Letter from Stacey: Adult Formation

Ellen Hargus, Forum Poetry Slam

It is hard to believe that it has been nearly three years since Jeff Martinhauk unnerved me with an invitation to be the Chair of the Adult Formation Committee and host of the Sunday Forums. I was relatively new to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Episcopal Church, and I knew nothing about Formation. I had no idea what Jeff thought he saw in me but I knew I longed to be more involved in this community. After spending a month discerning whether I was being called to serve with intention and joy, I accepted Jeff’s invitation with one provision. If, after three months, I was flailing about trying to set a course for the Forums, I would step aside. Well, we know how that went!

During my time on the committee, the Sunday Forums went from Zoom broadcasts during Covid to in-person presentations back in the Great Hall to our now home in the brand-new Guild Room. Over the last three years, the committee worked hard to bring in more diverse voices and present a broader range of educational and theological offerings, most of which were recorded and can be found in the St. Paul’s Forum Archives (https://stpaulcathedral.org/watch/).

Some Forums you may recall:

  • What we can learn from Mormons about healing divisions (Jana Reiss)
  • Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (Rabbi Jael Ridberg)
  • Sharing the Forum: Raising Ryland, Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child & 1st SDPD Trans Officer (Hillary Whittington & Family; Christine Garcia)
  • Faith, Nature, and Healing: The Gift of Indigenous and African Cosmologies for Social and Environmental Justice (Dr. Michele Watkins)
  • Judaism in Contemporary America (Rabbi Scott Meltzer)

We also tried new Forum formats:

  • What is God Like? Intergenerational Forum (Matthew Paul Turner NYT #1 Best-selling children’s book author)
  • Visio Divina (Mel Ahlborn)
  • Wondering Together Lenten Lunches

As 2023 draws to a close, it is time for me to step down from the Adult Formation Committee. I hope that I have lived up to the expectations of the committee and the congregation. Personally, this experience has deepened my faith in community, nourished my curiosity, made me more attentive to God’s active presence in my life and in the lives of those around me, and brought me new friendships, which I treasure.

I am excited to announce that Sterling Winchester will assume the responsibility as Adult Formation Chair beginning January 1, 2024. As Sterling prepares to take up this leadership role, I would like to invite members (both brand new and long-standing) to join him on the committee to plan future programs (the Forums and seasonal offerings in the fall and spring). It is an opportunity to move Formation to new heights, one that will continue to create space for learning, experience, conversation, and reflection.

Stacey Klaman

Note from the Dean: Thank you so much, Stacey, for all your hard work and creativity as Chair of Adult Formation. You have laid a solid foundation for your successor in this important role.

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