Adult Christian Education is offered weekly from 10:15 – 11:15 AM. Courses will vary, and can range from a one week to a whole year, and everywhere in between. If you want to make sure you stay up to date on the latest offerings and news about Sunday School, simply subscribe to our Christian Education newsletter.
Institute of Faith Formation
The Institute of Faith Formation at First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square is to nourishes and engages the faith lives of adult parishioners through a structured, diverse set of courses and opportunities. The goal is to build upon the energy and enthusiasm already present in our adult CE offerings, while opening the door to new participants of all levels of Christian education and learnedness. Classes will be offered by staff, lay teachers, and guest teachers. By equipping our congregants with knowledge, spiritual nourishment, and a sense of community, we send them out prepared to meet God’s world with a responsible and learned faith.
Method & Structure
The full program is divided into the three courses: Bible, Theology, and Spirituality (descriptions below). Within each of those courses, there are three years available to parishioners: Year A (Introductory), Year B (Next Level Engagement), and Year C (Seasoned Thinking & Living). These categories give parishioners options when choosing courses to attend. A parishioner could attend three years in a row of introductory classes: one year in each course. A parishioner could also attend three years in a row of a specific course, beginning with Year A and advancing. Or a parishioner can pick and choose classes based on personal interest.
Introduction to the Bible in a Year – A survey of all biblical books over one programming year (September through May).
Next Level Bible Courses – Shorter courses on the following topics:
- Reformed Reading: How Protestants read the Bible, do interpretation, and view Biblical authority (Sept)
- Biblical genres and how to interpret them (Oct)
- Themes from the Meta-Narrative: Recurring themes that are the common thread through the whole biblical narrative (Nov)
- The Birth Narratives: An introduction to biblical exegesis through the familiar stories of Christ’s birth (Dec)
- Heroes, Patriarchs, and Guides: The key players in the God’s drama of Salvation as told in Scripture, from Adam & Eve to Paul, and the commonalities and contrasts between them (Jan-Mar)
- The Passion Narratives: A close biblical reading of Christ’s final days in Jerusalem, arrest & trial, crucifixion, and resurrection (Lent)
- The Gospels: A look at the similarities and differences between the Gospels, including a close look at major events in Jesus’ life and ministry. (Apr-May)
Seasoned Thinking and Living – A series of short classes on specific topics, TBD by teachers in cooperation with the Minister of Education & Youth and the CE Committee. Examples might be: specific biblical books or characters, translations, differences between denominations in interpreting, specific themes (fruits of the Spirit, beatitudes, Heaven & Hell, etc).
An Introduction to Christian Theology: a sweeping look at major theological themes and key orthodox ideas without getting bogged down in debate. The last two months of the year will be spent on specific Presbyterian beliefs.
Next Level Theology – Shorter courses on the following topics:
- The Reformation and our Protestant theological heritage (Sep-Oct)
- The Word of God: the three-fold Word and its importance to church life (Nov)
- Christology: the nature, person, and work of Jesus (Dec)
- Creator & Creation: who God is, who we are (Jan-Feb)
- Salvation: election, salvation, atonement, and resurrection (Mar-Lent)
- Mission: the calling of the church (Apr-May)
- Eschatology & Hope: God’s ultimate plan (May)
Seasoned Thinking and Living – A series of short classes on specific topics, TBD by teachers in cooperation with the Minister of Education & Youth and the CE Committee. Examples might be: theology and cultural issues (same-sex marriage, nonviolence, technology and faith, etc.), specific theological topics (Communion, end of life issues, money, science & theology), etc.
An Introduction to Christian Spirituality: a broad look at various spiritual disciplines and Christian living, including the inward and outward spiritual life, with emphases on prayer & meditation, study, and mission & evangelism.
Next Level Spirituality – Shorter courses that provide teaching and also experiential learning in the following areas. The largest difference between this year and Year A is that there is more practice of the disciplines as individuals and as a class than in Year A:
- Spirituality Ancient & New (Sept-Oct)
- Reformed Spirituality (Oct-Nov)
- Advent Study (Dec)
- Prayer (Jan-Mar)
- Lenten Study (Lent)
- Study (Apr)
- Mission (May)
A series of short classes on specific topics, TBD by teachers in cooperation with the Minister of Education & Youth and the CE Committee. Examples might be: spiritual direction, care-giving, addiction recovery, traditional prayers, service projects, faithful politics, etc.