Summer Institute | Shalom

Summer Institute

Shalom! More than a simple hello, goodbye, or a blessing of peace, the Hebrew word shalom is lush in meaning and fullness of expression of peace, wholeness, health, harmony, contentment, rest, and prosperity.

Shalom intends total flourishing in absolutely every dimension, physically, relationally, socially, and spiritually.

When we impart “shalom,” we speak into someone’s life all the wonderful things that shalom means. Shalom as peace, then, ascends above the absence of hostility; it is a complete peace. It is this peace, this shalom, that Jesus commends to his disciples before his crucifixion “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” Jesus seems particularly concerned that we have this peace in ourselves and carry it out to others; on the Sermon on the Mount he commends this to us, “blessed are the peacemakers.”

What is the unique way Jesus asks us, his followers, to practice shalom today? During Summer Institute we are invited to live into the fullness of shalom as peacemakers, as those who reflect Christ’s love through acts of compassion, creation of beauty, and in our own deepening relationship with God.

Dates: Sundays, June 1–June 26
Time: Middle Hour, 10:15–11:15 am
Registration: Click here
More Information: Please contact Janet Sanders, Adult Ministries Coordinator, at
(510) 848-6252 ext. 267 or

Follow the links below for course descriptions:

The Couple Check-Up | A Marriage Enrichment Course
(offered in partnership between First Pres and Berkeley Christian Counselors)
Shalom can at times feel elusive to all married couples. Whether communication, schedules, children, or other challenges are impeding the peace in your household we’d like to offer a new tool. Just like a car requires a mechanic’s tune-up to determine what is working and what is not, marriage requires direction, maintenance, and attention to run smoothly.

This course utilizes the Couple Check-Up Program to measure 20 different aspects of your relationship. Our trained facilitators will get you thinking, talking, and taking steps to grow individually and as a couple. For more information, call Berkeley Christian Counselors at (510) 548-5858, or

Instructors: Kristen Gustavson, LCSW, PhD and Mark Farley, MFT Intern 
Location: Room M310, McKinley Hall
Fees: $40 per couple and separate $35 fee for the online Couple Check-Up Inventory. Please bring payment on Sunday, June 5. 
Registration: Click here (maximum of 12 couples, minimum of 5 couples)

Crossing the Street | The Power of Peacemaking
Peace·mak·er: One who makes peace, especially by reconciling parties that are at variance.

What does it mean to hold power and privilege in our lives? How are people of faith called to leverage power and privilege to advocate for the common good? How can a better understanding of our own privilege improve our ability to be a people on mission in the world?

Together we will examine what it means to hold privilege in our lives; how privilege can operate in unseen ways; what being an ally for the common good looks like; and how Christ calls us to advocate for the oppressed.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“What you see depends on where you are standing.” C.S. Lewis

To learn more about Rev. Ben McBride, click here.

Facilitators: Rev. Ben McBride, Ryan Pemberton, and Rev. Ian Noyes
Location: Room G202, Geneva Hall
Registration: Click here

Creativity in the Creator's Image
This workshop offers space set aside for peaceful creativity. The primary focus will not be on technique but rather in finding ways to express in watercolor some of the beauty we see in God’s creation. Feel free to bring an image, verse, or poem that inspires you. Flowers and other reference materials will be provided, or work straight from your imagination! No experience necessary.

Instructor: Kathy Goss, Artist
Location: Art Studio, Westminster Hall, Second Floor
Cost: $40 per person for class materials. Please bring payment on Sunday, June 5
Registration: Click here (maximum of 16 people)

Live What You Believe | A Look at Pacifism
Christians are called to live their lives following the teachings and the model of Jesus as found in the Bible. However, different points of view have developed over the two millennia since Jesus walked this earth as to what it means to live the gospels or, in other words, what is meant as the ethical way to live. For some believers, choosing to live as a pacifist is living the gospels. Each week we will study both Christians who have lived as pacifists and corresponding biblical texts.

Facilitator: Pat Phillips, MA Theology
Location: Room G206, Geneva Hall
Registration: Click here

Quieting our Minds and Hearts Through Breath and Movement | Yoga as a Christian Spiritual Practice
We are created by God for our mind, body, and soul to be fully integrated and at peace. Often, our pace of life causes us to miss the rest and stillness necessary for our well-being. This class offers tools for slowing down, creating stillness, and allowing oneself to sit in the presence of God. In this beginner-friendly class, we will experiment with a mix of gentle movement, breathing techniques, and quiet Christ-centered reflection. Modifications will be offered to meet individual needs. Wear comfortable Sunday attire that allows you to move freely. Bring a yoga mat, if you have one; extras will be available. We will be sitting on the floor or in a chair if preferred. Come, cultivate an inner shalom, and be refreshed! For more info, contact Lindsey Bischel Deputy at

Instructor: Lindsey Bischel Deputy, MS, RN, CNS, Certified Yoga Instructor
Location: Room G208, Geneva Hall
Registration: Click here (maximum of 16 people)

YAHWEH Shalom...The Lord is Peace | Listening and Praying to God Through the Psalms
“A peacemaker prays. Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal for all peacemaking…the heart of the matter is that peace is a divine gift, a gift we receive in prayer.” Henri Nouwen, The Road to Peace: Writings on Peace and Justice

Our souls yearn to be at peace—peace with ourselves, with our neighbor, and with God. When we are still before God, his gentle voice assures us of who he is and whose we are; Yaweh Shalom overwhelms the places of dis-ease. Each Sunday we, like God’s people through the ages, will listen for God’s voice and find our own in the Psalms. You are invited to simply come, be still, listen, pray, and receive from God his divine gift of peace.

Facilitators: Rev. Mark Stryker, Bonnie Ho, Melvin Ho, and Janet Sanders
Location: Room G207, Geneva Hall
Registration: Click here