Adult Classes & Educational Opportunities


Middle Hour
Support Groups & Classes

There are many opportunities for adult education and growth at First Pres. Listed below are current classes and events; for more information, please contact Janet Sanders, Assistant Director for Christian Formation, at (510) 848-6252 ext. 267 or

Calling for You: Discovering your gifts for service in the church and in the world!

Instructors: Karen Erickson, Pastor Mark Stryker, and Janet Sanders
Dates & Times: Friday, March 8, 6:30–9 pm and Saturday, March 9, 8:45 am–4 pm
Location: Room G202, Geneva Hall
Cost: $20 per person, includes materials and Saturday lunch
Register: Click here to register, class maximum is 25, registration deadline is March 3
More Information: Please contact Janet Sanders at

Imagine the joy, imagine the possibilities when your irreplaceable giftedness—your unique personality, innate skills, life experiences, and heartfelt desires—align with what God is up to in the world.

We invite you to join others to explore how each of us is uniquely formed and shaped by God and identify paths that complement your distinctive gifting. This Friday night and Saturday experience will be a fun, interactive time spent in teaching, small groups, and individual work, with a small amount of homework. Our explorations will help reveal a clearer picture of where God is leading you to engage in his kingdom right here, right now.


Interpreting Scripture in Community: Considering Biblical Texts Concerning Homosexuality

Dates & Times: Wednesdays, January 16–February 27, 7–9 pm
Location: Room G202, Geneva Hall
Registration: Class is full! If you are interested in attending a second offering of this class after Easter, please email Janet Sanders at

In response to many in our community, Session is sponsoring a study of Old and New Testament texts used in discussions of homosexuality. Following in the tradition established with our initial Interpreting Scripture in Community experience in 2012, we come together again to revisit and apply practices that guide us to read the Bible well.

During this seven-week course, participants will engage the various methods appropriate to studying these texts; gain a deeper understanding of how the church might live in light of them; and ultimately consider the call to a life together in Christ with diverging and possibly conflictive interpretations.

Interpreting Scripture in Community grants our community a fresh opportunity to learn, lean in, and listen to God’s word together. Each week includes a presentation, panel discussion, and small group conversation.

Rev. Dr. Tom Elson
Rev. Mark Stryker
Michelle Vecchio-Lyzenga, MDiv
Michael Barram, PhD, St. Marys College of California
Chris Corwin, PhD, New College Berkeley
Rev. Dr. Carol Antablin Miles, Theological Educator and Designated Pastor, Chinese Presbyterian Church, Oakland
Amanda Kaminski, PhD, Santa Clara University Jesuit School of Theology-Berkeley

Course goals: To help participants gain the following:
• an awareness of the historical, literary, and theological contexts of these texts;
• an understanding of the content and meaning of these texts;
• skill and familiarity with the tools of interpretation of these texts.

Date Topic
January 16
Introduction and Approach
January 23
Genesis 1–2
January 30
Genesis 19, Judges 19, and Ezekiel 18
February 6
Leviticus 18 and 20
February 13
Romans 1
February 20
1 Corinthians 6 and Timothy 1
February 27
Summary and Implications


Berkeley Palmer Lectureship: "Choosing a Race: Overcoming Our Racial Antagonism"

Date & Time: Saturday, March 16, 7–9:30 pm
Location: Sanctuary and Calvin Room
Student Seminar: 2 pm at GTU Library, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, CA

Dr. Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale University Divinity School, challenges Christians to understand that “the racial problems of the western world emerged from Christian beginnings.” He will explore the responsibility and opportunity to address racial antagonism through a life of faith.
Dr. Jennings was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. He received a BA in Religion and Theological Studies from Calvin College, an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, and a PhD from Duke University.

Dr. Jennings, a systematic theologian, teaches in the areas of theology, black church and Africana studies, as well as post-colonial and race theory. Dr. Jennings is the author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, published by Yale University Press. One of the most important books in theology of the last 25 years, it is a standard text in colleges, seminaries, and universities. Dr. Jennings is also the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity. Dr. Jennings' recent commentary on the Book of Acts has won the Reference Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy.

A frequent guest lecturer, Dr. Jennings is also a consultant for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, and for the Association of Theological Schools.

He served with his wife, the Reverend Joanne L. Browne Jennings, as associate ministers at the Mount Level Baptist Church in Durham, NC, as well as interim pastors for several Presbyterian and Baptist churches in North Carolina. They are the parents of two wonderful daughters, Njeri and Safiya Jennings.

Learn more about Dr. Jennings
Support for the lectureship, named in honor of Pastor Emeritus, Earl F. Palmer, may be donated through New College Berkeley.

Learn more about the lectureship.