Adults

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 10–11 a.m. on Zoom. For additional information, please contact Noelle Castin.

For recordings of recent classes, 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—including their upcoming three-Saturday (March 6, 13, and 20) short course, “Renewing Theology and the Church for Public Life: Reformed Voices”—visit reformedinstitute.org/events.

Adult Education for Spring 2021

Bible Study: “Looking into the Lectionary”

Please join us Thursday mornings on Zoom as we prepare for Sunday worship by “looking into the lectionary” and considering one of the passages for the coming Sunday. Using various reflections on the passage as our starting point, we will spend some time in study of the scripture and in conversation about how it relates to our own faith experiences. To learn more, contact Noelle Castin.

Adult Education: A Year in Review 

Please join us as we begin the new year with the annual Adult Education “Breakfast” via Zoom. We’ll review and discuss past offerings and preview our upcoming classes. All are welcome! Join us with your cup of coffee and breakfast goodies as we come together to discuss all things Adult Ed!

January 17
Healing Through Equine Therapy

Davorka Suvak,  Founder and ex-Executive Director, SPIRIT Open Equestrian Program (Frying Pan Park, Herndon, VA)

Davorka Sucak is a dedicated educator, life coach, trainer, riding and therapeutic riding instructor and Para Equestrian trainer. She will introduce the concept of equine therapy and how the interaction between young people and horses can impart basic life skills, teach compassion, respect for others and promote healing in the program’s young riders. Ms. Suvak will briefly review the therapeutic equine assisted activities of the program but will focus the majority of her presentation on stories that illustrate the potential of this program to help youth heal, build confidence, deal with life challenges and learn emotional intelligence.

January 24
Healing Through Art and Medicine

John E. Nestler, M.D., MACP, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, VCU School of Medicine; Physician-Scientist-in-Residence, VCUarts (Arts and Medicine Converge at VCU | MCV Foundation)

Dr. Nestler will discuss art and medicine collaborations at Virginia Commonwealth University focused on medical education and patient care. A goal of these innovative projects, which include the use of virtual/augmented reality, museum visits, improvisation training and other art forms is to enhance empathy and an appreciation of the human experience in the practice of medicine.

January 31
Healing Through Spreading Compassion

Tia Goebel, Executive Director, Compassion Project (Bozeman, MT)

Ms. Goebel will lead a loving-kindness meditation and tell the story of this small town’s effort to bring people together through teaching and spreading compassion. The Compassion Project (CP) team is dedicated to giving teachers and adults tools to be kinder and more understanding toward themselves and others. Tia is excited to share CP’s approach to practicing and teaching compassion through art and mindfulness, as well as the opportunity to meet Meeting House members.

 

February 7
Healing Within Our Community

Lindsey Yancich, Gallery Manager, The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery is founded on the belief that art possesses the unique ability to help facilitate healing throughout our lives.

This class will consider how experiencing art, whether through the process of creating one’s own work or by viewing artwork created by others, influences our sense of self within our community. What do we really learn by experiencing the artwork and stories of different cultures and communities and how can we apply this knowledge to our daily lives and interactions with others?

Maddy McCoy, Founding Director, Slavery Inventory Database; History Commissioner, City of Alexandria; Head of Research, Alexandria’s Equal Justice Initiative Community Remembrance Project

Maddy’s work is primarily focused on the early African American experience in the mid-Atlantic region. Founded in 2005, the Slavery Inventory Database is an historical consultancy that works with historic house museums and historic sites by helping them identify and interpret their enslaved populations and narratives.

Her most recent publication, in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography is “Soil Tilled by Free Men: The Formation of a Free Black Community in Fairfax County, Virginia,” an account of the enslaved laborers at Mount Vernon after they were emancipated by George Washington.

David LaMotte, Speaker, Songwriter, Author

The stories we tell—whether in movies and on TV, or at the dinner table, in history classes or even Sunday School—inform our understanding of the world and our place in it, and guide our daily actions.

We will consider the implications of some of these stories, and how they influence our understanding of our faith.

Watch David’s TEDx Asheville presentation.

Linda Lanam, Cleve Lisecki, and Jennifer Veech

Many give up something for Lent—chocolate, fast food, binge watching Netflix. But Lent is not a diet; Lent is a time of preparation. Instead of asking what we can “give up” for Lent, we plan to explore what we can “let go.” In the time of Covid, there are many things we have let go. What have we learned? How has this year of letting go taught us to prepare for God? Can we live our lives always letting go? Always preparing for Easter?

To help guide our study, we will use Jill Duffield’s Lent in Plain Sight. In Duffield’s book, she explores Lent in the ordinary objects around us: dust, bread, coins, shoes, oil. How can these ordinary objects help teach us what is most important? Across the five weeks of the class, we will focus our attention on a different chapter from Duffield’s book.

Again & Again: A Lenten Refrain

In Lent, we’re reminded that, again and again, suffering and brokenness find us. We doubt again, we lament again, we mess up again. Again and again, the story of Jesus on the cross repeats—every time lives are taken unjustly, every time the powerful choose corruption and violence, every time individuals forget how to love. With exacerbation we exclaim, “Again?! How long, O God?” And yet, in the midst of the motion blur chaos of our lives, God offers a sacred refrain: “I choose you, I love you, I will lead you to repair.” Again and again, God breaks the cycle and offers us a new way forward.

This theme provides a clear invitation in a time when much is unclear. Even if worshiping apart, we come to God again and again with our prayers, our dreams, our hopes, and our doubts. Even if from a distance, we will continue to be community to one another—especially when it’s hard— by choosing each other over and over again. We will continue to love God with the same persistence God chooses and claims us. Our sub-theme, A Lenten Refrain, speaks to the ways God can make music of our lives. “Refrain” also reminds us that Lent is a season of abstaining from certain or harmful practices in order to take on new rhythms and habits.

In this season, we need rituals—both old and new—to remember and be transformed. Embodied practice builds muscle memory. Repetition helps retrain our neural pathways. We need the 46 days of Lent because this season shapes us into more faithful disciples. Join us this Lent as again and again, we bring all of who we are to God and trust that God will meet us, time and again, along the way.

A Sanctified Art

Please join us for a four-week Lenten study on Zoom beginning the week of March 1. Contact Noelle Castin to check availability.

  • Wednesdays—11 a.m. (March 3, 10, 17 & 24)
    Leaders: Linda Woodhouse & Doug Peterson
  • WEDNESDAYS AT  7 P.M. ARE AT CAPACITY
    Wednesdays—7 p.m. (March 3, 10, 17 & 24)
    Leaders: Claire & Roger Pratt
  • Wednesdays—7:30 p.m (March 3, 10, 17 & 24)
    Leaders: Mary & Kent Myers
  • THURSDAY MORNINGS ARE AT CAPACITY
    Thursdays—10 a.m. (March 4, 11, 18 & 25)
    Leaders: Priscilla Andre-Colton & Linda Lanam
  • Thursdays—7 p.m. (March 4, 11, 18 & 25)
    Leaders: Caitlin Jarecki & Jenny Parker

If you are unable to attend one of the small group gatherings, we will use the Again & Again Devotional guide. This guide is for the entire season of Lent and is geared towards individual or group use.

To download the devotional guide in its entirety, click here.

Reformed Institute logoRev. John Molina-Moore, Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, and Rev. Jessica Tate

This course brings experts in national church leadership, public policy, and generational forecasting to explore current cultural, social, and generational challenges to the church. They will address trends, theological shifts, and resources for renewing the church for public witness–all within a Reformed framework. This VIRTUAL course will include presentations, small group discussions, and Q & A. All participants will be asked to do the readings before each session (to be posted soon). This is a unique opportunity to engage some of the most visionary church leaders in the Washington, DC region. To register, visit reformedinstitute.org/events.

Dr. Peyton McCrary (Member, Old Presbyterian Meeting House)

Dr. McCrary’s presentation draws on his four decades of work on minority voting rights, first as an expert witness in court cases when he was a university history professor in the 1980s, then for 26 years as a social scientist in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and for the last four years as an expert witness in “retirement.”

It also draws on his personal experience since 1963 with the Presbyterian Church’s constructive role in supporting minority voting rights.

Virginia Delegates Mark Sickles (D) and Don Scott (D) Meeting House member Del. Sickles and Del. Scott will discuss legislative experiences regarding the General Assembly’s efforts to fight systemic racism.
Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe (Transitional Director of Congregational Development and Mission, National Capital Presbytery) While virtual, members of our congregations have been OUTSIDE of our Sanctuaries, Classrooms, Offices, etc.  Grocery Stores and outside spaces have been the intersection of community (with safety) for many! As members of a church, we are more equipped than ever to be Christian Evangelists confronting Spiritual, Housing, Food, Health, and Justice scarcity that has always been with us. This is the Body of Christ, with us! Please join us as Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe provides tools around the new normal to being a Growing Congregation with Impact and Reach! We may know several of them but have we aligned them into our Faith Identity?  
Whitney Parnell (CEO and Founder, Service Never Sleeps) This two-session worship will provide helpful definitions, invitations to self-mirroring, and active ally education involving the CLAIM acronym: Care, Learn, Act, Influence, and Maintain. The sessions teach individuals about the causes of social injustice, how to be effective allies for marginalized communities, and how to actively influence and educate others. Your time together on Zoom will involve breakouts for practice together in pairs and small groups intermittently throughout our time of learning, so come ready to “try on” the Ally Training strategies of Service Never Sleeps. Click here to learn more and register.
Members of the Meeting House’s Dismantling Racism Team This will be an important conversation about the sites in Alexandria that mark key moments in the story of Presbyterians, white supremacy, and Black resistance from Colonial days to the present. In addition to this discussion, there will be an opportunity for a limited number of people in our congregation (perhaps also including participants from among our friends at the 15th Street Presbyterian church, the first African American Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC) to participate in the actual walking tour on Saturday, May 1. The tour will be kindly led by the Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington. For those unable to join in person there is a free video recording of the tour available through the Reformed Institute’s website so people can view it and participate in the Adult Ed discussion.
Elise Christina Jenkins, Linda Lanam, and Jennifer Veech This three-week class will explore the history and current expression of African American poetry of the spirit. Each class will feature examples from both African American spirituals as well as early and contemporary poetry. Choir section leader Elise Christina Jenkins will perform and discuss examples of that musical tradition, followed by an exploration of historical and contemporary poems led by Linda Lanam and Jennifer Veech. Recurring themes will include voice, suffering, identity, community, praise, triumph, and faith.