Adult Education

The mission of the Adult Education Ministry is to help every adult fulfill their potential as a disciple of Jesus Christ. To support this mission, we offer a variety of opportunities, including bible studies, Inquirers’ Classes, topical classes, guest lecturers, and other occasional events.

Except where noted, until further notice, these offerings are held on Sundays from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Heritage Hall and Virtually. For additional information and the zoom link, please contact Noelle Castin.

For recordings of Fall 2021 classes on Vimeo, click here

For recordings of previous classes on YouTube, click here.

Covid-19 Safety Precautions  – What to expect Fall 2021, click here.

The Reformed Institute

The Meeting House is a founding member of the Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington. The Reformed Institute is a cooperative effort of several local Presbyterian churches, seeking to draw on the resources of the Reformed tradition to deepen our faith and understanding, and challenge our minds in the service of God. The Reformed Institute offers various classes, lectures, special events, and retreats, as well as providing a variety of resources through its website and Company of Teachers.

To learn more about upcoming Reformed Institute offerings visit

Upcoming Event:  November 13, 9:00-11:30 AM, in person at National Presbyterian Church, DC. People of faith seek justice. We are challenged today to expand our faith to recognize the great injustices in our global environmental crisis. Dr. William Brown, Columbia Theological Seminary has been leading the Reformed community in such an expansion, by bringing Scripture, science, and living faith to the issues. This session will change your thinking and is not to be missed. For more info and to RSVP.

Adult Education for Fall 2021

As we mark the season of Advent, we are drawn to the opening chapters of the Gospels, especially Matthew and Luke, for clues about who and where Jesus came from. Matthew’s Gospel begins by introducing us to Jesus’ whole family—for many generations—and inviting us into stories of the people who shaped Jesus and who shape us, too.
Among those generations of family are several women. These women named in Jesus’ family tree have back stories: stories of shame, of blessing, of risk-taking, and of courage. Matthew has named these women for a reason and in the weeks of the Advent season we want to explore their stories, stories that take us back into the Old Testament and lead us into the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Join Linda and Priscilla for this short 5 week study to explore these women’s stories in our Thursday morning Bible study in November and December, we will be invited to think about our own family stories and how they have shaped us and our faith.
  • November 18: Welcome and Introductions
  • November 25: Happy Thanksgiving – no class
  • December 2: Rahab and Tamar–“The family embarrassments”
  • December 9: Ruth and Bathsheba– “The ‘outsider’ wives”
  • December 16: Mary–“The mother”

Please contact Noelle Castin, Director of Christian Education for the Zoom link.

All are welcome!

Food Insecurity continues to be a critical issue that impacts so many within our community, particularly those most vulnerable. A March 2021 Feeding America Report indicated that, “In 2019 – before the start of the pandemic – more than 35 million people, including nearly 11 million children, were food insecure. Feeding America projects that 45 million people, including 15 million children, may have experienced food insecurity in 2020, and 42 million people, including 13 million children, may experience food insecurity in 2021.” Please join us for this important Adult Education where we’ll hear directly from Meeting House leads from Service & Justice programs about their work to address food insecurity, including during the pandemic. We’ll also discuss the continued needs within our community, and how people can get involved, and work together across programs. We’re so grateful to be joined by the following Meeting House program leads:

To learn more, contact Noelle Castin.

The Rev. Alvin Herring is executive director of Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. An ordained Christian Minister with over 30 years of experience in ministry, Rev. Herring is constantly working to put faith back into the public square by expanding the idea of faith far beyond 11 a.m. on Sunday.  For Herring, this means leveraging the Faith in Action network and its leaders to use their faith traditions as catalyst for change.

People of faith are working to stop voter suppression and organize people to use their vote on the issues that matter to them. Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director of Faith in Action, will share what his faith-based national network of 1,000 religious congregations are doing to protect the right to vote. Our Dismantling Racism Team is excited to bring this national leader to the Meeting House to inform and inspire us. Rev. Herring will fire us up as a church and individuals to be part of this movement to protect the rights of all Americans to seek justice through the vote. 

The Rev. John Yieh, PhD. is the Molly Laird Downs Professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary.  His research interest focuses on the Gospel of Matthew, the Johannine Literature, the social-historical and history-of-effects approach, and the history of biblical interpretation in China.  His recent publications include Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Matthew and The Oxford Biblical Bibliographies on the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is a beloved prayer that Christians use in every worship service because it was taught by Jesus as a model prayer (Mt 6:9) and an identity prayer (Lk 11:2).  Familiarity is good but it oftentimes makes formality and diminishes fresh impact.  This presentation will introduce recent biblical scholarship on this influential prayer and invite us to think about its contents and significance today, so that we may pray it afresh and align our devotional life to the will of the living God.

What are the challenges of this ministerial calling? These questions will be explored in our three-week series on chaplaincy. Over the course of this series, we will be guided by chaplains who minister to three very different populations. On October 10, Rev. Sean Cavanaugh, JK-12 chaplain and Religion Department chair at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School will discuss his ministry as a chaplain for students, faculty, and staff at an Episcopalian school. On October 17, Rev. John Pollack, chief of the Department of Spiritual Care at the National Institutes of Health, will share his role as a spiritual care leader at the NIH. And on October 24, Dr. Margaret Kibben, chaplain of the US House of Representatives, will discuss her ministry among US legislators. We look forward to your joining us for this exciting series!

Sunday, October 10 ::  Rev. Sean Cavanaugh
Rev. Sean Cavanaugh, JK-12 Chaplain and Religion Department chair at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School will discuss his ministry as a chaplain for students, faculty, and staff at an Episcopalian school.

Sunday, October 17 ::  Spiritual Care in the Clinic
John M. Pollack, M.Div., BCC is the Chief of the Department of Spiritual Care at the Clinical Center of The National Intstitutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he is Chair of the Clinical Center’s Ethics Committee and serves on NIH Institutional Review Board.  Pollack came to the NIH in January 2008.  His current interests include spirtual care at the end of life and clinical careprovider wellness and burnout.

Prior to coming to the NIH Pollack was director of Pastoral Care and Mission Operations at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he served on the hospital’s Ethical Advi­sory, Perinatal Ethics, and Ethics Education Committees. He was active in Holy Cross Hospital’s end-of-life care initia­tives, including initial implementation of a hospital-based palliative care service, an annual conference series, “Conversations for the End-of-Life,” and initiatives in perinatal loss and bereavement.

Encounters with illness are often anxiety provoking and can be traumatic.  In those circumstances that are life limiting or where death is a possible outcome, the stakes are higher and the degree of spiritual distress for the person as well as their family and those close to them can be devastating.  Topics in this session will include:

  • Spirituality at times of crisis
  • Spiritual care in diversity
  • One person’s illness, but a shared suffering
  • Care for caregivers
  • Questions and Answers

Sunday, October 24 :: Please Release All Your Eternal Resources

Dr. Margaret Kibben is presently serving as the 61st Chaplain of the House of Representatives, she was elected by House Membership and sworn in by the Speaker of the House on 3 January 2021. She spent 35 years as a Navy Chaplain.

Following her retirement, Dr. Kibben established Virtue In Practice, LLC, a business dedicated to moral, ethical, and spiritual executive leader advisement. She also served as a consultant to the Department of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. 

Dr. Kibben serves on both military and civilian boards and is a Faculty Advisor for Arizona State University’s Master of Arts program in International Affairs and Leadership.

In this class, Chaplain Margaret Kibben will talk about the importance of prayer, her responsibility as the one who opens each session of the House with prayer, and why each of us need to develop an active prayer life.

Dr. Joyce Ann Mercer is a Presbyterian minister on the faculty of Yale Divinity School where she serves as the academic dean and the Horace Bushnell Professor of Practical Theology. She is the author of  a recent article in the Presbyterian Outlook, Grief is a Way of Loving: Pastoral Theology for a Pandemic”. She also is a long-time friend of OPMH.

The COVID pandemic has amplified experiences of grief and loss, isolation, and loneliness for so many people, families, and communities. How does faith speak to these realities? What does “good grief” look like ? (Hint: it’s not 5 stages!) This session considers contemporary pastoral theological understandings of grief and how people of faith can support one another in times of loss.  

A native of upstate NY, Dr. Dombkowski Hopkins has studied twice at the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies on the West Bank and is currently the Woodrow W. and Mildred B. Miller Professor of Biblical Theology at Wesley Seminary. She has received several grants and awards, among them: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program “Science for Seminaries Phase II” project with Paul Cho and Michael Koppel.

Ancient Israel experienced many types of losses that gave rise to profound grief, both individually and collectively. David Carr notes that “suffering, and the survival of it, was written into the Bible” for both Israel and the early Church. Over the last decade, scholars have increasingly turned to trauma studies as their interpretive tool for illuminating this suffering and survival for the sake of recovery and resilience in the midst of contemporary trauma. These three sessions will be presented on Zoom and in person as we consider what selected biblical texts reveal about trauma then and now:

Session #1: The Bible and Trauma: Overview of Intersections
Session #2: The Little Slave Girl in 2 Kings 5: Heroine or Trauma Victim?
Session #3: Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Trauma

“Advent” means “coming” — the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Christians around the world prepare on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas with special liturgy, hymns, and candle lighting. On this first Sunday in Advent, join us in preparing your hearts and homes for the coming Christmas season.  We will learn more about the meaning of Advent, light the first Advent candle together, and share a special Advent blessing. We will provide greens, wreath forms, and candles for all, but if you have additional greens of all kinds to share, we invite you to bring them, along with clippers for easier assembly.

This session will be held in the Church Yard (Fellowship Hall in inclement weather).

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is among those denominations that follow what is known as the Revised Common Lectionary in choosing the scripture passages that will be read and preached on each Sunday morning.  Linda Lanam, Meeting House member and elder, will lead this three week series that will look at and try to answer some basic questions about the lectionary: What is it? Where did it come from? And what do we do with it now that we have it? 

  • Session One: History of lectionaries generally and the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) in particular.
  • Session Two: Operation of the lectionary (what is in, what is out, what alternatives there are, etc.).
  • Session Three: Advent and Christmas lectionary readings (looking at how this season is treated in all three years A, B, and C).