by the Rev. Pamela Leach
Nearly every morning September to May as my family begins our daily journey, the blinking yellow lights remind us, “Slow down! You are entering a school zone - slow down, pay attention, be alert.”
What a wonderful reminder for us that there are times and seasons, places along the road of life, when slowing down, paying attention, being alert is important. In Advent, we hear the reminder to be alert to the coming of Christ. In Lent, we are called to be attentive to disciplines of our faith as we follow Christ to the cross and empty tomb. And certainly in our daily lives, we find ourselves slowing our frantic pace to tend to relationships - an aging parent, a child, a friend in need, and even our own bodies when they call out to us to tend to our health.
What is true in our individual lives is true also in the community of faith.
Three years ago, Stuart and I put out a call for a group of people to slow down with us and be attentive to the core beliefs of our faith - those beliefs that give shape to our claim to truth about God and ourselves. We asked for a three year commitment - three years out of a regular class; three years of dedicated study; three years immersed in all things Presbyterian. Given our fast-paced culture, we knew this was no small order. The call was for teachers in the church or those interested in gaining the knowledge and skills to teach. The call was to slow down - no quick review but an in-depth look at our knowledge of God and of ourselves through our Reformed tradition.
For nine months we traveled through Scripture, reading from Genesis to Revelation along with commentary and notes. Together we gained a renewed and enriched understanding of the whole canon of Scripture, the witness without parallel to what God is doing in our world.
Next we built upon the knowledge of scripture by delving into our Reformed theology. We looked at the life and teachings of John Calvin, completed a thorough overview of Reformed theology, and took a whirlwind trip through Christian history.
Finally, we addressed what to do with this knowledge. In our final year, we looked at teaching skills for different ages and spent considerable time on the disciplines of faith in the life of a Christian leader.
In May, the first Presbyterian Core Education class drew to a close. Completing the class were:
Congratulate them; they deserve it! They studied diligently not just for their own enrichment but that they might be a blessing to others. Welcome them to your classes as they come to teach or substitute. Ask them questions about what they learned.
Prayerfully consider whether you might be called to the next Core Ed class starting Wednesday evenings this fall. If you think you might be called to take this course and serve in the education ministry of our church, set up a time to talk with Stuart or me.