Faith Formation for Adults

Faith Formation for Adults

Second Presbyterian is known for its emphasis on education. Discipleship is always a “work in process.” At Second Presbyterian, faith formation for adults strives to offer multiple opportunities for faith to be nurtured, opportunities to grow in wisdom and understanding, and opportunities to deepen knowledge of Biblical story. Adult faith formation offers intergenerational opportunities to learn, grow and fellowship with one another in the faith.

Program Year

Sunday School is offered September – May at 9:45 a.m. (beginning Sept. 10, 2023).
*View the 2023-24 Christian Education Booklet for details about educational opportunities for all ages!

Weekly Sunday School Classes @ 9:45 a.m.

Many of our adult classes are offered via a hybrid (on site/online) model. For more information or to receive the Zoom link for any of our adult Sunday or midweek classes, please contact Pastors’ Assistant Meredith Koliba in the church office.

  • Reformed and Always Reforming (Trent Classroom/Hybrid):
    • This fall, the Reformed and Always Reforming class will tackle David Zahl’s popular book, Seculosity. Zahl makes the case that being religious is alive and well in modern society. While American organized religion may be declining, the desire to fill the void with everyday life pursuits is another form of worship. At the heart of our society lies a universal yearning not to be happy so much as to be enough. To fill the emptiness left by religion, humans look to all sorts of activities—food, family, relationships, social media, elections, social justice movements—for identity, purpose, and meaning once provided by organized religion. Zahl challenges the conventional narrative of religious decline claiming society has become religious about busyness and accomplishments. Eventually, Zahl brings readers to a fresh appreciation for grace—the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder.
  • The Open Door Class (Session Room/Hybrid):
    • Fall 2023: In preparation for the visit from our 2023 Edmunds Lecturer, Peter Enns, PhD, the Open Door Class tackled his acclaimed book, Curveball: When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming (or How I Stumbled and Tripped My Way to Finding a Bigger God).
    • Spring 2024: This spring, the Open Door Class will read and discuss Eve Isn’t Evil by Julie Faith Parker. Intertwining academic knowledge and candid, personal, and sometimes humorous stories, Julie Faith Parker helps readers engage biblical texts with both mind and heart—to learn the Bible’s stories, explore theological ideas, question common assumptions, develop interpretive skills, and grow in their own faith. In each chapter, Parker reads biblical texts through a feminist lens. The book discusses both neglected and well-known Old Testament passages with one chapter on the New Testament. Parker’s reflections show how vital our readings of the Bible can be as a source of strength, guidance, and joyful defiance.
  • Covenant Conversation (Reading Room/Hybrid):
    • This Fall, the Covenant Class will consider ways that we Christians get “caught up” in the world around us, allowing society to sometimes influence us in behaving and thinking in ways that do not line up with the bedrock of our Christian faith. Using a video series called “Unoffendable” and the book If God Is Love, Don’t Be a Jerk, we will focus on where we may fall short in embodying Christ among His people and how we can work towards a kinder type of spirituality. We will follow this study by considering assumptions we have grown up with as Christians by discussing some things Christians truly need to believe and some that they don’t! These conversations will be guided by the book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Coupled with the prior series, we will attempt to take an inward look on how we can radiate God’s love outward—even when it feels hard to do! These studies will examine how the beliefs we hold shape our relationships with God and our fellow humans—and how we need to ensure that love has the last, loudest word.
  • POP-UP Sunday School (Fellowship Hall, First Sundays):
    • Gather the first Sunday of the month for POP-UP Sunday School. Drop in for an interesting topic or guest speaker. Topics will include updates from our mission partners, stories from the history of Second, religion in art, and other important topics facing the modern church.

  • Believing & Belonging (Hospitality Room, Seasonal):
    • Fall Dates: October 1 & 8, 2023
    • Spring Dates: April 14 & 21, 2024 
    • Join our ministers George Anderson and Elizabeth Link for a seasonal two-week class on what it means to be a Presbyterian, and what it means to be a member of Second Presbyterian Church. This is a great class for visitors and new members! Contact Connie Polly, Engagement Coordinator, with questions.
  • Christianity and Climate Change (Chapel, Fall Semester):
    • Join members of the 2PC Green Team for a nine-part film series featuring Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, the internationally renowned Christian climate scientist. In each episode, she responds to climate questions from key church leaders and members from across Scotland. Do you want to take a closer look at the climate crisis and how one Christian believes we are called to respond? Come and be a part of the conversation. The most important thing we can do about climate change is to talk about it and to talk about how it affects us where we live. Please join us this fall in the chapel for this groundbreaking and potentially transformational learning opportunity.
    • Dr. Hayhoe captures the essence of the class in the following quote, “For Christians, doing something about climate change is about living out our faith…caring for those who need help and taking responsibility for this planet that God created and entrusted to us. My faith tells me that God does want people to understand climate change and do something about it.”
  • Confirm Not Conform for Adults (Café, Fall Series):
    • Geared toward the parents of confirmands, this 8-week companion class will parallel parts of what our youth will be learning in confirmation this year, encouraging conversations at home. Participants will be invited to ask questions they have always wanted to ask and explore their faith from an adult perspective. The emphasis will be on building an authentic faith, and lessons will cover basics on the Bible, creeds, sacraments, and topics which may have been ignored or lost in the mists of time.

  • “Faith Without Formulas”
    • (Wednesdays, March 6, 13 & 27 at 12 Noon)
    • With the ways some are “deconstructing” faith and church in mind, Dr. George Anderson will consider doctrines frequently criticized these days like original sin, atonement, and the authority of scripture. He will suggest that these doctrines are made easy targets for critique when they are turned into formulas and their truthfulness is turned into truth, and their memorization becomes a means of salvation. If you want to find out what he means by that, join him during the noon hour on March 6, 13 and 27.
  • “The Bible in Black and White”
    • (Wednesdays in April at 12 Noon, Fellowship Hall)
    • Fall 2023: Oct. 4, 11, 18 & 25, Delivered out of Empire: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Exodus by Walter Brueggemann
    • Spring 2024: April 3, 10, 17 & 24, Delivered into Covenant: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Exodus by Walter Brueggemann
      • This April, the class will be reading Delivered into Covenant: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Exodus by Walter Brueggemann, companion book to our fall study. Again, we will remain attentive to the ways these moments have been understood within the white and black communities. All are welcome to join in this exciting and provocative study.
      • The class is led by Drs. Bill Lee and George Anderson. Dr. Bill Lee is the retired Senior Minister of Louden Ave Christian Church, a predominately African-American congregation he served for 39 years. Dr. George Anderson is the Senior Minister of Second Presbyterian Church, a predominately white congregation.
  • Men’s Morning Bible Study
    • (Thursdays, 7:15-8:15 a.m., Session Room/Zoom)
    • Taking on a new look, the weekly Men’s Thursday Morning Bible Study will take a deep dive into the commandments of Jesus. Convicted by Jesus’ words in Matthew 28—“teaching them to obey all that I have commanded”—our time together will focus on just what that means for God’s people then and now. We gather in the Session room (and on Zoom) from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. If interested, please reach out to Ben Brannan for information and to be added to our email list.
  • Women’s Bible Study
    • (Thursdays, Feb. 8-April 18, 2024, 10:30 a.m., Session Room)
    • Fall 2023: From Widows to Warriors by Lynn Japinga
    • Spring 2024: From Daughters to Disciples by Lynn Japinga
      • For too long the women of the Bible have been depicted in one-dimensional terms. On one side are saints, such as Mary, while on the other are “bad girls,” such as Eve and Jezebel. Just as often, the female characters of the Bible are simply ignored. However, the women of the Bible are complex, multidimensional individuals whose lives are inspiring, funny, and tragic in ways too many of us never hear. In From Daughters to Disciples, the second of two volumes, Lynn Japinga acquaints readers with the women of the New Testament. From faithful forerunners like Anna and Elizabeth to female disciples like the sisters Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene to first-generation followers like Lydia and Dorcas, readers will encounter a wealth of foremothers in the faith in all their messy, yet redeemable, humanity. This Bible study introduces and retells every female character who contributes to one or more New Testament stories, diving deeply into what each woman’s story means for us today.

2PC Clubs

2PC Clubs provide our congregation with opportunities that encourage a sense of community and foster not only established friendships but new ones, as well. We are excited about our club options for the Second Presbyterian Church family this year! Clubs include: Lunch, Restaurant, Supper, Movie, Coffee, Walking, Book, Roots and Wings, Parenting, and Pickleball. If you would like information on joining an existing club, please contact the church.

The Edmunds Lecture

The Edmunds Lecture Series of Second Presbyterian was established in 1985 by S. Spencer “Buddy” Edmunds as a way of honoring his father’s commitment to joining scholarship with congregational life. Dr. Spencer Edmunds served Second Presbyterian as its Senior Minister from 1923-1941. The lectures continue to attract outstanding preachers and theologians to educate and inspire the Roanoke Valley.

Past lecturers include Ben Witherington III, Bud Robertson, Walter Brueggemann, Barbara Brown Taylor, Miroslov Volf, N.T. Wright, F. Dale Bruner, Brian Blount, Eric Wall, Ted Wardlaw, and Ben Witherington, to name a few.

Original art has been produced for every lecture series since 1999, when Dr. Bud Robertson was the speaker. Each piece depicts the theme of the lecture the year in which it was commissioned. All the works can be found somewhere in the church facilities, with several them hanging in the hallway between the Associate Pastors’ offices. The hope is that the art collection of the church will inspire both memories and theological reflection.

The 2023 Edmunds Lectures took place on November 12 & 13 and featured guest speaker Dr. Peter Enns, Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University and founder of The Bible for Normal People podcast. Peter has taught undergraduate, seminary, and doctoral courses at numerous other schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and Temple University. He speaks and writes regularly to diverse audiences about the intersection of the ancient setting of the Bible and contemporary Christian faith; what it means to read the Bible with both eyes open to its problems and challenges, and to its promises and possibilities. Peter is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias, and has written or edited over a dozen books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works.

The Edmunds Lecture Series is a biennial series hosted on odd-numbered years. Stay tuned for more information on upcoming lectures.

Evening VBS

Evening VBS is an intergenerational, annual event at Second Pres, and it showcases special opportunities for education and growth for all ages. Evening VBS encompasses four evenings full of fellowship, learning and fun! Each summer, we host an invited speaker to speak for four nights about a specific topic or theme. The event kicks off with a dinner and program. Children (Pre-K – 5th grade) enjoy a special parallel theatre camp, and childcare is available for any younger children attending.

June 9-12, 2024 (Sun-Wed) Evening VBS – “Joy Even On Your Worst Days” with Guest Speaker the Rev. Tom Are, Jr.
  • Many thanks to the volunteers who planned and prepared our evening meal, and to our guest speaker the Rev. Tom Are, Jr. Rev. Are helped us explore and expand the meaning of joy through the lens of Paul’s letter to the Philippian church. Though Paul’s context would have been dramatically different from our own, a constant in human life is the reality of suffering. And yet, even on Paul’s worst days, he exhibited a spirit of joy. In this, Paul offers us great inspiration. We were reminded and encouraged that it is Paul’s testimony that when the worst days come—and they will—they do not have to be the end of joy. Indeed, they might be the beginning.
  • Our time together concluded with the wonderful performance of “Joy in My Heart,” a play produced and directed by the Children’s Theatre Camp leader, Meg Griffith. Under her leadership, children of Second Pres. not only learned these meaningful stories, they also found a creative way to share the stories and letters of the Apostle Paul through song and script. It was a beautiful and moving experience for all!

Gals' Gathering

Each fall, women are invited for a weekend of refreshment and nurturing of faith and fellowship.

  • 2024 Gals’ Gathering Day Retreat “Winter Garden” – January 20, 9AM – 4PM: We had a wonderful time at this year’s annual Gals’ Gathering, which took form as a local day-retreat on Saturday, January 20 from 9AM to 4PM at Second Presbyterian Church. This day-only event included favorites such as food, friendship, fellowship, crafts, and time to reflect on Bible study together. This year’s theme was Winter Garden, and our speaker was the Rev. Rachel Vogado. Thanks to all who made this such a special time. We are already looking forward to next year’s gathering!

Men's Retreat

This event provides an opportunity for men of all ages to gather for a relaxing weekend of fellowship, build connection with one another and with God, and engage in discussion about work-life balance and what it means to be a Christian today. The Men’s Retreat event was first held in November of 2019 followed by a few years of missed opportunities. Our goal is to make this an annual event.

  • Men’s Retreat – November 17-18, 2023: This year’s theme was “The Quest to Be Worthy.” Discussions were led by Dr. George Anderson based on the book Seculosity, which explores how the quest to be worthy leads us into religious devotion, even if that devotion has nothing to do with church or religion. We are grateful for all those who joined us for the 2023 Men’s Retreat! Stay tuned for more info on next year’s retreat.

Kairos Worship & Study

(Wednesdays in Lent) – Kairos is an ancient Greek word that means “the right or opportune moment.” It has been used over the centuries to describe time for spiritual reflection, and even, to put it simply, “God’s time.” For the Wednesdays in Lent, we invite you to create space in your week to experience the Holy.

2024 Kairos Offerings: This year we offered a blended format for Kairos worship. Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday services were held in person at the church, and midweek Kairos video reflections (“Home Videos”) were made available via our church YouTube channel and Facebook page in the weeks between.

Trent Getaway Church Retreat

The Trent Getaway Church Retreat at Eagle Eyrie Conference Center outside of Lynchburg, VA is a weekend of intergenerational fellowship which provides opportunities to study, worship, grow spiritually, make new friends, and enjoy time in recreation! A mere hour away from Roanoke, Eagle Eyrie provides accessible hotel style accommodations with a dining hall to meet all tastes and needs. Programs and activities are available for all ages.

  • Register HERE: Plan to join us August 16-18, 2024 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg for our annual church-wide retreat! Registration and a $100 deposit are due by Monday, June 3. Check out the Trent Getaway Brochure for more!
    • Guest Speaker: Rev. Anna George Traynham, pastor of Shallowford Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA.
    • Retreat Theme: “I Love to Tell the Story.” Stories carry incredible power in our lives. Stories from our families tell us where we came from. Stories from our scriptures show us who God is. The stories we tell about ourselves shape who we are today. In our time together, we will explore stories of identity, faith, challenge, and wonder, as we seek to learn more about ourselves, each other, and God. We will listen to stories from scripture, books, and pop culture, and we will have a chance to tell stories of our own.

Presbyterian Women

Presbyterian Women (PW) is an independent organization of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and generously supported by Second Presbyterian Church. The three main ideas for Presbyterian Women are Bible study, fellowship and mission. This is a wonderful way to make closer friends within the church family; explore faith; participate in local, national and global mission work; and grow spiritually. PW is open to all women and is a friendly, welcoming community.

PW Resource Links: