Sunday Morning ClassesWednesday Evening Classes | Small Groups

Faith formation classes are offered on Sunday mornings following the 10 a.m. worship service and on Wednesday evenings beginning at 6:30 p.m. during Koinonia. All adult classes are open to the adult community as a whole. This openness allows people to choose classes rather than be placed in them.

Sunday Mornings

Adult Christian Formation 2017-2018: A Sense of Place, A Base for Pilgrimage

The theme for Calvary’s 2017-2018 adult formation is “A Sense of Place, A Base for Pilgrimage.” As Calvary enters an exciting new era with the Rev. Scott Walters as our rector, this fall is a good time for us to examine our sense of place as an urban downtown church in the city of Memphis. We will look back at the interesting and surprising history of our block and will get to know our neighborhood and city better. We will explore opportunities to engage with the built environment around us through shared relationships and ministries. In the winter and spring, we will look at Calvary as a base for pilgrimage as we join our city in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We will examine the concept of pilgrimage locally and globally as we seek Christ’s direction on where, when, and how we are called to walk with him.


Jan. 14: Watch Love Work – MLK 50
Since April 3 of last year, Watch Love Work has released online each week a 2-3 minute video story of love from Memphis in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As the 50th anniversary of his assassination approaches, we share these stories to help make the world better, taking to heart Dr. King’s words about the power of love and hopefully healing our city in the process. In honor of the MLK holiday, parishioner Alison Wetter will share the story of the project and its many connections to Calvary. Joining her is volunteer team member and fellow parishioner, James Dowd, as well as two of the creative team, producer Michael Phillips, and filmmaker Perry Kirkland, from City Leadership, a nonprofit partner in the project. We will watch some of our favorites together, take requests for some of yours, and will have time for discussion and Q&A.

Jan. 21: Annual Meeting with Rector's Forum

Jan. 28: Reception for the Rev. Amber Carswell & Melissa Wilkinson

Feb. 4: Subversive Pilgrimage: Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.

Written in the late 14th century, the Canterbury Tales introduce us to not only medieval knights and squires but also friars, nuns, scholars, widows, cooks, carpenters, and more. Focusing on the General PrologueProfessor Lori Garner will lead us in ways that pilgrimage opened a space for even such a diverse group as this to safely debate the social issues of their time, issues perhaps not wholly dissimilar to our own. Through the power of storytelling, Chaucer’s pilgrims challenge long-established hierarchies, ask us to rethink the dynamics of power and gender, expose corruption and abuses of authority, and invite radically new concepts of spirituality. Lori Garner is associate professor of English at Rhodes College, specializing in medieval literature and folklore. She is the author of Structuring Spaces: Oral Poetics and Architecture in Early Medieval England (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011).‚Äč

Feb. 11: Confronting the True History of Nathan Bedford Forrest
Working with Calvary, the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis, and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Professor Tim Huebner and his students in the Historical Methods class at Rhodes College are writing the text for an additional historic marker to be placed at the site of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s slave yard located on Calvary’s block. Tim and his students will share findings of their research into telling a more complete story about slavery and the slave trade in Memphis.

Feb. 18 & 25: The Silence of our Friends: MLK’s Legacy and the Cost of Community
In these presentations, Professor Charles McKinney charts the outlines of Martin Luther King’s religious and social vision and facilitates discussion on the challenges we face today in the pursuit of these lofty goals. Charles McKinney is the Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and an Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College. His forthcoming book, edited with Aram Goudsouzian, is titled An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee. McKinney has provided commentary for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Kansas City Star, the Boston Herald, and CNN.

March 4: Phyllis Tickle: Teacher, Poet, Publisher, Journalist, Pray-er, and Evangelist of Emergence Christianity
Author Jon Sweeney recently completed a biography of Phyllis Tickle and will discuss the life and career of this extraordinary woman with long ties to Calvary. He will discuss her written work over fifty years (poetry, plays, literary, spiritual, and historical/theological), her impact as the founding editor in religion at Publishers Weekly during the boom of spiritual writing and interfaith understanding in the 1990s, and her relationships with Gwendolyn Brooks, John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, Brian McLaren, and Desmond Tutu.

March 11: Update on the New Mental Health Court and How You Can Be Involved
Judge Gerald Skahan and Coordinator for the Mental Health Court Kim Daugherty will present an update on the Mental Health Court which opened two years ago. We will learn how the Court has been helping persons move from jail to a new life. During the past year a group of Calvary members, Friends of the Mental Health Court, have been offering support for persons in this rehabilitation program.

March 18: Place and Pilgrimage in the Psalms
Dr. Milton Winter will guide us in uncovering the themes of place and pilgrimage that are woven throughout the songs of beauty, ascent, lament, and longing that make up the Book of Psalms. Milton was confirmed at Calvary last January. He is a member of the Calvary Choir.

March 25 (Palm Sunday): Introduction to the Triduum and Holy Week
The Rev. Neil Raman will help prepare us for our pilgrimage with Jesus through Holy Week. He will discuss the theological, liturgical, and spiritual meaning of this week of passion and resurrection, with a particular focus on the three services that make up the Triduum - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.

Easter Sunday, April 1: Formation classes will not meet

April 8 & 15: Our Pilgrimage in Resurrection
Daniel Amsler will guide us on our pilgrimage in the resurrection. On April 8th, he will lead us in exploring “The Never End: Where we are going? Heaven. Really!” Then on April 15th, he will help us walk “The Daily Trek: Who’s going with us? Friendship with God. Really?” Daniel is retired from 15 years as a pastor and 25 years as a psychological therapist in Southern California.  He and his wife Judy have retired in Memphis after being transferred here for Judy's work. Daniel has traded in his therapy couch for golf clubs and a worn-out passport.  They are parishioners of Church of the Holy Communion.

April 22: The Service of Evensong and the Choir’s Pilgrimage to Bristol, Apr. 22
Calvary Organist-Choirmaster Kristin Lensch will guide us through the beauty, music, and worshipful light of the service of Evensong and preview the Calvary Choir's pilgrimage to Bristol, England this summer.

Reflections on the Camino de Santiago, Apr. 29
In June of 2017, less than a month before moving to Calvary, Scott and Ardelle Walters led a group of sixteen peregrinos (pilgrims) along the last 70 miles of the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James, in northern Spain. Come hear about this ancient pilgrimage, the Anglican church in Spain, plans for an Anglican pilgrimage center in Santiago, and more. 



Jan. 14-April 29: Bible Study 
In addition to our Great Hall class, we also offer a Bible study in a seminar-style format. During the spring semester of 2018, we will focus our discussion on the Biblical basis for making our pilgrimage in discipleship and bringing about positive change through nonviolence by exploring these themes in the Gospel of Mark. Participants are invited but not required to make use of Ched Myers’ provocative commentary, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.



Welcome Classes
Led by one of our Calvary clergy, this is the best place to start your journey at Calvary. These classes are a great way to get to know Calvary’s history, ministries, and community better. Look for specific dates announced in the weekly bulletins and our electronic newsletter, the E-pistle.

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Wednesday Evenings: Koinonia  


Jan. 10-Feb. 7: A Pilgrimage through the Provocative Words and Prophetic Vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
During the five weeks of the Season of Epiphany, we will explore the illuminating thought of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through his letters, sermons, and writings. Sessions will be led by the Rev. Scott Walters, the Rev. Paul McLain, the Rev. Neil Raman, Rhodes history professor Tim Huebner, and retired history teacher Brenda Woemmel.

Feb. 21-Mar. 21: Lent after Dark
Join us in the Great Hall to hear one of our Lenten Preaching Series speakers. This time provides a more intimate setting to get to know these preachers and often includes a time to ask questions. 

Feb. 21: Dr. Barbara Lundblad, Joe R. Engle Professor Emerita of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York, N.Y.

Feb. 28: The Rev. Winnie Varghese, Trinity Church in New York, N.Y.

Mar. 7: The Rev. Buddy Stallings, Retired Episcopal priest in New York, N.Y. 

Mar. 14: The Rev. Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms & Community of Magdalene in Nashville, Tenn. 

Mar. 21: Dr. Bahshar Shala, Memphis Islamic Center in Memphis, Tenn. and Dr. Steve Stone, Sr., Memphis Friendship Foundation in Memphis, Tenn.



Restreaming: Thriving in the Currents of Retirement, Wednesdays, Apr. 11-May 9, Emison Room, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Author and Calvary parishioner Bill Craddock and the Rev. Paul McLain will lead a five-week series during the Easter season based on Bill’s recent book, Restreaming: Thriving in the Currents of Retirement. Working with the metaphor of a kayak paddling in a new, downstream current of retirement, Bill offers an array of provocative reflections as a way to invite participants to envision new opportunities, new relationships, and new ways of being. The primary purpose of these reflections is to entertain, edify, and to prepare those anticipating retirement or actually retired with gentle yet intentional paddle strokes for guiding their life (kayak) into their later years. The book is available at Novel bookstore, Burke’s bookstore and the Episcopal bookstore on Poplar. and through other online booksellers. The class will make use of a free online study guide found at


Sept. 6 - May 23, 2018: Education for Ministry
Education for Ministry (EfM) is a four-year intensive learning experience for adults, offered Wednesday evenings from 6:15-8:30. In a seminar setting, participants study the Bible, church history, theology, and contemporary church issues. Learning to think theologically is also a core component of the program. EfM was created at the University of the South, and its curriculum is a distillation of that which is used in the Seminary at the University. Participants learn the theological disciplines as well as the application of this knowledge in their lives. Students are asked to commit to one year at a time. To learn more, contact co-mentors Betty Jo Dulaney, and Richard Hendricks,


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Small Groups

Small groups at Calvary provide an opportunity to connect with others in a more personal setting than Sunday mornings typically allow. There are three types of groups: study, sanctuary, and ministry. Study groups read and reflect on the Bible or other theological texts, or follow various academic curricula. Sanctuary groups meet primarily for fellowship, although the presence of God in members' lives is often a topic of conversation. Ministry groups gather around a particular service opportunity. These groups are facilitated by a member of the parish and meet weekly in various locations around the community. For more information about participating in one of these groups, contact Ebet Peeples.

Calvary Book Group
This lay-led group is open to all members and friends of Calvary. The group meets on the last Tuesday of the month from January through October to discern and discuss theological themes in contemporary fiction and non-fiction. Recent books have included Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and the first book/movie combination – Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosay. To learn more about the group or suggest a book, please contact Molly Polatty. The Calvary Book Group meets at a Calvary parishioner’s home, last Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m.

Men's Bible Study: La Baguette Bible Brothers – Time 7:30-8:30 a.m. 
Every Thursday morning, a few good men – Calvary men – gather at La Baguette on Poplar Ave. for coffee, prayer, Bible study, terrible jokes, and perhaps a gooey pastry breakfast.  It's a "Pre-Game Show", as they study the Gospel lesson for the upcoming Sunday service. At the very least, it makes them pay attention to the sermons. It is now in its 20th year, so the jokes must not be that bad. A great class with open book exams – join us! Contact Hal Crenshaw or Bill Haltom to learn more.

Women's Bible Study: Coffee with the Curate – Time 10:30-11:30 a.m.
On Thursdays from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Curate Neil Raman leads a weekly women’s New Testament Bible study group in the Crook Auditorium. The group is studying the parables of Jesus and the Gospel of John, combining a look at the scripture with the study of William Brosend’s book Conversations with Scripture: The Parables. Each week, the group walks with one another through Scripture, uncovering the deep truths that still speak to us today, and growing in friendships along the way. Contact Neil Raman if you are interested in joining this group.

Women's Bible Study: Thursday Theological Thinkers – Time 12:15-12:45 p.m. 
Women of various ages and stages of life gather on Thursdays in the library at St. George's Episcopal Church in Germantown for a brief discussion of the upcoming Sunday Gospel lesson. These Thursday Theological Thinkers enjoy applying the text to their lives and supporting one another in their efforts to make a positive and loving difference in the world around them. Praying the weekly collect both before and after the Gospel discussion is always an enlightening moment and highlight for those gathered. Contact Laura Trott to learn more.

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