MAY 16 – JUNE 6  11:30AM – 1:30PM
A Great Course four-week audio series from Professor Bill Messenger supplemented by slideshow pictures and information.
Two 45 minute Modules with lunch in between. Module One begins at 11:30!
May 16
¨ 11:30AM Module One: Plantation Beginnings
¨ Lunch at 12:15
¨ 12:45PM Module Two : The Rise and Fall of Ragtime
May 23
11:30: The Jazz Age
Lunch at 12:15
12:45: Blues
May 30
11:30: The Swing Era
Lunch at 12:15
12:45: Boogie, Big Band Blues & Bop
June 6
11:30: Modern Jazz
Lunch at 12:15
12:45: The ACB’s of Jazz Improvisation






January 17 – April 11

In our 13-week program we’ll be using a video discussion format to really dive into the Reformation to learn about the individuals who led it and who tried to stop it, the countries of Europe that were involved – willingly or not, the real reasons that triggered the Reformation, which modern day religions were created during the Reformation, and ultimately whether the Reformation was successful or not.  We will be using portions of the video series “The History of Christianity in the Reformation Era” which is provided by Professor Brad Gregory of Stanford University.
King Arthur: History and Legend

Great Course Video Series

The saga of King Arthur and his knights and ladies is perhaps the most enduringly popular mythic tradition of Western civilization. For over 1500 years, the Arthurian narrative has enthralled writers, artists, and a limitless audience in countries spanning the Western world and beyond—and its appeal continues unabated in our own times.
With origins in the exploits of a 5th-century Celtic warrior, the legend of a noble king and his knightly cohort caught fire across Europe, spawning a vast literary tradition that reached its height in the Middle Ages, with major contributions from writers both in Britain and throughout the Continent.
But the appeal of the saga far outlived the medieval era. It remained dynamically alive in folk culture and theater through the Renaissance, only to see an epic literary and artistic resurgence in the 19th century, which continues to the present day in multiple forms—from fiction writing and visual arts to film and popular culture. No other heroic figure in literature compares with King Arthur in terms of global popularity and longevity; today, each year sees literally thousands of new versions of the story appear across diverse media.
What does this amazing phenomenon tell us about our culture, our civilization, and ourselves? What is it about this particular story that has so deeply gripped the human imagination for so many centuries, in so many places?
King Arthur: History and Legend speaks deeply to these key questions and many more, revealing the full and astonishing scope of the Arthurian tradition, from its beginnings in post-Roman Britain to its extraordinary trajectory across the centuries and its latest incarnations in our own times.


The History of Christianity:
From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation

Great Courses Video Series

Christianity is the largest and most global religious tradition in history. For nearly 2,000 years, the Christian faith has remained at or near the center of Western moral debate and conceptions of human identity, just action, and ultimate meaning. It has both shaped history and responded to history, showing an extraordinary adaptability within greatly differing cultures. Its practice and influence appears in every land and every language, and one-third of humanity now affiliates in some way with Christianity.

How did this happen? How did a persecuted sect in 1st-century Palestine rise to command such a massive influence on human culture, imagination, and spirit? How did Christianity weather the first critical stages of its historical development and attain its fundamental and enduring cultural role?

Speaking incisively to all of this and more, The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation tells the phenomenal story of Christianity’s first 1,500 years, in all its remarkable diversity and complex dimension.

In the company of popular Great Courses Professor Luke Timothy Johnson of Emory University, you follow the dramatic trajectory of Christianity from its beginnings as a “cult of Jesus” to its rise as a fervent religious movement; from its emergence as an unstoppable force within the Roman Empire to its critical role as an imperial religion; from its remarkable growth, amid divisive disputes and rivalries, to the ultimate schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism; and from its spread throughout the Western world to its flowering as a culture that shaped Europe for 800 years.

The History of Christianity: From the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation brings to life a truly epic story, giving you a multilayered knowledge of Christianity’s origins, rise, and civilization-shaping presence in our world.


The Celtic World

Great Courses Video Series

When you hear the word “Celtic,” which images come to mind? These days it could easily be Braveheart, kilts, leprechauns, and St. Patrick’s Day. However, since the surge of interest and pride in Celtic identity since the 19th century, much of what we thought we knew about the Celts has been radically transformed. From the warriors who nearly defeated Julius Caesar to Irish saints who took on the traits of Celtic deities, get to know the real Celts. In The Celtic World, discover the incredible story of the Celtic-speaking peoples, whose art, language, and culture once spread from Ireland to Austria. European history and culture have been profoundly affected by the Celts, from the myth of King Arthur to the very map of the United Kingdom, where the English confronted the peoples of the “Celtic Fringe.”
With a wealth of historical expertise, Professor Jennifer Paxton, Director of the University Honors Program and Clinical Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University of America, Professor Paxton’s engaging, often humorous delivery blends perfectly with the facts about the Celts to uncover surprising historical revelations. The ancient Celts are very much alive in the literary and artistic traditions that their descendants have both preserved and very deliberately revived.


The Power of Myth . . .  25th Anniversary Edition

August 2- September 13

Bill Moyers PBS w Joseph Campbell

 Just before his death, Joseph Campbell completed filming the monumental PBS series The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers.  This series was so successful over the years that a 25th Anniversary Edition was recently created to include new introductions, excerpts of conversations and photos for each module.

Joseph Campbell was a professor at Sarah Lawrence for 38 years and a lifelong student of religions and myths across the world – fields that are referred to as comparative religion and comparative mythology. In this 8-module program based upon the video series, we will journey with Bill Moyers as he learns about the common myths, ceremonies and rituals that Campbell discovered in his journeys around the world.

 Join us on August 2nd from 10:00-11:30 as we begin the first leg of our journey into understanding myths and their powers upon religions, individuals and societies




11 weeks April 19 – June 28; Thursdays 12:00—2:30PM

(Currently No Morning Module)

12:00 NOON Lunch in Sponsler Hall $4.00

Lunch is served each week in Sponsler Hall.

 Afternoon Module:12:30 – 2:00PM


Sponsler Hall

Living the Questions is an open-minded alternative to studies that attempt to give participants all the answers and instead strives to create an environment where participants can interact with one another in exploring what’s next for Christianity. LTQ2 features thirty acclaimed scholars, theologians and other experts throughout a 3-part 21 session DVD. (“Invitation to Journey,” “Honoring Creation” and “Call to Covenant.”).

Each week we will share two of the 20 minute DVD segments that include conversations with leading voices of faith, digital stories illustrating aspects of an evolving faith, and concrete spiritual practices and disciplines along with time for discussions.


The sessions are best enjoyed in sequence 1-21 but that is not always an option for folks. Following a  7 session unit is the second best option, but please feel free to stop in anytime! We have participant  guides available for each week and if you would like to view a missed session outside the schedule that can be arranged.


The Great Courses Video Series: Gnosticism: Nag Hammadi to Gospel of Judas

The three centuries following the death of Jesus were a momentous and turbulent era in Western religious thought. During this time, as Christianity began its massive ascent, distancing itself from paganism and Judaism, other important currents of religious belief appeared, in what became an epoch of intense theological conflict and debate.

In this age of burgeoning faith, few if any influences on the theological landscape were as significant or far-reaching as the religious movements known to us as Gnosticism. Gnosticism, one of the most fascinating and perplexing phenomena in Western religious history, intersected deeply with early Christian thought, sparking religious ideologies that competed with the theological thinking that came to define Christianity. And, though Gnosticism was eventually branded as heretical by the emerging orthodox church, the church formed many of its most central doctrines in response to Gnostic ideas.

But what was Gnosticism? Why did its ideas and mythology appeal to so many people? How did it influence other faiths, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam? And why did Christianity— while showing clear signs of Gnostic influence—condemn it?

This course takes on these provocative questions and more, in a narrative that unfolds as an enthralling religious detective story—penetrating the mysteries of a stigmatized yet profoundly important legacy of religious thought. (From Great Courses Website)



A seven week trip around the world to witness the incredible work The Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ  are doing through Global Ministries.

10-20 minute videos, will be combined with scripture references, a study guide  and online resources.  For more information see

Discover new and surprising ways to understand Global Ministries’ work. The inspiring stories of missionaries told here, portray the direction of our ministry with our global partners.



PRAYER: Prayer has been an essential part of Christianity since its earliest days. Prayer is an integral element of the Christian faith and permeates all forms of Christian worship. Prayer in Christianity is the tradition of communicating with God. During the Middle Ages, the monastic traditions of both Western and Eastern Christianity moved beyond vocal prayer to Christian meditation; a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God.  Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.

 MEDITATION/MINDFULNESS: For thousands of years, human beings have practiced refined techniques of mental focusing, designed to change the habitual conditioning of the mind. Central to many spiritual and philosophical traditions and known in English as “Meditation”, or  “Mindfulness” these practices are considered a major means for enhanced awareness




The Displaced Person by Flannery O’Connor                               


Displaced-Person by Flannery O’Connor

VIDEO: From the PBS program “The American Short Story” starring Irene Worth, John Houseman, Robert Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Lane Smith & Shirley Stoler. Click on link below 


Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

Sonny’s Blues”  (1957) is the story of a young jazz musician (Sonny). Set in Harlem, like many of Baldwin’s other work, “Sonny’s Blues” is a constant struggle between light and darkness, failure and redemption.

The Guest  by Albert Camus

 “The Guest”  (1957) Camus employs this short tale to reflect upon issues raised by the political situation in French North Africa. In particular, he explores the problem of refusing to take sides in the colonial conflict in Algeria, something that mirrors Camus’ own non-aligned stance which he had set out in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Read “The Guest”: the guest by albert camus


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