“CHURCH BEYOND WALLS”
Christian education theme for 2020-21
This year, most of us are worshiping and living our Christian discipleship beyond the walls of our church. It is a strange new reality to worship, fellowship, and learn through screens, telephone conversations, and the written page. It is a strange feeling for us, but not new for the church to exist “untethered” to its meeting place or separated physically from one another. God is faithful and we can be faithful in the living of these days. So, with this year’s Christian education program, we are embracing our current reality and the life-giving promise of the Holy Spirit as the church moves beyond walls. As important and meaningful as our church building is for us, the church was never our building. The church is the Body of Christ worshiping, growing, and serving wherever we are planted.
With the help of many faithful volunteers, we are excited to announce the creative ways you will be invited to pursue Christian education this fall. Some of our adult Sunday school classes are continuing through a Zoom format, short-term pre-recorded classes will be available each season, and children and youth will be exploring Sunday school; Children, Worship, and Wonder; music, and youth group in new and innovative ways. We are living into our call to be creative, imaginative, and nimble in our service to the Lord. Be sure to browse our 2020-21 Christian Education Booklet below for all the details!
Playing God: The Drive toward Sentient Artificial Intelligence
A Three-Part Virtual Adult Sunday School YouTube Series
Sundays beginning January 24
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is both the essence of much of science fiction and a current hot buzzword in business and pop culture. But what is AI exactly? Are we close to machines running our lives―possibly threatening our existence? And more importantly, what spiritual issues present themselves as at least a context of understanding as we inch closer toward creating algorithms that have some degree of independent thought and even consciousness? With this last question, a final question begins to emerge: how do morals, ethics, religion, and the humanities come to bear on a logic, reason, and mathematical-based application that begins to take on human qualities and level of thought?
This three-part series will focus on these questions and argue that the development of increasingly sophisticated AI is yet the latest iteration of a struggle between eros (passion) and logos (reason). Participants will explore where we currently are in regard to using AI, and they will learn about a recent partnership between VA811 and Virginia Tech to develop an AI model to help protect underground utilities. This case study will begin to highlight some of the theological and philosophical questions in need of examination as we as a society continue to explore creative ways to use AI in our lives, for good and, arguably, bad. This will lead to exploring the concept of Creation, through Genesis, through Modern philosophical constructs, and through man’s attempt to harness consciousness through binary code. Finally, this series will advance the idea that more than ever, theology, philosophy, and the humanities are needed in business education to help future, and current, leaders in business to leverage AI in a manner that is just, ethical, and for the greater good. Ultimately, participants will reflect upon if, and how, a “soul,” at least within both a Biblical and Platonic framework, can somehow be embedded within AI models, thus suggesting that experiments in AI may very well lead to humans, at some level, playing God and ultimately creating some level of sentient “life.”
The humanities and the arts will drive each session of this series. History, the fine arts, literature, poetry, and Judeo-Christian theology will all come together to spark insights into AI and its overall ramifications on society today and the near future.
This series will be led by B. Scott Crawford, Vice President, VA811, Roanoke and member of Second Presbyterian Church. In addition to his work at VA811, Scott has over 20 years of experience in education, having served as an adjunct instructor for Virginia Western Community College, a high school history teacher, social studies coordinator and a director of education for the Taubman Museum of Art.
The online course will consist of three roughly 45-minute videos available on our church YouTube channel. The episodes will be released on:
- January 24
- January 31
- February 7
The course will conclude with a “tea time” Zoom discussion; date to be determined soon.
Second Presbyterian is a vital congregation for people of all ages and circumstances seeking to know, love, and follow Christ.
Second Presbyterian Welcomes You
Are you looking for ways to foster and nurture your family in an ever-changing world? Are you thinking about finding a church home? At Second Presbyterian Church, our friendly staff and congregation strives to care for your family both spiritually and emotionally. This website is designed to ease the transition into the life of our church. Whether you decide to visit or join, we welcome you!
Meet our Pastors
Dr. George C. Anderson
Dr. George C. Anderson is the seventh Senior Pastor in the history of Second Presbyterian Church (Roanoke, VA). He began preaching at Second on February 22, 1998. Previously, he had been the Senior Minister at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS, and an Associate Minister at First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport, TN. He is a graduate of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC, and Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. Dr. Anderson is involved in every aspect of church life with an emphasis on preaching, teaching, visiting, and staff oversight.
George and his wife, Millie, have three daughters: Paige, Rachel, and Virginia. Virginia became a new mother to daughter Emory on November 1, 2017.
The Reverend Elizabeth N.H. Link
The Rev. Elizabeth N.H. Link joined the staff of Second Presbyterian in August 2011. She attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, where she majored in history and religion: Christian education. Following graduation, she served First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach, FL, as Director of Christian education, and subsequently recognized the call to ordained ministry. In 2009, Elizabeth earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. Afterwards, she served as a Lake Fellow in Parish Ministry, at Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN.
The Reverend Jen Brothers
Jen Brothers graduated from Union Presbyterian seminary in 2020 with a Master’s of Divinity, fulfilling a 25-year dream. Among other roles, Jen has previously worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor (M.A. Ed., VA Tech), Assistant Director and Professor of the Batten Leadership Institute (Hollins University), a primary school Spanish teacher, and a youth minister and Christian education director. Jen grew up in South America and first moved to Roanoke upon graduating from James Madison University with undergraduate degrees in Communications and Spanish. In Roanoke she met and married Carter Brothers (formerly of Nashville, TN). Together they have raised three daughters. Jen is also a co-founder of House of Bread, an ecumenical non-profit providing job skills training, mentoring, and friendship to women who have been incarcerated through baking and selling bread. Jen joined the staff of Second Presbyterian in June of 2020.