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