All classes 9:15 a.m. in the Assembly Room unless otherwise noted
Download the November brochure: AE Nov 2018
The History of Activisim and Faith in the U.S.
The world we live in today is one where faith is used mostly to stop progress and to keep the United States from changing. Our history, however, reflects a completely different story. From the first European settlers to the American Revolution, to the expansion of the suffrage, abolition, and Civil Rights, faith groups and faith-led activism have driven this country forward. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King might have said that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice, but it bends only because people pick up the mantle and bend that arc. This session will highlight several major incidents in the American political story where faith-drive activism expanded the circle of moral concern and moved us closer to realizing the Kingdom of God here on earth.
William Field is active in religious and academic circles. He is an Associate Teaching Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University where he lectures on the topic of religion and politics, among other things. He is president of a small congregation of the United Church of Christ in Monmouth County, served for a decade on the UCC’s regional governing body, and went to Germany as a delegate of that body to give a talk on Nationalism, Populism and the Church, here he offered insight into how European and American churches are and should be responding to the rising threat of xenophobia and extremism.
In-Depth Bible Study: Colossians
George Hunsinger returns for the 21st year to lead this verse-by-verse examination of Colossians. 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).
Jesus, Race & Incarceration:
Why Our Faith Prevents Us from Looking the Other Way
Mary Beth Charters, Jonathan Shenk
Does the life and teaching of Jesus offer any insight on the current climate of racial tension and burgeoning rates of incarceration in our country today? Do white people of faith have any responsibility or culpability regarding our nation’s history of slavery and Jim Crow oppression? How does faith intersect with activism? There are more African Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War. Mary Beth Charters and Jonathan Shenk will speak to these issues and to how race and incarceration have shaped their personal faith journeys, life, and activism.
Mary Beth Charters an ordained elder, is a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently serving as resident chaplain at RWJ University Hospital, New Brunswick. She is a retired educator after 30+ years in school, medical and psychiatric facilities working with diverse ages, populations, and needs.
Jonathan Shenk is a former associate pastor at Dutch Neck Presbyterian Church, Princeton Junction. For the past 12 years he has been the owner of Greenleaf Painters, a house-painting company. In addition to his business involvement, he is a certified spiritual director and an advocate for transforming the U.S. criminal justice system.
Nassau Church in the World: Trends and Current Commitments
A look back at where we have been and where we are now related to the church’s footprint in our community and in the world. Pastor Davis will present some history and track recent changes in our Mission and Outreach spending while discussing the intent and the discernment that impacts our spending beyond the walls of the church. If you want to know how Nassau Church spends its mission dollars, this presentation is for you!
Dave Davis has been pastor and head-of-staff at Nassau since the fall of 2000. His PhD in Homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary focused on preaching as a corporate act and the active role of the listener in the preaching event. He has published two sermon collections, A Kingdom You Can Taste and Lord, Teach Us to Pray.
A Multiplicity of Injustices
Adriana Abizadeh, Carolyn Biondi, Karen Hernandez-Granzen
According to a report published by the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, structural racism and poverty create “a multiplicity of injustices” directly and indirectly affecting the education, housing, employment, legal protections, health and hunger of people of color living in poverty. Panelists from Nassau’s Trenton partners will provide concrete examples of the multiplicity of injustices endured by the people that they serve in Trenton and Princeton and how their programs, activism and advocacy work together to help eradicate these injustices.
Adriana Abizadeh serves as the Executive Director at the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF). LALDEF’s organizational mission is to defend the rights of the Latin American community, facilitate its access to health care and education, and advance cross-cultural understanding within the Mercer County region. After a BA in Political Science from Rutgers University, she completed a master’s degree in Public Policy at Drexel University.
Carolyn Biondi serves as the Executive Director of Arm In Arm. Prior to joining Arm In Arm, Carolyn held positions in development, data management and program evaluation in community health care, child welfare and emergency shelter settings. She is currently working toward a second master’s degree, this one in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Karen Hernández-Granzen serves as pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Trenton. She also has leadership roles in the Arts, Music and Culture Committee of the City of Trenton, the Princeton’s Civil Rights Commission, the United Mercer Interfaith Organization, the Bethany House of Hospitality, and the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was the inaugural 2017 Community Partner-in-Residence, of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, Princeton University. She is a 2018 PCUSA Women of Faith Award recipient.