San Diego School of Christian Studies

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.


Fall 2023 / Spring 2024:

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

Support the San Diego School of Christian Studies 

Become a sdscs sponsor

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

More ways to give:

Donate Online:
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.)

2023/24 Recorded Lectures

Cultivating the Critical Component of Being a Neighbor

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.

Speaker Dr. André J. Branch 
Recorded February 24, 2024

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

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 Prof. Peter Bolland as he charts these shifts and shares an inquiry into the status and future of Christianity in America.

Speaker Prof. Peter Bolland
Recorded January 20, 2024


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 Recorded Lectures

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


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.