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Joy and Suffering in the Body

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Presidential Forum -- April 13-14, 2012

Registration opens January 5, 2012

♦  General Forum Information ♦ Presenter Information ♦ Schedule Detail ♦
Pre-Forum Gathering Information ♦ Lodging Information ♦ Register Now!

Between UsBethany's fourth Presidential Forum will center on a discussion of the intersection of sexuality and spirituality. The title refers to both the joy and suffering in individual bodies as well as in our communal faith bodies.

Bethany is very pleased to have Dr. James Forbes Jr. as keynote speaker and facilitator for the forum. Dr. Forbes is senior minister emeritus of The Riverside Church in New York City and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, which draws its mission from Revelation 22:2: "And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."

As the Church of the Brethren, like many church bodies today, works toward a holistic view of human sexuality and spirituality while it struggles over its stance toward persons in same-sex covenantal relationships, Bethany hopes to provide a space where people of many faith confessions, biblical interpretations, and sexual orientations may gather to turn toward each other to listen, to learn, and to share in our common work of seeking to be the body of Christ in the world.

The forum will also feature panelists representing the fields of medicine, ecclesiology and sexuality, Christian history, religion and psychiatry, and biblical studies:

  • Dr. David E. Fuchs, practicing physician, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Gayle Gerber Koontz, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  • Dr. David G. Hunter, Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literature, and Cultures, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Amy Bentley Lamborn, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, General Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Kenneth Stone, Academic Dean and Professor of Hebrew Bible, Culture, and Hermeneutics, Chicago Theological Seminary


Pre-Forum Gathering

Bethany alumni/ae and friends are invited to participate in a Pre-Forum Gathering for fellowship and learning. In keeping with the theme of the Presidential Forum, the Gathering will take a practical approach to addressing spirituality and sexuality through four sessions presented by Bethany and Earlham School of Religion faculty. The event will begin with dinner and fellowship on Thursday, April 12, and continue through Friday, April 13.

The Pre-Forum Gathering is sponsored by the Bethany Seminary Alumni/ae Coordinating Council: Greg Davidson Laszakovits, Dana McNeil, Kerby Lauderdale, and Rhonda Pittman Gingrich.


Artwork Between Us reproduced by permission (, © 2005 by Melanie Weidner.
"then the stories begin . . . to tell themselves between us."

Jody Gunn
(MDiv Connections)

JodyIn the summer of 2006, I made a pact with a high school friend to make our fortieth decade significant. My goal was to complete my Master of Divinity degree before I turned fifty years old. Inside I asked myself and God, "How is this was going to be possible?" Eventually, I was willing to be open to it. My life seemed crazy enough without adding seminary to the mix. I am married to Eric and have two children 15 and 10, so I run a household. I serve a church half time and find many opportunities to volunteer in our community. In spite of the busyness of my life I said "Yes!" to Bethany because I really was at a point in my life where it made sense.