Adult Education: Presenting Classes about a Variety of Faith-Related Topics

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, dating its genesis from the year 1517 when Martin Luther published his 95 theses, a major impetus to the Protestant Reformation. To help us understand this crucial era in the history of Christianity, Suzanne McDonald, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Western Theological Seminary, will present classes on February 12, 19, and 26. In the first class she will focus on some Renaissance paintings and a woman’s will from 1508 to describe what it was like to be an ordinary Roman Catholic on the eve of the Reformation. The second and third classes will consider some of the key aspects of the Protestant Reformation from its beginning to its diverse influences into the twenty-first century.

From March 5 through 26 Hope Church’s Health Ministry and the Disabilities Task Force will present classes on Building a Sense of Wholeness and Belonging in the Church and Community. Classes presented by Hope Church members and guest speakers will begin with “How Are We Doing?” which will include stories from persons regarding their experiences of wholeness and belonging within Hope Church. The second session will examine a model, Universal Design, which identifies ways in which the church can be programatically and architecturally inclusive. The third and fourth classes will be about “Wholeness and Belonging within the Church” and “Wholeness and Belonging within the Community.”

Plans for post-Easter classes are still in process, but they are likely to include a Bible study and a General Synod Preview. A General Synod Review panel discussion will again take place on a summer Sunday. In the fall we are looking forward to a likely series of classes taught by Hope College religion professor Steven Bouma-Prediger, co-author of Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement.

Classes meet in Commons I between 9:40 and 10:45 each Sunday morning during the school year. They are free and open to all adults.
Several years ago, those planning Adult Education adopted the following mission statement:

The Adult Education group plans and coordinates educational opportunities for adults using as much as possible the talents and resources of the congregation. Such opportunities are intended for spiritual formation through biblical study and critical examination of cultural, social, and moral issues from a Christian perspective.

Adult education also happens in Hope church worship services, book discussion groups, men’s breakfasts, women’s circles, and Caring for Creation activities. Operating under the supervision of the Christian Education Ministry, Adult Education planning members are Jim Brownson, David Myers, Milt Nieuwsma, Judy Parr (chairperson) Jane Schuyler, Eloise Van Heest, and Gordon Wiersma. If you have an idea for a course you want presented or would like to join the planning group, contact one of these people.

~Judy Parr, Adult Education Task Force chair