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Are you enjoying Gather magazine’s new format of shorter Bible studies? Have you appreciated having the leader guides printed in the magazine itself, rather than having to order them separately? Have you noticed the larger, more diverse group of writers? We hope these changes can help you to encourage more women to join study groups.
You can download the three-session 2016 summer session, "The Heart of the Matter," by Angie Shannon, a pastor at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas, Texas. You can also download a black-and-white bulletin insert for your congregation with the information below. A color insert can be ordered for shipping costs only from the e-store.
The upcoming Bible studies for 2016-2018 are:
For the fall of 2016, Meghan Johnston Aelabouni, a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, Colo., shares a three-session study on “When God’s not fair: coming to terms with a merciful God.” The texts explore the stories of Jonah, the Prodigal Son and the conversion of Paul. Meghan, and her spouse, Gabi, who is also an ELCA pastor, have three young children.
“Over and over, the biblical witness suggests that God is not fair,” Aelabouni writes. “Loving, merciful, compassionate and slow to anger, yes. Fair, no. What does this mean for us—and why is it good news?”
When God’s not fair—coming to terms with a merciful God
Session 1: Jonah and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day: When God forgives the guilty
Session 2: Jesus and the evil eye: When God blesses the undeserving
Session 3: Paul and the power of failure: when God chooses the unlikely
For December 2016, Sonia C. Solomonson, an award-winning writer, freelance editor and certified life coach, shares a devotional around the theme of Advent waiting: what wants to be born in you?
Solomonson is an award-winning writer and editor, as well as a certified life coach.
Each December, Gather plans to feature a devotional that centers on some aspect of Advent or Christmas. (This could become a reader favorite. We received many positive comments from readers who enjoyed last year’s devotional, written by Women of the ELCA’s director of discipleship, Valora K Starr. We’re in good hands with Sonia to continue this tradition.)
For Winter/Spring 2017, Kathryn Kleinhans offers a Reformation Bible study. Kleinhans is the McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission, Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.
She writes: “Biblical scholars describe Paul’s letter to the Galatians as the Magna Carta of Christian freedom. Martin Luther called it ‘my Katie von Bora.’
“Like his marriage to Katie, Luther’s relationship with Galatians was a rich and lasting one: over a period of twenty years, he published six commentaries on the epistle. Luther’s reformation was centered in the doctrine of justification by grace through faith for Christ’s sake, which he saw as the heart of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Galatia. It is also the heart of Paul’s–and Luther’s–message for us today.”
Galatians: Christian faith and Christian freedom
Session 1: No other gospel (Galatians 1:1-2:21)
Session 2: Children of God through faith (Galatians 2:19-3:29)
Session 3: Heirs of the promise (Galatians 3:24-4:31)
Session 4: For freedom Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1-6:18)
For summer 2017, Kelly Fryer will explore “All anew,” a three-session Bible study that shares the theme of the 2017 Women of the ELCA Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis. She has also committed to lead the Bible study or a workshop at the triennial gathering. She will bring to this role the experience of a pastor, teacher, entrepreneur and communicator.
Kelly has more than 20 years of experience in turning around ministries and organizations and has authored faith-related books including: "Reclaiming the 'L': Renewing the Church From Its Lutheran Core," "Dancing Down the Hallway: Spiritual Reflections for the Everyday," and "A Story Worth Sharing: Engaging Evangelism."
Previously, Kelly taught leadership at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minn.) and co-founded A Renewal Enterprise, a national firm that helps values-based organizations work more effectively.
Many key concerns for Women of the ELCA (women’s health, ending human trafficking, working toward gender equity, racial justice, poverty, education, etc.) are part of Kelly’s current work as the executive director for the Young Women’s Christian Associations (YWCA) in Southern Arizona.
For the fall of 2017, Julia Seymour, a pastor at Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, Alaska, will share a three-session study on the Apostles’ Creed.
She’ll explore what creeds are for, what we’re saying about God and Jesus, what’s missing but still might be encompassed and how we can still have questions and ask God to help and guide us.
Why is the Apostles’ Creed the most basic of our “ecumenical” documents? What are our other statements of faith?
For January-April 2018, Mark Allan Powell will explore what biblical stories mean to people around the world. In “Multiple meanings,” a four-session Bible study, Powell explores how people empathize with a variety of biblical characters, apply
biblical stories in their lives and respect other people’s experiences of
those stories. Powell, a professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, has taught at seminaries in Estonia, Russia and Tanzania. He edited the "HarperCollins Bible Dictionary" and has written more than 100 articles and 25 books on the Bible and religion.