Adult or Intergenerational Studies

Are you a fan of podcasts? Me too! I love listening to them as I exercise or commute to work. 

This fall, instead of a book club, I’m launching Pastor’s Podcast Club. We will break up a podcast series into manageable groups of episodes and get together and chat about what we heard. I hope this is fun and low stress.  Meetings will take place during the Sunday School hour from 10:45am – 11:45am every two weeks starting October 9th. Come to one meeting, come to most of them, or come to all of them.
For our Fall Podcast I thought we’d do something historical and a little spooky and explore the true history of the Salem Witch Trial with the Podcast “Unobscured with Aaron Mahnke”. The Salem Witch trial season is Season 1 of this podcast and is 12 Episodes long. The schedule will be as follows:
October 9th: Episodes 1 – 4
October 23rd: Episodes 4 – 6
November 6: Episodes 7-9
November 20: Episodes 10-12
If you don’t know how to access podcasts on your phone but are interested in joining, Pastor Preston is happy to help set it up. They are free! 

You are invited to a book study Raising White Kids; Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America  by Drake University Professor Dr. Jennifer Harvey.   Many parents, grandparents and those involved with raising children,  find that there are real challenges in raising their children in a society that has a long history of racial injustice.   “Should we teach white kids to be “colorblind” or to notice race (and if so how)? What roles do we want them to play in addressing racism when they encounter it? How do we do that?  Talking about race means naming white privilege and hierarchy. How do we do this honestly, without making children feel bad about being white?”  – Jennifer Harvey
This book offers suggestions on how to do this.  Lynn Buckner will be leading this group.  We will meet on Wednesday nights in Chapel Lounge at 6:30 p.m.  Starting on September 28th and continuing until November 2nd.   We will skip October 26 Pumpkin Fest week. 
You can either sign up via sign-up sheets in the narthex, call the office at 815 895 9171, or email


Last year Salem started an exciting partnership with Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago to provide high quality religious education classes taught by seminary professors.

This Fall we will be offering another class: Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: Lutherans encountering people of other faiths (with a focus on Islam) by Dr. Mark Swanson, Harold Vogelaar Chair of Christian Muslim Relations and Associate Director of A Center for Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice. (Please see the bottom of this email for a full description.)

The class will begin on Sunday, October 16, and will run for 4 weeks. A difference this year is that the professor will offer the same class twice a week, once on Sunday at 1:30 CST and Wednesday at 7:30 CST via zoom. We hope this will offer some flexibility each week to allow for greater participation. Participants are welcome to attend either class each week.

If you’ll be joining us for this exciting new class , we invite you to register here:…/learning-communities-individuals .

Pastor Preston

Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: Lutherans encountering people of other faiths (with a focus on Islam) by Dr. Mark Swanson, Harold Vogelaar Chair of Christian Muslim Relations and Associate Director of A Center for Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice.

Many North American Lutherans have been struck by the development of a richly diverse ecumenical and inter-religious landscape in our cities, but also in smaller towns, in our lifetimes. The definition of being religious in North America is not (and actually never was) simply “Protestant, Catholic, Jew,” as in the title of Will Herberg’s 1960 “Essay in American Religious Sociology” Coptic Orthodox Christians outnumber Lutherans in southern California; Chicago has been described as an “America Medina,” and a city like Austin, Texas is dotted with Buddhist temples, monasteries and meditations centers. This four-session workshop is designed to call attention to this landscape, to explore its richness, and to ponder our engagement with neighbors of other faiths—as Christians, and, specifically, as ELCA Lutherans.

Week 1: Who’s in the neighborhood? (being attentive to the religious diversity around us)

Week 2: Faith’s motivations (the Christian case for inter-religious engagement)

Week 3: Similarity, difference, and the possibility of dialogue (the case of Christian-Muslim relations)

Week 4: The work of the ELCA with special attention to recent documents: 2019 ELCA Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment, 2022 Declaration of the ELCA to the Muslim Community, 2022 ELCA Guidelines for Ministry in a Multi-Religious World

Lunch & Learn Talks About Celtic Spirituality

Salem’s Lunch and Learn will be turning its attention to Celtic spirituality in October. The Christians of Ireland, Scotland and Wales had their own way of praying and bringing faith into everyday life.  We will talk about these traditions and how they have been adopted and modified by believers in the past century or so.

For now Lunch and Learn continues via Zoom every Thursday at 11:30 am, for about an hour.  You are invited to join just for a taste of what we do.  The conversations are always lively, enjoyable, and very informative.

 Here is the Zoom Meeting link:

Deepen Faith and Fellowship through Northern Illinois Online Bible Study

Join more than 20 eager learners in Bible study and prayer for an hour each Monday evening at 7:00 pm.  That’s when the Northern Illinois Online Bible Study (NIOBS) meets.

The current book under study from now until the end of October is Genesis.  Learn about the beginning of Israel and the foundations of the promises that come to us through Jesus Christ.

You are welcome to join us for one Monday or for all.  Here is the Zoom link for any of our NIOBS meetings:

Household Dedication to Jesus, the Good Shepherd

What is a household dedication to Jesus, the Good Shepherd? A household dedication is a ceremony in your home in which you ask Jesus to guide and protect your family in a special way. In other words, you invite Jesus to be the Shepherd of your home. If you would like a copy of this please call the Church Office.  815 895-9171