The 42nd Annual Thorne Sparkman School Of Religion Registration Is Open

  • Monday, February 16, 2015

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Chattanooga opens the 42nd Annual Thorne Sparkman School of Religion. Hosted by St. Paul’s with the active involvement of other local Episcopal parishes, The Thorne Sparkman School meets Wednesdays during Lent (Feb. 25 – March 25) and offers five class options with concluding keynote speaker Bishop Michael Curry (NC) on March 25.

Established in 1973 through the leadership of the Rev. John Bonner, Jr (then rector of St. Paul’s Church), The Thorne Sparkman School offers “the best in Christian education in crucial areas including worship, ethics, liturgy, history, literature, music, and critical thinking.”  Named in honor of The Rev. Thorne Sparkman, who served as Rector of St. Paul’s from 1938 to 1949, the School has become an important Lenten offering to local Episcopal parishes as well as the extended Chattanooga community.

All are welcome to begin each Wednesday evening with Organ Meditations, Holy Eucharist, and Optional Dinner from 5-6:30 p.m. Participants may register for two classes each evening – the first session begins at 6:30 p.m., the second session begins at 7:30 p.m.

2015 Course Offerings:

Global Ethics. Dr. Mark Hopwood, assistant professor of Philosophy, Sewanee: The University of the South;

Holy Spaces: Architecture of the Western Church. The Rev. John Runkle, RA, executive director, St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development;

Christianity and Ecology. Dr. Andrew Thompson, postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Ethics, The School of Theology, The University of the South;

The Revolution in Baptism in the 1979 Prayer Book. The Rev. Canon James Turrell, Ph. D., Norma and Olan Mills professor of Divinity and associate dean for Academic Affairs, The School of Theology, The University of the South;

Enough: Limits and the Old Testament. The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Abts Wright, C. K. Benedict professor of Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew, The School of Theology, The University of the South.

Concluding keynote speaker on March 25 will be the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, author of Crazy Christians, and member of the Taskforce for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church.  Bishop Curry has also been active in issues of social justice, speaking out on immigration policy and marriage equality. He serves on the boards of a number of organizations and has a national preaching and teaching ministry.He has received honorary degrees from Sewanee, Virginia Theological Seminary, Yale and, most recently, Episcopal Divinity School.

Registration is now open.  Cost: is $35. All are welcome at Bishop Curry’s keynote address on March 25 at no cost. For more information and to register, pick up a brochure at area Episcopal churches or download one at

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