Learning for Life For Laity and Clergy
Classes on six Mondays and Tuesdays
April 8 – May 14

1 The Archaeology of the Hebrew Bible

Mondays 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

This course will attempt to answer questions as to whether persons and events found in the Bible are true, historically accurate or mere fiction. We will consider the latest archaeological finds and learn how Biblical stories are dated. Specifically, we will try to find out if King David or other Israelite kings really existed, who were the Philistines and where did they come from, and how ten of the tribes of Israel were “lost” and whether they were ever found.

Gary Schwartz has served as Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Uniformed Services Medical School, and as Chief Medical Officer with the Drug Enforcement Agency. He earned the B.S. and M.D. degrees.

2 Renewing the dance of Mysticism: creation Spirituality, The cosmic christ, and cosmology

Mondays 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

We will examine the creation spirituality of Matthew Fox, the mysticism of Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, Teilhard de Chardin, Richard Rohr, Howard Thurman, and Thomas Merton. Through these sages of mysticism, we will focus on understanding the importance of the historical Jesus in terms of

the Cosmic Christ. Required text: Matthew Fox: Essentail Writings on Christian Spirituality by Charles Burack.

Raymond Moreland is a retired Elder of the United Methodist Church and served as Executive Director of the Maryland Bible Society; he has earned the B.A., M.Div., D.Min., M.A., and Ph.D.

3 A life of Prayer: growing in intimacy with God

Mondays 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

To talk of prayer is to approach a place that is deeply personal within each of us, an expression touching upon great Mystery. Prayer is  many things: communication, listening, dialogue, struggle, discernment, silence, song, peace, and the cry of the heart. Most importantly, we will reflect together on the encounter with the One to whom we pray, Who is the source and summit of prayer. We will approach as pilgrims on a journey, learning from the past and each other.

Amy Kulesa currently serves as the Director of Associates for the Sisters of  Bon  Secours, USA. She earned the M.Div. and M.S.W. She is a Secular Franciscan.

4   The Apostolic Age and the Formation of a christian identity

Mondays 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

This course will examine key issues of interest related to the formation of the Christian movement and its emergence.

  1. The Apostolic Missions of the Twelve, Paul, and Colleagues: What do we “know”?
  2. “Other Christianities”: Alternative and Minority Views of Jesus and the Jesus Movement
  3. Sex in the City (of God): Identity, Leadership, Celibacy, and Family Life
  4. What Is Knowledge? Classical Paideia, Divine Revelation, and In-Between
  5. The Power of Powerlessness: The Martyr Tradition
  6. Defining the Playing Field: Bounding the Tradition.

Charles L. Harrell is Director of Pastoral Care at the Asbury Solomons retirement community in Southern Maryland and an adjunct faculty member at Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C. He has a Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in Early Christianity.

5 Composers in Their Time

Tuesdays 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

In this course we will explore major composers and specific historical events that inspired them to write one of their major works, such as: Haydn’s “Mass in the Time of War,” Dvorak’s “Symphony from the New World,” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar”. This will be a course about connections.

David Howard, cellist, was a member of the National Symphony Orchestra for 41 years. He earned a Master’s Degree in Performance and a Master’s in Education. He maintains a teaching studio and performs with the Frederick Symphony.

6   What Jews Believe

Tuesdays 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
(April 9 & 16, May 7 & 14)

We’ll cover some essential topics (afterlife, messiah, nature of God, etc.), talk about why Jews do what we do (keep Kosher, Shabbat, charity, etc.) but also leave room to explore the questions that folks might have about Jewish belief or practice.

Jordan Hersh is the rabbi of Beth Sholom Congregation. He also serves as a chaplain in the Maryland Army National Guard. He holds an M.A in Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. (This course will be skipping 4/23 & 4/30 for Passover.)

7 The Spiritual Practice of doubt: What religion can learn from History’s Most Famous Atheists

Tuesday, April 23 Only, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud are among the most influential of modern atheists, earning them the title “masters of suspicion”.They challenge people of faith to question the motives behind beliefs, to investigate the function beliefs play, and to ask what work beliefs do for the individuals and communities that adopt them. This two-hour workshop will explore what Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud were right about, and how religion can become healthier, more authentic, and more honest.

Carl Gregg is minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick. He has earned a B.A., M.Div., and D.Min.

8   Let’s go to the Movies! Finding Spiritual Meaning in contemporary Popular Films

Tuesdays 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

This course will focus on six films recognized to have artistic and social value. Three are based on true stories of remarkable human achievement, but all carry within them common spiritual themes: creation and creativity, exploitation and alienation, atonement and redemption. On day one we will discuss A Man Called Otto so students should come to the first class having seen the film. In successive meetings we will consider A River Runs Through It, Doubt, Hidden Figures, Schindler’s List, and Oppenheimer. (Students are expected to have previewed each film prior to that session.)

Jan Daffern is a retired pastor, pastoral counselor, and psychotherapist. She will be assisted by her husband, Michael Bunitsky, a retired Frederick County Public Schools social studies educator

9  What the Bible Says about Social Justice

Tuesdays 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Even a casual reader knows that the biblical writers spoke of justice. Prophet Amos thundered, “Let justice roll down like waters…”. For some, social justice is about crime and punishment; for others it is about creating a more just society. For still others, justice is personal rather than social—God’s just treatment of sin and sinner, one’s personal salvation, and being kind and generous after you are saved. But what, if anything, does the Bible say about social justice?

Larry Eubanks is a  retired  pastor, most  recently 27 years at First Baptist Church of Frederick. He earned a B.S., a M.Div., and a Ph.D. in Old Testament Literature. He blogs ( on biblical interpretation and is a contributor at and