Adult Formation Classes

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Adult Formation Classes

The Adult Christian Formation Committee (ACF) is a lay-led group that seeks to nurture the faith and spiritual growth of the Calvary community through inspirational and challenging formation offerings for adults. The ACF plans classes for adults for both Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings at Calvary. Classes are led by clergy, lay volunteers, and guest speakers from local colleges, seminaries, churches, synagogues, and non-profit organizations. All adult classes are open to the adult community as a whole.

For this academic year, Calvary’s Adult Formation Committee settled on a one-word theme: reconciliation. In what ways are people reconciled to God, their neighbors, the earth, their city, their families, their pasts, or themselves? Our speakers this season will seek to delve into this question from these angles and more.

Sunday Mornings

Faith formation classes are offered for adults, children, and youth on Sunday mornings, following the 10 a.m. worship service. See children and youth classes.

Jan. 5: The church has always been splitting

The Rev. Amber Carswell

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians holds some of our most beloved and heart-warming passages of Scripture. However, it was written to a contentious, deeply divided community. Join Amber in reading other people’s mail and drawing out a context and message as relevant now as ever.

Jan. 12: Peaceful Neighbor: The Radical Countercultural Theology of Mister Rogers

The Rev. Paul McLain

Could it be that the prophet who best speaks to this polarized, secularized, and transactional time wore a cardigan and sneakers? Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and although he rarely shared his religious convictions on his children’s television program, he fervently believed in a God who accepts us as we are and who desires a world marked by peace and wholeness. With this progressive spirituality as his inspiration, Rogers used his program as a platform for sharing countercultural beliefs about caring nonviolently for one another, animals, and the earth. Join Paul McLain as we explore the imaginative incarnational theology of Mister Rogers. Come, won’t you be my neighbor?

Jan. 19: Health Care Directives and You

Sherry Compton

Currently, the mortality rate for human beings is holding right at 100%. Even considering that, not many of us take the time to spell out our wishes for end-of-life issues, leaving the guesswork to family members who may have very different ideas of what we would wish. All people who will someday die are invited to a session led by Sherry Compton, who will help us understand and complete our health care directives.

Jan. 26: Annual Meeting

The Rev. Scott Walters

Calvary’s annual meeting is Sunday, Jan. 26, at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall. The 2020 budget will be presented, outgoing vestry members thanked, Lenten Preaching Series speakers announced, and Rector Scott Walters will give a report on some of the wonderful happenings around Calvary in 2019, as well as some exciting announcements about what’s to come in 2020.

Feb. 2 and 9: Being Reconciled in the Midst of the Immigration Law Maze

Charles Pazar

It’s not easy to be reconciled to the place you dream will be your adopted country. Join retired immigration judge Charlie Pazar and retired immigration lawyer Jack Richbourg as they outline the challenges of the immigration law system in the United States and explore ways churches can offer a helpful, faithful, and welcoming response to those who wish to become our newest citizens, neighbors, and parishioners.

Feb. 9 – March 8: Book study: On Being Liked

Paige Whittle, Amber Carswell, and Scott Walters

With questions of religion and homosexuality on the front pages, and debates raging about the nature of marriage and the ordination of priests, James Alison invites us into deep, lucid reflection about God, the wonder of creation, and the way that God not only loves but likes every one of us. All are welcome to this book study in preparation for James Alison’s visit during the Lenten Preaching Series.

Feb. 16: Reconciling Spaces: a conversation with Carol Coletta

Carol Coletta

Carol Coletta is president and CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership and cares deeply about public spaces. Join us for a conversation about how shared spaces can contribute to a city’s work toward being reconciled. Carol’s extensive past experience includes leading the Chicago based CEOs for Cities as well as the start up of ArtPlace, a collaboration among foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to enlist artists as allies in planning and developing equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities based in Brooklyn, New York.

Feb. 23: Building Reconciliation

The Rev. Scott Walters and the Rev. Buddy Stallings

The work of being reconciled touches all aspects of life if we’re faithful to the arc of scripture and the teachings of Jesus. Relationships with God, neighbor, stranger, self, and creation are all themes in the Bible. Drawing on experiences in churches from Mississippi to Manhattan Buddy Stallings and Scott Walters will talk about how the buildings, parking lots, and public spaces on Calvary’s block affect us in our work to be reconciled to one another and to downtown Memphis.

March 1: The Episcopal Youth Community

Gabbie Munn

What’s it like to attend a gathering of the Episcopal Youth Community at Calvary? Join a lively, hands-on forum to experience Calvary through the activities of its younger members. Led by Calvary Director of Youth Ministries Gabbie Munn.

March 8: A Look at the Brooks

Rosamund Garrett

The collection of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art includes around 10,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of global human history. Come meet the human that looks after them, Dr. Rosamund Garrett, who will speak about two of her most recent acquisitions for the museum, Balthazar and the Head of Judas Iscariot.

March 22: Turning from Retribution to Restoration

Janel Baker

This two-part series will explore theories and practices of restorative justice within the context of a mass incarceration society. We’ll investigate what is going on in our criminal justice system, asking how we came to incarcerate people in our city, state, and country at higher rates than in most other places around the world. We’ll unpack a theology of restorative justice as an alternative to vengeance and punishment, and we will shine a light on initiatives designed to promote healing in communities. In the second week, we will focus on restorative practices, modeling experiences of restorative justice during our time together.

March 22, 29, and April 5: Discovery Class

The Rev. Amber Carswell and Ebet Peeples

Beginning Sunday, March 15, the Rev. Amber Carswell will lead the Discovery Class, three weeks of conversations about the Episcopal Church. If you’re fairly new to Calvary and interested in learning more about the Episcopal faith, a good next step would be to attend this class. You’ll learn some of the basics of what we do here and why we do it, plus have a chance to mull over your thoughts and questions with a clergy-person in the company of other newcomers. All you’re required to bring is yourself and your story and an openness to the experiences of other people who say their prayers here with us week after week. RSVP to Ebet Peeples at epeeples@calvarymemphis.org or 901.312.5201 by Thursday, March 12.

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Wednesday Evenings

Calvary’s Wednesday evening program of dinner, worship, classes, and choir rehearsals is offered during the fall, winter, and spring. Check the calendar for updates and come and enjoy these Wednesday evening offerings:


 5:15–6:15 p.m. Dinner/Mural Room
 5:30–7:30 p.m. Childcare for children ages 0–5/Orgill Room
 6:15–8:30 p.m. Education for Ministry (EfM)
 6:15–7:00 p.m. St. Cecilia Choir (Grades K–2) and
Boys and Girls Choir (Grades 3 and up)
 6:15–7:15 p.m. EpiscoPals (Grades K–5)
Wed. Night EYC (Grades 6–12)
Adult Classes
Calvary Ringers (handbells)
 7:00–9:00 p.m. Calvary Choir
Jan. 8 – Feb. 9: Winter Yoga Series

Facilitated by Michelle Fulmer, Susan Waits, and Ardelle Walters

Join us for yoga in January and February; all levels welcome! The seven classes held on January 8 through February 19 will be loosely structured around the seven chakras (a Sanskrit word referencing one of seven energy centers in the human body.) Bring your mat if you have one, but we will have extras on hand.

Jan. 8 – Feb. 9: Book Study: the Color of Compromise

The Rev. Paul McLain

Jemar Tisby’s “The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism” will take us on a historical journey from America’s colonial days though slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights era, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Tisby reveals the obvious and subtle ways the American church has compromised what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. He then charts a path forward with intriguing ideas that further the conversation as he challenges us to reverse these patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, and immediate action. Jemar will join us for a conversation with the author at our final session on Feb. 19. He is also among our Lenten Preaching Series speakers in 2020. Come join the Rev. Paul McLain as he leads our discussion of this provocative new book over the seven Wednesday evenings of Epiphany.

Jan. 8 – Feb. 9: Parent Quiet Hour

Join other parents in Room 208 for quiet conversation or bring your book or laptop and enjoy a space to read or work.


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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. 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
Fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in a 
group member’s home

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.  The Calvary Book Group meets at a Calvary parishioner’s home on the last Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.

Young Adult Bible Study
Every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Crosstown Brewery

All young adults are invited to Crosstown Brewery Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Sunday’s gospel. Contact the Rev. Amber Carswell for more information.

Education for Ministry
Tuesday or Wednesday Evenings, 6:15–8:30 at Calvary

Education for Ministry (EfM) is a program of theological education-at-a-distance of the School of Theology of the University of the South. Students sign up one year at a time for this four-year program. It covers the basics of theological education in the Old and New Testaments, church history, liturgy, and theology. There are EfM classes on both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Calvary from 6:15 to 8:30 during the months of September through May.

Men’s Bible Study: La Baguette Bible Brothers
Thursdays, 7:30–8:30 a.m. at La Baguette 

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!

Women’s Bible Study
Thursdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m. at Calvary

The Thursday morning women’s Bible study continues with a study of Ecclesiastes. Found in the Hebrew scriptures, Ecclesiastes is probably most well-known from the chorus of the Byrd’s hit ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’. But there is much depth to be explored in this philosophical book — study along with us as we find modern truths in ancient words. Led by the Rev. Amber Carswell Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. in the Emison Room.


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