"Unity in Love" NEW Lectures 2024

08.28.23 | Stories

    For life-long learners, hungry for knowledge

    30+ years of learning

    For over thirty years, the San Diego School of Christian Studies (SDSCS) has invited world-class speakers to address matters of spiritual concern to people of faith or of no faith. The purpose of SDSCS is to create meaningful educational experiences challenging adults to deepen their Christian faith as they broaden their knowledge. Today, SDSCS is led by a Planning Council composed of members and friends of First Church and chaired by Dr. Kay Gilbert. The School offers three to five lectures, events, and/or events per semester, on subjects in Old and New Testament, church history, theology, Christian ethics, world religions, and other topics. All are welcome.


    The San Diego School of Christian Studies (SDSCS) cordially invites you to celebrate and join the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 curriculum. 


    Who Is My Neighbor? 

    Engage with us again in asking deep questions.  How do we build relationships with those who are different from us?  How can we understand “the other?”  Join us as we explore these and many similar questions through expert lectures and a panel discussion, as well as participating in opportunities to share, learn, and build community with one another. 

    Unity in Love

    We seek to strengthen commitment to a collective understanding of unity—that we embrace our diversity and turn from divisiveness.  This curriculum provides opportunity for renewed and deeper understanding that we are connected to all people. Through expression of our diversity we can become united and “love one another.”


     In loving memory of:

    Dr. Ben Christensen and Dr. Kathee Christensen


    Register for each event below 
    Each event is only $10
    Stay for conversation and a light lunch!


    SDSCS relies on funding from donors and donations taken at each event. Become a sponsor at any of these levels:

    • FAITH - $ 25.00        
    • HOPE - $ 50.00
    • LOVE - $ 75.00
    • KATHEE and BEN CHRISTENSEN “Fan Club” -  $100.00

      Become a sdscs sponsor

    More ways to give:

    Donate Online: fumcsd.org/sdscs-sponsor
    Send a Text: MYCHURCHGIFT SDSCS to 73256
    Mail a Check: FUMC, 2111 Camino del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108 (Please designate "SDSCS" when you give.)

    upcoming 2023-24 Lectures

    Scroll down to watch recording of previous lectures

    SATURDAY, JAN. 20 | 10:30 AM - 12 PM | LINDER HALL | $10 RSVP BY 1/17/24

    After the event you are invited to stay for conversation and a light lunch.

    Old Seeds, New Ground—Growing Christianity in the Third Millennium

    Speaker: Prof. Peter Bolland

    The American religious landscape keeps shifting. Belief in God is down, as is church attendance. When asked to list their religious affiliation, many say “none of the above.” Newly energized conservative movements push their brand of Christian Nationalism in increasingly extreme directions. Meanwhile, Progressive Christians attempt to retain their commitment to the Jesus Movement while reimagining their relationships with scripture, traditional doctrines, and the church. Join us as we chart these shifts and share an inquiry into the status and future of Christianity in America.


    Monday, Feb. 19 (new date) | 3 - 5 PM | UMC BUILDING (LOWER LEVEL) | $10 RSVP BY 2/15

    Intergenerational Fellowship with Youth Neighbors

    Your San Diego School of Christian Studies invitation: Our youth are going to Big Bear for a Presidents’ Day Weekend Retreat. Join us in a “welcome home pizza supper” for youth who will have participated in the retreat.

    Knowing the church family supports them will be meaningful to the youth in this healthy social endeavor of a Christian community. We hope to offer sponsorships for a youth or two. Cash donations may be given to support these sponsorships.


    Saturday, Feb. 24 | 10:30 AM - 12 PM | LINDER HALL | $10 RSVP BY 2/21

    After the event you are invited to stay for conversation and a light lunch.

    Cultivating the Critical Component of Being a Neighbor

    Speaker: Dr. André J. Branch 

    The San Diego School of Christian Studies invites you to get to know Dr. Andre J. Branch. He is President Emeritus and a very active member of the San Diego NAACP and an Associate Professor of Multicultural Education, Ethnic Identity Development, and Valuing Human Diversity at San Diego State University. As such, he will lead us through what he believes is critical to being a neighbor and how to develop being a neighbor to all.



    Past Lectures (recordings)


    2023-24 lecture series

    Homeless Youth: Neighbors in San Diego County

    The San Diego School of Christian Studies invites you to join us as Encanto Elementary educators discuss challenges in teaching homeless children. Profound difficulties exist when educators struggle to teach kids lacking housing, food, learning materials, and sometimes parents. These caring panelists will describe the extremes to which they go to keep the childrens’ bodies and souls together daily. Encanto Elementary services some of the neediest students and families in San Diego.

    Panelists: Audra Mandler, Principal; Natasha Lyamu, Family Services Assistant; Monica Martin, Counselor
    Recorded November 18, 2023

    Bridging The Gap Between Neighbors; Especially Those Different From Me

    The San Diego School of Christian Studies invites you to join us with Rev. Dr. Soomee Kim as she discusses:
    How do I approach neighbors with whom I've had little contact for months? or ever? How can I LISTEN for understanding? What can I do to resolve or embrace differences? How does one purposely welcome neighbors, especially anyone new, to my church or group? How can we promote "contagious kindness" in our house of worship & our neighborhoods? 

    Speaker Rev. Dr. Soomee Kim
    Recorded October 14, 2023


    2022-23 lecture series


    Who is My Neighbor: A Global Perspective

    Who is inside the sacred circle, and who is out? And who gets to decide? How do various religions, philosophies, and wisdom traditions frame these vital questions? Join us as we explore this ancient and timely challenge.

    Speaker: Professor Peter Bolland 
    recorded Saturday, September 24, 2022 

    About the speaker:
    Professor Peter Bolland is the Philosophy and Humanities Department Chair at Southwestern College where he teaches world religions, Asian philosophy, world mythology, and ethics. A columnist for Unity Magazine and author of the upcoming book, The Seven Stone Path: An Every-day Journey to Wisdom, Professor Bolland is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at a wide variety of churches, spiritual centers, and learning centers like San Diego Oasis, The Osher Institute of Life Long Learning at SDSU, the Chopra Center, the San Diego Vedanta Monastery, and more. For more information visit peterbolland.com.


    Broad Commonalities & Differences of the Abrahamic Faiths

    Join these Interfaith Leaders in discussing what it means to be a neighbor to others & with others in the Islamic, Jewish, & Christian faiths. Addressing the question of who is my neighbor, we will examine sources of faith authority & the impact of that authority.

    11/12/22 -  Panel discussion with Rev. Trudy Robinson, Imam Taha Hasanne & Rabbi Jason Nevarez


    Being Human Takes Practice 

    Rev. Dr. Carter will have us realize more deeply than ever what it means to be spiritually human with others by diving into the parable of the Good Samaritan told by Jesus. 

    Speaker: Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter
    Recorded Saturday, February 4, 2023 

    About the speaker 
    Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter
    is an Associate Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego; a Faith in Food Fellow at Farm Forward; and Lead Pastor of The Loft in Westwood, CA. His teaching, research, and activist interests are in Black, Womanist, and Environmental ethics, with a particular focus on race, food, and nonhuman animals. He is the co-creator of Racial Resilience, an anti-racism and anti-bias program that utilizes the combined insights of contemplative practices and critical race theories. His academic publications include The Spirit of Soul Food (University of Illinois Press, 2021), and “Blood in the Soil: The Racial, Racist, and Religious Dimensions of Environmentalism” in The Bloomsbury Handbook on Religion and Nature (Bloomsbury, 2018). He believes that at its broadest level, learning should transform how the student views herself, her neighbor and her worldview.