Summer Institute

Winter Institute

As followers of Christ in the 21st century, we find ourselves increasingly challenged by the prevailing cultural landscape. How do we "go and make disciples of all nations" in a world that can seem indifferent to our words of hope and reconciliation? Perhaps bearing witness to the truth of the gospel calls not first and foremost our words, but our love and care for "the other" and the world in which we live.

In June, our Middle Hour focus turns to opening our hearts to "the other": your spouse, the skeptical neighbor, the oppressed and marginalized, or those who yearn for justice and peace where deeply rooted enmity prevails. By turning our attention to how God's Spirit is constantly moving in fresh new ways, together we will discover how to faithfully follow Jesus as agents of reconciliation, restoration, and hope in his world.

Dates: Sundays, June 1–29
Time: Middle Hour, 10:15–11:15 am
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, May 28
Registration: Click here to register!
More Information: Please contact Janet Sanders, Adult Ministries Coordinator, at (510) 848-6252 ext. 267 or

Follow the links below for course descriptions:

You Have Heard It Said: Narrative and Reconciliation in the Middle East
Stories frame and justify what we think about our communities and ourselves. When these legitimizing stories don’t agree with one another, conflict erupts. Once these narratives are internalized and even nationalized, as is the case in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, can there be any hope for peace? We will explore the Middle East conflict using Musalaha, a reconciliation process that honors the historic narratives we tell while calling for self-critique and empathy while listening to the stories others tell about us.

Location: Room G202, Geneva Hall
Instructors: Rev. Debbie Whaley, Associate Pastor for Community Life, and Max Lih
Registration: Click here

Through the Eyes of Jesus: Seeing the Vulnerable with Dignity and Compassion
This class will work through several gospel texts where we see Jesus engaging with vulnerable people. By doing so, we hope to have our perceptions about human need challenged and changed. Looking and seeing the needs of women, children, and the disabled through the eyes of Christ, we can learn how to respond to the vulnerable in our world with wisdom, dignity, and compassion. We will be drawing from the insights of Ken Bailey's book, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes.

Location: Room G206, Geneva Hall
Instructors: Rev. Mary Ellen Azada, Associate Pastor for Mission Outreach & Evangelism; Rev. Mark Stryker, Pastor for Adult Ministries
Registration: Click here

The Next Christians: How to Live the Gospel and Restore the World
In this class we will listen in on a series of video interviews between Gabe Lyons, author of The Next Christians, and notable Christian thinkers and leaders including Tim Keller, Phyllis Tickle, Andy Crouch, Scot McKnight, and Nicole Baker-Fulgham, as they discuss the fundamental shifts in our culture and how we can carry the message of the gospel forward in our postmodern, post-Christian context. Following each video, we will explore what we've encountered. Confident that God's Spirit is at work, we seek to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to a deeper understanding of this new reality and how we might think and do things differently.  

Location: Room G208, Geneva Hall
Facilitators: Brian Howard, Clark Sept, Janet Sanders, Rachel Taber
Topics: The End of Christian America, Restoration Thinking, Provoked to Engage, Creators Who Are Called, Counter Culture for the Common Good
Registration: Click here

Couple Check-Up: A Marriage Enrichment Course
(offered in partnership with Berkeley Christian Counselors)
In marriage we are called to love "the other" right next to us; it is that inherent "otherness" of our most intimate partner that often makes the call to love so difficult. Just like a car requires a mechanic's tune-up, marriage requires direction, maintenance, and attention to keep running smoothly. This course utilizes the Couple Check-Up Program to measure 20 different aspects of your relationship. Our trained facilitators will get you thinking and talking about your relationship, and taking steps to grow individually and as a couple. We'll celebrate relationship strengths and work to identify challenging issues in a safe, caring, productive, and structured group that fosters and encourages supportive conversation.

Location: Room M310, McKinley Hall
Instructors: Bowbay Feng, MFT-Intern, and Kristen Gustavson, LCSW, PhD
Cost: $60 per couple (due at first class) and separate $35 fee for the online Couple Check-Up Inventory
Enrollment: Minimum 5 couples, maximum 12 couples 
Registration: Click here
More Information: Please contact Berkeley Christian Counselors at (510) 548-5858 or