Richard Bass


Conversations at the Heart of the Matter

Beginning Saturday, September 9, join us for an innovative gathering featuring music, communion, and conversations at the heart of the matter. Saturday@5:30 is a place for those willing to re-think church. We’ll talk with artists, authors, theologians, and activists about the lens through which they experience life and faith, followed by time for discussion with our guests. The service will follow the same framework as the current Saturday service, with these conversation in place of the sermon.

Sept 9: Kerry Anderson – The Best and Worst of Religion. Kerry Boyd Anderson is a writer and political risk consultant with more than 13 years’ experience as a professional analyst of international security issues and Middle East political and business risks.


Sept 16: Frederick W. Schmidt – Becoming Fully Alive: Spirituality and Discipline. Frederick W. Schmidt holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He is the author of The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Life in Hard Times (Abingdon Press: 2013).


Sept 23: Zeyneb Sayilghan & Salih Sayilghan – Loving Our (Muslim) Neighbor Starts with Listening. Zeyneb Sayligan is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic Theology and Religious Pluralism, focusing on the intersection of Islamic theology and immigration. Salih Sylighan is chaplain in residence at Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service.


Sept 30: Keary Kincannon – Becoming a Beloved Community. Keary Kincannon is lead pastor of Rising Hope Mission Church, established with the mission of bringing the “power of Christ” and the “support of the church” to the community living in poverty south of Alexandria, VA along the Route 1 Corridor of Fairfax County.


Oct 7: Ryan Danker – Was the Reformation a Good Idea? Ryan Danker is Assistant Professor of History of Christianity and Methodist Studies at Wesley Theological Seminary. He has a passion for evangelical studies, in particular the early Wesleyan/Methodist movement under John and Charles Wesley.


Oct 14: Fred Upton. Rep. Fred Upton has represented Michigan’s 6th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1987. He was a co-sponsor of the 21st Century Cures Act, which addresses many health issues and includes funding for the “Cancer Moonshot.”


Oct 21: Martin Doblemeier – Christian Conscience in the Public Square. Martin Doblmeier is the founder and president of Journey Films, a television and film production company specializing in religion, faith and spirituality. His most recent film is An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story.

Oct 28: Marcia Carucci – God Grant Me the Serenity to Laugh at Life. Martha Carucci, a self-described soccer mom from Alexandria, has been sober and laughing at life since 2012. She doesn’t have a string of letters after her name but she does have a title she’s proud of, Recovering Alcoholic.

Nov 4: Jace Broadhurst – LIfe, Loss, and Love. Jace Broadhurst is pastor of Poolesville Baptist Church in Poolesville, Maryland. A father of three teens, his wife died in 2015.

Nov 11: Lovett Weems – The Death Tsunami: What are the Real Challenges Facing the UMC? Lovett Weems is the Founding Director/Senior Consultant of Wesley’s G. Douglass Lewis Center for Church Leadership. He is the author of many books, including High Yield: Seven Disciplines of the Fruitful Leader (with Tom Berlin) (Abingdon Press, 2014).

Nov. 18: Fleming Rutledge – Condemned into Redemption. Fleming Rutledge is a preacher, teacher, and the author of eight books. Her most recent, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, is the product of the work of a lifetime and is being described as a new classic on the subject.

Nov 25: Hannah Mattis – The G(od) Spot: Understanding the Song of Songs. Hannah Mattis is Assistant Professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary. She has a Master’s and a Ph.D. in medieval studies from Notre Dame University and is writing a book on the Song of Songs in the Early Middle Ages.

Dec 2: Maureen Marshall – Children, Poverty, and Education. Maureen Marshall is principal of Stratford Landing Elementary School.

Dec 9: Scott Jones and Bill Borror – Advent Again: How Do We Think about the Second Coming? Scott Jones and Bill Borror are co-hosts of The New Persuasive Words podcast. They both do a lot of other stuff too.

Dec 16: Deborah Lewis – Embodying Advent. Deborah Lewis is an ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church and currently serve as director & campus minister of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Virginia. She blogs at

Dec 23: Morgan Guyton – Jesus Wants Mercy for His Birthday. Morgan Guyton is Director, NOLA Wesley United Methodist Campus Center and a co-host of the Crackers & Grape Juice podcast. He is the author of How Jesus Saves the World from Us (Westminster John Know, 2016).

In 2018, guests include Diana Butler Bass, Brad Todd, Brian Blount, Clifton Black, Walter Bruegemann, and Tom Berlin.

If you would like to help organize hospitality for the after-service discussion times, please email