Betty Phifer Advanced Studies Class Description

The Betty Phifer Advanced Studies Class focuses on two primary goals that are couched in the spirit of Christian love and activism: (1) to promote open and respectful discussion in seeking to understand and explore ways to solve problems in the contemporary world while gaining insights from experts in various fields and/or from each other; and (2) to grow in service to—and in love for—God and our fellow human beings.

As a group that values democratic participation, we seek to foster thoughtful and honest dialogue that examines four main themes throughout each year: (a) prayer, devotion, personal relations to God; (b) theological/biblical history and issues; (c) social, political, technological, economic, and ecological issues, needs, and affairs approached from a Christian perspective; and (d) interfaith dialogue and relations in an increasingly global world. Because all class participants are considered cherished resources with unique perspectives, gifts, and talents to offer, members select together instructional materials, engage in church and community activities that encourage individual growth, spiritual guidance, and ethical deeds, while some take turns in leading class sessions. Advanced as a descriptor of our class denotes support of each other in striving to go beyond merely occupying a seat in class on Sunday mornings to being actively and deeply thoughtful participants.