Read the Latest News in Adult Education
Through Church School classes, special programs, inter-generational events, and discussion groups, Westminster provides opportunities for people of all ages to nurture their faith. The Church School, which meets from September through May on Sunday mornings, from 9:30-10:40 AM, is the heart of these efforts and provides classes for people of all ages. There is also a weekly lectio divina prayer group, a prayer shawl group, and an Opening Doors group welcoming adults with developmental challenges. Additional evening programs, events and workshops also occur through the year. Please contact Rev. Lynne Clements with questions or for more information.
Weekly Classes – Sundays, 9:30-10:30 am
THE CHURCH: HISTORIC AND CONTEMPORARY
Contemporary Theology is a study class designed to look at new thoughts, new inquiries, new ways of understanding the traditional doctrine and practice of Christianity, and to gain insights from other religious traditions. The main goals of the class are to learn to better articulate our faith and to create the opportunity for theological reflection and spiritual growth. Participants normally are expected to complete readings before class. New inquirers are always welcome. For Fall 2019, the readings will be Understanding the Sacred: Sociological Theology for Contemporary People by Murray Milner, Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World by Serene Jones, and The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, by Dali Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams (see the separate brochure for the descriptions of these books and the class schedule). For more information, contact Jack Townsend at . All fall, Room 207.
Understanding the Sacred: Membership in churches is steadily declining. More people say their religious preference is “none.” Traditional prayers, creeds and liturgies are often incomprehensible or unbelievable. Such unbelievable beliefs need not be the way we try to articulate our faith—especially if we want younger, educated people to be members of the Church. Drawing on his new book, Understanding the Sacred, Murray Milner will discuss a new theology that uses language and concepts that most people can understand and affirm. Oct. 20, Library
Note: for those interested in an in-depth study of his book, Murray will be moderating a discussion of it in the Contemporary Theology class, September 15 -October 6.
Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield, editor and publisher of The Presbyterian Outlook, will return to Westminster to lead a class on December 15 (class topic TBA). Before being named editor, Rev. Duffield served as associate pastor for discipleship and acting head of staff at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Her graduate studies include a Master of Divinity degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond and a doctorate in ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary with a concentration in preaching. Dec. 15, Library.
Genesis: A Living Conversation: This class is based on Bill Moyers’ PBS Series, “Genesis: A Living Conversation.” The series is a form of Torah Study on the book of Genesis. For each segment of the series, a group of noted biblical scholars and others of all Abrahamic faiths discuss particular episodes from Genesis. Our first Sunday, we will view the complete DVD for the first session, titled “In God’s Image.” The format for each of the following Sundays is to play parts of the DVD presentation followed by a class discussion. Future segments to view and discuss might include Temptation (Adam and Eve), The First Murder (Cain and Abel), Apocalypse (The Flood Story), A Family Affair (Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael) and The Test (The Binding of Isaac). Sept. 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 20 & 27 (no class Oct. 13), Jack Townsend, Room 209.
Artistic Perspectives of Jacob’s Twelve Sons from the 17th and the 20th Centuries: In the 1640’s, Spanish painter, Francisco de Zurbaran used Genesis 49 to depict the futures of Jacob’s twelve sons in a series of large oil paintings. In the 1960’s, Marc Chagall depicted the twelve tribes descended from Jacob’s sons in a series of stained glass windows, also using Genesis 49 as his guide. On November 17, Rev. Gregory Taylor will discuss and critique the depictions by Zurbaran, and, on November 24, Rev. Mary Beth Wells will discuss and critique the Chagall depictions. Rev. Taylor is a retired Episcopal priest and also an attorney, presently residing at Westminster-Canterbury with his wife, Anne. His activities there include direction of a weekly Bible study. Rev. Wells is an iconographer, spiritual director and chaplain. Nov. 17 & 24, Room 209.
Women’s Tuesday Evening Bible Study: The Women’s Tuesday Evening Study Group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm in the Lower Lounge. The first meeting is September 10, 2019, and the series continues through May 12, 2020. We will be using the Presbyterian Women’s Horizons Bible Study, Love Carved in Stone by Eugenia Anne Gamble. Each study is led by a member of the group, and another member provides refreshments. At the November meeting, we invite women of the choir to join us for a pot-luck supper (provided by members) and carol singing. The study books, by group agreement, are large print versions, and copies are available from Barbara Deaver for $15. For more information, call Barbara at 973-3819. Second Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 pm beginning Sept. 10, Lower Lounge.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: CHRISTIAN RESPONSE IN TODAY’S WORLD
Building the Beloved Community: Walking the Path of Gospel: The Dismantling Racism: Building Beloved Community ministry team of the Presbytery of the James grew out of an overture calling for a vocal and sustained response to the events of August 2017 in Charlottesville. The ministry team prepared a six-week curriculum around two fundamental gospel truths. First, salvation in the Bible is not only about humanity’s freedom from sin, but it also is about a new humanity’s freedom for the work of the kingdom of God. The second is God’s desire to create one human family, diverse in every way, but united in love and faithfulness to the one God. Building from our discussions on Waking Up White and The Hate U Give, we will consider some of the Biblical basis for building the Beloved Community and disrupting and dismantling white supremacy and racism, using selections from the Presbytery ministry team’s curriculum. Sept. 15, 22, 29 & Oct. 6, Zanne Mac Donald, Rev. Dorothy Piatt, Gail Wiley, Ron Wiley, Library.
Professor Gary Dorrien, Union Theological Seminary: Gary Dorrien, the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York and Professor of Religion at Columbia University, will be at Westminster as part of the Westminster Lectureship Series and will lead an adult education class on October 13. At Union and Columbia, he teaches social ethics, theology, and philosophy of religion. Professor Dorrien is the author of 19 books and more than 300 articles on social ethics, philosophy, theology, political economics, social and political theory, religious history, cultural criticism, and intellectual history. Philosopher Cornel West describes him as “the preeminent social ethicist in North America today.” Oct. 13, Library.
LIFFE & FAITH
Faith and Family: No matter where you may be on the parenting journey, join us in an open conversation each week where we explore a variety of topics from screen time to cultivating gratitude and beyond. Together we will move through our collective hopes and fears, bolstered by fellowship and food. How can we guide our children to the light when it’s hard for us to see it? How do we raise our children to be caring, engaged members of the community in a society that emphasizes self-centeredness? Let’s look for answers together as we strengthen our network of parents at WPC. All are welcome, parents or not! All fall – Adrienne Kim Bird, Molly Peck, Elizabeth Schlipper, Derry Wade, Lounge.
The Priesthood of All Believers: This four-week class aims to bring together adults (currently working or retired) and youth to examine issues related to work, vocation, economic justice and servant leadership. The course will feature small group and panel discussions about the work/vocation we are called to do in the world and how we can seek racial and economic justice in our everyday lives. Topics include: (1) The Priesthood of All Believers: a whole lot more than church committees and mission projects; (2) Pay Inequality and Economic Justice: who gets paid how much and why?; (3) Who Calls the Shots: owners, workers, government or the elite?; and (4) Work, Vocation and Servant Leadership. Nov. 3, 10, 17 & 24, Steve Brown, Library.
Opening Doors: The Opening Doors class welcomes all adults and is especially designed to accommodate those with mental and/or physical challenges. Music, fellowship, and sharing of biblical stories from both the Old and New Testament are the foundations of the class. Participants also have the option of sitting together during worship service. If transportation is needed, Jaunt service usually is available. Opening Doors was started in 1992 by leaders at Westminster, including Joyce and Forrest Kerns, Lee Walters, Kathie Beard, and Virginia Fisher. Inclusion of all is the hallmark of the class. If you have questions, please contact Leanna Whitmore. All fall (will not meet on Dec. 22), Room 208.
Prayer Shawl Ministry: Care and the love of knitting and/or crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry that reaches out to those within our church and beyond. Since 2011 and under the guidance of the Pastoral Deacons and church staff, we have given shawls to console those who are grieving, comfort those who are ill, and bring joy and gratitude during times of celebration. We meet on the third Monday of each month from 6:30-8:00 PM in the Lower Lounge. If you are interested in joining this special ministry or have questions, please contact Beth Hochstetler @ 434-978-1674 or . Third Mondays of the month at 6:30 pm, Lower Lounge.
Funerals and Memorials: When We Gather to Say Goodbye: Rev. Ken Henry will offer a two- part lecture and discussion regarding how one goes about preparing for memorials or funerals. This class will be both theological and practical. Ken will share with us his theological and pastoral understanding of The Resurrection, but he will also provide practical handouts and checklists to assist anyone facing a time of grief and loss. Robin Marantz Henig, writing in the New York Times about American attitudes toward dying, once said: “Most of us will be old and sick when we die and will have had years to tell our loved ones just what it is about dying that most frightens us and . . . just how we hope to die. The trouble is, most of us aren’t talking.” Here’s an opportunity to receive good information and to talk about an issue that we all will face some day. Nov. 3 & 10, Room 209.
Class with Rev. Lynne Clements: Topic TBA, Dec. 8, Library