A variety of classes and groups are offered throughout the year to meet the needs and interests of our many members and friends. These include Bible studies, book groups, and classes that cover topics such as social issues, environmental concerns, problems in the U.S. and around the world, preparation for church trips, and other topics that merit our attention. A connection with our faith, though not always explicitly stated, is always implied.
Sunday Adult Education
Depth and Breadth
Intersections: Sacred Conversation on Race
We are a congregation founded and grounded in affirming all people regardless of race and ethnicity. To deepen the Sacred Conversation on Race and learn how race intersects with many justice issues, we gather on the first Sunday of each month at 8:30 am for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism.
Faith in Film
Most months, usually on the second Sunday, we gather for lunch and a movie at 12:30 pm. The films are chosen to be relevant to today's most pressing issues of justice, faith, society, spirituality and how we can grow in our faithful response. Fall 2013 sessions include:
September 8: A Place at the Table, a documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of americans, and proposed solutions to the problem.
October 13: For the Bible tells Me So, which "offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity."
November 3: Invisible Young, a documentary that tells the life stories of four young adults, all of whom were homeless as teenagers in Seattle, Washington.
November 24: The [Advent Conspiracy] invites us to slow down and experience a Christmas worth remembering by worshipping fully, spending less, giving more, and loving all.
Monthly themes tie together Faith in Film and the church's outreach and social justice programs. September will focus on hunger, October on LGBT history, November on homelessness, and December on the meaning of Christmas. These programs are offered in partnership by the Board of Outreach and Social Justice and the Board of Christian Education.
Footsteps Educational Series
In 1996, a group of members and friends traveled to Israel and Palestine to study our biblical heritage and the roots of our faith. Two years later many of the same group and others went to Greece and Turkey “in the footsteps of Paul.” Every other year since, a group of 30-some persons has traveled to study some aspect of our Christian heritage. In preparation for each of these trips, classes have addressed different aspects of the country to be visited.
A Swiss Reformation Footsteps tour is planned for either 2014 or 2015, whichever suits more people. As presently envisioned, the tour will focus on sites associated with John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, both theologically important to UCC religious heritage. We will visit the Matterhorn and ride the Swiss Glacier Express train through the mountains. And then of course, there is Swiss chocolate. Main cities to be visited include Geneva, Zermatt, Chur, Lucerne, and Zurich.
Faith Formation at 11:00 am
With Animate: Faith we set out to do one thing: Help kick-start conversation around big questions of the Christian faith in our congregation. Session titles are God, Cross, Jesus, Church and Religion. The class meets Sundays, September 22, 29 and October 13, 20 and 27 in Room 8.
Painting the Stars
Celebrating the communion of science and faith, Painting the Stars explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality. Topics include: Toward Healing the Rift, A Renaissance of Wonder, Eco-Justice, An Evolving Faith, Imagining a Future, An Evolving Spirituality, and Mysticism. The class meets Sundays, November 3, 10, 17, 24 and December 1, 8 and 15 in Room 8.
Monday Morning Bible Study
The Monday morning bible study class features weekly discussion of the bible and related bible topics. This year the class will explore From the Hebrew Bible to Judaism, From the Old Testament to Christianity, a Harvard College class. Topics will include: canon and prophecy; exegesis and Midrash; Shabbat and Sunday; temple, synagogue, church; the Oral Torah and the Logos; sin and righteousness; messiah and redemption. The varied backgrounds of the class members contribute significantly to the discussion. The class meets at 10:00 am in Room 8.
Lenten Supper Series
Several weekday evenings during Lent, the Board of Christian Education's Adult Education Committee and the Board of Deacons host a soup, supper, and discussion series. Meals begin at 6:30 pm and discussions at 7:15.
2013 Lenten series program information may be found here.
Pathfinders: Progressive Christian Young Adults
Little River's young adults in their 20s and 30s join young adults from other progressive churches for Bible study, dinner, and fellowship on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The group meets at a private home in Vienna. Pathfinders also participate in mission projects, an annual retreat, and other events. To learn more about Pathfinders please visit their blog.
The character and scope of the offerings of this group change over time depending upon the suggestions from women of the church and the planning team's discernment. Some of the offerings of the group are:
Covenant Group: a group of eight women who gather on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 10:30 am to share their lives and gain a perspective on their faith and practice as they wrestle with and celebrate life. The group is facilitated by a pastor.
Women's Book Group: a gathering of women who meet approximately every other month on Sundays, 12:15 - 1:30 pm, to discuss books of mutual interest. Leadership is volunteered. All women are invited and encouraged to attend whether the book has been finished or even opened!
January 5, 2014: Poetry
March 2, 2014: The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
May 4, 2014: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
July 13, 2014: End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Sept. 9, 2014: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Previous Book Group selections may be found here.
Annual Retreat: A half-day to day-long experience with a wide range of foci depending on the input of the women of the church. Retreats provide time for quiet prayer, self-reflection, a shared meal, and connection with others seeking refreshment and renewal through conversation, creative activities, and worship.