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And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best…. – Philippians 1:9

Deep Faith, Inquiring Minds

For over 50 years, since the beginning of First Presbyterian’s present-day program of adult education in 1964, we have sought to build a rich tradition of excellence in programs for educating adults through small groups, Bible studies, classes, seminars, and the church’s library. The purpose is to encourage every member to advance along a personal journey of faith toward understanding God’s will for our church and for his and her individual circumstances. More information on current offerings can be found on the church calendar (on top menu bar), the Open Door Newsletter (under the “News” tab), or by contacting the church office. Visitors are always welcome!

Study Groups

We offer study groups in a variety of formats to fit into the interests and busy schedules of our members. We hope you will join us! Bible Study Groups – Our on-going Bible study meets at 8:15 on Sunday mornings. In addition, we frequently offer short-term Bible study groups focused on a particular chapter or topic. Young Adult Study Group – Join our active young adult group at 10:45 on Sundays for discussions on faith and beliefs. Topics are decided by the group and all are welcome!

Sunday Seminars

We hope you also will join us for the Adult Education Seminars on Sundays at 10:45 am in Fellowship Hall during the academic year. The seminars are provided both by church members and community members with special expertise in the topic. Visitors are always welcome! Upcoming and recent seminars include:

Seminar Series: “Reformation Roots”

Sundays, February 4, 18, 25, March 11, 18 and 25, at 11:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall. Beginning Sunday, February 4, Warren Hapke and Pastor David will be leading a 6-session DVD-based series called “Reformation Roots.” We live in the post-Reformation era when denominations are trying to discover common ground rather than points of disagreements. Many of those earlier areas of disagreement have been resolved through dialogue and statements of agreement. The aim of this series is to help explain the existing landscape of western Christianity and to suggest that some of the unresolved Reformation themes are still in play today.

February 4 – “From Night to Dawn.” The Reformation did not happen in a vacuum. Many forces of historical events paved the way. There were Reformers who preceded Luther and Calvin. (Series continues on February 18)

February 18 – “From Bondage to Freedom.” This session will introduce to Martin Luther and his early struggles.

February 25 – “From Scholar to Provocateur.” We explore how Luther attacked the penitential system of the Roman Catholic Church, and how the impact of his work was enhanced by the new technology of the printing press. (Series continues on March 11)

March 11 – “From Heretic to Hero.” The Pope responds. Luther is excommunicated. During this time Luther writes his seminal works.

March 18 – “The Swiss Reformation.” In this session, we explore the ministry of Ulrich Zwingli in Zurich, John Calvin in Geneva, and the influence Desiderius Erasmus, who was sympathetic to the concerns of the reformers, but who chose to remain within the Roman Catholic Church.

March 25 – “The English Reformation.” In this final session, we explore Henry the VIII’s role in creating the Anglican Church, and how the English Reformation was rooted more in politics than theology. In this midst of this series there will be two other seminars.

The Arc of Human History: Challenges to Sustainability Fall 2017

– A public seminar series sponsored by First Presbyterian Church of Urbana Our species, Homo sapiens, has been sustained by planet Earth’s ecosystems for over 200,000 years. Ongoing rapid accelerations in human population growth, technology and global affluence since the mid twentieth century, however, are inflicting detrimental effects on the Earth’s ecosystems that are increasing the rate of extinction of species and imperiling the future of our own. This seminar series, which will be presented by University of Illinois experts, will describe these challenges to sustainability and ways to address them. October 1: Journey of the Universe: Story of Cosmic, Earth and Human Transformation A documentary film that is grounded in contemporary science and explores man’s place in the universe. The film is a collaboration of evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme, Professor in Philosophy and Religion Program, California Institute of Integral Studies, and historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker. October 8: The Challenge of Human Population Growth David Sherwood: Professor Emeritus, UI Colleges of Medicine and Liberal Arts and Sciences, Former Director of UI Reproductive Biology Training Program October 15: The Challenge of Sustainable Mineral and Energy Resources Stephen Marshak: Professor, UI Department of Geology, Director of UI School of Earth, Society and Environment October 22: The Challenge of Sustainable Fresh Water Availability Ximing Cai: Professor, UI Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Associate Director of UI Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment October 29: The Challenge of Sustainable Food Availability Evan Delucia: Professor, UI Department of Plant Biology, Director of UI Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment November 5: Extinction and Biodiversity in the Modern Era: Worrisome Trends and Practical Solutions Jeffrey Brawn: Professor and Department Head, UI Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Seminars will be at 11:00 AM in Fellowship Hall, First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, 602 West Green Street.Parking is available in the lot east of the church on Orchard Street. For additional information contact David Sherwood at od-sherw@illinois.edu

From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians –  This six-part series focused on new, and sometimes controversial historical evidence by New Testament scholars on the times and places where Jesus lived and preached, using the PBS-produced FRONTLINE program of the same name. A Caring Church – A three-part series that focused on how we care for each other within our church; care options for loved ones in the community; and the role of hospital chaplains. Confronting Climate Change – A six-session series on the causes and projected trajectory of climate change as well as efforts at every level—from the global level to the individual citizen level—to reduce the use of fossil fuels.