Adult Education

What is prayer–is it work? Can it be playful? How do we faithfully co-exist in a world of many faiths? What is the most effective way to make sure our donations actually reach the needy? What about gay marriage? These are only a few of the topics covered in our weekly adult education sessions.

This well-attended series, on Sunday mornings before Worship (excluding Summer), provides a vital forum for various members of our congregation and our community and almost always features a lively–and sometimes lighthearted–discussion afterward. Join us for a cup of coffee and a great way to start the morning’s worship.

Adult Education April 2014

Date Posted: April 6th, 2014 — 5:16pm

April 6 will be the final class in the series exploring the wisdom of the desert fathers and mothers. Co- Pastor Maria LaSala will conclude the conversation based on the book Desert Spaces by Joan Chittister, drawing upon the Gospel lesson for the morning from John 11, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. On

April 27th, Steve Davis will talk with us about his work in ancient and medieval Christianity in the Middle East. Steve is also the founder and director of the Yale Monastic Archaeology Project which sponsors work at two sites in Egypt. Steve has just returned from Egypt, and will tell stories about the desert mothers and fathers and respond to any questions you may have about his research and about the current situation in Egypt.

The class meets in the Miller Hall at 9:30 a.m. Coffee and tea are available.

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Adult Education – March 2014

Date Posted: March 4th, 2014 — 9:28pm

The Birds of the Holy Land -  Sunday March 2nd

Florence McBride will share her film, Birding in Israel during the Adult Education Sunday School gathering. Israel is only about the size of New Jersey, but the lands of the Bible host a rich array of breeding, wintering, and migrating birds in settings of exceptional scenic, archaeological and cultural interest.

Flo is a birder extraordinaire, and this will be a wonderful opportunity to hear her share her love for these littlest but important creatures in God’s world. “Consider the sparrow …”

Join us on Sunday, March 2nd at 9:30 a.m.


Adult Education Series: Exploring our Desert Places – Sunday March 9,16,23,30, and April 7

Co-Pastors Bill Goettler and Maria LaSala will lead a five-week series based on Joan Chittister’s Lenten book, Desert Spaces, on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Miller Gathering Hall.

Chittister offers us a reminder that “after the Christmas season, it is Lent that centers us in a consciousness of the daily-ness of Christian life, about what it means to live into this world in a way that makes the life of Jesus as real now as it was then.”

This series will take us back to the third century, to the spiritual counsel of the desert mothers and fathers, to consider “the kind of guidance they gave to one another and to the seekers who sought spiritual direction.”

Copies of the book will be available beginning on Sunday, March 2nd.

Coffee and tea are available before and during class.


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Adult Education February 2014

Date Posted: February 2nd, 2014 — 9:00am

Beginning February 2, Bruce Gordon will lead an Adult Education series on Our Reformed Faith and the Sacred,  taking a look at:

  • February 2nd: Sacred Words
  • February 9th: Sacred Time
  • February 16th: sacred space

Bruce is the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School and a member of the Worship Committee.

February 23rd: Join our guest, Alex McNeill, Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians for a conversation about the church’s welcome of transgender people.

Join us for these engaging conversations on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Miller Gathering Hall.

Coffee and tea will be available.

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Adult Education January 2014

Date Posted: January 1st, 2014 — 9:38am

Adult Education will meet on Sunday, January 12th, in the Miller Gathering Hall.

Sunday, January 12th: The Rev. Sue Asher, Director of Spiritual Care at Yale New Haven Hospital, will talk with us about Advance Directives and End of Life Health Decisions.

Sunday, February 6th: We will have the chance to hear Flo McBride talk with us about the birds found in the land of the Bible. Flo, an educator in the Hamden school district, and a bird watcher extraordinaire, will share with us pictures of God’s littlest creatures. Turtle doves, ravens, sparrows, all make an appearance in the lands of the Bible.

Spend an hour with us on Sunday mornings beginning at 9:30a.m. Coffee and tea will be available.

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Adult Education in November

Date Posted: November 1st, 2013 — 8:09pm

November 3 and 10  – A New Look at Immigration: A conversation with Grace Yukich, assistant professor of sociology at Quinnipiac University and author of One Family Under God: Immigration Politics and Progressive Religion in America.

Behind the walls of a church, Liliana and her baby eat, sleep, and wait. Outside, protestors shout Go back to Mexico!” and Even heaven has a gate! They demand that the U.S. government deport Liliana, which would separate her from her husband and children. Who is Liliana? A criminal? A hero? And why does the church protect her?

In One Family Under God, Grace Yukich draws on extensive field observation and interviews to reveal how immigration is changing religious activism in the U.S. In the face of nationwide immigration raids and public hostility toward “illegal” immigration, the New Sanctuary Movement emerged in 2007 as a religious force seeking to humanize the image of undocumented immigrants.

Building coalitions between religious and ethnic groups that had rarely worked together in the past, activists revived and adapted sanctuary, the tradition of providing shelter for fugitives in houses of worship. Through sanctuary, they called on Americans to support legislation that would keep immigrant families together. But they sought more than political change: they also pursued religious transformation, challenging the religious nationalism in America’s faith communities by portraying undocumented immigrants as fellow children of God.

In her book, Grace shows progressive religious activists struggling with the competing goals of newly diverse coalitions, fighting to expand the meaning of “family values” in a diversifying nation. Through these struggles, the activists are both challenging the public dominance of the religious right and creating conflicts that could doom their chances of impacting immigration reform. Grace has been attending First Presbyterian for the past year and is a native of Alabama.

November 17 – a conversation with Martin Johnstone from the Poverty Initiative in Glasgow.

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