Fall 2019 Small Groups

Forming and Re-forming a Community

Questions about community dominate our headlines and preoccupy modern life. What is healthy community? How do we welcome those from outside our community? Are communities stronger when defined by common bonds or distinguished by a diversity of gifts?

The Fall Small Group offerings each have something to say about community. Several groups will study the book of Exodus and learn how God forms a group of wandering refugees into a mostly faithful community. The Fall Adult Education series and Pastor Dave Davis’ sermons will also examine this book and this theme during these weeks.

But you don’t have to be part of the Exodus bandwagon!  Additional options include reading a very contemporary pastor’s entertaining take on what Christian community looks like today, a classic children’s fantasy series with deep theological truths or photography.

Small Group Finder

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Morning Dave Davis (NPC)
Afternoon Corrie Berg (Princeton) Len Scales (NPC)
Kathie Sakenfeld
Evening Marshall McKnight (NPC) Jade Hage (Princeton)
Mark Edwards (Kingston)
Ned Walthall (NPC)

Exodus: Wilderness Formation

Do a deep dive into Exodus! Read the stories, remember the events, and revisit the characters that are formative to our faith. Each week we will focus on a handful of chapters and learn how God forms a people and the people, in turn, take leadership in shaping their relationship with God. Drs. Jacqueline Lapsley and Anne Stewart will be leading an Adult Education series, October 6 – November 3, on Exodus. Pastor Dave Davis will be preaching the same passages in worship those Sundays.

Mondays, October 7-November 4, 12:00-1:15pm, Berg Home, Princeton (light lunch of soup & bread provided)

Corrie Berg is the Director of Children’s and Family Ministry at Nassau Presbyterian Church. She loves stories (Bible stories, all stories!) and is a life-long reader who believes that great literature helps us understand our own world and ourselves.

Tuesdays, October 8-November 5, 7:30-9:00pm, Edwards Home, Kingston

Liberation in Exodus –Much like the “cloud by day,” the imprisoned Boethius is led by Lady Philosophy out of his misery to the promise land of personal contentment. Reading the sixth century classic, The Consolation of Philosophy, we will explore how the longings for the comforts and security of Egyptian slavery correlate to the quest for happiness in a world of success, reputation, and (modest) fortune. Book price $XX.XX

Mark Edwards joined Nassau as Director of Youth Ministries in September of 2013. He is a lifelong Presbyterian and holds a PhD (Philosophy and Theology, 2013) from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has been an Assistant of Instruction at Princeton University, and is currently an adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey. Mark is married to Janine and they have two children.

Wednesdays, October 9-November 6, 6:30-8:00am in the Conference Room, Nassau Presbyterian Church

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.

Coffee and tea provided, BYOB (bring you own breakfast)

Wednesdays, October 9-November 6, noon-1:00pm in the Conference Room, Nassau Presbyterian Church

Exodus & Radical Reconciliation book – God uses humans just like us to confront Pharaoh in the book of Exodus. What difficult conversations and actions might God be calling us to in our own contexts? In this small group, we will draw on Boesak and DeYoung’s Radical Reconciliation as we read and discuss passages in Exodus. Book price $XX.XX

Len Scales is Chaplain and Executive Co-Director of Princeton Presbyterians of the Westminster Foundation. In 2017 she helped lead the Young Ministry Leader’s Gathering of the Synod of the Northeast on a similar topic. It was a rich time to remember the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s call on the Church to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly.”

Coffee and tea provided, BYOL (bring you own lunch)

Wednesdays, October 9-November 6, 1:30-3:00pm, Sakenfeld Home, Stonebridge in Skillman

Kathie Sakenfeld retired from Princeton Seminary in 2013 after teaching Old Testament there for 43 years. Her special interests are the Pentateuch and stories of women throughout the OT. An ordained PCUSA clergywoman, she has participated in the life of Nassau Church since 1970 and has served the denomination at Presbytery, national, and international levels.

Additional Fall Small Groups

Mondays, October 7-November 4, 7:30-9:00pm in the Conference Room, Nassau Presbyterian Church

Discovering the redeeming, destabilizing love of a surprising God. Getting to know the faith of Nadia Bolz-Weber through her New York Times Bestseller book Pastrix. Book price $XX.XX

Marshall McKnight, a Nassau Church member since 2011, serves as a deacon and is active on the Mass Incarceration Task Force and the Membership Committee. He was a journalist for seven years and for the last fourteen has worked for the State of New Jersey. You can add I am on the Education Committee if that helps. And I am funny but maybe not as funny as Carol Wehrheim.

Tuesdays, October 8-November 5, 7:00-8:30pm, Hage Home, Princeton

In his beloved book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis dares to imagine how God might interact with a world that is not our own, with beings that range from our human kin, to the subtly non-human, to creatures that seem only to exist in the imaginations of storybook-writers. In his creation of Narnia, Lewis presents us with a world that is both fantastically alien, and yet remarkably similar to our own, and supposes how the truths of God’s character might play out in such an environment. In this small group we will read three of Lewis’ novels (maybe a fourth, if we’re feeling brave) and unpack the ways Narnia helps us understand God in the context of our own world. Book price $XX.XX

Jade Hage, has been grateful to call Princeton her home for the past year and a half. During the week she spends her days teaching the greatest hits of English literature at Princeton International School of Math and Science, and on Sunday mornings you can find her in the choir loft. Participating in small groups has helped shape Nassau as Jade’s home away from home, and she is thrilled to be taking on a new role as facilitator.

Dressing and Keeping the Garden:
Photographing Nature in the Age of the Anthropocene

And the Lord God took the man, and put him in the garden to dress and keep it. Genesis 2:15

Thursdays, October 3-November 7, 7:30-9:00pm in the Conference Room, Nassau Presbyterian Church

“We have changed the atmosphere, and thus, we are changing weather. By changing the weather, we make every spot on earth man made and artificial. We have deprived nature of its independence, and that is fatal to its meaning. Nature’s independence is its meaning; without it, there is nothing but us.” Bill McKibben, The End of Nature

In this class we will consider nature photography in the context of a world where the dressing and keeping of the garden is not working out so well.

In The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert argues  that even holding global warming to a minimum, estimates are that between 22 and 31 percent of the earth’s species will be on an irrevocable path to extinction by 2050. We will have destroyed as much as a third of everything alive on this planet. If warming reaches maximum estimates, those numbers rise to between 38 and 52 percent. Take your five-year-old grandchild for a walk today, and by the time she is 35, half the birds she heard singing may well have disappeared. Has nature photography become an obituary written in anticipation of the death of our planet, or does it have a different role to play?

Let’s find out.

Ned Walthall has been thinking about and taking photographs for years. He is the geeky guy with the long lens at coffee hour. He is currently a candidate for an MFA in Photography at The New Hampshire Institute of Art. His work can be seen at nwalthall.tumblr.com.


Posted in Adult Education, Small Groups