom has studied housing policy and justice throughout his career. He came to St. Louis, in part, to study the “most depopulated city in the world.” He talks about the concept of gentrification and asks whether St. Louis is actually experiencing its effects.

April 11: The Song of Songs Bible 101 with Seminarian Emilee Walker-Cornetta

Our seminarian takes us through the different layers of Biblical interpretation using the Song of Songs. How have Christians interpreted this sensual love poems? What can in mean for us today?

March 20: The Music of Holy Week with Dr. Alex Stefaniak

Dr. Alex Stefaniak presents a discussion of the music of Holy Week. (You can see our whole schedule for Holy Week by clicking here). This will be the last forum for a little while. We’ll take a break for Palm Sunday and Easter. We’ll be back on April 11. Join us for virtual coffee hour Sunday at 11:30am for a discussion of today’s forum.

March 11: Violence and Sexual Diversity in the Northern Triangle of Central America with Cristosal

Learn how you can make a difference in the life of the LGBTQ+ community in Central America with the launch of the LGBTQ+ Justice Project from our partners in El Salvador, Cristosal.

March 5: Gender, Sex, and Scripture a Bible 101 Forum with the Rector

This week on the Forum, the Rev. Mike Angell talks about the “third rail” of theology. Are there ways to engage the “power” of gender in the Bible without just fighting the clobber verses? Join us Sunday at virtual Coffee Hour as we continue the conversation:

February 24: The Impact of Institutional Loss in the Black Community

The Rev. Chester Hines, Elizabeth Hines, and Lisa Gould of the diocese’s Commission on Racism explore the socioeconomic, political, psychological, and religious consequences of the closure of institutions which have served St. Louis’ Black community. Join us Sunday at virtual Coffee Hour as we continue the conversation:

February 19: The Slave Bible

The Slave Bible:  Tool of Oppression — The Rev. Marc Smith leads a discussion of the highly redacted version of the Bible published in 1807 used to subjugate slaves in the British West Indies and United States.

February 11: The Impact of Housing Policy on Structural Racism 

The Rev. Gabrielle Kennedy and Jeff Schulenberg share research developed by St. Louis-based Faith for the Sake of All on the causal impact of housing policy on racial inequity. Join us Sunday at virtual Coffee Hour as we continue the conversation.

February 6: Dismantling Racism in the Post-Trump era

Members of the Diocesan Commission on Dismantling Racism lead a discussion of the legacy of the Trump Presidency’s policies on racism and the strategies necessary to address them as the nation moves forward.

January 26: Annual Meeting 2021: Reports of the Treasurer, Wardens, and Presentation of New Vestry Members

This week, in place of the forum, we present the reports of the Annual Meeting that would usually have been given in person. If you click the arrow at the bottom, or the playlist lines in the top right corner of the video, you can select which presentation you’d like to watch.

January 22: The Forum: Tiny Houses, Homelessness, and the Veterans Community Project

We continue our series on housing with a look at the Veterans Community Project. The video starts with a welcome from co-founder, Brandonn Mixon, followed by an agency overview, tour of a tiny house, and then a testimony from one of the Village residents. The work to end veteran homelessness is providing a new blueprint for housing and homelessness across the country.

January 21: Arranging Placement in a Nursing Home with Denise Carpenter

In the second part of the series, we are joined by parishioner Denise Carpenter. A medical and geriatric social worker who has been a great resource for many. Denise explains arranging placement in a Nursing Facility.

January 17: Providing for At Home Care in St. Louis with Denise Carpenter

In the first of a series, we are joined by parishioner Denise Carpenter. A medical and geriatric social worker who has been a great resource for many as they’ve asked questions like: “How can I care for my spouse, my parent, or other loved one? Can I care for them at home?” Denise walks us through important questions to ask and resources in the St. Louis area for providing care at home.

January 7: The Bible and God’s Call

In this edition of Bible 101, Seminarian Emilee Walker-Cornetta will discuss call narratives in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament—stories in which God asks great things of ordinary people. These biblical stories tend to follow predictable a literary pattern. We’ll look at that pattern through a handful of specific examples and ponder the significance of ancient call stories for our life of faith today.

Fall 2020 Fora:

December 13: Jesus Who? The Incarnation Through the Ages

During the four weeks of Advent, we prepare ourselves again to greet God become human in Jesus:  The Incarnation.  Our Priest Associate, the Rev. Marc Smith, will continue our Bible 101 series with a presentation, “Jesus Who?  The Incarnation Through the Ages,” available online next Thursday, followed by a Coffee Hour discussion on Sunday, December 13.  Please plan to join us.  

December 3: Homelessness and the Pandemic in St. Louis with the St. Patrick Center

Did you know that Holy Communion partners in issues of housing and homelessness? In 2017, a big group of volunteers helped to renovate the house we own behind the church to help house folks who need housing. Our partners in this work, St. Patrick Center, join us to talk about housing and homelessness in St. Louis, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Thanks to Jonathan Belcher and Lana Watson! Join them and other volunteers who helped with the house on our virtual coffee hour on Sunday December 6.

November 20: Bishop Deon’s vision for our Church.

This week, in place of our Forum conversation, we present Bishop Deon’s address to the Diocese (which also served as his sermon at the Convention Eucharist). Listen for the Bishop’s vision for our diocese. Join us on Sunday for Virtual Coffee hour to talk about the address, and other goings on of the Convention.

November 13: Exodus and Liberation Theology (Bible 101)

The Rector explores the links between the second book of the Bible and liberation theology. Sometimes we think that Exodus is just the story of Moses leading Israel to freedom. The book is longer and richer than just this story. Join in this forum, from our ongoing series looking at themes and books of the Bible.

November 7: The 2020 Election with the Hon. Joe Adams

The Hon. Joe Adams was elected Tuesday to the Missouri House of Representatives for the 86th district (which includes Holy Communion). He is a longtime member of the church, and a historian by training.
(Note: this video was recorded just hours before the announcement of the presidential election).

October 28: Why Should People of Faith Care about Immigration and the 2020 Election?

This Week at the forum we are highlighting a conversation in Immigration and the 2020 election. We asked “why should people of faith care about immigration?” We co-hosted this series with several other institutions. Dr. Marie Griffiths, Director of the Danforth Center on Religion and politics served as moderator. Panelists included Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Dr. Orlando Espin, and the Rev. Dr. Ben Sanders.

October 24: All Saints and All Souls with the Rector

This Week at the forum The Rector introduces the Feast of All Saints and All Souls. This feast can be important at this time, as a reminder we are not alone. We are part of a community of faith that extends beyond every human boundary, even beyond death.

October 11: Beloved Community “Courageous and Just” with the Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas and Austin Channing Brown

This Week at the forum we listen in to a conversation from Trinity Wallstreet’s Trinity Institute. The discussion, between Dean Kelly Brown Douglass of Union Seminary and Austin Channing Brown, author of “I’m Still Here, Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness,” centers on the experience of race and the life of faith. On Sunday, we’ll talk about the way we’ll be engaging some of Channing Brown and Brown Douglas’ work as we continue our Beloved Community work at Holy Communion.

October 8: Bible 101 “What’s With These Parables, Anyway?” with the Rev. Marc Smith

The Rev. Marc Smith leads this “Bible 101” session on the parables. Based on the work of Bill Brosend, a scholar at Sewanee, Marc talks about the complicated nature of these stories of Jesus, and the way they can still speak to our lives today. Listen in to our conversation, and join us Sunday during virtual coffee hour for a Q and A and discussion.

October 2: “Pandemic Task Force October Report”

The rector speaks with Susan Norris and Dr. Alison Nash, members of a group of our Pandemic Task Force. The vestry has unanimously adopted the recommendations of the task force not to plan for indoor in person worship until a major change happens with virus numbers. We will be continuing to make our online worship our primary worship, but also will offer some outdoor ways of gathering. Listen in to our conversation, and join us Sunday during virtual coffee hour for a Q and A and discussion.

September 25: “Cristosal: Human Rights as a strategy for protecting democracy”

The Rev. Mike Angell speaks with Noah Bullock and Osvaldo Lapuente from Cristosal. They talk about the state of human rights work in El Salvador and the Central American region. We also reflect together on our shared realities, and how focusing on human rights and dignity can see us through emergency situations when governments are challenging norms.

Join the 20th Anniversary celebration for Cristosal

Join Cristosal ON OCTOBER 8TH for an online evening of arts, culture, and serious human rights talk as we celebrate Cristosal’s first twenty years and launch the next twenty with the resources to grow and expand our work. There will be music, poetry, puppets (!), and even a message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

September 17 Bible 101 “The Book of Job”

Pandemic, hurricanes, fires, violence. It is only natural that we ask, “Why is this happening?” No book of the Bible better addresses this question than the Book of Job. In this week’s Forum video, the Rev. Laurie Anzilotti shares what Job brings to this question in today’s context and offers two valuable resources for exploring the book: Stephen Mitchell’s poetic translation of Job, and Bill McKibbon’s The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation. 
Another way to engage the text is through William Blake’s illustrations of the Book of Job

September 10 “The Forum: Icons, Representation, and the Divine with Kelly Latimore and Mark Bozutti-Jones”

The rector hosts a conversation with the iconographer who wrote “Mama” and with The Rev. Mark Bozutti-Jones a leading advocate of modern icons.

You can find Kelly Latimore on his webpage.
You can find The Rev. Mark Bozutti-Jones at Trinity Wall Street.
You can read more about “Mama” on our webpage here.

Past Programs:

March 2020

March 8 “The State of Homelessness” Teka Childress, longtime advocate for the homeless, and co-founder of the winter shelter network is with us to talk about recent developments in homeless services in our region.

March 1 “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide”  We welcome Jeff Schulenberg from Faith & For the Sake of All who will present the data from the 2018 report “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide.” You can download the full report by clicking here.

February 2020

February 23 “The School to Prison Pipeline”  was led by Metropolitan Congregations United staff members DeMarco Davidson and Charlie Gentry. Unfortunately the recording had technical difficulties this day and it won’t be online.

February 16 Medicine in the Black Community: A Difficult History. Will Ross, MD, MPH, Washington University Medical School’s Associate Dean for Diversity and Professor of Medicine leads a discussion about racial inequities in accessing medical care.

February 9 The Fight to Vote Continues. Prominent civil rights attorney Denise Lieberman, who contributed to the production of the movie “Rigged,” leads the Adult Forum in a conversation about Voter Suppression in Missouri and Beyond.

February 2 Candlemas and Life on Sacred Time with the Rector The Rev. Mike Angell leads a discussion about the Feast of the Presentation, introduces the procession which will be part of our 10:30am worship, and talks about life informed by liturgy.

January 2020

January 19 Toward a Worshipping Community Inclusive of People with Disabilities with the Rev. Laurie Anzilotti Our assistant rector updates us on the work to begin a new service in our midst, and to broaden our work of diversity and welcome to intentionally center those with different needs and abilities. Take a look at the slideshow by clicking here.

January 12 Getting Involved at Holy Communion With a new year come new opportunities to get involved in church. Join a panel of leaders from ministries at Holy Communion in a conversation about how to get more engaged in the life of the church.

January 5 Intergenerational Activity for Epiphany 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 26 Annual Meeting of the Parish The Forum stands in recess as we hold our annual meeting, with reports from the wardens, rector, and treasurer, and elections for vestry and diocesan convention.

December 2019

December 15 The Rev. Mike Angell “Lessons and Carols, and Anglican Heresy?” Anglicans love Christmas. We love Christmas so much that Paul Tillich, the famous 20th century theologian, called Incarnation the “Anglican Heresy.” Join our rector for a wide-ranging discussion about the traditions of Christmas, and the deeper truth they point toward: God chose to dwell with us.

December 8 The Rev. Marc Smith “Handel for the Holidays” The Rev. Marc Smith dives into Handel’s Messiah, a well beloved classic at Christmas Concerts. But did you know Handel also wrote a piece for Hannukah? Come and hear about Judas Maccabaeus, an oratorio Handel composed in 1746 which tells the story of the Hannukah lights.

December 1 The Rev. Dr. Adam Ployd “Jesus in the Old Testament?” During Advent we read a number of passages from the Hebrew Bible (commonly called the Old Testament) as if they are about Jesus. Why do Christians do this? Is it a promising way to find Jesus everywhere? Or is it a dangerous misreading that appropriates someone else’s scripture? Come find out as we welcome Advent and begin to await the coming of Jesus.

November 2019

November 24 The Bishop Election Following the Diocesan Convention and election of our next bishop, the Revs. Angell, Anzilotti and Smith will lead a discussion of key actions taken during Convention and offer observations about the election and its results.

November 17 Affordable Housing Crisis in metropolitan St. Louis and strategies to address it in a discussion led by Chris Kreymeyer, President and CEO of Beyond Housing. 

November 10 Foster and Adoptive Care in Missouri The rector and his husband recently added a member of their family through the foster system. Holy Communion has a history of members making a choice to grow their families through foster and adoptive care. A panel of members spoke about fostering and adopting kids in need of care in Missouri.

The November 10 Forum audio won’t be posted publicly, but you can request a copy from the parish office.

November 3 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 2019

October 27 Expanding Our Impact with Laundry Love Join us for a conversation about our monthly Laundry Love ministry. The vestry has made discerning the expansion of this work a priority for 2020. We’ll talk together about the program and opportunities for growth. This meeting will also serve as a chance to reflect together on the past two years of ministry, and how we might continue to expand our impact.

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?

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 6 No Forum (St. Francis Blessing of the Animals)  


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.

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 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 2019

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 2019

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 2019

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.

Click to take a look at the rector’s slides from the forum.

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.

Rector's India Trip

Click the photo below for the album that accompanies the Rector’s talk.

February 2019

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.

February 17:
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 2019

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 2018

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 2018

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.

You can order shirts from Wear Bravely 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 2018

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 2018

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 

See the powerpoint from Sept. 9’s forum.

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 2018

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 2018

  • 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 2018

  • 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 2018

  • 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?

You can listen to the episode of “We Live Here” featuring Kenneth Pruitt by clicking here.

  • 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 2018

  • 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 2017

  • 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 2017

October 2017

  • 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.

September 2017

  • 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 2017

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 2017

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 2017

January 8: Intergenerational Sunday School on the Epiphany

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:

Part 1:

Part 2:

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.