Sunday School for Adults meets after the service in the conference room of St. Mary’s Parish Hall most Sundays September through December and February through May. Check out our most recent series for Sunday School and other formation opportunities below.

Lent 2023:
Opportunities for study, reflection & prayer

Parish-wide Daily Devotional

This Lent, Thankful Ones are invited to follow along with daily reflections provided by Living Compass. The devotional, Living Well Through Lent 2023: Practicing Compassion With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind, includes reflections written by clergy and lay leaders from across our Church. You can pick up a hard copy of the booklet (one per household, please) on Ash Wednesday or any Sunday during Lent. Or the PDF can be downloaded

Thankful Ones can also receive the daily reflections in your email inbox by clicking here and then scrolling down to provide your email address. Subscribers will receive 47 daily emails, one for each day of Lent, plus Easter. The emails will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 22.

Finally, Thankful will be posting daily quotations from the reflections on our Facebook page beginning on Ash Wednesday. You are invited to comment on these posts to engage others in our community in this shared Lenten devotion.

Adult Sunday School

Throughout March, our Adult Sunday School, facilitated by Thankful One Susan Jones will be discussing Timothy Keller’s book, Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I? The book can be purchased at Amazon or from your favorite bookseller.

Sunday School meets every Sunday in March after the 10 a.m. service in the conference room of St. Mary’s Parish Hall and all are welcome to participate – even if you haven’t read the book! If you would like to read along, here is the calendar for our conversations:

Week 1, March 5: Part 1 – Introductory materials of book and Chapter 1

Week 2, March 12: Part 2 – “Losing & Finding Forgiveness,” Chapters 2-4

Week 3, March 19: Part 3 – “Understanding Forgiveness,” Chapters 5-7

Week 4, March 26: Part 4 – “Practicing Forgiveness,” Chapters 8-11

Thorne Sparkman School of Religion

As always, the Episcopal churches of Chattanooga are holding the annual Thorne Sparkman School of Religion, hosted at St. Paul’s downtown. This year’s School marks 50 years since its inception. Click here to register to attend the dinner and keynote speakers for the five Wednesday evenings in Lent:

March 1: The Rev. Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms
March 8: Reflections on 50 years of Thorne Sparkman with panelists: the Very Rev. John Bonner III, the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Abts Wright, Mr. Joel King and the Very Rev. Jim Turrell
March 15: Bishop Kevin Strickland, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
March 22: Dr. Catherine Meeks, The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing
March 29: The Rt. Rev. Brian Cole, Bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee

February 2023:
A Variety of Options for Education & Formation

Though we won’t offer a connected “series” in the month before Lent, Adult Sunday School will be offered. Here is the schedule of classes:

February 5 – NYT article discussion with Susan Jones
Thankful One Susan Jones read the NYT article “What Too Little Forgiveness Does to Us,” and found it so intriguing that she went on to read the author’s book. Susan has offered to facilitate a discussion on the article after the service on Feb. 5. If there’s enough interest and engagement in that class, perhaps we can take on the book for our Lenten series!? You can read the article here. (The book, if you’re interested, is Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I?)

February 12 – Welcome to the Episcopal Church
On this Sunday, I will be teaching and facilitating some conversation with at least three Thankful Ones interested in learning more about the Episcopal Church. We’ll be discussing the book, Welcome to the Episcopal Church, by Christopher Webber. Whether or not you’ve read the book, all are invited to join the conversation.

February 19 – Chattanooga and the Cash Bail System with CALEB
Did you know that the majority of the people sitting in Hamilton County’s jail have not been found guilty? Did you know that a person can sit in jail for 2 weeks, waiting for their first court hearing if they cannot pay their bail? Can you imagine what havoc that creates in their life? Join members of CALEB (Chattanoogans in Action for Love, Equality and Benevolence) as they make a 30 minute presentation, to be followed by discussion and questions, about the harm to our community posed by the cash bail system.

February 26 – Time with Bishop Brian
Bishop Brian will be with us on this Sunday for his annual visitation. Usually, we have an “Eatin’ Sunday” for the bishop’s visitation, but usually, he doesn’t come during Lent! So, instead, this year, I’d like to propose – to him and to you – that he offer a more general Q&A for the parish. What would you like to know about the diocese? the upcoming rector search process for Thankful? the Episcopal Church in general? What questions do you have for the bishop that you can ask (and possibly get answered!) in an informal conversation?

Fall 2022 Series:
Podcast Theology

In the fall of 2022 we explored questions of faith in context through a series of podcasts. Here are all the episodes we listened to and talked about.

Sunday, Sept. 18

The Podcast: Everything Happens. with Kate Bowler
The Episode: Archbishop Justin Welby: Suspicious of Joy
Life isn’t always bright and shiny, as Kate Bowler knows. Kate is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In this special episode, Kate visited the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace in London.

Not a fan of listening to podcasts but interested to know what is said? The “Everything Happens.” Podcast provides a transcript! Click here to read it.

Sunday, Sept. 25

The Podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett
The Episode: Wendell Berry & Ellen Davis: The Art of Being Creatures
What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other? Each week host Krista Tippett explores new discoveries about the immensity of our lives. In this intimate conversation between Krista and one of her beloved teachers, we ponder the world and our place in it, through sacred text, with fresh eyes. We’re accompanied by the meditative and prophetic poetry of Wendell Berry, read for us from his home in Kentucky.

Not a fan of listening to podcasts but interested to know what is said? The “On Being” Podcast provides a transcript! Click here to read it.

Sunday, Oct. 2

The Podcast: Renovare
The Episode: Steve Macchia: Practicing a Preference for God
The Renovare Podcast is a place for honest conversations about interactive life with God. Host Nathan Foster draws wisdom from guests who are all seeking to be more like Jesus. In this episode, Steve Macchia, author and founder of Leadership Transformations, shares insights on cultivating discernment as a listening lifestyle — rather than merely a decision-making strategy — and how to humbly place God’s agenda ahead of our own.

Sunday, Oct. 9

The Podcast: Unlocking Us with Brene Brown
The Episode: Richard Rohr: Spirituality, Certitude & Infinite Love
Well-known author and researcher, Dr. Brene Brown, hosts this podcast with the intention to “unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so that we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart.” In this first part of a two-episode series, she speaks with Father Richard Rohr, Franciscan friar and ecumenical teacher, as they unpack some of the most powerful quotes of his prolific writings.

Not a fan of listening to podcasts but interested to know what is said? The “On Being” Podcast provides a transcript! Click here to read it.

Sunday, Oct. 16

The Podcast: Holy Heretics
The Episode: Robin Meyers: Saving Jesus from Evangelicals
Gary Alan Taylor and Kelly Rose Lamb, hosts of the “Holy Heretics” podcast, identify as “exvangelicals” who came out of the evangelical tradition seeking a more open-hearted way to address questions of faith and spirituality. In this episode, they speak with the Reverend Dr. Robin Meyers, a progressive voice in the heart of the Bible belt of Oklahoma about his stories of of doubt, deconstruction, and reconstruction.

Sunday, Oct. 23

The Podcast: Viral Jesus
The Episode: Brandon J. O’Brien: Scripture as a Cross-Cultural Experience
Author and communication scholar Heather Thompson Day hosts this podcast about digital communication and the power of social connections from the more conservative-leaning media outlet, Christianity Today. This episode discusses how we often read our own cultural values, perspectives and assumptions into the Biblical text, and will (hopefully) help each of us be better readers of the Bible.

Sunday, Nov. 13

The Podcast: Reclaiming My Theology
The Episode: Mako Nagasawa: …from Patriarchy – Abortion
“Reclaiming My Theology” is a podcast that seeks to take theology back from ideas and systems that oppress. In this hot-topic episode, host Brandi Miller discusses some of the foundational logics, histories, and theologies about abortion in the U.S. with author Mako Nagasawa.

Brandi Miller, host of “Reclaiming my Theology”

Sunday, Nov. 13

The Podcast: The Weight
The Episode: Jeff Bilbro: Reading the Times
“The Weight” is a podcast that claims to create a space for honestly discussing some of the heavy topics we face in our culture today. In this episode, author Jeff Bilbro engages hosts Chris McAlilly and Eddie Rester (both Methodist pastors) in a discussion about how we as Christians consume the news – and how sometimes we let the news consume us.

Not a fan of listening to podcasts but interested to know what is said? “The Weight” Podcast provides a transcript! Click here to read it.