Christian faith is a journey. Our faith is richer, and our congregation is stronger, when we continue Christian education as adults.
First United’s Adult Education program offers insight, growth, and fellowship with classes, workshops, intimate discussions, and presentations and lectures by leading scholars. Topics range from church history to current events to race relations to international issues, and always include a biblical perspective. Sometimes a series of classes is scheduled on specific topics that lend themselves to in-depth study. Adult ed is a ministry that drives learning, deepens faith, and wrestles with the relationship between God’s world and the human world.
Classes meet at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays from September through late May. Bring your whole self, including your questions, your doubts, and a sense of humor. For more information on any adult education programs, contact Lydia Mulkey, Associate Pastor of Education (email@example.com), 708-386-5215 (ext. 103).
February Adult Ed schedule
February 3: United Power for Action and Justice: Church member Amy Totsch, a senior organizer for United Power, will explain what the organization does, what its current focuses are, and how it uses dialogue and relationship building to cultivate shared power. Amy will discuss gun violence, housing, and mental health.
February 10: Affordable housing. Lynda Schueler, executive director of Housing Forward, and John Harris of a5 will explain the work of the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition on zoning practices in Oak Park, including proposals for inclusionary zoning. Also speaking will be David Pope of the Oak Park Residence Corp. and Oak Park Village Trustee Simone Boutet.
February 17: Mental Health Resources in Oak Park. Vanessa Matheney, contracts and projects manager of the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township, will share what the community has to offer in the form of mental health services.
February 24: Report from First United’s PNC. Join the Lead Pastor Nominating Committee for an update on the progress and prospects of the search for our next lead pastor. Committee members will discuss how they have learned to present our church to the wider Presbyterian and United Church of Christ worlds; how they have come together as an effective, trusting-in-the-Holy-Spirit team; and how they have asked the questions we want candidates to answer. Without violating the rules of confidentiality, they will share some of the surprises they have encountered. Questions will be welcome. Our two church profiles: PC(USA) Ministry Information Form. UCC Local Church Profile.
Lenten Adult Ed schedule and book options
Small groups will have their choice of two books to read during Lent. Book discussions will start the week of March 10 and run through the week of April 14. For more information or to join a small group for discussion, contact Lydia Mulkey, Associate Pastor of Education (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 103).
The first book is Radical Discipleship by Jennifer McBride. Radical Discipleship uses the liturgical seasons as a framework for engaging the social evils of mass incarceration, capital punishment, and homelessness, arguing that to be faithful to the gospel, Christians must become disciples of, not simply believers in, Jesus. The book arises out of McBride’s extensive experience teaching theology in a women’s prison while participating in a residential Christian activist worshipping community. Dr. McBride, who teaches at McCormick Theological Seminary, also will speak at First United on April 1 and April 14. The approach in the book is reminiscent to that of Discipleship by German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The study schedule is as follows:
Week of March 10: Pages 1-24, Introduction: The Space of Radical Discipleship.
Week of March 17: Pages 25-70, Advent.
Week of March 24: Pages 71-120, Christmas and Ordinary Time.
Week of March 31: Pages 121-186, Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday.
Week of April 7: Pages 187-228, Easter.
Week of April 14: Pages 229-259, Pentecost and the Birth of the Radical Discipleship Movement.
The second book is Mindful Christianity by Jim Burklo. Mindful Christianity is spiritual practice in the service of engagement with the quest for social and environmental justice. By seeing clearly what is, we can begin working on what ought to be. The mystical knowledge of God leads to a life of compassion and activism. Mindful prayer leads to fresh interpretation of Christian tradition, and reveals the Bible for what it is: not a book of facts, not a fixed set of prescriptions for behavior, but rather a collection of wisdom and poetry and myth made sacred by the ongoing human quest for intimate encounter with the Ultimate Reality. Rev. Burklo is senior associate dean of religious life at the University of Southern California. Those interested can watch an online video of the author or read a Lenten study guide, also online. The study schedule is as follows:
Week of March 10: No assigned reading prior to first meeting. Introduction of mindfulness practice.
Week of March 17: Pages 1-24, A Mindful Introduction.
Week of March 24: Pages 25-64, Mindfulness in Christian Spirituality.
Week of March 31: Pages 65-78, A Mindful Reading of the Bible.
Week of April 7: Pages 79-88, Mindful Christian Worship.
Week of April 14: Pages 89-91: Toward a Silent Center: An Epilogue.
Check back soon for a complete schedule of Adult Ed offerings during Lent.
Small Group Bible Study: These Bible Study groups use the Covenant Bible Study Curriculum, among other study materials. The groups engage in study and conversation, connecting theology to members’ daily lives. The goal is to deepen our understanding of scripture while also helping us to respond in answering God’s call to a faithful life in Jesus. There are two different small groups. One meets from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Conference Room (which often involves lunch) and the other meets from 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays in the Church Library.
Animate Faith: Want to experience a deeper, spiritually richer and more connected life in 2019? This small group gathering of 30- and 40-somethings, meeting regularly for the purpose of spiritual development and fellowship, will explore a variety of spiritual practices as a starting point for dialogue and discovery. All perspectives and journeys are welcome. The group will meet at 8 p.m. Mondays, January 21 through February 25. Contact Anne Paluck (email@example.com), 703-629-6188, or Lydia Mulkey, Associate Pastor of Education (firstname.lastname@example.org), 708-386-5215 (ext. 103).
Men’s Book and Discussion Group: A men’s group meets every other Sunday evening from September through May to discuss books and articles on a range of subjects, often touching on theology or just aspects of life. Members of the group choose their own material and alternate leading the discussion. Contact Dale Sorenson (email@example.com), 708-386-9139.