The Rev. Winnie Varghese
The Rev. Winnie Varghese is the Priest and Chief Justice and Reconciliation Officer at Trinity Church Wall Street. Rev. Varghese oversees the domestics grants program; direct service and outreach from Trinity Church; and programming in areas of service and justice for Trinity Church.
Before coming to Trinity, Rev. Varghese was the rector of St. Mark’s in the Bowery, a historic Episcopal congregation in New York City. From 2003‐2009, she served as the Episcopal Chaplain at Columbia University. From 1999‐2003 she served as the curate at St. Alban’s, Westwood and Episcopal Chaplain to UCLA.
She graduated from the Union Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1999) and Southern Methodist University (B.A. Religious Studies 1994). As an intern in the Episcopal Service Corps (1994‐1995) she worked with the Mental Health Association of Los Angeles as an outreach worker to people who were homeless and living with severe mental illness.
She is a blogger for the Huffington Post; author of Church Meets World; editor of What We Shall Become; and author of numerous articles and chapters on social justice and the church.
Winnie's keynote address will focus on the themes of justice and public witness found in her book Church Meets World, informed in part by her recent trip to the Holy Land, where she worked with people engaged in working for peace in Israel and the West Bank.
Come Hear Rev. Varghese Speak on February 21 at 6:30 PM!
The Parable: Jesus, Up Close and Personal
The Rev. Dr. C. Stephen "Steve" Byrum
President and CEO of The Byrum Consulting Group and Retired United Methodist Elder
There are all kinds of stories that people have told about Jesus, including the Gospel writers. However, if we really want to "get close" to Jesus, there is no better way than looking closely at what he had to say. The parables give us our closest and clearest insight into Jesus. In these sessions, we will revisit these old stories by Jesus. We will always try to see if there are new insights or new ways of understanding what Jesus had to say, both to his world and to our own.
Steve byrum holds degrees from Tennessee Wesleyan College, Southern Seminary (M.Div.), and the MA and PhD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. HE taught on the university and college level for 25 years. He is an ordained United Methodist minister. He is the author of nearly 40 books and dozens of periodical articles. He has just completed a book on -of course- the Parables of Jesus. He and his wife, Phyllis, live on Signal Mountain, have two children, and three grandchildren.
The Journey Toward Reconciliation: Lessons from the Ed Johnson Project
LaFrederick Thirkill, Mel and Eleanor Cooper, and the Ed Johnson Project Committee
Shedding light on the past and building relationships across race lines are steps on the journey to reconciliation. LaFrederick Thirkill, co-chair of the Ed Johnson Project and principal of Orchard Knob Elementary School, will introduce the program with the screening of the "rough-cut" documentary by Linda Duvoisin, I am a Innocent Man: the Ed Johnson Story. The film is centered on the lynching of Ed Johnson in 1906, the courageous acts of two African American attorneys Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins, and the actions of the Supreme Court that set a precedent for the later civil rights movement. What does this history reveal to us about today's race relations? How do we use it to build toward reconciliation? Special guest speakers will discuss the legal and historical significance. Mel and Eleanor Cooper and members of the Ed Johnson committee will be present to facilitate and tell their own stories.
Spiritual Practices for Rebirthing Ourselves and our Faith Communities
The Rev. Susan Butler
Interim Rector, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Dalton, Georgia
People of faith and communities of faith seem to share an intrinsic longing for new birth. The very soul of Christianity - in the liturgical cycles and sacramental rites - demonstrates this truth. Spiritual practices are essential ingredients for the birthing of new life and/or new ways of being alive. Lent provides the perfect seed bed for spiritual renewal and the five weeks of the Thorne Sparkman Lectures provide the perfect opportunity for seekers to learn a new spiritual practice or cultivate one that has lain fallow. Part lecture, part praxis - this course wil, provide the framework and support for satisfying a Lenten commitment.
Susan was born and educated in Pennsylvania. She attended the Theological School at Drew University and was ordained to the priesthood by the Rt. Rev. John S. Song in 1997. She served five parishes in NJ and PA in various capacities before moving to TN in 2009 and being called as Rector of Grace Church, Chattanooga in 2010. After "retiring" from Grace in 2016 she accepted a recent call to serve as Interim Rector at St. Mark's Church in Dalton, GA. Susan is a member of the program board and a regular facilitator/presenter at the Center for Mindful Living in Chattanooga. She's the mother of two adult children and two young grandchildren of whom she is unapologetically proud.
"The Handmaid of Theology": Music and Reformation
Dr. Kenneth Miller
Assistant Professor of Church Music and Organist Choirmaster, Sewanee School of Theology
'Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise," Martin Luther wrote in a preface to a collection of choral music in 1538. But why? This class will examine the 500-year history of Protestant church music, from Martin Luther's earliest hymns to the present, seeking to answer that question, as well as others like: What is the proper relationship between music and theology, and how did the Reformation renew and change that relationship? What should Christians sing, and how should they sing it? How do different strands of the Reformation (e.g. Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican) encounter music in different ways? Along the way, the class will consider major hymn writers, including Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, and major composers, including William Byrd, J.S. Bach, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Kenneth Miller is Assistant Professor of Church Music and Organist and Choirmaster of the Chapel of the Apostles of the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, where he teaches classes on music and theology, leads music in daily chapel services, and conducts the seminary's choirs. Before coming to Sewanee, he served as associate organist-choirmaster at Trinity Cathedral, Columbia, and as instructor of organ at the University of South Carolina. He studied organ and church music at Lenoir-Rhyne University with Florence Jowers and Paul Weber, and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music with Martin Jean and Thomas Murray. He maintains an active schedule as a choral accompanist, continuo player, and solo recitalist, specializing in late-Romantic repertoire (particularly Max Reger and Franz Schmidt) and the large-scale cycles of J.S. Bach (most recently, a performance of the Clavier-Übung III).
What People of Other Faiths Want You to Know
Facilitator: The Rev. Charles Neal
Minister Emeritus at First-Centenary United Methodist Church and moderator of the Interfaith Panel of Chattanooga
Each session will be presented by a representative of one of civilization's enduring religions or world views. Presenters will explain the major tenants of their belief system and what they most want others to know about their faith or practices. The goal is for participants to feel a closer bond with members of other religions and world views.
Dr. Sid Brown - Buddhism
Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, University of the South. She has studied Buddhism since 1982 and is the author of The Journey of One Buddhist Nun.
Mr. Tad Beaty - Humanism
Founding member and current president of the Chattanooga Humanist Assembly and frequent speaker for the Interfaith Panel of Chattanooga. He has recently been selected as volunteer Director of the Atheist Alliance of America.
Dr. Moshin Ali - Islam
Psychiatrist with the Mental Health Cooperative of Chattanooga. Ali is a Muslim immigrant who completed his medical training in Pakistan and was trained in psychiatry in Syracuse, NY.
Rabbi Craig Lewis - Judaism
Rabbi of Mizpah Congregation. He enjoys the challenge of working with adult learners who are seeking a deeper understanding of God, ritual, and Jewish history.