Adult Education classes


Adult Education classes


  • Classes meet at 9:45am on Sunday mornings.
  • Classes in the Faithful Learning track meet in the Seminar Room.
  • Classes in the Faithful Living track meet in the 7thgrade/German classroom.
  • When only one class is scheduled, it meets in the Seminar Room.

September – November 2018

September 9 and 16

Comparing the Bible and the Qur’an
Mark Swanson, Yasir Bilgin
Learning about the role of the Qur’an for Muslims can help Christians better understand their own scripture and its place in the life of faith. This class will compare the sacred scriptures of Christianity and Islam and explore points of similarity and difference. Mark Swanson teaches Christian-Muslim studies and interfaith relations at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Yasir Bilgin, a leader of the Turkish-American Muslim community in Chicago, joins Swanson on September 16.

The Gospel in Black and White
Pastor Dave Kluge 
Born in 1899, the son of a textile worker, the German artist Paul Sinkwitz depicted the Gospel lessons from the historic one-year Lutheran lectionary in a series of woodcuts. This slide presentation of his work covers Advent through Pentecost Sunday on September 9 and what was once called the Trinity season through the closing Sundays of the church year on September 16. Dave Kluge is a retired pastor and a member of Grace.

September 23

Can Poetry Be Written After Auschwitz?
Jill Baumgaertner
The Holocaust was the occasion when all of the central questions about God's justice and love, and humanity's capacity for evil, rise to the surface. Some have said that the only proper response to such horror is wordlessness; others have attempted to reflect the memories and record the sufferings in their poetry.  We will examine some of these responses and consider the importance of lament, the oldest form of writing present in most cultures but disappearing in ours.  Jill Baumgaertner is Professor of English Emerita at Wheaton College and a member of Grace.

September 30

Report from the 2018 Slovakia Mission Team
In late June Grace members and staff again traveled to Martin, Slovakia, to teach VBS at the Center for Christian Education. Hear about their trip and the continuing mission of the CCE to bring Christianity to post-Cold War Slovakia. 

September 30 and October 7

Faith and the Native American Experience
Gordon Straw
This presentation will follow two paths to understanding Christian faith and Native experience: 1) explore some of the theological themes that are important to Native Christians, along with some of the history about how they developed that way; 2) learn more about the history of the Christian Church with Native nations and individuals, with a particular focus on Lutheran Christians and Native communities. Together, these two paths paint an interesting picture of how communities who have little in common with Western European ways of thinking and being have adopted the Christian faith. Gordon Straw holds the Cornelsen Chair of Spiritual Formation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  


October 7

Food, Faith, Community
Terra Brockman 
A fifth-generation farmer in central Illinois who is committed to biodiverse, sustainable agriculture, will discuss the connections between land, food, faith, and community, and how we can become more responsible members of creation through our daily food choices. Terra Brockman, whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the Christian Century, is founder of the Land Connection, which encourages sustainable agriculture. 


October 14

Continuing the Conversation on Racism
Michele Mbekeani-Wiley
Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley grew up in Oak Park and earned a law degree at the University of Chicago. She has worked at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law as a staff attorney in the area of community justice and was  involved in the passage of new legislation in Illinois that mandates training for officers who work with young people. She will speak about her journey from her childhood in Oak Park to her work today. Grace member John Bouman will also report briefly on the work of the Shriver Center where he serves as President. 

October 14 and 21

The Reformation as a Resource
Anna Johnson 
The first session, “The Reformation as a Contemporary Resource," will retrieve three powerful Reformation-era emphases that deepen faith today: the priesthood of all believers, the theology of the cross, and the joy of Christian life. The second session, “The Reformation as a Cautionary Tale,” will discuss three elements of the Reformation that present problems for Christian life today: the emphasis on following one’s conscience; the division of the church; and strained relations with Jews and Muslims. Anna Johnson teaches theology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston. 


October 28

Reformation on October “32”
Mary Streufert 
The party hats are put away. The Luther memorabilia gathers a little dust. On October 31, 2017, and on nearly every day leading up to it, Lutherans around the world observed and celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. We focused on Martin Luther’s words and his actions—which altered faith and the world. But what does reformation mean for us on October “32”—in the time after October 31, 2017?  In this session we will explore some possibilities of what Luther’s insights mean in church and society in this century. What is a Lutheran witness today? Mary Streufert is the director of the ELCA Justice for Women program in the Office of the Presiding Bishop and a member of Grace.


November 4 and 11

Reflections on Vocation
November 4 - Mary Margaret Bartley, Case Hoogendoorn, Stephanie Wilkening
November 11 - Kristin Vogen, Pam Todd, James Claud
The vocation or calling of every Christian is “to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”  In these two sessions, Grace members reflect on their work and on what vocation means to them.


November 18

St. Augustine’s House
Pastor John Cochran
In Oxford, Michigan, St. Augustine’s House is the only Lutheran monastery in the United States and one of only three in the world.  Its spiritual director, Pastor John Cochran, takes us on a guided tour of a profoundly quiet, deeply meditative way of life often abjured by Luther but gaining in popularity for young people in a noisy social media age.


7300 Division Street | River Forest, IL 60305 | (708) 366-6900