TableTalk

TableTalk 2013 banner-01

Wednesdays evenings, September 17 – November 12, 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Each fall, Blacknall hosts a 9-week educational series featuring dinner, fellowship, and learning programs for all ages. This is a highlight of Blacknall’s life together! Excellent teachers from the community plan exciting classes in biblical study, essentials of the Christian faith, marriage, mission, prayer, and more. Each Wednesday evening, participants enjoy a healthful dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. and then move to classes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Registration for fall 2014 courses is now open! For more information, contact Karl Umble. Click here to download a printable brochure.

Three ways to register for TableTalk:

  1. Email Karl Umble with your name, course choice, and whether or not you plan to attend dinner.
  2. Download the brochure, print and mail to Blacknall (1902 Perry Street, Durham NC 27705).
  3. Visit the Registration Table in the Lower Atrium on Sundays at Blacknall.

Fall 2014 Adult Classes


Advent Celebration
**This course is for ages 4 through adult**

Traci & Don Hoover, Beth Solie & Dave Stuntz

Children and adults of all ages are invited to spend these 9 weeks considering the different actors of the Nativity: Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, the Shepherds, the Angels, the Christ Child. Each week we will worship together with Advent music that connects to the persons we are considering. Then we will have a meditation and conversation on the scripture that tells us about their participation in this Holiest of Events. We will spend another portion of the hour together reconstructing (through paper mache and paint) that particular figure for our Christmas Eve service. In addition, we will also create a collage mural illustrating the events leading up to and surrounding the Incarnation.

Don and Traci have been members at Blacknall since 1992. They have seven children and live in downtown Durham. Together they love reading, cooking, and exploring Durham eateries. Separately they love cycling and taking naps. Beth Solie  is the Director of Preschool Children’s Ministry at Blacknall. She and her husband, Eric, have three children. Beth loves to spend time outdoors with her family and has a knack for all things crafty. Dave Stuntz  has been involved with music at Blacknall since 1998, and he is borderline obsessive with fly fishing and trips to the Outerbanks.

How to Die Well and Care Well for the Dying: Ancient Christian Resources for the 21st Century

Brett McCarty and Mandy Rodgers-Gates

Dying in the 21st Century can be hard work. There are advanced directives to fill out, funeral expenses to consider, and a very complicated medical system to endure. However, Christians have thought long and hard for centuries about what it means to die well, and this accumulated wisdom is absolutely essential for our confusing time. In this TableTalk class, we hope to facilitate a conversation for those who want to think about what it means to die well as a Christian – both for ourselves and for our loved ones we may be caring for. Among other things, we will consider what scripture says about the importance of forgiveness and blessing, and we will think through the logistics of caregiving, advanced directives, hospice care, and the Christian funeral. Given that the death rate is right around 100% and holding, we think that this conversation is important for everyone in the church.

Brett McCarty is a Th.D. student at Duke Divinity School, with a focus on Christian bioethics. He and his wife Dana, who helps lead the children’s dance group here, have attended Blacknall for five years, and he has just finished assisting with a Sunday school class on the Apostles’ Creed. Mandy Rodgers-Gates is a Th.D student at Duke Divinity School, with a focus on Christian responses to suffering and dying. She and her family have attended Blacknall for six years, where she has taught Sunday school classes on Scripture and on death and dying.

First Steps in Walking with Christ

Allan Poole

A number of folks have asked for an opportunity to learn about the Christian basics of faith and practice. This course is specifically designed as an introduction to living the Christian life. Topics to be addressed will include faith, prayer, temptation, guidance, Bible study, and life together, among others. No question too simple. The only requirement is the humility to recognize that we will be beginners all our lives as we explore the mystery of union with Christ.

Allan Poole has been a pastor at Blacknall since 1985. He is married to Betsy and they have three children.

Good News

Jennifer Hagin

The root idea of evangelism is to proclaim the Good News, but so often the idea of sharing our faith with a friend or co-worker can evoke feelings of guilt, fear or anxiety. The goal of this class is to connect with the gospel message ourselves and move in partnership with the Holy Spirit into evangelism out of faith, hope, and love. We will be a learning community that prays together for our friends, practices starting spiritual conversations, navigates hard questions and contextualizes the gospel in ways that people from a variety of life-stages and experience might hear it as good news.

Jennifer Hagin is an Area Director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and on IV’s national evangelism team. When she is not traveling, she enjoys reading on her porch, working out at the Y or eating delicious food with friends.

M:28 Discovery Bible Study – Learn While Doing

Dan Kronstad

M:28 Discovery Bible Study is a Bible study tool and community building process that we believe is simple, reproducible and transformational. All people of Blacknall are welcome to participate. In this course we trust you will gain new insight and understanding into the Word of God, experience genuine fellowship with others, and be further equipped to share the Good News of Jesus with others in your sphere of influence through the use of this Bible study tool. International students from the community will also be invited to join us for this course. We highly encourage participation in the shared meal before each session to help foster trust and community building. Especially be aware of the international guests among us. Seek them out, welcome them and learn their story.

Dan Kronstad has a passion to help others encounter and grow in relationship with Jesus. For the past 9+ years he has served with the ministry of International Students, Inc. (ISI). Dan is married to Tanya (Director of Middle School Ministry at Blacknall) and they have three sons: Erik, Caleb, and James.

Praying in Cooperation with the Holy Spirit

Michael & Serena Whisenhunt

The biggest enticement of this class, which is not a class at all, is the time and space to experience God’s presence. Our gathering each week will begin with praise and worship, and then we will pray about the things the Spirit brings to mind. Our intent is to practice listening to God and cooperating with his Spirit, who searches our hearts, intercedes for us, and leads us to pray God’s will for one another. We will learn about prayer by doing it.

Michael and Serena Whisenhunt have been almost 29 years at Blacknall, where they have led Bible studies, taught first grade Sunday School and Confirmation classes, and worked with Blacknall’s youth. Michael, a Blacknall elder, is a software engineer and Serena teaches middle school English and Bible. They have two children, one in college and one recently graduated from college.

Work Through Faith

Molly Demarest & Ryan Connolly

It is estimated that the average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime (that’s like working 24/7 for 10+ years straight!), and with our heads down, rarely do we stop to reflect on how we got where we are. The purpose of this class is to create a platform for conversation around reframing the concept of work to vocation, or rather from sole self advancement to service within our stations. During this time we will journey through the history of work and different perspectives (Greeks, Medieval, Luther, Calvin, etc.), as well as consider our own personal stories, gifts and passions, as we come together to realign our personal and communal vision for work as vocation. We hope this will be an experience of self reflection in identifying opportunities for service across our different roles (bosses, managers, employees, owners, students, etc.) We will use The Fabric of this World by Lee Hardy as a reference.

Molly Demarest is the Director of Operations and Community Development for the American Underground, the Triangle’s central campus for startup companies. Molly has been at Blacknall since her family joined in 1996. She enjoys hikes on the Eno, values efficiency with the exception of trips to Whole Foods, and in college ate pizza 14 days in a row. Ryan Connolly is husband to the always beautiful and extremely gracious Katie Connolly. He is also fortunate to have three wonderful children: Mary Claire, Hank, and Joe. While spending most of his conscious life planning out his next meal, Ryan enjoys hanging out with the Blacknall Youth Group (BYG) and riding his bike. To his great dismay, a family, house, food and leisure activities cost money, so he also spends some time impersonating an attorney.

Children’s Programs


*Nursery is available for infants through age 2 and is open from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

*Children ages 4 and older are encouraged to attend the Advent Celebration course.