Adult Education – February 2018

February Line-up
Focus on Mass Incarceration
Hope for Preventing and Treating Addiction
In-Depth Bible Study: First Corinthians
Special Event: Mozart’s Coronation Mass

Download the brochure: AE Feb 2018


Focus on Mass Incarceration

Sundays, 9:15 a.m in the Assembly Room

During Mass Incarceration Awareness Month, we will focus on exposing the human cruelty of mass incarceration, advocating for change in our criminal justice system, and honoring Christ in those incarcerated.


February 4

Sketching the Problem of Mass Incarceration in the U.S.

Mark Lewis Taylor

9:15 a.m.
Assembly Room

Explore a portrait of what “mass incarceration” has become in the U.S. today, its various dimensions of social suffering for its primary sufferers and its impact upon all of us in what has been termed “Prison Nation” or “Lockdown America.” Special emphasis will be placed on efforts to abolish “mass incarceration,” with even the New York Times’ editorial staff calling to “End Mass Incarceration Now.”

Mark Lewis Taylor is Princeton Seminary’s Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture. A member of the Presbyterian Church, he frequently teaches and lectures in churches and supports church communities in their efforts to organize on justice and peace issues. He teaches the theologies of Paul Tillich and Gustavo Gutierrez, white racism as theological challenge, feminist and womanist theologies, and empire and capital in theological perspective. He is author of The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America and Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Politics and American Empire, among others.


February 11

New Theologies for Challenging Lockdown America

Mark Lewis Taylor

9:15 a.m.
Assembly Room

Examine how mass incarceration and related issues in the “criminal justice” system can become a theological problem, and not only a political, economic, and social one. Special treatment will be given to the challenge of transforming key understandings of Christian atonement theory and biblical and theological views of the cross of Jesus in ways that can enable Christians to contribute to prison criminal justice activism in “Lockdown America” today.

Mark Lewis Taylor is Princeton Seminary’s Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture. A member of the Presbyterian Church, he frequently teaches and lectures in churches and supports church communities in their efforts to organize on justice and peace issues. He teaches the theologies of Paul Tillich and Gustavo Gutierrez, white racism as theological challenge, feminist and womanist theologies, and empire and capital in theological perspective. He is author of The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America and Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Politics and American Empire, among others.


February 18

The Beautiful Struggle: Building Knowledge & Courage to Transform the World

Ruha Benjamin

9:15 a.m.
Assembly Room

Consider the pairing of social scientific insights on racism and inequity with spiritual insights on human oneness and justice—which, taken together, offer tools that we urgently need to transform the world.

Ruha Benjamin writes and speaks widely on the connections between science, technology, race and justice. She is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, a recent fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, and author of numerous publications. In 2017, she received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.


February 25

The Devastating Effects of Mass Incarceration: Find Your Place

Mass Incarceration Task Force

9:15 a.m.
Assembly Room

Over-incarceration can be addressed on several fronts: Pre-incarceration, Incarceration, and Post-incarceration. Hear about the Task Forces’s history, mission, and current and future initiatives, including tutoring, pen pals, mentoring, advocacy and support. Learn ways to become involved that fit your schedule, add your voice, and tap your talents and expertise.

Jonathan Shenk and Mary Beth Charters co-moderate Nassau’s Mass Incarceration Task Force.


Hope for Preventing and Treating Addiction

Sundays, 9:15 a.m in the Music Room

We don’t need statistics to tell us how prevalent addiction is. We have our own stories and families and friends. Come look for some hope in treatment, recovery, and ideas about how to help.


February 11

Addiction, Spirituality, and Family Recovery

Nancy Gardner

9:15 a.m.
Music Room

Addiction creates isolation, secrecy, shame, hopelessness, and a feeling of a downward spiral of options. Spiritual connectedness creates antidotes to these feelings and transforms fear and shame. Using a brief overview of AA/NAs 12 Steps as a roadmap for spiritual growth and Pia Mellody’s model for healing trauma-driven developmental immaturity, look at transforming fear into hope and activating spiritual principles to thrive in recovery.

Nancy Gardner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working with addicts, alcoholics, and their families for the past 36 years. She has worked as an  Employee Assistance counselor for Jersey City Medical Center; a psychiatric social worker for Princeton House, running their family addiction education program and family aftercare program; a family therapist for Catholic Charities Alternative School students; an adjunct instructor for Mercer County Community College; and a therapist in private practice in Hopewell. She specializes in trauma and addictions treatment, using cognitive behavioral interventions, Gestalt, energy psychology, and Pia Mellody’s Model of Developmental Immaturity to treat trauma, addiction, and family systems.


February 18

The Look of Recovery

John Mincarelli

9:15 a.m.
Music Room

A personal view into recovery.

John Mincarelli is a recovering addict who has over eight years of consecutive clean time. He works for the nonprofit organization Recovery Advocates of America, which helps people suffering from the disease of addiction. John is a certified peer recovery specialist, recovery coach, and a certified recovery coach trainer. He has given years to helping others and sharing the hope of recovery. John is a loving father and a grandfather to two beautiful grandchildren.


February 25

Opioids — Please Help

Malissa Arnold

9:15 a.m.
Music Room

Malissa will discuss substance abuse in Mercer County and New Jersey and trends in drug and alcohol misuse, with special focus on the rise of the opioid epidemic. The class will learn more about identifying drug misuse, strategies to prevent misuse, and where one can start to get help when they or a loved one has a substance abuse problem.

Malissa Arnold works in the drug abuse prevention field because she wants to help her community be a healthier place. She worked previously in the White House Office of National Drug Control policy and currently administers a federal grant for drug abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery in Mercer County.


Further Series and Events


Weekly in February

In-Depth Bible Study: First Corinthians

George Hunsinger

9:15 a.m.
Maclean House

George Hunsinger returns for the 21st year to lead this verse-by-verse examination of the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians. Bibles are available for use during the class. Find them on the Deacon Desk by the church kitchen. Class meets next door in Maclean House (Garden Entrance).


February 18
Special Noon Session

Mozart’s Coronation Mass

Noel Werner

12:15 p.m.
Music Room

Explore W.A. Mozart’s stirring and delightful Mass in C, nicknamed the “Coronation Mass.” We’ll explain compositional techniques used to illuminate the traditional text of the mass, and the particular context of Mozart’s life in Salzburg and his work for the church will add dimension to our experience of this glorious choral masterpiece. Be sure to attend the choral evening service at Nassau on Saturday, February 24, to hear choir, soloists, and instrumentalists present the Coronation Mass.

Noel Werner has been Director of Music since 2006. He has lectured at Westminster Choir College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Presbyteries of Elizabeth and New Brunswick. His wife, the Rev. Wendi Werner, is the solo pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, New Jersey. They have two daughters, Sophie and Emily.

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