School of the Laity Classes

Fall School of the Laity Session
October 7-8

The School of the Laity courses are held hybrid with both online (via Zoom) and in-person participants. In-person classes are held at Epworth By the Sea on St. Simons Island, GA. Participants can join a small cohort beginning each June and complete the full two-year program or can take a singular course as their schedule permits.

There are pre-course assignments for each course shared on the registration brochure. March and October Sessions begin early Saturday morning and conclude late Saturday afternoon while June Sessions begin on Friday evening and continue through late Sunday afternoon. For more details click the LEARN MORE button below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Marty Susie, SOL Registrar, at (800) 616-3671 ext. 703 or msusie1@savannahpresbytery.org.

2023 Upcoming Core Classes

Old Testament Survey
Offered October 7-8, 2023

History, Mission and Polity
Offered October 7-8, 2023

 

2024 Upcoming Core Classes

Congregational Care
Offered March 9-10, 2024

Elements of Worship
Offered March 9-10, 2024

New Testament Survey
Offered March 9-10, 2024

Introduction to Bible
Offered June 21-23, 2024

Introduction to Reformed Theology
Offered June 21-23, 2024

Practical Ministries
Offered June 21-23, 2024

Old Testament Survey
Offered October 5-6, 2024

History, Mission & Polity
Offered October 5-6, 2024

2023 SOL Upcoming Electives

Survey of World Religions
Offered October 7-8, 2023

YEAR ONE
INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE

Introduces students to study tools and interpretation methods as it offers a broad survey of the literature, history, and faith of the people of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. Led by Dr. Robert Bryant, Bible Professor at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. 

OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY

This course delves deeper into the Old Testament scriptures and explores the inspiration, authorship, context, and criteria used to determine which books became part of our canon. This course builds on the Introduction to the Bible course developing a deeper understanding of Old Testament themes and early Hebrew theology. 

NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY

This course delves deeper into the New Testament scriptures and explores the inspiration, authorship, context, and criteria used to determine which books became part of our canon. This course builds on the Introduction to the Bible and Old Testament Survey courses developing a deeper understanding of New Testament themes and early Christian theology and examining how contemporary Christians interpret Old Testament scriptures through a Christian lens. 

Pre-course assignment: Participants are required to acquire The New Testament, A Student’s Introduction by Stephen L. Harris and read the text alongside the New Testament in their Bibles writing down any questions that come to mind. These questions should be emailed to MSusie1@savannahpresbytery.org by February 24th, 2023. Survey is led by Rev. Dr. Kaye Nickell, who earned her PhD at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

YEAR TWO
INTRODUCTION TO REFORMED THEOLOGY

This course provides a foundational introduction to Reformed Theology and explores how it shapes and informs the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We will survey the tenets of the Reformed Tradition, doctrines of the Church, and various confessional and creedal statements. 

HISTORY, MISSION & POLITY

This course will provide an overview of our Presbyterian identity and help participants learn to use Presbyterian polity to address specific issues and practices in church life. Participants will also become acquainted with the Book of Order and how it helps to further the ministry and mission of the church. 

ELEMENTS OF WORSHIP

This course focuses on what constitutes faithful Christian worship and discusses the theological underpinnings of key elements of worship including scripture, confession, prayer, music, sacraments, and sermon. Participants will be encouraged to think critically about each element of worship and develop a deeper understanding of why we do what do when we gather to worship God. Participants will be encouraged to share their diverse experiences of worship. 

Pre-course assignment: Participants are to read A More Profound Alleluia; Theology and Worship in Harmony by Leanne Van Dyk to prepare for the course led by Rev. Rick Douylliez, Savannah Presbytery’s Director of Pastoral and Ecclesial Affairs and longtime pastor of First Presbyterian, St. Marys.

YEAR THREE
PRACTICAL MINISTRIES

This course is the capstone of the School of the Laity program. Participants will develop an understanding of how to use what they have learned by going out, integrating, and expanding their learning through application in areas such as leading Bible Studies, organizing retreats, and pastoral care visitation. Participants will be encouraged to share meaningful ministries from their home congregations and will be introduced to resources from the PC(U.S.A.), the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators (APCE), and others. 

ELECTIVE COURSES
The Revelation to John: All Creation’s Hallelujah

Join much beloved School of the Laity professor Dr. Bob Bryant of Presbyterian College as he leads a deep dive into the book of Revelation.

Pre-course assignment: Participants are to read all of Revelation in their Bibles first without a commentary. Then read it a second time and using one of the following commentaries: 1) Revelation. Interpretation. Boring, M. Eugene. (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1989). OR 2) Revelation and the End of All Things. Koester, Craig. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans PC, 2001).

Survey of World Religions

Participants in this course will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the major faith traditions around the world; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Together, we will explore the historical development and underpinnings of each tradition, what a life of faith looks like in the modern day, and survey significant Scriptures and religious writings.

SCHOOL OF THE LAITY COMMITTEE
Bain Head, Chair (Saint Simons)
Marty Susie, Director of Mission & Program Advancement
Katie Hogan, Elder (Henry Memorial)
Nancy Bertrand, CRE (Beersheba)
Mary Simpson, Elder (Wilmington Island)
Cyncelia el-Shair, (Altama)
Linda Nelms, (St. Simons)
Sue Burdette, Elder (Wilmington Island)