School of the Laity Classes


The School of the Laity is now a program that you can CHOOSE to participate online (via Zoom) or in-person. In-person classes will be held at Epworth By the Sea, St. Simons Island GA.

There are pre-course assignments for each course. We highly recommend registering ASAP so you can complete the assignments to fully prepare for the classes. Late registrants for In-person may be required to participate online if we determine that registrations for in-person exceed safe spacing. Masks are strongly encouraged for in-person attendance except during meals. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Marty Susie, SOL Registrar, at (800) 616-3671 ext 703 or

Since 1988, Savannah Presbytery has offered the J. Richard Bass School of the Laity, a two-year program that has strengthened the faith and equipped the leadership of more than 320 graduates throughout our presbytery (and beyond). Over the past few years, courses have been opened to persons who would like to engage in single classes rather than commit to the full, two-year coursework, allowing them to participate as their schedules and interests permit. We have also been encouraged by the continuous return of SOL graduates who have chosen to engage in an intriguing study or retake a core course.



Course Information 

Summer Courses are usually held in June and consist of 15 hours of class time with additional hours of personal study. Presbyterian Seminary and college professors teach these courses. The summer courses are Introduction to the Bible, Introduction to Reformed Theology and Practical Ministries.

Fall and Spring Courses are usually held in October and March and consist of 12 hours of class time with additional hours of personal study. Savannah Presbytery ministers and other qualified leaders teach these studies on such subjects as Old Testament Survey; New Testament Survey; History, Mission and Polity; and Elements of Worship.

2022 Upcoming Core Classes

New Testament Survey
Offered March 2022

Elements of Worship
Offered March 2022

Introduction to the Bible
Offered June 2022

Intro to Reformed Theology
Offered June 2022

Practical Ministries
Offered June 2022

Old Testament Survey
Offered October 2022

History, Mission and Polity
Offered October 2022

2022 SOL Upcoming Electives

Gospel of John
Offered March 2022

The Old in the New
Offered October 2022


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 

Gospel of John

The Gospel of John is quite unique in style, language, and content from the synoptic gospels. In this course, participants will discuss John’s faith community and context while focusing on personal relationships with Jesus. While special attention will be given to the lectionary readings, the class will engage the book as a whole.

The Old in the New

Besides being the Son of God, Jesus was also Jewish, and as a Jew, he would have been steeped in, and deeply influenced by, the Hebrew Scriptures. Most of Jesus’ earliest followers were also Jewish, and they too drew upon the richness of the Hebrew Bible to shape their understanding of Christ and the significance of his life, death and resurrection. This course will look at and explore some of the ways that Jesus and his followers used, interpreted and sometimes even radically reinterpreted stories, images and passages found in the pages of the Old Testament. In doing so, participants will come away with deeper appreciation of the God who is revealed to us in both the Old and the New Testaments.