A variety of classes and groups meet throughout the year to meet the needs and interests of as many members and friends as possible. These include bible studies, book groups, and classes that cover topics such as social issues, environmental concerns, problems at 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 Morning Adult Education
Our Faith and the World
These classes focus on social issues and U.S public policies to discover the connections we as persons of faith can make among the issues, politics, and spirituality. Recent classes have included such diverse topics as questions regarding the use of torture, food production and hunger in light of global warming, sustainable living, and alternative energy. The class meets on most Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. during the academic year. Fall 2012 sessions included:
September 9: Local Girl Scout Lindsey Rubin of Troop 2359 shared portions of her Gold Award project, exploring what it means to be a Holocaust survivor -- not just getting out alive, but going on to live a full life despite the past. The presentation included partial interviews from three survivors with three very different stories.
October 21 and 28: Chris Weakley led a discussion of Marcus Borg's book Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power -- And How They Can Be Restored. Salvation, Sacrifice, Sin, Forgiveness, Born Again, and many more are words that have definitive meaning in a Christian context. How have those words changed? How have they changed us?
November 4 and 11: Janet Parsons Mackey led an introduction to the Gospel of Luke. Do we know who Luke was? Who was his audience? How did the culture in which he lived influence his writing? What did he want to leave behind for the church to remember? These are some of the questions explored.
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.
In May 2012 Little River members and friends set out on "Footsteps IX, the Dalmation Coast: Where the Balkans Meet the Mediterranean." Travelers explored relations over centuries among rival peoples of many ethnicities and religious affiliations, including Muslim, Orthodox Christian, and Roman Catholic. The trip was not all conflict and strife as the Coast is warm and lovely and claims a number of World Heritage sites. An educational series titled "Conflict in the Balkans: Religious, Ethnic, Political, Historical" helped trip participants and others learn more about this fascinating region.
2011-12 Our Faith & the World and Footsteps IX program information may be found here.
2010-11 Our Faith & the World program information may be found here.
Monday Morning Bible Study
The Monday morning bible study class bases its weekly discussion of the bible and related bible topics on excellent materials from the Teaching Company’s series of Great Courses by noted college lecturers and other similar sources. The varied backgrounds of the class members contribute significantly to the discussion.
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 p.m and discussions at 7:15.
2012 Lenten series program information may be found here.
Pathfinders: Progressive Christian Young Adults (20s and 30s)
Little River's young adults 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 a.m. 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 p.m., 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!
July 14, 2013: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. The story is set in Appalachia and explores climate change, media exploitation, and political opportunism through the eyes of a young mother who finds Monarch butterflies on her mountain farm where she lives with her husband and two children. She works with scientists as they research the butterflies and realizes how different her life could have been if she had more education.
September 15, 2013: Round House by Louise Erdrich
November 10, 2013: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
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.