Recent Adult Education Programs
Previous classes are described below, with the most recent listed first.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May 15th: A Discussion with Dr. Mark Bergel, Founder of A Wider Circle
We welcomed Dr. Mark Bergel, who presented his vision for his organization, A Wider Circle, and discussed current challenges facing families in crisis today.
Dr. Bergel founded A Wider Circle in 2001 and has emerged as a leader in the movement to end poverty. He is a nationally acclaimed speaker in the fields of poverty, health, and social connection and has been featured on national television and radio programs. Dr. Bergel earned a B.A. from Northwestern University and went on to receive both Masters and Doctoral degrees from American University.
Dr. Bergel’s efforts to end poverty have led to his selection as Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine and as a 2014 CNN Hero. He has also been named one of PEOPLE Magazine and Major League Baseball’s “All‐Stars Among Us,” recognizing individuals who have made incredible contributions in their communities. He has also received the Dr. Augustus White III Award for Civic Engagement and Service, the Andrea Jolly President’s Award, the Essence of Leadership Award at the Greater DC Cares Business and Nonprofit Philanthropy Summit, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s Linowes Leadership Award.
May 22nd: A Continuing Conversation on Planning Our Future
We joined together for a continuing conversation on Planning Our Future Together. Cathie Lutter and other members of the Strategic Visioning Task Force asked for input into the strategic vision.
We held four Sunday morning sessions centered on Paul and the Apostles. The sessions were built around David Gray’s Lenten Sermon Series, with two discussions at Adult Education led by David, exposure to contemporary scholarship and finally a historical peek at Paul’s peers – the Twelve Apostles. Paul himself framed the discussion for these four sessions in 1 Corinthians 1:10:
"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some … have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas (Peter)"; still another, "I follow Christ."
March 6th: Pastor David Gray explored Paul's life.
March 13th: We listened to brief video recordings of five biblical scholars seeking to unravel Paul’s life and words for a contemporary world, followed by a discussion about what we've seen.
March 20th: Pastor David built on Paul's letters.