Adult Ministry


At Central, we believe that Christian education is a lifelong journey. In addition to gathering for worship, adults are encouraged to participate in classes on Sunday mornings.

Classes are offered every Sunday at 9:45 a.m. with a variety of topics from Bible study, to current issues, to theological questions. Ongoing adult classes with rotating leadership provide learning and fellowship opportunities. Special studies are also offered throughout the year.  Each January Central’s adult classes meet together for Winter Studies and during the summer months for Summer Series to focus on a specific topic.

2018 Summer Series

2018 Summer Studies Logo

Begins Sunday, June 3  |  9:45 a.m.   |  Rand Chapel

Growing out of our explorations during the Summer Series of 2017 on “reformations” and the Martin Luther quincentenary, our Summer Series this year will amplify our consideration of the Civil Rights Movement as our most important modern reformation.  The Ministry of Learning invites you to consider our past, the issues we confront now, and to look forward.  Central must play a role in making sure the Movement is not a thing of the past.  How do we do that? Let’s discover our role together.

June 3  |  Are Truth and Justice the American Way? Reflections on Race and Reconciliation in Fraught Times 

Societies that endure over time do so, in part, because the majority of their citizens believe their society aspires to virtues like truthfulness, justice, and neighborliness.  Entrenched racism undermines the quality and depths of those beliefs.  What, then, is a society like ours to do—and what role, more specifically, might the church play in such a society?

Presenter:  Mark Douglas, Professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary. Click here to view the PowerPoint slide show presentation.

June 10   |  The Bible Speaks Out for Civil Rights

While many Christians throughout the centuries have used the Bible to support slavery, subordination of women, and rejection of strangers and foreigners, there are strong voices for freedom from slavery, women as co-leaders and special care of strangers and foreigners within communities of God’s people on earth.  This session will especially explore New Testament letters written from prison and statements in Gospels that renew assertions by prophets in the Old Testament to hear voices speaking out for civil rights in our world today.

Presenter:  Vernon K. Robbins, Professor of New Testament and Comparative Sacred Texts in the Department and Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University.

June 17  |    Is Georgia Leading the Way in Criminal Justice Reform?

During the summer of 2011 Central devoted the 13 Sundays to the theme of criminal justice.  What has changed in Georgia in the intervening years and, given the complex issues of criminal justice, can we measure improvements?

Presenters:  Marissa McCall Dodson who is public policy director at the Southern Center for Human Rights and Tiffany Williams Roberts who is community engagement director at the Center.

June 24   |  The Old Testament and the Civil Rights Movement

Both Civil Rights leaders and white supremacists quoted the Old Testament in the 1950s and 1960s to support their agendas, but during this session we will engage in a close reading of the Mosaic covenant and prophetic texts, which reveal that the overriding concern of the Old Testament is an abiding care for the marginalized.

Presenter: Dr. Brennan Breed is assistant professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.

July 8   |  Murder in the Family 

Harris County, Georgia, 1912, the sheriff’s nephew is murdered.  The sheriff sanctions the lynching of a woman and three men, all African-American, all innocent.

Presenter:  Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree: a Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets and My Search for the Truth.  She is a widely published journalist, a writer for newspapers, magazines, stage and television.  Her book is the product of 20 years of investigation to uncover the truth about her family heritage.

July 15   |   Paul Zwier  The Rise and Fall of the Legal Doctrine of Affirmative Action

This session will review the origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta in the 1880s— 90s, and the era of new hope during the 1970s with people like Andrew Young and President Carter, and will describe the impact of affirmative action on Atlanta.

Presenter:  Paul Zwier, Central member and  professor of law at Emory University.

July 22  |  How the Past Imagined the Future

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Niagara Movement met at Harpers Ferry in 1906 to honor would be liberator John Brown.  How did the men and women there begin the modern Civil Rights Movement and how did they begin to change America?  This presentation will rely on research, musings, and lyrics from an opera in progress.

Presenter: Gary Rowe, a media producer, who is writing a libretto based on their stories.

July 29   |  Let’s Talk About Race and Faith

How are attitudes about race acquired?  How is racial prejudice overcome?  How does our faith impact our views about race?

Presenter:  Central member Rev. Oscar McCloud who was active in the civil rights movement as a pastor and mission executive, executive director of the Fund for Theological Education, and associate pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City.

August 5   |   Central in the City: The Church in our Evolving Urban Environment

Central may be the “Church that Stayed,” but it’s the city that has moved on.  The rapid changes going on around us call for an examination Central’s ongoing role in this new urban environment.

Presenter:  Jerry Miller, Central member, founder/principal of Fabric Developers, and one of the early pioneers of the Intown Atlanta renaissance.

August 12   |   Hope and Imagination: Consider the Children

Atlanta’s future is already incubating in our nurseries, kindergartens, and schools.  The key to better education is early intervention.  As our ministry to children through the Child Development Center (CDC) affirms, “early childhood experiences greatly influence a child’s self-esteem, ability to trust, and attitude toward learning.”  We cannot overlook where our future begins.

Presenter: Lynn Schnitzer, Executive Director of the CDC.

August 19   |   Valedictory: An Interim Pastor’s Departing  |  Observations About Central’s Past, Present and Future.  

As he begins his last week at Central, our interim pastor David Cozad shares his insights into Central’s present identity and aspirations, with specific focus on this church’s long relationship with efforts at racial reconciliation.

August 26   |   It’s Your Turn — What Should Central Do?

This session will feature a focused and directed discussion of Central’s past, present and future in Civil Rights.

 Click here for archived classes