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.

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 on Friday evening at 6pm with 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 Wehrli 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.

Who teaches the LIFE courses?

All the courses are taught by 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. They may also be ordered from the Eden Seminary Bookstore.

What is the schedule at a retreat?

    Friday evening
        5:00pm Registration
        6:00pm Dinner
        7:00pm Worship
        7:30pm Session 1 of each course
        9:00pm Fellowship

        7:15am Coffee/Tea ready
        7:30am Bible study
        8:00am  Breakfast
        8:40am Session 2 of each course
        10:10am Break
        10:30am Session 3 of each course
        12:00pm  Lunch
        12:00pm 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. 

2014-15 Schedule of Retreats

September 19-20, 2014 (Registration Form)
Certificate Course: How do we LIVE our Faith?
Instructor: Dr. Dan Handschy, Dean of Episcopal School of Ministry and Adjunct Professor at Eden Theological Seminary

Description:  Dr. Hanschy approaches ethics as a socially and culturally embedded discourse about what makes human life worth living. That discourse takes place in both a broad context and also locally. Congregations and denominations have their own cultures, against a dominant social background. Dr. Hanschy develops a typology of cultures or social structures, and looks at how each type defines human thriving, from competitive individualistic cultures to more cooperative or even coercive cultures, and how the message of the Gospel transcends cultures and critiques each. Ethics, whether in the local setting or in the dominant social background, then seeks to develop a set of values and performances that give each person a full place in the common discourse.

Elective Course: Dispelling Fear: A Recurring Biblical Theme
Instructor: Rev. Dr. David Greenhaw, President and Professor of Preaching and Worship, Eden Theological Seminary

Description:  “Fear not!” exclaims the prophet, “Fear not!” proclaims the angel of the Lord, “Fear not!” says Jesus to his followers.  Dispelling fear is a frequent theme in the Old and New Testaments.  All of this encouragement to not fear indicates that there must be things to fear.  This course will look at biblical texts concerning fear and consider their meaning for 21st women and men of faith facing challenges of global proportion.  Dr. Greenhaw teaches with a lecture/discussion format, moving from ancient text to contemporary setting.

November 14-15, 2014
Certificate Course: Confronting Reality: Life, Faith, Justice, Witness
Elective Course: The Gospel of Mark

January 9-10, 2015
Certificate Course: Exploring the UCC: History and Polity
Elective Course: Ministry and Mental Illness in the Parish Setting

March 6-7, 2015
Certificate Course: Proclaiming the Good News: Preaching
Elective Course: Interfaith Education: Islam

April 17-18, 2015
Certificate Course: Caring in Community: Pastoral Care
Elective Course: TBD

For more information, or to register: 

Email LIFE Director Jill Schantz at 

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!

Celebrate Eden