The Adult Education Committee presents a selection of classes each Spring and Fall. Selections are based on member interests or projects with which the church is involved. Participants enjoy thought-provoking and dynamic topics. All points of view are welcomed. We also host “Jesus Seminar on the Road” lectures, Sunday Starter, and the First Tuesday Book Group, as well as sponsor a resource library on a variety of subjects.

Sunday Starter

Explore topics that cover both religion and social justice — topics that educate, energize and encourage debate — Forgiveness, Righteousness, Pentecost, John 3:16, and The Lord’s Prayer. Do you know what all these mean in the Christian faith? Are you sure? Come and find out! Sundays in Room 7 at 9 am.

On June 2nd, 2019 Sunday Starter finished a four-week module on church activism with a group discussion about how and whether Southminster may want to consider taking action for social justice. Activism differs from providing needed social services, such as we do with Family Promise.  Instead, it aims at addressing injustice and its root causes. Does Southminster feel a calling toward this type of ministry? Learn more

Upcoming Events:

How the Right is Wrong: Understanding and Overcoming Fundamentalism

November 8-9, 2019 at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton with Westar Scholars Mary Keller and Michael Zbaraschuk : This multi-disciplinary event will provide an analysis of and response to Christian fundamentalism and draw on work on the religious engagement of climate science, the religious decline among millennials in North America, comparative religious studies, and religious pluralism and spiritual practice.

Click here to register online. To register by mail, please print the Event Registration Form [PDF].


Mary L. Keller (Ph.D., Syracuse University) is a historian of religion who works at the intersection of feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and Indigenous studies theory to study the relationship of religious lives to struggles for meaning and power. She teaches Introduction to World Religions, African Spirits in the New World, African American Religious Culture, and a field course on Heart Mountain. Keller emphasizes the geographical, historical and social context in which religious lives are embedded and focuses on questions of personhood within religious traditions. Current research examines the role of sacred land in a world of global capital, money and agency, recent developments in theory and method in the study of spirit possession, and the religious dimensions of climate change.

Michael Zbaraschuk (Ph.D. The Claremont Graduate University) is an Associate Professor of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.  He received his M.A. in 1998 and his Ph.D. in 2002, both from The Claremont Graduate University, and both specializing in the philosophy of religion and theology.  His research interests include process theology, radical theology, constructive theology, religious pluralism, and millennials and religion (especially their declining interest in it).  He has led study tours to southern Mexico and is investigating religious diversity there. His latest research project is conceptualizing a theoretical explanation of religious decline in millennials across North America, including Canada, the USA, and Mexico.


Friday evening, 7:30–9 pmHow the Right is Wrong on the Theological Dimensions of Climate Science Mary Keller will discuss how weather has always been interpreted in religious discourses from a comparative and Christian framework (Zeus, Thor, Thunderbird, Biblical Floods), then lead us through a brief slide show of recent abrupt climate crisis events that are established scientifically in relation to global warming,  and discuss the profound theological journey ahead as humans reorient themselves in relation to the Creation in the accelerating volatility of crises that humans have unleashed in their use of fossil fuels.

Saturday, 9:30–10:30 amHow the Right is Wrong for Millennials Michael Zbaraschuk will present new research on religious decline among millennials and why so many of them are moving away from Christian fundamentalism.

Saturday, 11 am – noonRe-Orienting Right and Wrong Mary Keller will offer a new perspective for thinking beyond the dichotomy of right and wrong drawing from contemporary ideas in the comparative study of religion regarding the ways that religious horizons can open one toward uncertainty, or, in the case of religious fundamentalism, close horizons in a circling of the wagons which inevitably leads to fearful reaction toward the changing world that one is encountering.   She will make the case that all humans navigate across their landscapes by drawing from three points of reference (where did I come from, what is the right step to take next, and what is the significance of my death for my community). With this insight from the comparative study of religion, people may experience greater agility and even courage as they face radical difference.

Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pmWays to Talk Beyond Right and Wrong Michael Zbaraschuk will open up a toolbox of ways to talk with the Christian fundamentalist in your life.  He will offer strategies for talking about the Bible, talking about the place of Christianity in the larger world of religious practice, and the role of spiritual life in engaging with fundamentalism.

Saturday, 3–4 pmDiscussion (Q&A)

Click here to register online. To register by mail, please print the Event Registration Form [PDF].

Past Events:

The Contemporary Challenge of Easter with Dr. John Dominic Crossan, April 5-6, 2019

In April 2019 we were proud to host Dr. John Dominic Crossan. Dr. Crossan is a beloved and respected scholar and author of more than two dozen books about the New Testament, early Christianity, the historical Jesus and much more. His lectures are invariably insightful and inspiring, whether the listener has read all his books or none.

This program took place just weeks before Easter and focused on how Jesus’ death and resurrection are presented in the texts, and how those events have been interpreted through the ages.

Learn more about Dr. Crossan and Resurrecting Easter:

In addition to three lecture sessions with Dr. Crossan, we hosted a panel discussion, Putting Easter into Action, with three local pastors who have been on the front lines of turning Christian beliefs into meaningful action:

  • Rev. Barbara Nixon of First United Methodist Church, Corvallis. Author of Things I Wish Jesus Said, and coordinator of the feature Interfaith Voices in Albany and Corvallis newspapers.
  • Rev. Aric Clark, Presbyterian pastor, and advocate for multiple causes. Author of Never Pray Again: Lift Your Head, Unfold Your Hands, and Get To Work
  • Rev. Mark Brocker of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Beaverton, a leading congregation in environmental stewardship. Author of Coming Home to Earth and a leading scholar on the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

We thank everyone who joined us and contributed to a successful and insightful event.