Faith and Community

Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 11:15 am

About the Event

11:15 am | Heaton Hall
Format | Guest Speaker, Topical Lectures
Audience | Adult - Large Group
Led by | Bruce Elliott

What can our community leaders and influencers teach us as a people of faith? Join us for guest speakers each week who will cover a variety of topics to challenge us to live out our faith in community. We draw heavily on the arts, literary, social and spiritual issues as viewed from a faith perspective.

This Sunday

On Sunday March 10
Women's History Month
Speaker | Rev. Dr. Toddie Peters | Learn more
Location | Heaton Hall

Next Sunday

On Sunday March 17
Women's History Month
Speaker | Greg Jarrell
Location | Heaton Hall

Previous Weeks

March 3, 2024
Speaker | Jim Gaiser, President of the Charlotte Astronomy Club

A Most Magical Experience: A Total Solar Eclipse is Coming Next Month

Solar and lunar eclipses are a rare chance to experience nature stepping away from its usual patterns and rhythms. In August 2017, some parts of the U.S. including the Carolinas, experienced a total eclipse. Many people got to witness an event that is more frequently seen in other parts of the world, and its effect was impressive and lasting. In early April, some areas of the U.S. will again experience a total solar eclipse. If you have never seen one, this is your last chance to see one without having to travel to other parts of the world. The next total solar eclipse will not traverse North America again until 2044!

Jim Gaiser, President of the Charlotte Astronomy Club, will talk with us about solar and lunar eclipses, why they happen and how we can view them safely. He will take a closer look at the total eclipse in 2017 and at this year’s as well. Prepare for some informative discussion and answers to your astronomical questions.

February 25, 2024
Speaker | Ray Owens

Cynthia Bourgeault: Modern day Mystic


When the field of vision has been unified, the inner being comes to rest, and that inner peaceableness flows into the outer world as harmony and compassion.                                —Cynthia Bourgeault

On Sunday we will continue with the third session of our three-part series on mysticism. We will conclude by taking a closer look at Cynthia Bourgeault. The 2012 J21 speaker hardly needs an introduction—she is a modern mystic, a successful contemplative author, a scholar, an Episcopal priest, a retreat leader, and has co-led many retreats and conferences with people such as Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr and others.

According to Rev. Dr. Bourgeault, we are “entering into a new epic in our world, moving steadily in the direction of revisioning contemplation no longer in terms of monastic, otherworldly models prioritizing silence and repose, but rather, as a way of honing consciousness and compassion so as to be able to fully engage the world and become active participants in its transition to the higher collectivity, the next evolutionary unfolding.” She is a rare combination of intellect, heartfulness, and one who chooses to soulfully embrace the world rather than stay apart from it, as many mystics have done throughout the ages.

Pastor Tara Gibbs originally planned to speak about Rev. Bourgeault but will not be able to join us this Sunday. So, Ray Owens will open our talk and recap what we have done so far. Then we will watch a 21-minute video of Bourgeault speaking at a Faith Conference in Louisville KY in 2017. Afterwards, we can discuss the video and exchange our thoughts and observations. Then Angelina Corbet, whom some of you know from her teachings on the Enneagram, will share with us her experiences in retreat with Cynthia and in also taking live virtual events with her over the past ten years, and in working with Dr. Bourgeault’s books and essays over the past 25 years, especially as regards Rev. Bourgeault’s work with the Enneagram.

Then Ray will close out our time with some of his pithy observations and witticisms. Also, please share with me on Sunday morning before or after the class as to whether you would like to have opportunities to learn more about mystics and mysticism. There are several excellent paths available to take if enough of you share this interest.

February 18, 2024
Speaker | Ray Owens and Rev. Tara Gibbs

We are continuing a series on mysticism, and it will be led by Ray Owens and Rev. Tara Gibs this Sunday morning and continuing next Sundays. They have each spent a lot of time pondering what mysticism is and how ordinary people might benefit from having a closer relationship with the mystical dimension that is available to each of us.

Mysticism, Part Two: An Iconic Modern Mystic

Most of us are familiar with some of the famous civil rights leaders of the 1940s through 1960s: Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond and Martin Luther King especially come to mind. Though much less well-known, Howard Thurman was a highly influential civil rights leader who preferred to do most of his work away from the spotlight.

Howard Washington Thurman was an American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century. The most well-known of his 20 books was Jesus and the Disinherited (1949). This deeply influenced Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders (both black and white) of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Later he became a mentor to King and influenced him not just through his writings but in his quiet yet firm dedication to truth, scholarship, and his Christian faith, always through the lens of his contemplative ways and temperament.

Thurman in 1932 joined the Howard University staff to become Professor of Religion and in 1936 was named the Dean of Rankin Chapel there. Later that year he became the first person to lead a delegation of African Americans to India to meet with Mahatma Gandhi.

Long-time MPBC member Ray Owens and Associate Minister Tara Gibbs will co-lead our presentation on this extraordinary man’s life. Please join us as we rekindle the communal and dynamic spirit of last week’s presentation. I think all 50 of us there experienced this and can again this Sunday.

February 4, 2024
Speaker | Peg Robarchek

We're having a literary time this Sunday with local author and all-around interesting lady Peg Robarchek talking to us about her new memoir:

Welcome to the Church of I Don't Have a Clue. She will read passages from her book and share insights into the real-life events that they come from. Many of you may recall the late Doug Robarchek who Peg was married to. During the 1980s and 90s he wrote the Out Front Guy humor column for the Charlotte Observer and was one of the most read columnists in the entire newspaper. Some of what Peg will discuss may pique your memory if you were here during that period, and she will also offer some candid recollections of what life was like growing up in Birmingham during those nascent years of the civil rights movement. See the write-up below for details and please join us Sunday and bring a friend.

January 28, 2024
Speaker | Joe Parisi

Long-timer Joe Parisi talked about how his mindfulness meditation practice, along with Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings, have helped him and his clients learn to deal with negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety and anger, and move towards a deeper and more fulfilling inner peace. Please join us for what promises to be a touchstone towards the still point.

If you think that I am only this body, then you have not truly seen me. —Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the world’s great spiritual leaders of the 20th and early 21st centuries died two years ago this week. Born and raised in central Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh, often affectionately called Thay (pronounced "Tay") which means teacher in Vietnamese, lived a remarkably active life, and also one of the deepest. He was a Buddhist monk, peace activist, poet, teacher and an author of many books and essays.