Adult Education

Toothmarks on the Lectionary

Every Sunday, 9:15-10:15 a.m. in the Dorcas Room.  Morning participants will read the Bible texts for the 10:30 a.m. worship service that day. Classes include pastoral participation and background material to help prepare more fully for worship and listening to the sermon. Location: Dorcas Room

Sunday Mornings - 9:15 a.m. - Adult Education  -  Chapel

September 30
What Difference Does a Translator Make? Reading the New Testament Afresh
Dr. Rob Kugler, Dept. Chair of Religious Studies, Lewis & Clark College

Rowan Williams, Cambridge poet, theologian, and former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said of David Bentley Hart's recent translation of the New Testament (The New Testament, Yale University Press, 2017) that it "makes us see with new clarity what was and is uncomfortably new about the New Testament." There is something to that high praise, but like any translation, Hart’s is at the same time an interpretation of the text, a reflection of the translator's values and preconceptions. Together we'll look at his rendering of Matthew, Romans, and Revelation to sort out just what Hart brought to his "translation" of these three texts so central to different strands of Christian thought, and in the doing of it let the exercise be a way of examining the values and preconceptions we bring to the same texts.

October 7
Volunteer Opportunities in the Public Schools
Panel Discussion

We are all interested in seeing continual improvement in our schools.  One way each of us can help is to volunteer our time and talent to assist activities in and out of the classroom.  If you would like to do that but are wondering how you can help, this class is designed for you.  Representatives from SMART (Start Making A Reader Today), from Portland Public Schools, and from our congregation will give short presentations and answer your questions about a wide range of volunteer opportunities.  It is hoped that this class will both inspire you about the diversity of opportunities and present some of the nuts-and-bolts information about how to go about it.  If you have already done some volunteering in the schools, come and share your experiences as well!

October 14
Living Cully
Cameron Herrington, Living Cully’s Anti-displacement Program Coordinator

Cameron Herrington will be with us to discuss the work of his organization.  Formed in 2010, Living Cully seeks to address the challenges facing Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood, the most diverse area of the city.  Living Cully strives to create a thriving neighborhood through the promotion of community development without displacement; creation of job and income opportunities; expansion of safe, affordable housing; development of green infrastructure and environmental education; and community engagement through collective action, cultural expression, and transparent communication.  Living Cully brings together a coalition of four non-profits:  Hacienda Community Development Corporation, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Verde, and Habitat for Humanity. Also, Living Cully is one of three organizations that Westminster will be supporting with a portion of the funds raised in the capital campaign.  

October 21, 28, & November 4
Islam: Past and Present Views
Dr. Paul Powers, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Lewis & Clark College

This series of three presentations will begin with a synopsis of the Islamic religion. Placing identified issues in the context of both religious studies and world religions, the focus will be on questions of war and violence in both early and contemporary eras. It will include a discussion of the different ideas about the meaning of and practices of Jihad. We will explore Muslim approaches to countering, managing, and in some circumstances justifying violence.

Dr. Powers teaches religious studies at Lewis & Clark College and is a specialist in Islamic studies. He is currently writing a book, tentatively titled Religion and Violence: A Religious Studies Approach. He has traveled extensively in the Islamic world.

November 11 & 18
Christians Writing in a Time of War: Oxford Professor C.S. Lewis and German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
Mark Dodson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Scholar

C. S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were two of the most important Christian thinkers of the twentieth century, one English, the other German. Each confronted WWII, the crisis of the century, each looking at the same war from different sides.
How did these remarkable Christian writers from such divergent backgrounds in England and Germany respectively respond to difficult questions during World War II?
Do their examples provide the Church with something to offer a world that is tearing itself apart with tribalism, racism, and violence?
How does a Christian live in the world without being of the world?

November 25
Update on Single-Payer Universal Health Care
David Young, Registered Nurse and member of Portland Jobs with Justice and Healthcare for All Oregon

Can an affordable, high-quality, publicly funded universal health care system be implemented in Oregon and/or the United States? Mr. Young has witnessed the effects on individuals and families when affordable, quality healthcare is inaccessible. He believes that health care is a universal right, not a privilege. A member of the study committee to draft a resolution of policy for the 129th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, he is an advocate for both legislative and initiative proposals for universal health care in Oregon. Come to learn more and share your ideas.

December 2
Harbor of Hope—Affordable Housing in Portland
Homer Williams, Chairman of Williams and Dane Development

Homer Williams is a well-known developer in Portland who has a passion for addressing issues of homelessness and affordable housing. Come hear about his efforts with Harbor of Hope and explore how we can continue to find new partners in providing our city with housing for all.

December 9
Poetry Again
The Rev. Beth Neel & Mary Ann Wish

Beth and Mary Ann will once again select poems to read and talk about, poems you might also enjoy. The selections might be new to you or old favorites that are worth revisiting. We’ll discuss biographical information about the selected poets and provide copies of the poems for you to ponder.

December 16, 23, & 30
No Classes

January 6, 2019
To Be Decided

January 13, 20, & 27
A Hard-Fought Hope: A Brief Journey with the Book of Job
The Rev. Dr. William R. Long, Former Interim Pastor at Westminster and Law Professor at Willamette University

The Book of Job is perhaps the world's most famous literary depiction of human suffering.  Like most famous writings, however, it often suffers from neglect or oversimplification.  The goal of this 3-week course is to try to understand the language, power, and abiding message of the Book of Job.  We will explore the course of Job's life, the quick and devastating reversal he faced, the nature of friendship in suffering, Job's twofold reaction of grief and anger, and, finally, the role of God and personal faith in restoring hope after tremendous loss.  The class will consist of presentation and discussion as we grapple with the soaring language, plummeting hopes, and surprising restoration of Job.

Bible Study

Bible Study is on break until November 2018. Join us for a monthly conversation about the Bible. We will read a selected text each month and talk about the questions we have about the text, what the text says about God, and how the text might inform our living. Bring your Bible if you have a favorite; we'll supply Bibles for those who don't bring one.

 "Exploring Membership" Classes

Whether or not you're ready to become a Westminster member, in our “Exploring Membership” classes you are invited to learn what it means to be Presbyterian and consider opportunities for spiritual growth and meaningful mission. These classes are generally offered about three times per year, either on Saturdays or Sundays. Childcare is available on request. There is no charge to attend, but advance registration is requested so we can adequately prepare. For more information, please contact the Reverend Laurie Lynn Newman at or 503-287-1289 x 115. 

Church Library

Westminster Presbyterian Church has a library with a wide variety of books available for checkout. You don't need to be a church member to use the library.

The library is located on the ground floor of the church near the 16th Street entrance. You are welcome to use the card catalog to find books or just browse through the bookcases and table displays. We also have a roving library cart that brings new arrivals to our post-worship coffee hour on Sundays during the school year.

To check out a book, our librarian, Judy Harrison, does not need to be present. Simply pull out the card in the back of the book, put your name on it, list your phone number, and write the date you're signing out the book. Leave the card on the card-catalog case. There are no due-date requirements; please just bring back your book sooner rather than later if it's a new publication. We also have a children's book cart for which no checkout is required, though we do ask that you bring the books back once you're done.

Library hours are as follows:

Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: During these hours, please visit the church office to have a staff person open the library for you.

If you have any question, please contact the church office during weekdays at 503-287-1289.

Additional Opportunities

We have more educational activities offered in small-group settings, including a variety of book groups. Please check out our Community Life page for more information.