Fondren Bible Institute: July 28–31, 2013

The Fondren Bible Institute has become a traditional summer activity, incorporating good fellowship with in-depth study of the scriptures . . . a "VBS" for adults.

The Reverend MaryAnn McKibben Dana describes the 2013 program series, "The Improvising God: God's Work in an Imperfect World":

When a tornado strikes Oklahoma, a tragedy rocks a Newtown elementary school, or an earthquake levels Haiti, we all become theologians, for better or worse. If loved ones are spared, we rejoice that prayers were answered. But what about the prayers of those who did not survive? Religious pundits tell TV audiences that the tragedies are a message from the Almighty to turn from our sinful ways. Does God really work that way? As Presbyterians, we proclaim God's sovereignty as one of our basic affirmations of faith... But what do we mean by that?

The question of God's action in the midst of human life--especially human suffering--is perhaps the fundamental struggle for people of faith and a sticking point for non-religious folks. Are there more expansive ways to think about God's providence that take seriously God's love and also the reality of tragedy?

Join us for this year's Fondren Bible Institute as we tackle these and other big questions. Scripture will be our primary conversation partner, along with theology, human psychology, literature, pop culture, music, and more.

The Reverend MaryAnn McKibben Dana is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church, a small and growing congregation in Falls Church, VA. She is a writer of numerous articles and essays and the author of Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family's Experiment with Holy Time through Chalice Press. The book has been featured on PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and in Publishers Weekly and was named a "must read for 2013" by Ministry Matters.

She is a frequent speaker and workshop leader concerning issues of spiritual formation, church leadership, and congregational transformation. She is also co-chair of NEXT Church (, a movement that seeks to call forth and nurture vibrant and creative ministry in the PC(USA).

She is a proud native Texan and graduate of Rice University in Houston. She received her M.Div. in 2003 from Columbia Theological Seminary, where she received the top awards for preaching and academics. She is married to Robert Dana and has three children: Caroline, 10; Margaret, 7; and James, 5. Connect with her at her blog, The Blue Room ( ).

Please PRE-REGISTER for FBI 2013! Registration forms are available in the church office, or you may Click here to download and print a form. Return the form, along with your payment for meals, if applicable, to the church office no later than Monday, July 22.

View All News