ADULT EDUCATION SCHEDULE, FALL 2019 

You are a vital part of our adult education program.  Please join us Sunday mornings at 9:15 for presentations on topics that matter and that nurture our faith.  We are looking forward to seeing you!  Coffee and child-care provided.  Note: No class on December 1, 22, and 29. 

September 8:  More than Just a Job

We begin our adult education program this fall by welcoming the return of Terri DeBoer, well-known meteorologist with nearly three decades of cheerfully waking us up to the weather at Channel 8, WOODTV, Grand Rapids. She also serves as co-host of eightWest, a daily program of information and entertainment. Today she’ll share aspects of her spiritual journey and update us on her challenging work. 


September 15: The Canons of Dort for the Church Today: Polemics, Pastoring, and Pulling up

Many of us avoid the Canons of Dort, fearing the main doctrinal focus -- election -- and put off by the polemical tone. At the other extreme, many make the Canons (or rather, the somewhat misleading acronym, TULIP) the be-all and end-all of Reformed theology. Given all of that, can the Canons of Dort still be helpful for the church today? Led by Suzanne McDonald, professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Western Theological Seminary.

 

September 22:  Covenant Eyes: Escaping the Porn Addiction

What people do online impacts their lives offline.  As founder and CEO of Covenant Eyes, Ron DeHaas faced the same questions many people face today: "How can I teach my children to use the internet with integrity? How do I guard my own heart and remain pure online? How can I serve as an example to my family and church?” The goal of Covenant Eyes is to equip people with tools that provide protection and encourage accountability and trust in the fight against the evils of internet pornography.

 

September 29:  Finding God in Silence, Mountains, and the Land of the Bible

Last spring pastor Nate Visker was given a six-week sabbatical.  In this session he will walk us through the places he traveled and how he experienced God in each place.  This presentation will feature his trip to Israel with commentary from the Visker family.

 

October 6:   A Cathedral in Time

One of the most important themes in Scripture is that of the Sabbath. While we know generally what the Sabbath is or is supposed to be, in this session we’ll explore some of its deeper, biblical roots to more fully understand God's intentions for this creation and our place in it.  Sabbath, it turns out, has implications for both time and eternity.  Led by Scott Hoezee, author of several books and a CRC pastor who served as the first Director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Seminary.

 

October 13: The Church Grapples with the Theology of Sexuality

In 2016 the CRC Synod appointed a committee to help the churches better understand the theology of sexuality and same-sex relationships, a topic last discussed in a 1973 report.  In this session we will review the committee’s partial report to Synod 2019 and discuss its strengths, including its breadth and its sensitivity to contemporary challenges, and its weaknesses, including a misleading account of the order of creation.  From the perspective of a parent, teacher, and church member, David Hoekema, professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Calvin College, will pose some questions for further discussion.   

 

October 20: Serving, Protecting, and Restoring God’s Earth

Jon Terry is Director of Community Development and Alumni Relations at the Au Sable Institute and the son of FCC member Barb Mengebier.  He will present useful insights for the church and its members on caring for God’s magnificent creation.  Jon will also share a brief history of the Au Sable Institute and its role as a science field station for 50 Christian colleges throughout the United States and Canada.

 

October 27:    Wood Carvings, Sacred Meaning

We were recently challenged with Nick Kroeze's presentations on the agreement of science and the Bible.  In today’s session, the retired Kuyper College president displays another strong interest, showing some of the many wood carvings he has produced over the years, ranging from mantle size items to a 24 foot high waterfall, with some entered in the annual ArtPrize contest (Grand Rapids, MI).  Kroeze says he loves to express biblical and spiritual themes in his art.

 

November 3:  Humanity for Prisoners Sunday

Sunday, November 3, has been designated as Prisoner Awareness Sunday at FCC, and our guest adult education speaker will be Dr. John Rottman, Professor of Preaching at Calvin Seminary. Dr. Rottman has made numerous trips with seminarians to Angola Prison, serves on the steering committee of Calvin Prison Initiative, and is a member of the Humanity for Prisoners umanity for Prisoners Hboard. You won’t want to miss this informative and inspiring presentation, also featuring a former prisoner/student of Calvin Prison Initiative.

 

November 10:  Video: Incomplete without You--The Church and People with Disabilities

This 2019 Calvin January Series video features Erik W. Carter, author and professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focus on fostering inclusion and belonging for people with developmental disabilities in schools, workplaces, and congregations, as well as the ways in which communities are strengthened by receiving their gifts and friendships.

 

November 17:  The Humor of Christ

Most of us admire those who have a good sense of humor, and think a little less of those who have none. So when we look at the life of Christ, do we see any humor? Some would say they can find no humor in Jesus' life. Or, could it be that we in the Western world just don't understand the culture and humor of that time? Led by Allen Shoemaker, recently retired professor of Psychology, Calvin College.


November 24: Handel's Messiah and the Meaning of Christmas

John Koedyker is pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church in Grand Haven. He is also a Bible scholar, history buff, and avid lover of classical music. In this session, using music and historical data, he will look with us at the writing of the Messiah by Handel and how the words of Scripture lifted Handel’s spirits and renewed his faith. 

 

December 8:  The Photography of Beauty

Chuck DeWitt from Second CRC of Grand Haven spends part of every day with his camera. “I take pictures for the joy of getting outside and seeing the beauty of God,” he says. He invites us to come to this session and share in the excitement he feels looking through his camera lens. Chuck regularly contributes photos to the Muskegon Nature Club's website, has had pictures chosen for the Grand Haven calendar, and has produced winners in the WinterFest photo contest. 

 

December 15:  Advent in Early Christianity and Poetry

Ken Bratt retired from Calvin College in 2013 as professor of classics and director of the Honors Program. He and his wife, Laurel, enjoy opportunities to travel and teach in Calvin's CALL program.  Today’s session is a meditative, illustrated presentation on the themes of Advent as reflected in the painting, sculpture, mosaics, and poetry of early Christians in the western and Orthodox traditions. Many of the images are drawn from student and adult trips Ken has led to Greece and Italy.


 

ADULT EDUCATION SCHEDULE, WINTER/SPRING 2019 

Please join us Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussion of topics that will inform and nurture your faith.  We are looking forward to seeing you!  Child-care and coffee provided. Note: No class on March 31, April 7, and April 21 (Easter). 

January 6:  Helping Those Whom Society Forgets  

There are 2.4 million men and women locked behind prison walls in the United States, making us the most incarcerated nation in the world. We’ll discuss why it’s the church's role to visit those that society wants to forget.  Learn how the church can bring biblical truth and words of encouragement through Crossroads Prison Ministries. Led by Douglas Cupery of Crossroads Prison Ministries.

 

January 13:   Preventing Suicides: How We Can Help

According to US government records, the suicide rate last year was the highest it has been in the last 50 years, with more than 47,000 suicides. What can Christians-- and the church—do to help prevent this tragic situation? Led by Sarah Lewakowski, executive director of TCM Counseling.

No recording is available on our website for this session.

 

January 20:  Video: Bringing America Together

In this 2019 January Series video, Arthur C.Brooks addresses divisions that plague our country. He  offers ways to disagree better and unite the nation.  Brooks is president of a conservative think tank, American social scientist, frequent speaker, author, musician, and columnist for the New York Times.  (Please note schedule change).

No recording is available on our website for this session. You may order a video from the Calvin College bookstore (1-800-748-0122) or listen to the session at Calvin’s website here.

 

January 27:  Video: Billy Graham--An Extraordinary Life

How did an “ordinary” person become the extraordinary preacher who reached more people for Christ than anyone in history? This new video traces the highlights of his life and pays tribute to him as a humble man who gave God all the credit. (Please note schedule change.)

No recording is available on our website for this session.  

 

February 3:  Did Abraham Kuyper Go to the Movies?

Join Josh Larsen, editor of ReFrame Media's Think Christian website, for a discussion about Reformed postures toward popular culture.

 

February 10: Reflections from a Candidate for the Ministry

FCC member and candidate for ministry Becky Tjapkes describes her faith journey to seminary and beyond, and some of the things she learned along the way.

 

February 17:  Reflections from Our Youth Director

We are all getting to know—and appreciate—our youth director, Samantha Francart.  Today she’ll reflect on how things in her ministry here are going—and where she’d like them to go in the future. 

 

February 24:  Transforming Neighborhoods

Sarah Rinsema-Sybenga will acquaint us with Community enCompass, a Christian community development organization focused on "transforming neighborhoods from the inside out" in Muskegon's core city.  With programs and services as disparate as urban farms, laundromats, homeless outreach, home rehab, youth employment, and cyber cafes, Community enCompass is building relationships with neighbors across the core city.  (Please note schedule change.)

  

March 3:  Making Sense of Sport

Sport is sometimes hard to figure out. Sometimes we love the drama, sometimes we can’t wait for the game or season to be over.  Some athletes are depicted as role models while also exposed as violent and self-serving. Youth sports provide year-round training, yet fewer kids get opportunities to play.  Coaches are honored for showing tough love but are also accused of verbal abuse and intimidation.   An action in sport can highlight one political cause while detracting from another.   In all of this confusion, is there any   way for Christians to make sense of sport? Led by Brian Bolt, Calvin College professor of Kinesiology, golf coach, and author of a new “Calvin Shorts” book:  Sport. Faith. Life.



March 10: Artificial Intelligence: Discerning a Christian Response

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has achieved remarkable strides in tackling difficult problems and spurring applications in many new areas. This technology opens up new questions about what it means to be human, and our response is largely shaped by our worldview. This talk sketches some key questions arising in AI and how insights from Scripture inform a responsible approach that contributes to the common good. Led by Derek Schuurman, professor of computer science at Calvin College. (Please note date change.)




March 17:  Lent: A Journey to Jerusalem

Henry Baron, Calvin College professor emeritus of English, will use  poetry, art, and music in a multi-media presentation that will take us on a journey to Jerusalem and prepare us for holy week.

 

March 24: Passover: Then and Now

Where did it come from? What is the symbolism of the celebration? How does it relate to other festivals?  Is it just a Jewish festival and is there anything wrong with our celebrating Passover today? Led by Howard Vugteveen, pastor and FCC member. (Please note date change.)

 

April 14:  Jens Jensen, Landscape Artist for the Fords…and You

Donn Werling, local resident and author, will talk about his new book (see title above).  Learn how  Jensen’s principles as a landscape artist can help us be better stewards of our land and enhance our environment.  Author Werling has some 40 years of landscape restoration while director of three National Historic Landmarks. He is a member of First Lutheran Church in Muskegon.

 

April 28: Estate and Legacy Planning

Have you wanted to create an estate plan, but weren’t sure where to begin? Do you have a will, but now you’re not sure it’s the right fit? Do you know what the Ferrysburg Community Church Legacy Foundation is and does? In this interactive, easy-to-understand workshop, FCC member Steve Baker, a Barnabas Foundation Senior Estate Planner, will provide practical tips to complete or review an effective plan that meets your needs and achieves your charitable goals.

 

May 5Bible Study: The Music Makers

Most of us are familiar with the main characters from the Old Testament story of Israel. The life and actions of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and Solomon, as well as of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, are well-known parts of the biblical record.  However, we may have forgotten many other stories that also are part of God’s revelation, missing some wonderful parts of Scripture. Today’s presentation challenges us to reflect on the role of the music makers of Israel. Led by Gerrit Koedoot, pastor and FCC member.

 

May 12: Bible Study:  These Also Served-- Little Known Bible Characters

Today we’ll look at the part that some little-known Old Testament persons played in the bigger story of Israel as God’s covenant people. Learn how God used these servants of his to guide Israel, and how their interesting stories still speak to us today. Led by Gerrit Koedoot, pastor and FCC member.

 

May 19:  Islam 101

Paul Kortenhoven-- a retired CRC missionary who served in West Africa--will explain core beliefs of our Muslim brothers and sisters, whose numbers are growing in West Michigan.  Recognizing religious and cultural differences will help us be the good neighbors that Scripture encourages us to be.  Paul will also tell a few stories about his family’s living in a Muslim village in Sierra Leone for over 15 years. (Please note schedule change.)

No recording is available on our website for this session.


 

ADULT EDUCATION SCHEDULE: FALL, 2018

September 9:  Caring for Creation: Crucial to Our Witness

In this time of heated political polarization, it’s tempting to think that the church should steer clear of environmental controversies.  After all, doesn’t the gospel demonstrate that God cares more about saving people than saving endangered species?  Today we’ll examine why caring for God’s creation must be an integral part of our Christian witness to the world. We’ll also explore some practical steps as we attend to local and global environmental challenges. Led by David Koetje, Biology professor at Calvin College. 


September 16: Engaging Our Community

Churches engaging with communities is so widespread in the United States that it is best described as a congregational norm. However, there is no formula or step-by-step plan for congregations to best engage their neighborhoods. Instead, this talk offers a brief overview to stimulate congregational thinking about engaging their community.  It includes insights regarding social science and local context. Led by Mark Mulder, professor and chair of the Sociology department at Calvin College.


 September 23:  Safe Church Basics

Why do we have a safe church team at FCC and how does it fit into our overall mission to be a church for all kinds of people? Safe team members Lori Houskamp and Barb Mengebier will outline our goals as a safe church and present interesting (and sticky) situations for us to discuss.  With hot topics such as sexual harassment and abuse prevalent in the news, we as a church need to educate and protect vulnerable persons of all ages. 


September 30: A Conversation about Immigration

What's driving this constant immigration panic that we see in the headlines? How does it impact immigrant families in our community? What can we do to stay informed, non-partisan, well-educated, and faithful in the midst of what feels so hard to navigate? How can our church face this if we are divided politically? Join us for a conversation about immigration. Led by Kate Kooyman, a pastor who serves in the CRC’s Office of Social Justice.


October 7:   Eating Toward Shalom 

Few things connect us as directly to creation as the food we eat. But it’s easy for Christians to overlook the great potential of mindful eating as a discipleship practice. This presentation explains how mindful eating practices can serve as spiritual disciplines for seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. All this when the standard American diet is increasingly known to have serious, unintended consequences for creation. Led by Matt Halteman, Philosophy professor at Calvin College.

No recording is available for this session.



October 14:   The Colossian Way: A Christian Practice for Contentious Issues (part 1)

Too often we struggle to find our way through complex issues and we end up quarreling or splitting apart from each other.  The church seems to be as embattled as the culture around us.  At the same time, these contentious issues offer an opportunity for Christian spiritual formation and discipleship.  In the midst of complex issues, we see a moment to grow our love for each other and for God.  This two-part series offers an experiential learning exercise in a Christian practice of loving each other across our differences.  The first week will provide content and practice around the complexity of current issues and the challenges of unity.  The second week will provide an opportunity to engage one another around our differences.  Led by Chris DeVos, Colossian Forum staff and CRC pastor.  


October 21:  The Colossian Way: A Christian Practice for Contentious Issues (part 2)

This second session on the above topic offers an experiential learning exercise in a Christian practice of loving each other across our differences.  Led by Michael Gulker, President of the Colossian Forum.  


October 28:  Protestants and Catholics: What's There to Talk About?

We can ask this question in a spirit of pessimism: what, after all, is there to talk about?  Aren't these two traditions just too estranged for real conversation?  Or we can ask it in a spirit of naive optimism: isn't all that divisive stuff behind us?  Can't we all just love Jesus and get past our differences?  Jack Mulder, professor and chair of the Philosophy department at Hope College, believes that both of these approaches are wrong.  Come find out why!


November 4:  My Father’s World (part 1)

This is a faith and science presentation by Nick Kroeze, retired after 22 years as president of Kuyper College.  Usually presented as a week-long program, it has been abbreviated for us to two sessions. It focuses on the glory of God as shown through natural revelation; it uses current scientific discoveries that inform our faith, support the biblical record, and enhance our wonder of what God must be like.


November 11:  My Father’s World (part 2)

This is a continuation of last week’s faith and science presentation by Nick Kroeze, recently retired as president of Kuyper College.  It focuses on the glory of God as shown through natural revelation; it uses current scientific discoveries that inform our faith, support the biblical record, and enhance our wonder of what God must be like.


November 18:  He Restores My Soul -- The Spiritual Power of Recreation

We tend to understand vacations and hobbies as a way to step out of life and rest.  These are often referred to as avocations, something outside of our calling.  Yet recreation was designed by God to be a regular part of life.  He calls us to it.  Pastor Nate Visker will share insights on how backpacking and other forms of recreation have added value to his life, family, and relationship with God.


December 2:   My Father’s World (part 3)

This is the concluding faith and science presentation by Nick Kroeze, recently retired as president of Kuyper College. Today's session will focus on how biological discoveries inform and enhance our faith (note the schedule change).

No recording is available for this session. 



December 9:  Angels in the Bible and Today

How are angels depicted in the Bible? How are they depicted today by Christians and by many people who are "spiritual but not religious?” What role do angels have in the Christian life?  This presentation will cover the main points of angels in the Bible, especially as they appear in the Christmas story, and use this to evaluate the contemporary interest in angels. Led by Bob Van Voorst, professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary.


December 16: Video: Why Millennials Are the Hope of the Church

This 2018 Calvin January Series video features Mary Hulst, chaplain at Calvin College. You’ll want to watch this informative, encouraging, and dynamic presentation. Learn what “millennials” are like and how they really are “the hope of the church.”

This session is available to watch and listen to by clicking here.



ADULT EDUCATION SCHEDULE, SPRING 2018

March 18: Commonly Misunderstood Verses of the Bible: What They Really Mean (part 1)
Bob VanVoorst is professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary and the author of many articles and books, including a new book with the same title as that of this session. In today’s session, we’ll look at why and how some Bible verses are commonly misunderstood and/or misapplied.


March 25Commonly Misunderstood Verses of the Bible: What They Really Mean (part 2)
Last week the class selected several verses to discuss today that can be easily misunderstood. The verses and topics the class chose are: Romans 8:28 (How do all things work together for good?) 1 Corinthians 10:13 (Will God give us more than we can bear?) and Proverbs 22:6 (Is “train up a child” a promise?) Led by Bob Van Voorst, professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary.


April 15:  Safe Church Basics
Why do we have a Safe Church Team at FCC and how does it fit into our overall mission to be a church for all kinds of people?  We’ll talk about our goals as a Safe Church Team and present interesting (and sticky) situations for us to discuss.  With hot topics such as sexual harassment and abuse prevalent in the news, we as a church need to educate and protect vulnerable persons of all ages.  Team members Lori Houskamp and Barb Mengebier will lead the discussion (No recording available for April 15.)


April 22: Mission India 
India is the most unreached nation in the world with one third of the world's unreached people groups and 400,000,000 people who have never heard the name of Jesus.  Join the Mission India team in today’s session for a unique and powerful virtual reality tour of India. Learn how almost 12,000 new worshipping groups and churches were planted with over 2,097,000 new believers during 2016. 


April 29:  Teens, Faith, and Growing up in a Secular World
As parents, are you concerned that the next generation often lacks a faith that will last a life-time? That to this generation, faith is often regarded as unimportant, merely a do-good and feel-good spirituality that has little to do with the historic Christian faith? Robert Keeley, professor of Education at Calvin College, will address the data, current trends, and how to help give youth a more robust and lasting faith.


May 6:   Still Waters Run Deep: Reimagining Dementia and Humanness
This 2018 Calvin January Series video features John Swinton, Scottish theologian, author, and former psychiatric nurse now serving as professor of practical theology and pastoral care at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. This presentation provides an in-depth and fresh way of thinking about dementia and what it means to live with it. (No recording available for May 6.)


May 13:  The Knowledge Economy
The knowledge economy is attacking and dismantling our traditional economic and civil institutions at an alarming rate.  We are subconsciously manipulated as information and products are aligned to our personal intimate needs and desires. Is this producing a society misaligned with our faith and morality? How far should we trust technology companies? How are they doing this? Why are we allowing this, and how do we protect ourselves? Led by FCC member Gert Wallis.


May 20:  A Christian Perspective on Healthcare
David Van Winkle, a FCC member and family physician, will lead a discussion on our healthcare  system, and how we as Christians can think through this confusing topic.