Southminster Reads 2019

Each summer the Adult Education program suggests a book for the entire congregation to read. In the early fall, we devote a worship service to discussing the book as a congregation. This summer, Southminster will be reading the book, Why Religion, A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels.

Pagels is a noted religious historian who joined the faculty of Princeton in 1982. She has researched early Christianity and Gnosticism, the study of the Gnostic texts discovered in Egypt in 1945, and the way that women have been viewed in Judeo-Christian history. She received a McArthur fellowship in 1980 and has written several books; her best-known work is The Gnostic Gospels, 1979.

Why Religion, A Personal Story, 2018, was written through the lens of 30 years of deep soul-searching after unimaginable personal losses, the death of her 6 years old son in 1987 from lung disease followed by the death of her husband in 1988 in a climbing accident. While drawing upon the perspectives of neurologists, anthropologists, and her own historical research, she blends her personal story with an examination of the influence of religion on the self, society, and how it affects the way one deals with loss and challenges. 

Why Religion? Is a deeply moving exploration of progressive religious beliefs and human experience that many of us will be able to relate to. The book is available at your local library and Amazon.

Join the Southminster Reads Group on Goodreads


Community Groups at Southminster

The Celebration of Creativity Annual Art Show – Started over 40 years ago by a small group at Southminster, the goal was to meet the need of local artists for a recurring professional venue and to make fine art available and affordable to the community. We also provide money for scholarships and art programs as part of its mission to promote local arts by supporting art education. The committee sponsors three scholarships for the Beaverton Arts Commission’s outstanding high school visual art students. In addition, the committee has supported the Beaverton School District Art Literacy Program for the past 16 years with volunteers and donations.

Over the years, this showcase of local and regional talent has grown to become one of the premier art shows in the Portland area, famous for its beautiful presentation, a wide variety of media, and an ever-changing array of artists.

The Art Show Committee of Southminster works year-round to produce the Celebration of Creativity, inviting both emerging and established artists after jurying. Visit https://celebrationofcreativity.com/

Book Discussion Group – The book discussion group meets the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:00 pm. Join the Book Discussion Group on Goodreads.

October 14: The Overstory by Richard Powers
The Overstory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. Reserve this title at your local library.

November 11: The Power by Naomi Alderman
From the New York Times: The Power, Naomi Alderman’s recent work of speculative fiction, tackles a freighted question: What would happen in a conventional society if the roles of men and women were flipped, so that women were the aggressors? Reserve this title at your local library.


First Tuesday Book Group – Meets the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm. Click here to view the 2019-2020 reading list PDF. You can also join our Group on Goodreads.com.

October 1: The Rebirthing of God by John Philip Newell
Dare to imagine a new birth from deep within Christianity. In the midst of dramatic changes in Western Christianity, internationally respected spiritual leader, peacemaker and scholar John Philip Newell offers the hope of a fresh stirring of the Spirit among us. He invites us to be part of a new holy birth of sacred living. Speaking directly to the heart of Christians—those within the well-defined bounds of Christian practice and those on the disenchanted edges—as well as to the faithful and seekers of other traditions, he explores eight major features of a new birthing of Christianity. Reserve this title at your local library.

Nov. 5: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells
“The Uninhabitable Earth” wagers that we’ve grown inured to cool recitations of the facts, and require a more direct engagement of political will. “There is no single way to best tell the story of climate change, no single rhetorical approach likely to work on a given audience, and none too dangerous to try,” Wallace-Wells writes. “Any story that sticks is a good one.” Reserve this title ay your local library.


Super Wednesdays –  An inclusive group who gather for discussion and friendship. As we are finding through research, friendships and socialization are imperative for maintaining a strong mind as we age. However, it’s never too early to start! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join in regardless of age. The broader the span, the healthier the perspective. The group atmosphere is warm and accepting and embraces sharing. There is time for serious thought as well as time for laughter and joy. Come have a cup of coffee or tea and join the shared camaraderie. You’ll be glad you did. There is no commitment, just drop in Room 7, at 10:00 am on Wednesdays.

Water To Wine – Our most popular monthly social gathering where we sample wines from different regions. While we all learn a little more about wine, we think that the best part of the group is meeting fellow Southminsters in a relaxed social setting which lets us get to know each other better.

Women’s Retreat –  Southminster’s Women’s Retreat is an annual gathering of our community of women. Your retreat planning committee seeks to create a program to provide mind-body-soul connection and deepen our sense of community at Southminster. Our Women’s Retreat strives to be inclusive and invites all women (cis, trans, femme, and gender-non conforming) to join us! The dates for 2020 will be announced soon. Learn more about our most recent Women’s Retreat >>>