2021 Summer Lecture Series

Summer Sunday Lecture Series, 10 a.m.

The summer 2021 lectures covered a variety of topics that invite us into spaces of rest, creativity, and renewal while also challenging us with new ways to live as Christians in those spaces.

Click the date to learn more about each topic/speaker and listen to recorded lectures:

June 20 | St. David’s Anti-Racism History Project: The Two Reverends Fontaine

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Presented by Laura Hernández-Ehrisman, Ph.D. a member of St. David’s Anti-Racism Task Force.

Explore a new project developed by the task force that reckons with issues of race and white supremacy in our own parish to tell a more honest and inclusive story of St. David’s.

Dr. Hernández-Ehrisman will share one of these stories that discusses the Rev. Jacob Fontaine’s connection to St. David’s church, discuss this history, and invite us to consider what Fontaine’s story means for St. David’s parishioners today. 

June 27  | Playful Trinity


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Presented by the Rev. Santi Rodriguez, Deacon and Seminarian, St. David’s Episcopal Church.

Come join Deacon Santi as he explores how sharing in the life of the Holy Trinity draws us to holy play. This includes a look at the powerful relationship between creative love and playfulness.

July 4  | No lecture 

July 11 | God as Gardener

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Presented by the Rev. Dr. Bob Shore-Goss, member United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Council.

There is another way of Earth care other than to use the model of creation stewardship. Stewardship is a patriarchal model for tending the garden from a position of mastery and dominance. If we look at the biblical scriptures more closely, we discover a gardening model of involvement with Earth care based on descriptive notions of God as Gardener, Christ the Gardener, and the Spirit intimately involved in the relationship between the Gardener and garden. Earth theologian Thomas Berry affirms, “Gardening is an active participant in the deepest mysteries of the universe.” 

The Rev. Dr. Robert Shore-Goss is a retired UCC clergy/theologian and serves on the UCC Environmental Justice Council. As the pastor of the North Hollywood MCC United Church of Christ, the church became recognized as the first Christian Justice Church of the denomination. He has been involved in various congregational green teams and conference environmental justice teams.  He received a 2011 Green Oscar from California Interfaith Power & Light. Shore-Goss received a Th.D. from Harvard University in Comparative Religion and Christian Theology, and self-identifies as a Buddhist-Christian. The Rev. Shore-Goss has held numerous workshops for UCC Annual Gatherings, the Parliament of World Religions (2015), and individual churches of several denominations on creating sustainable spiritualities of faith communities for long term commitment for eco-justice. He is the author of God Is Green: An Eco-Spirituality of Incarnate Compassion (2016). His second eco-theological book is, Creating Christian Protectors (October  2020). Visit his website for the complete list of his books: www.mischievousspiritandtheology.com 

July 18  | St. Teresa of Avila: Castanets and the Prayer of Recollection

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Led by Dr. Mona West. St. Teresa of Avila was a 16th century reformer of the Carmelite order. She is known for her books on prayer and the soul as an interior castle.  She is also known for her wit and humor!  When she created the new order of the Discalced Carmelites, she made sure her sisters had time each day for rest and fun in addition to prayer.

In that spirit, St. Teresa was known to dance on the refectory tables with castanets! We will explore briefly the life and wit of St. Teresa, as well as her explanation of the prayer of recollection. 

July 25  | Sacred Pauses: The Periodic, The Daily, and The Necessary

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Presented by the Rev. Dr. Larry Peers, former senior consultant for the Alban Institute. Within our Christian tradition (and other religious traditions) particular periods, such as Lent, are set aside for reflection, renewal, and reconciliation. Also, there has been a long tradition of “praying the hours” which provide opportunities for reconnecting with God and ourselves at set times during the day. The contemporary writer, Macrina Wiederkehr, a contemporary Benedictine has offered in her book, “Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully through the Hours of the Day,” these verses: “Receive the gift, of seven sacred pauses, Practice waking up, Seven times a day.” Buddhist teacher Tara Brach reminds us that we need to take necessary sacred pauses, especially when we get “hooked” and emotionally lose a sense of presence with ourselves or another. We’ll explore together the practice of taking a sacred pause within our daily living and within our interactions in order to grow our souls more deliberately. 

Aug. 1  | Creativity as Spiritual Practice

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Presented by Cynthia Johnson, Licensed Master Social Worker – Advanced Practice (LMSWAP) founding executive director of Courage & Renewal North Texas.

Encouraging the creative spirit within opens a pathway to the spirit of God. Whether it is painting (houses or canvas), singing a song, writing a poem, creating a garden, a beautiful table or a meaningful life, these practices can calm the overactive mind, the grasping ego, and take us to a deeper place. Join us as we explore how the creative process can provide liminal space for the spirit to speak, and help us connect our souls with our Creator. The opportunity to create a plan of practice will be included in this class. 

Aug. 8  | The Exercise of Seeing: Gazing on and Beholding God’s Actions Through Rest, Recreation, and Reflection


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Many people find reading the Bible difficult, trying to understand a long-ago culture and teasing out its lessons and wisdom for today. Join the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Flanagan as he explains the Exercise of Seeing, a structured, dynamic, and powerful way to behold God’s revelation in the world and Word synoptically. Users of the practice can remain focused on the biblical text, engage with the struggle of realizing God’s Word, and see the world’s reality and transcendence. While the practice may sound challenging, readers will quickly discover its joy and promise.

Bob holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Christian Spirituality at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) and was the 2021 VTS spring semester Dean’s Scholar. He also is an adjunct faculty member at General Theological Seminary and a Lifelong Learning instructor at VTS, teaching pastoral ministry and Christian spirituality. Since 2003, he has been a priest, serving in the Diocese of New York. You will find Bob’s books at Amazon or www.robertdflanagan.com.

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