This fall there will be some changes for the coffee hour.  The weekly schedule we have followed will be different.  Coffee, snacks, and fellowship will be offered on the first Sunday of the month only!  This leaves three other Sundays open each month. After speaking with Pastor Nick, he has given me the “go-ahead” to offer a gathering time for us after the 2nd service.  This gathering would be once a month, other than the first Sunday.  In the Wesleyan tradition, it will run as an informal, small group discussion.  Questions for discussion will be available in advance of the meeting dates.  There will also be reference books for short readings pertaining to the questions.  You can sign these books out at the church office.  You are encouraged to bring ideas, questions, and friends with you to these sessions.  The readings are not long so that you can prepare yourself in advance if you wish.  The topic questions will be geared toward contemporary issues in the Methodist Church.  In particular, why attendance in the younger generation, (ages 20 – 45 years) has declined so much in recent years. Our goal will be to become better followers of Jesus Christ, and to be more aware of reasons for this decline.  By doing this, our own words and actions may guide someone into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit will do the rest. During these sessions, may we respect the opinions of all, learn from each other, and grow in faith.  It is hoped that our fellowship and sharing will further bond us and strengthen our church.  I hope to be a facilitator in this sharing of faith and ideas.  If you can make time, come and join us.  A schedule of meeting dates for Sept. through Dec. follows.  In addition, there are topics, questions, and reference reading for each session.  Light refreshments will be provided.                                                                      In Christ,

                                                                   Art Mansfield
Session 1 – Sept. 22nd – Topic – Is Perception Reality?
  1. Is the church really what many of the younger generation (ages 20-50)

think it is?

  1. How would you answer to someone in conversation who says that Christians are hypocrites?

Reference Reading:  “When Christians Get It Wrong” by Adam Hamilton.

  1. Introduction, pages 1-3
  2. Chapter 1, pages 5-20 – pay particular attention to page 7, The Barna Study.
Session 2 – Oct. 20th – Topic – Literalism and Context when reading the Bible, or “God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It”
  1. Find out the meaning of verbal plenary. Is this a part of your faith and beliefs?
  2. Look at page 110. Think about verbal plenary, the Israelites, and your own life.  Is there a context to these words?
  3. Why are there 4 gospels instead of just one?
  4. Chapter 4, page 133. Matthew 22: 37-40, NRSV.  Do you believe these verses to be as relevant today as when Jesus spoke them?

Chapter 4, page 137.  What does Hamilton imply about interpreting the scriptures?  Reference Reading – “Half Truths, Chapter 4, by Adam Hamilton    Session 3 – Nov. 17th – Why Reconciling God’s Goodness With the Suffering We See In The World

  1. Page 9. 3 foundational ideas – Let’s discuss them!
  2. What would our life be like without freedom of choice? (foundation #2)
  3. Are we inherently bad? (foundation #3)
  4. Have you made bad decisions that caused you or others to suffer?
  5. Someone could say to you, “My 3 year old niece died of leukemia she was so innocent – why did God let this happen?” How would you respond?
Reference Reading:  “Why – Making Sense of God’s Will”, by Adam Hamilton, Pages 9-29.  
Session 4 – Dec. 8th – Topic:  – “Were Adam and Eve Real People?”
  1. Is Hamilton contradicting the creation story in Genesis?
  2. Is Hamilton attempting to refute the scientific theory of evolution?
  3. Where does the author suggest that science and spirituality meet?
  4. Do you believe that science and spirituality are mutually exclusive?

Reference Reading:  “Making Sense of the Bible” by Adam Hamilton,     Chapter 20, pages 195-198.