Grace First Presbyterian Church Adult Education Classes

Sundays at 10:15am in Room #405 (Next to the parking lot.) 

Adult Education classes are designed to help us understand our faith, our denomination,

and the role we as Christians play in making this world more pleasing to our God.


Fall 2017 Schedule (Subject to Revision):

September 17 – Getting to Know  Our  Church Family

Presenter: Dr. Richard Birkemeier

Richard has been a member of Grace First since he and his wife Laurie moved here in 1985.  Richard is an Elder, has served on the Mission Team and sings regularly in the choir.  He became involved in Habitat for Humanity about 10 years ago after Rev. Steve Wirth asked for a volunteer to act as liaison for the church. Since then, he has organized several build days for our members and occupies the Habitat booth at the Christmas Market.

Since he retired as professor from the Bob Cole Conservatory at Long Beach State, he has become more active with Habitat. He recently organized a dozen of our sister churches in the Presbytery into a coalition in support of Habitat for Humanity.  With that organization well established, but mostly operating in Orange Co, he is now shifting his attention back to Long Beach where Habitat for Humanity  has begun the most ambitious build it has ever attempted, the $20 million, 100 home Washington Neighborhood project near downtown.


September 24- Urban Mission in LA 

Presenter: Elizabeth Leu

What is mission? Growing up in an evangelical church in Texas, Elizabeth always thought that mission only happens when one travels to a different country, usually a third-world country. Through her education from Fuller Theological Seminary and ministry experience in Downtown LA, God has shown her that mission is everywhere, including right here in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Leu has an undergraduate business degree from the University of Houston and received her Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. She serves as director of DOOR Los Angeles, an urban mission agency in Hollywood. She is currently pursuing ordination in the PCUSA, following a call to pastor and plant churches.


October 8 – Transforming Church – Together on a Journey

Presenter: Rev. Tom Cramer

As Presbyterians, we want our lives to count for something; we want to share God’s love with the world. But what happens when changes in technology and culture outpace our former structures? What are our presbytery and denomination doing to adapt? Please join Los Ranchos’ Co-Executive Tom Cramer for a lively discussion about the vision, resources, and promise of being a connectional church in a changing world.

Tom serves as Co-Executive for Vision and Mission for the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. His work involves bringing leaders together to grow healthy churches. Before being called to regional ministry, Tom served as the Associate Pastor for Equipping Ministries and Mission at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Hills.


October 15 – Welcoming the Stranger          

Presenter: Dr. Rich Haesley                                                

How do and how will Evangelical churches balance their traditional political affiliations; changing demographics of the Evangelical Christian community; larger sociological transformations of the Evangelical community; and demands of their faith? “Welcoming the Stranger” is not just a slogan for many Evangelical Christians.

Dr. Rich Haesly, Associate Professor of Political Science, CSULB. His research analyzes nationalism and national identities, and most recently a survey of Evangelical churches to document and analyze the changing perception of immigrants and immigration reform among Evangelical Christians.


October 22 – Disability Sunday

Lunch & Learn at 12:15 PM @ Fireside Room

Disability Awareness Sunday  Join us for our 2nd Annual Disability Awareness Sunday, October 22. The vision for this year’s Disability Awareness Sunday is to welcome those who affirm, support and advocate for the gifts, right and responsibilities of persons with disabilities in the total life of the church. These themes will be explicit in the liturgy and in the sermon for both worship services (9AM & 11AM) on that day. American Sign Language Interpreters will also assist in worship.

Disability Awareness Lunch & Learn “Treat people the way you would like to be treated.” A Disability Etiquettes Presentation, 12:15 – 1:45PM, in the Fireside Room. Disability Rights Advocate, Deaka McClain, will address what can be barriers (structural, societal, etc.) to persons with disabilities and how we can address those barriers as people of faith. What resources are available in the local community? How can we be more inclusive to persons with disabilities in the local church and in our work in the community?


October 29  & November 12                      

Let’s Go To Hell With C. S. Lewis

Presenter: Reggie Gates

 “Murder is no better than cards if cards will do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without  milestones, without guide posts”.   C. S. Lewis                                                                                         

C.S. Lewis was the foremost Christian apologist of the 20th century and his influence is still strong today. His book Mere Christianity figures prominently in many people’s faith  histories. Lewis believed in Hell, and that people can and will end up there. (To say that this is somewhat controversial today would be putting it mildly). Lewis put forward his vision in two fictional books, The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce. We will review both of them to see what Hell is like and how people get there, according to Lewis. Do devils exist? Does God send people to Hell? Is it possible for dammed souls to repent and go to Heaven? Come to our class and see what Lewis says.

Reggie is an elder at Grace First. He encountered C.S. Lewis when he was 24 and Lewis has been his favorite author ever since. He is a member of the New York C.S. Lewis society and has created more than 30 podcasts covering books written by Lewis. He holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Colorado and worked in for Boeing for 35 years before retiring.


November 5 – Growing as a Generous Disciple

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Steven E. Wirth

Today we hear people ask, “What does it all mean?” “What does it all matter?” “How can I grow closer to God?” This class will explore some of the biblical and theological roots of Christian meaning and purpose outlining a discipleship of giving. In the short time we have, we will also touch on possible means of generous giving to help us grow closer to God.

The Rev. Dr. Steven E. Wirth is the Ministry Relations Officer for the Presbyterian Foundation in our region who works with churches, presbyteries and synods to increase congregational giving through stewardship education, materials and investment instruments. Prior to working for the Foundation he served as a pastor for three congregations over 36 years.


Want to know more? Contact us!

Phone: (562) 420-3393 ext. 13