Adult Education – Summer 2019

All classes meet at 11:15 a.m. in the Assembly Room unless otherwise noted.
Coffee and bagels provided.

Download the Summer2019 Brochure (pdf)


Please note: there will be no Adult Education Class on June 2

June 2


Nassau Goes to Westminster

Join us at 11:00 a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1140 Greenwood Ave, Trenton, to worship God and celebrate the Nassau-Westminster Mission partnership. This is an annual event, and we encourage participation by making this a emphasis of our educational ministries on this day. An opportunity for fellowship follows worship. If you need a ride, or can take someone in your car, sign-up HERE.

June 9

Martin Tel

Joy to the World: A Reappraisal of Isaac Watts’ 1719 Psalter

Oscar Wilde once said “there seems to be some curious connection between piety and poor rhymes.” In fact, for many Presbyterians in the 18th century, beautiful lyrics were considered suspect. In such an environment, Watts’ Psalter set off alarm bells with lines such as Joy to the world the Lord is come and Jesus shall reign where’er the sun. Denominations split over the question of singing these paraphrases in church. In this 300th anniversary year of Watts’ revolutionary Psalter, we will consider some of these well-loved texts and the impact that they have had on Presbyterian worship through the centuries.

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June 16

Eileen Reeves

Galileo on Science and Scripture

In 1615 Galileo Galilei’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Cristina argued for the compatibility of science and scripture, or at least for the relative autonomy of each body of knowledge. Come learn more about Galileo’s treatise and discuss the various ways in which the relationship of science and scripture is treated in the present day.

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June 23

Alastair Bellany – class canceled

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June 30

11:30am, Assembly Room
(following the Congregational Meeting in the Sanctuary)

Paul Rorem

An Introduction to St. Augustine’s Confessions

The Confessions of St. Augustine, one of the most influential books of the Christian tradition, recalls important events of the author’s life, including: life with his devoutly Christian mother in rural 4th century Algeria; his struggles with human desires, his eventual renunciation of secular ambitions and marriage; and the recovery of his Christian faith.

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July 7

Rhodri Lewis

Shakespeare and the Bible

Writing before the publication of the King James Version of the Bible, William Shakespeare relied for the most part on the Geneva Bible. Rather than turning to scripture as a source of truth or meaning as earlier dramatists did, we find him treating scripture like any other source. Come learn how Shakespeare explores the tensions about the authority of scripture that dominated so much of public life in the century after Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses.

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July 14

Larry Stratton

Storm Center Report:
Ethical Reflections on the US Supreme Court’s 2018-19 Term

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed that the U.S. Supreme Court is a “storm center” of political controversy. This session will focus on several of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions including: census questions about citizenship; the constitutional status of religious symbols on public memorials; gerrymandering of legislative districts; out-of-state wine purchases; double jeopardy in state and federal prosecutions; and other critical cases.

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July 21

Jim McPherson

Political and Constitutional Crises in Historical Perspective

In the midst of a political crisis, people tend to think nothing could be worse. Join us for a look back at previous occasions in American history when democracy, or even national survival, was threatened, perhaps an even greater threat than today.

This session was not recorded.

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July 28

Keith Whittington

Are We in a Constitutional Crisis?

American political rhetoric is increasingly filled with cries of constitutional crisis. What does constitutional crisis even mean, and how would we know if we were in one? When does political dysfunction, disagreement and scandal signal more fundamental problems with the constitutional order, and what are the dangers of declaring a crisis prematurely?

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August 4

Cecelia Hodges, Noel Werner & Friends

11:30 a.m., Assembly Room

Before Thy Throne of Grace: A Celebration of Spirituals and Poetry

Come enjoy the liberating power and uplift of African-American spirituals, interspersed with readings from a classic of American poetry, God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, by James Weldon Johnson.  Best known as the author of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Johnson was also an author, educator, lawyer, poet, diplomat, newspaper columnist, songwriter and civil rights activist.  In 1927, he wrote and published God’s Trombones as a tribute to the old-time preachers he had heard in his childhood.  Noel has paired dramatic readings of the poems by Cecelia Hodges with spirituals which we will sing together in response to hearing these engaging and inspiring verses.

Cecelia B. Hodges, an Elder at Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, has  followed academic and theatre pursuits as Instructor at Talladega College, Associate Professor of Speech and Dramatic Art at Douglass College , Rutgers University, and as English Department faculty and Assistant Dean of the College at Princeton University. She has certificates of study from Birmingham University (England) and the University of Ghana at Legon and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Her theatre experience is as a member of casts at the Penthouse Dance and Drama Theatre, the Players Company, Theatre of NJ, etc. Currently  she is a member of OnStage Seniors: a Community Project of McCarter Theatre, is the Founding Director of the Witherspoon Verse Speaking Choir, and has been a member of many committees at the church. She is grateful that “God is good all the time”.

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August 11

Jim McPherson

Political and Constitutional Crises in Historical Perspective, Pt. 2

In the midst of a political crisis, people tend to think nothing could be worse. Join us for a look back at previous occasions in American history when democracy, or even national survival, was threatened, perhaps an even greater threat than today. Just us for Part 2 of this popular class!


August 18

Karen Brown & Friends

VIP: Villages in Partnership

Villages in Partnership (VIP), one of Nassau’s major mission partners, has created an enduring collaborative partnership with the people of Sakata, Malawi – one of the poorest regions in one of the poorest countries of the world. VIP focuses on six key development needs: water, food security, education, health care, infrastructure, and economic development. Come learn about this work from members of this summer’s VIP trips.


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August 25

Azing Chin

Reflections on a Year as a Young Adult Volunteer

Hear from Azing Chin, a child of Nassau Church, about her year of service as a Young Adult Volunteer with the PC(USA). Len Scales will interview Azing about her experience, and we will consider together how Young Adults lead the Church in doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God.

Read reflections of former Nassau YAV’s on our website:

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Please note: there will be no Adult Education Class on September 1


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