Level 1 offers a broad background in theology, ethics, history, caring and respecting, faith formation, the Bible, world religions, the church, and leadership.

This course uses two complementary texts, one which brings together clear, comprehensible ethical theory and goals; and the other text introduces an ethical approach which bridges ethical theories with down-to-earth ethical situations in today’s world. These two texts will provide a strong, practical ethics background.  Participants will be able to identify moral dimensions of ethical issues, describe multiple moral stances related to these issues, and formulate thoughtful and faithful responses to these issues, shaped by individual, communal, and broad UCC values.

Alongside Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, people from different parts of the world bring religions that are new to many Americans: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and many others. When a culture has different sets of beliefs and assumptions engaging with each other, the term used to describe it is pluralism. In this course, the focus is pluralism of religious belief in America today. No longer are the “religions of the world” practiced in another part of the world. Instead, different religions are practiced in our communities and neighborhoods. Recognizing this shift, we’ll explore some major aspects of the pluralistic beliefs commonly encountered today.

This course explores worship in an overview that highlights but is not limited to the “Sunday morning worship service”. It considers the theological, biblical and historical underpinnings of Christian worship, the significance of the integration of “intensive” and “extensive” worship, individual and corporate worship, the sacraments and current worship issues and trends. The format of the course further seeks to “open the arts” in the art of worship in appreciation and celebration of our Creator-God.

Every day we hear that the church as it was known in the late 20th century is gone. A church is growing in its place where people are looking for depth and meaning, families are needing to rest (even from church) on Sundays, outreach may bring more meaning than worship, and the Bible too often gets left on the sidelines. How do we support individuals and families, and grow communities where faith formation and spiritual practices in all their manifestations deepen everyone’s experience of the Holy? This class is a part of the conversation. The resources listed are readily available for nurturing all ages of faithful Christians.

In this course, we will learn how to approach the Bible in a manner that bridges the gap between church Bible study and formal academic Biblical interpretation. Our aim is to create a safe space for both critical engagement and spiritual transformation. Over the course of six weeks, we will explore the place of the Bible in the United Church of Christ, the development of the Bible over time, and methods of studying the Biblical texts to discern meaning and purpose for our own faith lives and for the exercise of our pastoral roles as preachers and teachers.