2015-2016 Catalogue of Workshops
Bible and Theology
Where do Bibles Come From? For many of us, the origins of that bundle of joy we call the Bible are veiled in mystery and myth. Who wrote the Bible? Why are there so many different translations? What about those “extra books” the Catholics have or the modern discoveries of additional Christian texts? In this interactive session, we’ll journey through history and literature to understand the anatomy of the Bible and fall in love with the wonder of it. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
How to Spell Presbyterian Your guide to all things Presbyterian. Where did Presbyterianism begin? How is the church governed? What are basic Presbyterian beliefs? This is a quick-and-dirty introduction to Presbyterian basics for those who need a brush-up from their Confirmation days and those who are unfamiliar with the denomination. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
Pick-a-book Is there a particular book of the Bible you’ve always wanted to know a bit more about? Choose a book of the bible that interests you, and we’ll cover it in 45 minutes. After a brief look at history and authorship, we’ll get into discussing structure and key themes of the book. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Faithful – Does God have a preference for the poor? Does God judge the wealthy? In this workshop, we’ll explore what the Bible says about wealth and learn about wealthy and faithful people of God. We will also look at our own financial priorities and think about how we can love and serve God in wealth or poverty.
Prayer: Does it Matter? Prayer stands at the center of our relationship with God. But what is it really? What happens when we pray? Is God really listening? If I don't feel the presence of God when I pray, does that mean that I am doing something wrong? Does God change God's mind in response to my prayers? What does it mean when God doesn't answer prayers? Do people really get healed through prayer?
In this session we will explore all of these questions, and any more questions that you would like to pose. We will look at ways to make our prayer lives more authentic and more satisfying. This session is facilitated by Rev. Susan Beaumont.
A POT-LUCK OF FAVORITE PRAYERS Have a favorite prayer that has stirred your soul? Want to experience favorite prayers of others as well? In this session we’ll simply share one of our favorite prayers with the group and assemble a new book of prayers we can bring home. Please bring 12 copies of a favorite prayer—or simply bring yourself and enjoy discovering new prayers for your own. This workshop is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen and is not available in January or February.
Sabbath Time There is never enough time! In our over-scheduled and over-committed lives, how can we become more intentional about creating rhythms of work and rest? In this session we will look at the origins of Sabbath, why God wants it for us, and how we might engage it more intentionally. This session is facilitated by Rev. Susan Beaumont.
Saying Yes and Saying No Choosing what we will put into our lives and schedule onto our calendars is a spiritual discipline. We must learn the practice of saying yes to that which is of God, and no to that which crowds God out. But how do we know the difference? In this session we will talk about the spiritual art of discernment (looking for God's guidance in our choices and decision making.) This session is facilitated by Rev. Susan Beaumont.
The Shape of Forgiveness A central tenet of the Christian faith is the invitation to forgive others. What is forgiveness, really? Is forgiving the same thing as forgetting? How do I know if I have truly forgiven another? What if I don't feel like forgiving? In this session we will consider what forgiveness is, what it is not, and what gets in the way. This session is facilitated by Rev. Susan Beaumont.
Inside Marriage (for couples who have been married for several years) – Marriage is a blessing, but it comes with challenges as well. Couples who have been married for several years often begin to struggle with communication breakdown, conflict resolution, boredom, contempt, and a host of other difficulties. Through these challenges, we all learn ways to improve communication, work together to resolve conflict, reignite our passion for each other, and appreciate each other. This workshop, facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan, will share resources from a number of marriage experts, but it will also rely on the expertise in the room, allowing couples to share about what has worked and what hasn’t, success stories and glorious failures, tips and strategies from your own experience and to realize the benefit of a community’s support in a marriage. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
Creating a Spiritual Legacy A spiritual legacy is the unique complex of stories, values, and wisdom that are embedded in each person's life experiences. We all leave a spiritual legacy. Are you being intentional about cultivating yours? What is the "something" that you are passing on to those around you and to those who will come after you? What footprints are you leaving and where will they lead? This session engages a variety of prayer and writing experiences that will help you identify the sum effect of the life you are building. This session is facilitated by Rev. Susan Beaumont.
Mapping Your Spiritual Life Our faith journeys are full of mountain-top experiences and dark valleys, periods of growth and times of spiritual stagnation. Mapping our life experiences alongside our faith walk brings new insight and clarity to the shape of our story and helps us discern our hopes for the next chapter of our lives. In this session, we’ll create a visual map and other representations of our spiritual lives to help us remember where we’ve been and determine where we want to go. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan
A Multi-Sensory Introduction to Hildegard of Bingen 12th Century wonder woman—healer, theologian, music composer, visionary., consultant to popes and emperors. Sample some of her music, art work, special healing teas, and writings as well as scenes of her Abbey along the Rhine River in Germany. This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen and is not available in January or February.
Feasting with God: Adventures in Table Spirituality Based on the book by Holly Whitcomb, we will experience some suggested exercises on the chapter about Rites of Passage: A Feast of New Beginnings. We shall lift up the newness of each stage of life as it focuses on the recognition on one’s strengths and opportunities. This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen and is not available in January or February.
Mindfulness In this workshop we will explore the meaning of the word and the practice that lays beneath it. We will discuss its use in both popular society and it’s place within the Christian tradition.
You will enjoy this hour of mindfulness if you’re:
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Highlights of the Holy Land What is it like to greet the sunrise on top of Mount Sinai? To walk along the bustling Via Dolorosa? To stand in the prison where Caiaphas held Jesus? To sail on the Sea of Galilee? Journey with Kate Thoresen through scenes from her continuing education trip to the Holy Land. Those who have been there may also want to bring favorite pictures and memories. Together we’ll offer re-caps of a most unforgettable time and place. This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen and is not available in January or February.
LECTIO DIVINA—Celebrating Your Sacred Center Lectio Divina, or divine reading, is an ancient, reflective way of experiencing our sacred texts in new ways. In this session you will become familiar with different ways to nurture your soul. You will:
Companions on the Inner Way---What is the Art of Spiritual Direction all about? How do we deepen our relationship with God and with our most authentic selves? What is it like to journey with a spiritual companion who listens with you as you sift through daily experiences to see glimmers of God’s grace shining through your everyday moments? What are some tools that increase our awareness and gratitude and devotion? Facilitated by Kate Thoresen who has a diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction doctorate in spiritual formation, a spiritual director/companion and retreat leader. This session is not available in January or February.
Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality Is “Christian Spirituality” an Oxymoron? What are the four key relationships in the Bible? How have people experienced Christian Spirituality through the ages? What are some basic practices we can apply today? This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen and is not available in January or February.
Celtic Spirituality and Iona, Scotland Visit the holy isle of Iona, known as the “Cradle of Western Christianity.” Experience some music, prayers and pictures of this tiny island that has a world wide impact. Learn about Celtic Spirituality and its life-giving perspectives. This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen and is not available in January or February.
The Future of Faith While many lament the decline in church participation, this may, in fact, be the most exciting time in Christianity in at least 500 years. Mainstream institutional religion may be taking a hit, but the Spirit is moving in fascinating new ways, shaping the faith for this time and place. What new forms is the Christian faith taking on? What does this mean for the future of faith? Learn about faith communities that might not fit our definition of church, and share your thoughts about what you think the should can and should be in the future. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
Culture and Ethics
Food and Faith Organic? Natural? Clean eating? Fair Trade? Slow food? Raw? There are so many ways to reform our eating and so much controversy over what and how we should eat. How do we eat faithfully, even joyfully? We can't do everything, but we can do something. In this session, we’ll explore some of our broken images about food, discuss issues concerning food and justice, and discover what it means to each of us to eat faithfully. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
God and Government Religious extremism from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other faith traditions has troubled political systems across the globe, and muddies the waters of a discussion of faith in public life. Given that extremism tends to make headlines more than faithful witness in public policy, how do we, as Christians, navigate faithful living and civic citizenship? What responsibilities do we owe God? What about the government? What happens when these interests conflict? In this session, we’ll look at historical relationships between Christianity and government and engage current events and issues. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
Success vs. Goodness A recent study out of Harvard University found that 80% of middle and high school students believe their parents would prefer their children to be successful or happy rather than kind and caring. How do we teach our kids compassion, and how do we model that ourselves? This session will take a serious look at our values, how we communicate them, and how compassion contributes to success and happiness. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.
The Language of Flowers—Get an overview of the novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh based on her experiences with young women in foster care. Hear about what’s happening for the 13,000 kids in foster care in Michigan. Meet someone who has been in foster care and how they have found hope and faith in the most difficult of circumstances. This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen, Coordinator of the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care, and is not available in January or February.
Thinking about Fostering, Adopting or Mentoring? Learn more through a no obligation orientation brought to you by a foster care worker from one of our agencies. This session is facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen, Coordinator of the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care, and is not available in January or February.
What Makes Us Human? – What distinguishes humans from animals? Could advanced artificial intelligence eventually be considered human? We’ll look at these questions and more through the lenses of science, philosophy, and theology and discuss the implications for how we live and what we value most. This session is facilitated by Rev. Amy Morgan.