Faith Forum

Faith Forum is a long-running, nationally recognized series of talks with leading thinkers, bestselling authors, business leaders, philosophers, artists, and theologians of our time. These conversations are led by The Reverend Chip Edens in a casual atmosphere of fellowship with a focus on spiritual growth. 

Watch Live

Building the Beloved Community

Sundays, August 9 - 23, 10:00 AM

Three-Part Webinar Series (No registration required)

The Reverend Chip Edens will host this three-part conversation with Rev. Dr. Gary Mason, a Methodist minister and director of a conflict transformation organization based in Belfast, and Rev. Dr. Nichole Renée Phillips, an Associate Professor in the Practice of Sociology of Religion and Culture and Director of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

About Our Guests  

Rev. Dr. Gary Mason is a Methodist minister and directs a conflict transformation organisation based in Belfast called "Rethinking Conflict." Prior to this he spent 27 years as a Methodist clergy person in parish ministry in Belfast and has played an integral role in the Northern Irish peace process. He played a key role in establishing the $30 million Skainos project, which is a world class urban center developed in a post-conflict society as a model of coexistence and shared space. It is acknowledged as the largest faith-based redevelopment project in Western Europe. Gary is a close advisor to Protestant ex-combatants on the civilization efforts of paramilitaries. He was instrumental in facilitating negotiations with paramilitaries and government officials, and in 2007 his contribution was formally recognized by the Queen.

Mason has lectured in political and academic forums throughout Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the USA on lessons from the Irish peace process. He has been interviewed on CNN, BBC, ITV and various radio programs. He holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Ulster, completed his theological studies at Queens University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Studies from the University of Ulster. Gary also holds an honorary doctorate from Florida Southern College for his role in peace building in Ireland.  

Rev. Dr. Nichole Renée Phillips is the Associate Professor in the Practice of Sociology of Religion and Culture and Director of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. A sociologist of religion and public theologian, she teaches courses in community and congregational studies. Her research interests lie at the intersection of religion and American public life with a focus on community and congregational studies where she investigates the moral commitments and vision of community and congregational members. Her scholarship treats religion, critical race, gender and cultural memory studies. She is also developing new research interests in the sociology of science and religion.

She is a Senior Faculty Fellow at Emory University’s Center for Ethics and Associate Faculty in the Emory’s Department of Sociology. As of February 2020, she was awarded a $100,000 grant by Templeton Religion Trust and the Issachur Fund to conduct research at the intersection of science and religion on the black church and in the burgeoning new field: the sociology of science and religion.

An ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), Rev. Nichole has served on ministerial staffs in New England and the South. She received the A.B. from Wellesley College, an M.Div. from Harvard University’s Divinity School, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion, Psychology, and Culture with a minor in anthropology of religion from Vanderbilt University. 


Recent Faith Forums

Scott Allen Jarrett
Bach for the 21st Century

Sunday, February 23

Scott Allen Jarrett, Artistic Director of Bach Akademie Charlotte, will speak about the quick success of Charlotte’s newest professional musical ensemble, the continuing importance of the music of J.S. Bach, and how Bach, a most formidable theologian, still speaks to us today.

Kate Kelderman
Living Faith in a Multicultural World

Sunday, February 2

Kate, or Mama K, as she is known on campus, is the school chaplain, Dean of St. Joseph’s chapel, a chemistry teacher, and varsity field hockey coach at Kent School.

Warren Kinghorn
Would Jesus Prescribe Prozac?

Sunday, January 26

What is the connection between mental health and spirituality? What can a Church do to promote mental health? How can faith and wellness be integrated in everyday life? 

Dr. Kinghorn is a psychiatrist on staff at Duke Divinity School and professor of pastoral and moral theology and associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center.

Jane Tillman
Is Being Sick a Luxury?

Sunday, January 19

How is wellness connected to justice? How does childhood experience impact resiliency? Why is the rate of suicide rising?   

The Reverend Dr. Tillman is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, and Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at Austen Riggs, a psychiatric hospital and treatment center. She is also on staff at the Yale Child Study Center and is a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School. A graduate of UNC and Duke, she is an Episcopal priest serving part time at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Scott Stoner
The Whole Matter of Wellness

Sunday, January 12

What does a living faith have to do with being well? What factors determine wellness? Are we more anxious and depressed than our grandparents?  

The Reverend Stoner is the creator of the Living Compass Faith and Wellness Ministry, and an Episcopal priest who has served as a retreat leader, spiritual director, and pastoral counselor.  

Rob Mendez
Beating the Odds

Sunday, December 1

Rob Mendez sounds like any other football coach on any other field across America — passionate, authoritative, knowledgeable — but he is like no other coach you know. Coach Rob has no arms or legs. He moves in a custom-made wheelchair that he operates with his shoulders. Coach Rob diagrams plays on a smartphone attached to the chair, using a stylus that he maneuvers with his mouth. Coach Rob first learned football playing Madden video games, and that is just one incredible detail of his remarkable story. Born without limbs, an extremely rare condition called Tetra-amelia, Coach Rob has been beating the odds for 30 years.

Becca Stevens
Trauma and Restorative Love

Sunday, November 3

Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, Episcopal priest, justice entrepreneur, and founder and president of Thistle Farms (Nashville, TN), a community of women survivors of prostitution, trafficking and addiction. Thistle Farms includes a holistic two-year residential program, justice enterprises that employ survivors, and an education and outreach program that includes a national network of 50 sister communities. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide.   

Hannah and Charlie Lucas
Living Faith and Teen Mental Health

Sunday, October 20

When Hannah Lucas was a high school freshman in Atlanta two years ago, she became depressed and suicidal. She came up with the idea of a digital panic button to help people like her. Her 13-year-old brother, Charlie, had been learning to code since he was seven, and built the NotOkay app. The app alerts five pre-selected friends when the app user is Not Okay, providing the friends the user’s GPS location. Hannah and Charlie Lucas will join us to tell their story and share their continued efforts to encourage good mental health.   

David Zahl
Living Faith and the Paradox of Religion

Sunday, October 13

David Zahl is the author of Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do About It. In it, Zahl explores the possibility that our culture is not becoming less religious, but rather that we are becoming religious about more and more things. Ultimately he brings us to a fresh appreciation for the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder. David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA, supervising their ministry to college students.   

Jordan Kassalow
The Power of Vision and Purpose

Sunday, September 29

Jordan Kassalow, an eye doctor and social entrepreneur, is the founder of VisionSpring and EYElliance, and has distributed over 2,000,000 eyeglasses around the world. He has garnered many humanitarian awards for his tireless work to improve the lives of others, and co-authored the book Dare to Matter: Your Path to Making a Difference Now.   

Mary Celeste Beall
Family Tragedy and the Journey of Healing

Sunday, September 22

Mary Celeste Beall is the proprietor of Blackberry Farm, the acclaimed resort hotel and renowned food, wine, and wellness destination in the Tennessee foothills. She and her late husband, Sam, transformed the space before Sam tragically died in 2016 at the age of 39. After his death, Mary Celeste, a mother of five children, became the sole proprietor. Hers is a courageous story of healing after tragedy.