Summer Institute

Summer Institute

What is our soul? And why do our souls thirst so? As image bearers of God our Creator, we are souls created by God, for God, to need God. During Summer Institute, you are invited to tend to your soul. There are a variety of opportunities to explore the nature and the nurturing of the soul through learning new practices, fresh perspectives, and practical guidance.

Dates: Sundays, May 31–June 28 (unless otherwise noted)
Time: Middle Hour, 10:15–11:15 am (11:30 am–12:30 pm on June 14 only)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, May 27 (unless otherwise noted) 
Registration: Click here to register for all classes except A Christian Perspective on Discovering Mindfulness
More Information: Please contact Janet Sanders, Adult Ministries Coordinator, at (510) 848-6252 ext. 267 or janets@fpcberkeley.org

Follow the links below for course descriptions:


Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You
When was the last time you thought about your soul? Not as in its eternal destination or "how's your quiet time or Bible study going these days?" but in the well-being of what Dallas Willard calls the "the most important thing about you. [Your soul] is your life." Profoundly, we are stewards of our souls, given to us by God, for his glory—for this life and for all eternity. Good care of our soul compels us to both understand it and embrace our responsibility as its keeper. And we do so in a world that is at odds with the very health of our souls. The conversations we will enter into provide both the practical tools and encouragement to nurture a healthy soul. Each week includes a video message from John Ortberg, Senior Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Through stories of the deeply personal lessons about the nature and nurture of the soul he learned from his friend Dallas Willard—whom he calls the "wisest soul doctor I know"—we are drawn into a fuller understanding of the very core of our being.

Location: Room G202, Geneva Hall
Facilitators: Rev. Mark Stryker; Jill Chamberlain Boyce, RN, MA; Dr. Bonnie Ho; Dr. Melvin Ho; and Janet Sanders 
Topics: What is the Soul?, The Struggle of the Soul, What the Soul Needs, The Practice of Grace, The Practice of Gratitude, The Practice of Growth
Registration: Click here

Creativity in the Creator's Image: A Painting, Drawing, and Collage Group
God has shaped us to be creative people who create, but often creative time is crowded out in the hectic schedules of our modern culture. This class is simply a time to focus on creating, away from distractions, and to use drawing and painting as a way of praying. This can be a fresh and unexpected way to find renewed energy to seek and serve God. No experience is necessary.

Location: Art Studio, Westminster Hall
Instructor: Carol Aust, Artist
Cost: $40 per person for class materials (due at first session)
Enrollment: Maximum 16 people
Registration: Click here

Nightmare on Old Testament Street: Confronting the Soul-Troubling Stories of the Bible
(Hosted by Young Adult Ministries)
Let's face it, there are some parts of the Bible that are just, well, terrifying. Unspeakable violence against women, genocide, and even God's seeming indifference to horrific acts are some of the stories found in the text we refer to as the Word of God. As followers of Christ, how do we respond to these texts without ignoring or endorsing the violence portrayed within? How do we open our souls to God's Word when the words themselves are frightening? In this class, we will utilize socio-historical and narrative criticism approaches, along with small group discussion, to delve deeply into the most soul-challenging Old Testament stories in order to discover how—or even if—God may be speaking even through them.

Dates: June 7 & 21, July 5 & 19, August 2 & 16
Location: College Lounge, Geneva Hall
Instructor: Rev. Lindsey Reed
Registration: Click here

REALIGN: Finding God's Purpose for Your Money from the Inside Out
Do your finances bring stress and worry to your life? What if the story that our culture has been telling us about money is false? What if someone told you that God has a better way? Welcome to REALIGN! During this class, financial issues are addressed from the inside out. Only after reconnecting with who we are in Christ and in relationship with one another, as well as with God's purpose for our lives, can we consider well the practices of good stewardship of our financial and material resources. It is so easy to lose sight of our dependence on God for our life's provision and fail to be faithful stewards of his blessings. The power of this class is that God is brought into every financial decision as we learn to say yes to his plans instead of living for ourselves.

Dates: May 31–July 26 (no class on July 5)
Location: Room G206, Geneva Hall
Facilitators: Kathy Drake, Jason Draut, Kristin Loo, Sophia Skoda, and John Van Noord
Cost: $10 per person for class materials (due at first class) 
Sessions: Foundations, Beliefs, Relationships, Work, Cash Flow Planning, Contentment, Debt, Giving
Registration Deadline: Thursday, May 21 
Registration: Click here
More Information: Please contact Jason Draut at jasondraut@gmail.com.

A Christian Perspective on Discovering Mindfulness
(offered in partnership with Berkeley Christian Counselors)
Do the words stressed, pressured, or worried describe your reaction to the world in which we live? Through the work of neurobiology and psychology, there is now compelling evidence that mindfulness, when practiced regularly, can literally re-wire the brain and lead to improvement in our physical and emotional well-being. Christians have a long and rich tradition of mindfulness through the practices of contemplative prayer and meditation. Mindfulness supports us in listening to God's voice and receiving and giving love and acceptance. This class will give you a basic understanding of mindfulness and its benefits. You will learn simple tools to help reduce stress, create greater ease and self-compassion, and appreciate the blessings we receive in each moment.

Location: Room M310, McKinley Hall
Instructor: Bowbay Feng, MFT-Intern
Cost: $80 per person (due at first class) 
More Information: For more information and to register, please contact Berkeley Christian Counselors at (510) 548-5858 or info@berkeleychristiancounselors.org.