Small Group Studies for Adults

We offer a variety of small group studies throughout the year. Study groups for women meet on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings. There are groups on Wednesday evenings (seasonal; April - August) with a variety of topics. For additional information, please contact Rev. Beth Brown Shugart, Associate Pastor, by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org.

    Women Studying Together to Study The Lord’s Prayer:  Beginning Thursday, August 1st

    All women are invited to join us on Thursday, August 1st, as the Women Studying Together group will start a new book study of Lord, Teach Us:  The Lord's Prayer and the Christian Life by William H. Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas. This will be an 11-week study of The Lord's Prayer.

    Lord, Teach Us is not a book on how to pray, and it is not a book on how to get what you ask for, but rather a book on how this prayer affects the way we live as Christians. This 11-week study involves 11 different phrases that shape the way we feel about God and how we live as people who believe and pray this prayer. Sometimes we say the prayer without thinking, and sometimes we find great comfort and encouragement from it. Lord, Teach Us takes it a step further and helps us understand what Jesus is telling us about God and about our relationship to Him as we live as His disciples. The authors break it down phrase by phrase with insights and challenges for us to consider.


    The Women Studying Together group meets on Thursday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., with discussion led by Jenny Masterson, in room F-154, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center.  As we study, we ask questions, search for answers, share our stories, laugh and pray together. Sometimes, we even sing! We welcome all women. If you would like more information, please contact Jenny Masterson by e-mail at jennybobm@comcast.net or call 678-591-0800.

    Tuesday Morning Study – “The Story of the Bible”:

    Through August 6th

    A Tuesday morning Bible study - “The Story of the Bible” - is being held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room F151, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center, through August 6th.  In this 5-week study, led by Pete Fleming, participants will be provided content papers, will watch a relevant video each session, and will discuss the various aspects of the study which include the following parts:

    1. The historicity of the Bible. What time period do its stories cover? When were these stories actually edited into their received form? And how does this history compare with non-biblical accounts of these events?
    2. The writing of the Bible. Who wrote the various books of the Bible? When were they written? Did the authors think they were writing the Bible?
    3. When did the Bible become recognized as the only acceptable scripture? When was it canonized?
    4. What is the history of the physical writing of the Bible, its manuscripts and its translations? How was the Bible preserved over the 1500 years before printing was invented? How did printing impact the Bible’s receipt and usage?
    5. What impact has the Bible had since the Reformation right up to the modern era?

    Each of these areas will consider both the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament.  For example, canonization will address how theologians in the 3rd century decided to include the Hebrew Bible along with the New Testament in a total set of holy books.

    All are welcome to participate in this study. No books will be required, although Pete will introduce a comprehensive bibliography for independent study of any who wish to learn more.  For more information, please contact Pete by e-mail at lfleming3832@att.net.

    “Simply Psalms” Classes Resume on August 13th

    Come join us for Simply Psalms, a Bible study of the Book of Psalms, led by Rev. Dr. C. Kay Fuino and Rev. Beth Brown Shugart. Each week we will study one Psalm during the one-hour class. The same class will be offered twice a week:

    • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. in room F145, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center;
    • Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. in room F207, located on the 2nd floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center.

    The schedule is:

    • August 13th and 14th:  Psalm 32;
    • August 20th and 21st:  Psalm 33;
    • August 27th and 28th:  Psalm 34;
    • September 3rd and 4th:  Psalm 35;
    • September 10th and 11th:  Psalm 36;
    • September 17th and 18th:  Psalm 37;
    • September 24th and 25th:  Psalm 38;
    • October 1st and 2nd:  Psalm 39;
    • October 8th and 9th:  Psalm 40;
    • October 15th and 16th:  Psalm 41;
    • October 22nd and 23rd:  Psalm 42;
    • October 29th and 30th:  Psalm 43;
    • November 5th and 6th:  Psalm 44;
    • November 12th and 13th:  Psalm 45;
    • November 19th and 20th:  Psalm 46.

    Following the Christmas and New Years holiday, Simply Psalms classes will resume on January 7th and 8th, 2025. For additional information, please contact Rev. Beth Brown Shugart by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 128.

    A New Class: Understanding God, How Our Perception of God Has Grown throughout History:  Begins August 13th

    Beginning on August 13th, Pete Fleming will be leading a new class entitled Understanding God, How Our Perception of God Has Grown throughout History. This class will be offered twice each week for 10 weeks, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and again from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, in room F151, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center. Choose the one that best suits your schedule.

    Participants will be encouraged, but not required, to purchase the book God: A Human History by Reza Aslan. It can be purchased on Thrift Books for under $10.00. Pete will present excerpts from this and other books each week. Please let Pete know if you are interested in attending this class by contacting him by e-mail at lfleming3832@att.net or calling 678-575-3761.

    Men Studying Together Studying the Book of Proverbs

    The Men Studying Together group meets for the study on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room F207, located on the 2nd floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center. This study is led by Rev. Terry Tippens.

    All are invited to join us, and no books are required and we will use the Book of Proverbs as our primary source, any translation you prefer. Every class time will allow for individual input and group discussion. Please contact Tracy Brinker by e-mail at tbrinker@duluthumc.org or at 770-476-3776 for more information.

    Book Club to Discuss Secret Heroes by Duluth First UMC Member Dianne Ogden: Monday, August 19th

    Rev. Beth Brown Shugart invites you to read Secret Heroes by Duluth First UMC member and first-time published author Dianne Ogden, and then join her on Monday, August 19th, for a discussion of the book. Secret Heroes, self-published by Dianne in collaboration with Cynthia Michel, is about German Jewish refugees who ended up interrogating Nazis during World War II. The lessons in Secret Heroes include the fact the German Jewish refugees never used force or violence of any kind, but rather used interrogation as a test of wits. The information they gathered helped turn the tide of the war. One of the German Jewish soldiers was the father of one of the author’s friends.

    We will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room F145, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center to discuss the book. Please contact Beth by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 128, if you have any questions.

    The Screwtape Letters Study to Begin Wednesday, September 4th

    Rev. Dr. C. Kay Fuino will lead a study of the book The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis beginning on Wednesday, September 4th. The Screwtape Letters, one of the author’s most celebrated writings, is a satire on letters written from the demon “Screwtape” to his nephew “Wormwood” about how to tempt someone into the world of the demon. The book has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the unique vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.”

    At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

    The Screwtape Letters study will meet on Wednesday afternoons, September 4th through November 20th, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in room F145, located on the 1st first floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center. There are thirty-one letters in The Screwtape Letters and we will study three each week. The book ends with an additional chapter called Screwtape's Toast.

    We will use the book by C. S. Lewis and a study guide by Alan Vermilye. The book and study guide may be ordered from Amazon:

    Any version of the book is fine, but you want to make sure it has Screwtape's Toast as an extra chapter. Please do not get a used study guide that already has writing in it.

    If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Dr. C. Kay Fuino by e-mail at ckfuino@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 117.

    Book Club to Discuss Georgia Sweethearts by Duluth First UMC Member Missy Tippens: Monday, September 16th

    Rev. Beth Brown Shugart invites you to read Georgia Sweethearts by Duluth First UMC member and author Missy Tippens, and then join her on Monday, September 16th, for a discussion of the book. In Georgia Sweethearts, Lilly Barnes, who inherits her great-aunt's failing yarn shop, is determined to make it a success. All she wants is stability, something she doesn't think possible in the small town of Corinthia, Georgia. Then Pastor Daniel Foreman rents space in her store to hold meetings for his growing congregation, and this proves to be her lifeline. At first Lilly wants nothing to do with Daniel's big dreams, but she soon finds herself starting to share his goals. Yet trouble between her customers and his congregation make them both doubt the path they're on. That is, until practical Lilly shows him that love is a risk worth taking.

     

    We will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room F145, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center to discuss the book. Please contact Beth by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 128, if you have any questions.

    Book Club to Discuss You Shall Not Condemn: A Story of Faith and Advocacy on Death Row by Jennifer M. McBride: Monday, October 28th

    Rev. Beth Brown Shugart invites you to read You Shall Not Condemn: A Story of Faith and Advocacy on Death Row by Jennifer M. McBride, and then join her on Monday, October 28th, for a discussion of the book. You Shall Not Condemn tells the story of Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia’s death row until her execution in 2015, and highlights the role theological studies played in her faith and in advocacy efforts on her behalf. Central to the book is the written correspondence between Kelly and German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, known internationally as the “theologian of hope.”

    After reading Moltmann’s work in a course taught by McBride at the prison, Kelly began a five-year correspondence with him. When Kelly was denied clemency, a local and international advocacy movement arose that was rooted in her theological studies and friendship with him. The advocacy campaign challenged Christians who supported the death penalty to re-examine basic truths of Christian faith. As it was unfolding, the story of Kelly’s transformation changed people’s minds, not only about her case, but also about the death penalty itself. Weaving together powerful storytelling and theological expertise, McBride recounts that story again here, with an aim toward abolition, and offers practical ways that readers may enter the work.


    We will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room F145, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center to discuss the book. Please contact Beth by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 128, if you have any questions.

    Book Club to Discuss The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson: Monday, December 2nd

    Rev. Beth Brown Shugart invites you to read The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson, and then join her on Monday, December 2nd, for a discussion of the book. The Book Woman’s Daughter’s main character Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.

     

    Picking up her mother’s old packhorse library route in the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren’t as keen to let a woman pave her own way.

     

    If Honey wants to bring the freedom that books provide to the families who need it most, she’s going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.


    We will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room F145, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center to discuss the book. Please contact Beth by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 128, if you have any questions.