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Life at Eden

LIFE at Eden

About LIFE
You're invited to take part in LIFE, the Lay Institute of Faith Exploration. LIFE retreats take place five times a year on the Eden campus and provide lay persons with a more comprehensive way to explore their faith.

LIFE at Eden

What is the LIFE program?

LIFE (Lay Institute of Faith Exploration) is a program  of retreats that invites lay men and women to study    scripture and explore Christian faith and life. It challenges participants to become life long learners and disciples, faithful witnesses to the gospel and faithful members and leaders of the church. LIFE is sponsored jointly by the Missouri Mid-South Conference, the Illinois South Conference and Eden Theological Seminary (all United Church of Christ).

How does the LIFE program work?

Each LIFE retreat offers two courses. Participants must register for one course or the other as they are offered simultaneously. All participants may register for either course.
    One course is always a Certificate Course (formerly called Basic Course). The 15 Certificate Courses are offered on a three-year cycle (five courses a year). Persons who complete all 15 Certificate courses receive a Leadership Certificate.
    The other course will focus on a topic of current interest in Christian faith and church life.

The 15 Certificate Courses are:

  • On the Road to Discipleship
  • Exploring the Presence of God (Thinking Theologically)
  • Reading and Understanding Scripture: Old Testament
  • Reading and Understanding Scripture: New Testament
  • What is the Church and what is its Purpose?
  • God in Scripture (Biblical Theology)
  • Shaping Faithful Worship (Worship and Sacraments)
  • The Church Is a Learning Community (Christian Education)
  • How Do We Live Our Faith? (Christian Ethics)
  • Confronting Reality:  Life and Faith (Justice and Witness)
  • Exploring the UCC  (UCC history and polity)
  • Proclaiming the Good News (Preaching)
  • Caring in Community  (Pastoral Care)
  • Telling and Living the Story (Evangelism)
  • Christianity in America (Church History)

Five retreats are held each year (early January, early March, late April, mid September, and early November). They begin with on Friday evening with 6pm dinner and end on Saturday at 3:30pm, following closing worship. Each retreat includes worship, community life, devotional time, meals and six hours of class instruction.

Where are the retreats held?

All retreats are held on the campus of Eden Theological Seminary, a leading theological center in Webster Groves, Missouri. Worship is held in the Seminary Chapel in the Press Center. Courses are held in classrooms in Press. Meals are eaten in the Schroer Commons, the Seminary’s dining room. Overnight lodging is provided in Seminary housing. Each suite accommodates two participants, providing a private bedroom for each and a common living room. Bathrooms are down the hall.
LIFE at Eden

Who teaches the LIFE courses?

All the courses are taught highly trained and skilled teachers. Many are professors at Eden. Others are outstanding church leaders in the St. Louis area and beyond. Instructors usually identify some preparatory reading for each course (a book or journal articles, etc.) At most retreats, books for the following retreat will be available for purchase. Or they may be ordered and will be mailed.

What is the schedule at a retreat?

    Friday evening
      5pm Registration
      6pm Dinner
      7pm Worship
      7:30pm Session 1 of each course
      9pm Fellowship
    Saturday
      7:15am Coffee/Tea ready
      7:30am Bible study
      8am Breakfast
      8:40am Session 2 of each course
      10:10am Break
      10:30am Session 3 of each course
      12 noon Lunch
      12 noon Seminary Bookstore is open until 1pm
      1:10pm Session 4 of each course
      2:40pm Closing Worship
      3:10pm Adjournment
What is the cost of a retreat?

The $140 fee includes Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast and lunch, parking, the course and overnight lodging. Persons who do not want overnight lodging pay $130 for the three meals, the course and parking. The cost of preparatory reading materials (books, articles, etc) is additional.


What's being offered in 2014-15?

September 19-20
Registration Form
Certificate Course (Ethics): "How do we LIVE our faith?,"  Rev. Dan Handschy
Elective Course: "Dispelling Fear: A Recurrent Biblical Theme", Rev. Dr. David Greenhaw, Eden Faculty, President

November 14-15
Certificate Course: "Confronting Reality: Life, Faith, Justice, Witness", Rev. Dr. J. Clint McCann, Eden Faculty
Elective Course: "The Gospel of Mark" Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause, Eden Faculty, Academic Dean

January 9-10
Certificate Course: "Exploring the U.C.C.: History and Polity", Rev. Marilyn Stavenger
Elective Course: "Ministry and Mental Illness in the Parish Setting", Rev. Peter W. Maffly-Kipp, M.Div, LCSW

March 6-7
Certificate Course: "Proclaiming the Good News: Preaching", Rev. Dr. Christopher Grundy, Eden Faculty
Elective Course: "Interfaith Education: Islam", Dr. Gulten Ilhan, Professor of Philosophy

April 17-18
Certificate Course: "Caring in Community: Pastoral Care", Rev. Dr. Kristen Leslie, Eden Faculty
Elective Course: "Augustine's Confessions: A Classic of Christian Spirituality," Dr. Adam Ployd, Eden Faculty



For more information, or to register:


A deposit of $50 confirms your registration. Please make checks payable to Eden Theological Seminary.

Send checks to:
Jill Schantz
LIFE at Eden Theological Seminary
475 East Lockwood Ave.

Webster Groves, MO  63119



Meet God in new places, and come to LIFE!