A variety of classes and groups are offered throughout the year to meet the varied needs and interests of members and friends. These include theological and biblical 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.
Sundays: 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, October through May, at 8:30 am for prayer and thought on the continuing issues of racism.
Faith in Film
On the second Sunday of even-numbered months, 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.
Monthly themes tie together Faith in Film and the church's outreach and social justice programs. These programs are offered in partnership by the Board of Outreach and Social Justice and the Board of Christian Education.
2014-15 offerings include:
October 4, 2014 - Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert. The film tells the moving story of a year in the life of one mother whose daily struggles illuminate the challenges faced by more than 42 million American women and the 28 million children who depend on them.
December 14, 2014 - Broken on All Sides. From the website: “The documentary centers around the theory put forward by many, and most recently by Michelle Alexander (who appears in the movie), that mass incarceration has become ‘The New Jim Crow.’"
February 8, 2015 - February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four. From the website: "The act of simply sitting down to order food in a restaurant that refused service to anyone but whites is now widely regarded as one of the pivotal moments in the American Civil Rights Movement."
August 2, 2015 - The House I Live In. The film explores the past forty years of the war on drugs which has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion dollars in government spending and America's role as the world's largest jailer.
2013-14 Faith in Film program information may be found here.
Sundays: Faith Formation at 11:00 am
2014-15 classes included:
In each session the group viewed a brief video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith, spent time on personal reflection and journaling, and shared ideas with the group. Topics included Canon, History, Testaments, Gospels, Genre, Interpretation and Grace.
The class was a small group, DVD based, exploration of the relevance of Jesus, featuring religious voices of our day. Topics included Who Was Jesus, Jesus' Ministry of Compassion and Why Jesus is Worth Saving.
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.” Approximately every other year since, a group 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 takes place July 13 - 25, 2015. 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. Classes and information sessions were offered prior to the trip.
Monday Morning Bible Study
The Monday morning Bible study class features weekly discussion of the Bible and related biblical studies topics. In 2014-15 the group explored The Great Courses series Jesus and the Gospels. The Gospels raise puzzling questions about both Jesus and the religious movement within which these narratives were produced. They also provide sometimes bewilderingly diverse images of Jesus. What accounts for this great diversity in the images of Jesus that have emerged, or in the approaches taken to understanding the story of his death and resurrection? Is it possible to shape a single picture from the various accounts of his life given us by these Gospels? Can we really know who Jesus was?
The varied backgrounds of the class members contribute significantly to the discussion. The class meets at 10:00 am in Room 8 from September through May.
Lenten Soup Supper and Discussion Series
The Board of Christian Education Adult Education Committee and the Board of Deacons hosted a soup supper and discussion series Sundays March 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2015. Attendees spent time reflecting on our congregation's sixty years of ministry in Annandale, in Fairfax County, in Virginia and throughout the world. Each session was shaped by the newsletters, annual reports, photographs and historic items lovingly tended in our church archive.
Pathfinders: Progressive Christian Young Adults
Little River's young adults join young adults from other progressive churches for Bible study, dinner, and fellowship on first and third Tuesdays of the month. The group meets from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Rodman House, on the campus of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, 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 gathering of women who share prayers, joys and concerns with one another through meetings and brunch gatherings. There are currently four covenant groups, each of which focus on a common interest such as "moms who work outside the home" and "social justice".
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!
September 20, 2015: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
November 8, 2015: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein
January 10, 2016: Poetry
March 13, 2016: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Previous Book Group selections may be found here.
Annual Retreat: From October 17 - 18, 2015 Women's Ministry invites you to take time from a busy life to experience grace-filled time -- that can't be measured. Find your Sabbath moments in everyday life through shared prayer, silent meditation and interactive gatherings. The retreat takes place at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Virginia.