Previous classes are described below, with the most recent listed first. 

May Adult Education: 

Moral Leadership

May 7 - Our Moral Leadership Series begins with Adam Rothman, Professor of History, Georgetown University, speaking on “Slavery, Abolition, Race, and Moral Leadership: Then and Now.” 

Dr. Rothman’s books, Beyond Freedom's Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery and Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South, have received numerous awards.  Dr. Rothman is a member of Georgetown's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, and is principal curator of the Georgetown Slavery Archive. 

One of our nation’s experts on slavery and on the slave experience in Georgetown and the D.C. area, Dr. Rothman will speak about the failings of moral leadership in the foundational history of race relations in America, and the potential for a different path for our country in the future.


April Adult Education:

Naming God's Absence

April 9 - Tracy Rankin led a discussion on Environmental Stewardship Sunday.

April 23 - We viewed the documentary 'Poverty, Inc.' The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multibillion-dollar poverty industry of for-profit aid contractors and massive NGOs - the business of doing good has never been better. Yet the results have been mixed and leaders in the developing world are calling for change. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, Povery, Inc. challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?

April 30 - We heard from Jean Johnson, Executive Director of World Mission Associates. With over 29 years of ministry experience, Jean serves as a missionary and coach as well as WMA’s Executive Director. She is the author of We Are Not the Hero: A Missionary’s Guide to Sharing Christ, Not a Culture of Dependency. Jean holds a B.A. in cross-cultural communications from North Central University, Minneapolis, MN, where she also taught as a missionary-in-residence from 2009-2012. 


March Adult Education: 

The End of White Christian America

March 5: Lecture and Discussion with Robert P. Jones, Ph.D, M.Div. CEO, PRRI

“Quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year.” —The New York Times Book Review.

Dr. Jones joined us for Adult Education to discuss his latest book, The End of White Christian America. This provocative book outlines the rise and decline of the influence of white Protestant Christians in the cultural fabric of our country.  Using findings from extensive PRRI survey reports, the book explores the origins of the anxiety many in the white Christian community feel in the face of a changing racial and cultural landscape in the United States.

Dr. Jones is a noted scholar of religion and public policy and the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles.  He is frequently featured on major national media outlets, discussing politics, religion and culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University and a Masters in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Full biographical details can be found at

Additional information on the book can be found at

March 12: Congregational Small Group Discussion, The End of White Christian America 


On the Road to the Cross with the Psalms
with Dr. Denise Hopkins

March 19:  The Seasons of Faith 

March 26: The Power of Metaphor

April 2: Naming God’s Absence

Jesus in the Gospels quotes from the book of Psalms more than any other book of the Bible. Psalms can offer us imaginative metaphors to help name our diverse experiences, navigate the joys and pain of life, and connect us to God and one another in this preparatory season of Lent.

A native of upstate NY, Dr. Dombkowski Hopkins has studied twice at the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies on the West Bank. She has received several grants and awards, among them: a Wabash Center Project Grant, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment (2013), an Association of Theological Schools Research Grant (2007), and a Theological Education Renewal Award from the Yale Center for Faith and Culture (2006), all with her colleague, Michael Koppel. She also received an Exemplary Teaching Award (2011-12) from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. She is the author of a recent book on Psalms 42 to 89 in the new Wisdom Commentary Series from Liturgical Press (forthcoming, 2017).


February Adult Education: 

Strategic Vision for Bradley Hills:
Presentation and Open Discussion of the New Strategic Plan

We learned about our strategic vision: our new mission and vision, our goals and objectives, and how we propose to measure our progress over the next five years.

  • February 5: New Initiatives in the Strategic Vision
    Cathie Lutter, Sara Inati, and George Petrides led the discussion of how the data were used to generate the current plan. What did the Strategic Visioning Task Force develop as a result of all the data gathered? How can you be part of making it real? 

Refugee Resettlement

BHPC is working with our partners at the Bethesda Jewish Congregation and the Idara e Jaferia Mosque to sponsor a single refugee family and assist in their re-settlement in the Bethesda area. We are expecting a family in the near future. This Adult Education Series focused on refugee resettlement programs beginning at the federal level and moving to the very local level.

  • February 12: Cameron D. McGlothlin, Program Officer with the Refugee Admissions Office in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) at the U.S. Department of State discussed how our federal government supports refugee resettlement.
  • February 19th: "Addressing Refugee Needs - Beyond the Material" 
    Many refugees arrive here after suffering a strenuous and traumatic journey.  This week’s discussion focused on appreciating refugee emotional and mental health issues and needs, presented by Jennifer Isely, MSW, LGSW, Clinical Case Manager, TASSC International. Jennifer completed her Master’s of Social Work with a clinical concentration from Catholic University in June 2015. During the first year of her graduate program, Jennifer interned at TASSC, where she was incredibly inspired by the survivors she worked with. Before starting her graduate work, Jennifer spent over two years serving in the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan working with local women to develop a crisis center for survivors of domestic violence and bride kidnapping. Post-Peace Corps, Jennifer worked for a local nonprofit in the Washington, DC area supporting survivors of human trafficking, and has additional experience counseling survivors of sexual assault.
  • February 26th: "How Bradley Hills, Bethesda Jewish Congregation and the Idara e Jaferia Mosque are coordinating efforts to make 'our family' feel at home"
    We had a panel discussion with representatives of the three faith communities spearheading the effort to re-settle a refugee family in our area.  


January Adult Education:

  • January 15: David Gray led a study of the Book of Micah. One of Dr. King’s favorite passages of scripture was from Micah 6 - a powerful discussion and statement of what the Lord requires of us. Yet what is the deeper meaning of Micah? On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Pastor David led a study of the famous calling from the book of Micah.
  • January 22: As the world gets increasingly divided, civil discourse gets increasingly nasty. This session on "Compassionate Listening in a Divided World" looked at the potential for compassionate listening to restore our sense of humanity. International scholar of listening behavior Andrew Wolvin, University of Maryland Professor of Communication and BHPC member, led this session on the potential for compassionate listening to restore our sense of humanity. 
  • January 29: Bethany Frick and Bonnie Holcomb led a discussion on "Vital Signs and Upholding What We Value at BHPC" based on what the Congregational Assessment Tool (the survey you took last spring) showed about Bradley Hills. We explored where we stand in relation to other churches on a variety of measures (hospitality, morale, conflict management, governance, spiritual vitality, engagement in education, worship and music). We also discussed what it is most important to uphold in our current practices.


December Adult Education:

Advent - What Are We Preparing For? 

Advent is a time of expectation, of preparation. But what are we expecting? What are we preparing for as we move toward the celebration of Jesus' birth on Christmas? During Advent, we explored the scriptures of prophecy, of longing, of apocalypse, and of promise that God will indeed make all things new.

  • December 4: Pastor David Gray explored the prophetic texts of the Old Testament and their relation to the coming of the Messiah that Christians see fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. 
  • December 11: Pastor Kori Phillips led us in a discussion of the Canticles that open the Gospel of Luke. Praises of and for the long-awaited Messiah are sung by the priest Zechariah in the Benedictus, the young and pregnant Mary in the Magnificat, and the devout Simeon in the Nunc dimittis.
  • December 18: Steve Burns led a discussion of Gospel texts that signal Jesus's birth as the fulfillment of the hope that God will come and restore Israel and re-establish God's realm of peace and justice.


November Adult Education:

Connecting the Dots: Religion, Science and Technology

 "Technology, Society, and Faith"

Advances in technology have affected our lives in ways both mundane and profound. We can now communicate with each other with a few thumb taps and interact in virtual space with persons across the globe. We can check the contents of our refrigerators while at our office desks. It is possible to “go” to church without leaving the confines of our homes.  But what does that mean? How do technological innovations affect our faith practice and our interpersonal relationships? Join us in Adult Education to discover the emerging landscape of technology and explore how this landscape intersects with religion.

  • November 6 – "Congregational Discussion: How technology can and does affect faith practice and how can we regain control and perspective": Viral videos and constant newsfeeds. Driverless cars and robotic caretakers. Do these technologies connect or separate us? What does it mean to “go to church” if you never actually set foot in a church?  Would Jesus tweet if he walked among us today? We discussed the many ways technology can affect our faith lives.
  • November 13 – "Machines in the Workplace, 1700 to the Present and Beyond": How did we get here? What lies ahead? We heard a kaleidoscopic and illuminating explanation of the full impact that technology has had, and more importantly will have, on human life in the modern world, presented by one of the nation’s foremost experts on how the field of robotics has come to its present place in our society, Dr. Clinton Kelly III. Dr. Clinton Kelly III has over 50 years experience in advanced research and project development in the field of computer technology and robotics, including serving as Director of U.S. Strategic Computing Program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Senior Vice-President for Advanced Technology Development at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Among other contributions, he personally initiated the first research project to explore the possibility of driverless vehicles.
  • November 20 - Erik Riddings shared his experiences from his recent mission trip to Haiti.


October/November Adult Education:

Faith & Civil Politics - The Reformed Perspective - October 2

We had a discussion of themes elucidated by Dr. Douglass during his series in September. Where are we now with respect to our role as a faith community in civil politics? Is this consistent with our history or are we moving into a new direction? These questions and others were explored in small groups during the hour.


Connecting the Dots: Religion, Science and Technology

"Extrapolating Presbyterian Roots"

  • October 9 - Calvinism in History: The Evolution of Presbyterian Theology
  • October 16 - Calvinism and Science: Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and Whitehead
  • October 23 - Calvinism in Perspective: Theology, Science and the Future

Q: How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None - lights go on and off by themselves.

Have you ever wondered about the concept called Predestination? On October 9, David Gray and Dick Tustian shared their reflections on the history and interpretation of the foundational theological concepts of the Presbyterian Church; on October 16, Dick Tustian shared speculative thoughts about the implications of scientific discoveries since Calvin’s time five hundred years ago; and on October 23, Tracy Rankin, Joanna Schmeissner, and Steve Burns led a panel discussion, with audience participation on how theology is being perceived today within current secular tensions between modern science and traditional religions.


September Adult Education:

"Faith & Civil Politics - The Reformed Perspective"

Speaker: Bruce Douglass

  • September 11 -  Public Office as a "High Calling"
  • September 18 -  Christian Republicanism             
  • September 25 -  Sphere Sovereignty

Beloved Adult Education speaker Bruce Douglass, an Associate Professor at Georgetown University and Director of the Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington, joined us again.

Presbyterians trace their roots back to a variant of Protestant Christianity called "Reformed" that arose in western Europe in the 1500s. Ever since the initial appearance of that movement, its members have been actively involved in public affairs, and they have regarded that activity as one of the more important practical manifestations of their faith. But why have they viewed the matter that way? What exactly has it meant? How have Reformed Protestants understood the bearing of their faith on their involvement in civil politics? How does that view differ from the views of other Christians? And what relevance does it have to the events of our time? We examined some of the more basic elements of the Reformed understanding of civil politics and their relationship to the challenges facing us today.