Are you looking for leadership training or other ways to strengthen your work in ministry? Would you like to take a seminary course for personal enrichment or to help you explore your vocational goals?

As the Office of Community & Continuing Education, we’re here to help you find the lecture, course, certificate, or degree program that may be the next step on your spiritual path.

Even if you’re not a PSR student, there are several ways you can enjoy our rich educational resources. If you’d like to keep apprised of our programs, events, and classes, why not join our mailing list?

Laurie Isenberg
Director of Community & Continuing Education
510/849-8227 /

Auditing Courses and Special Student Status

If you’re not enrolled as a PSR student and would like to audit classes or take one or two classes for credit, consider becoming an auditor or Special Student.

Customized Offerings for Groups or Congregations

PSR regularly works in close collaboration with denominational and other partners to develop customized educational offerings.  If your congregation, group, or organization is looking for a single workshop or a full curriculum, contact the Office of Community and Continuing Education (510/849-8227) to discuss the possibilities.

Theological Education for Leadership (TEL)

The Theological Education for Leadership (TEL) program of special courses and seminars provides progressive, accessible Christian theological education year round for clergy, laity, and spiritual seekers. Retaining an important emphasis of its antecedent, the Certificate of Ministry Studies (CMS) program, TEL is multicultural in its design and focus.

Using PSR’s “flexible learning” approach, the TEL program fosters a strong and supportive community environment while enabling participation locally or at a distance through online learning. A carefully selected curriculum of online and face-to-face experiences may be engaged individually, or as part of various non-graduate-level certificates.

Alumni/ae Coursework Opportunities

Graduated from PSR and eager to learn more? Alumni/ae are welcome to return and take courses.

Continuing Education Units

PSR offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to participants in various activities. Click here for more detail about CEU opportunities at PSR.

Evening & Weekend Courses

PSR and the other schools of the GTU offer several courses in the evenings or on weekends, allowing students to take classes while working or serving in congregations. Designed for seminarians and other Master’s-level students, these courses are also appropriate for those seeking continuing education.

Field Education Mentors

Field Education Mentors may register for courses at a reduced rate during the semesters they are mentoring for PSR students.

January & Summer Sessions

In January, one- to three-week Intersession classes are designed for seminary students as well as those currently working in ministry.

Summer session classes attract people engaged in ministries of all types: pastors, religious educators, pastoral counselors, social ministries staff, lay people, artists, and seminary students.

I’m Gonna Preach: Finding Voice in Church and World

By | Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blakewith Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake
January 12 – 19, 2016

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Course Description

The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) records words of the prophets who spoke challenging and hopeful words to the people of Israel and Judah. In the New Testament Jesus  teaches in the synagogues and preaches to the masses who gathered around him. Early church leaders like Peter and Paul proclaim the good news to the crowds. And, as the early church developed, teaching and preaching the word became an important and formative part of Christian worship.

In our differing traditions and denominations preaching has developed in sometimes unique and interesting ways. What is a sermon in your tradition? Are sermons based on scripture – why or why not? What do you hope for when you listen to a sermon?  What is a good process for sermon writing?  What forms do sermons come in and why does it matter?  What does your tradition think about prophetic preaching that engages community, social and political concerns?

Together we will explore these historical and contemporary issues related to proclamation in worship.

(this course approved for the MCC L.E.A.D. program)

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. . . . . .Jan. 11: Gender, Sexuality & the Bible: Hebrew Scriptures

By | Certificate of Gender Sexuality and the Bible, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

Rabbi David Dunn Bauerwith Rabbi David Dunn Bauer
January 11 – 18, 2016


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Course Description

So many of our foundational understandings of identity, gender, and sexuality derive from Hebrew Scripture. The stories of Creation, the commandments and laws given to Moses, the passionate visions of the Prophets, and the poetry of the Song of Songs all leave an imprint on contemporary life and consciousness.
Some of these texts instantly bring us comfort. Others have been used (occasionally by ourselves) to intimidate or shame us and may awaken anxiety within us. Honoring these texts and learning from them does not mean taking them literally. It means trusting in our own strength as readers and interpreters to find in them what is inspiring and edifying and to address forthrightly those passages we find most challenging. We will make space in this class both to be compassionate to our concerns and fears and to be open to new inspirations and inquiries.

We will study texts that convey both the force and nuance of Hebrew Scripture as we focus on themes of identity, desire, and power. Who are humans meant to be? Whom and how are we meant to love? What rights do we have over our own sexuality and what rights do we have over others’?

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. . . . . .Feb. 8: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Testament: Texts, Controversies, and Interpretation

By | Certificate of Gender Sexuality and the Bible, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

Dr. Yii-Jan Linwith Dr. Yii-Jan Lin
February 8 – 15, 2016

Course Description

What is feminine vs. masculine? How should Christians understand sexual orientation? What about divorce or remarriage? For centuries, people have drawn on certain infamous texts from the New Testament to answer these questions for Christian communities and in philosophical and theological debates. In this course, we will be focusing on these texts and the debates they have sparked while considering the complicated issues of interpretation including language, historical context, and authority/agency.

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The Great Story of Your Faith: Defining Moments in Christian History

By | Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

with Dr. Jim Lawrence
August 2016 (exact dates TBD)

By focusing on fateful events that decisively shaped Christianity the immense landscape of Christian history can be brought into view. Using a lens of progressive Christianity, we will engage four such defining moments in the two thousand years of the world’s largest faith tradition: the first-century expulsion from synagogues that launched organized Christianity; the fourth-century Council of Nicaea that inaugurated Christianity as a world empire religion; the sixteenth-century Protestant breakaway that created entrepreneurial religion; and the 1974 Lausanne Conference that still seeks global evangelization.

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Wells of Living Water: Spiritual Practices for the Journey of Life

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with Rev. Dr. Christy Newton
February 9 – 15, 2016

All around us, there are messages of scarcity that claim there is simply not enough. Not enough time, energy, or money. Not enough creativity, intelligence, beauty, hope, wonder… Not enough to share. These messages deplete our spirits on multiple levels and leave many of us as faith leaders trying to quench our spiritual thirsts with the dust of dry wells. This course will introduce a selection of spiritual practices capable of replenishing dry wells and quenching the deep spiritual thirsts of individuals and communities of faith. Students will engage in experiential spiritual practices and critical reflection on those practices. Together we will explore why certain spiritual practices resonate with us and how these spiritual practices might be incorporated into the life of a community of faith.

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Called to Lead: The Care and Administration of Church

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with Rev. Barbara Essex
February 2016 (exact dates TBD)

Every religious community or church requires management and administration. Management that is deeply rooted in the church’s vision of ministry and the church’s understanding of its own calling, moves beyond paper and numbers becomes a ministry itself.  This course is designed to help participants discern their own community’s vision and how it directs and impacts the various acts of administration, including finances,personnel, planning, volunteer management and leadership. Sensitivity to culture and context are critical as pastors and leaders create a theological and spiritual basis for the work of church management.

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For the Bible Tells Me So? An Intro to Christian Ethics

By | Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

with Rev. Dr. Carol Manahan
March 2016  (exact dates TBD)

Early in our lives we begin to discern right from wrong, fair from unfair. As we grow up, we discover the complexity and ambiguity that accompany our lives in the church and the world. When we can no longer find simple answers, we turn to ethical reflection, the spiritual practice of bringing life and faith together for making difficult choices.

“For the Bible Tells Me So?: an Introduction to Christian Ethics” will introduce learners to the tool and methods for choosing action in unfamiliar or controversial situations. Drawing on the Bible, Christian
tradition, experience, and reason, we bring our own lives into the ongoing conversation about how to live as Christians in our families, churches, and communities. This course will allow students to explore methods of ethical reasoning which can help us act compassionately, wisely, and faithfully.

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Loving God by Loving Ourselves: Self-Care for the Selfless

By | Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

with Rev. Dr. Toni Dunbar
March 2016 (exact dates TBD)

How can we love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves?  Recent studies of religious professionals have found that Protestant clergy have the highest degree of work-related stress.  In another study, Lutheran clergy and lay leaders (ELCA) have self-reported problems with depression, relations with family and friends, finances, and personal devotional life.  Can we, the pastoral leaders in our churches, learn to love ourselves and care for ourselves as we love and care for our neighbors?  A topic not just for clergy – lay leaders who are concerned about the well-being of their pastors can benefit.

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Still Waters and Streams:  An Introduction to Pastoral Care

By | Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership, Community and Continuing Education | No Comments

with Rev. Dr. Horace Griffin
April 2016 (exact dates TBD)

This course is a brief introduction to pastoral care.  Students will be introduced to the history of pastoral care and the Church’s tradition regarding the “cure of the soul.”  Drawing from readings, class lectures and a case study, students will develop skills for pastoral conversations and spiritual care.  This course will provide a special focus on assisting others in crises, such as illness, troubled relationships, loss, death and dying.  Students will understand and observe pastoral care as a spiritual undertaking involving lay members as well as clergy within a faith community.  Pastoral care will be explored in the context of theological issues such as theodicy (problem of evil in a “good” world),  God as a benevolent being, and sin.

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“The scope and vision of Christian educational ministry is opened up by online possibilities.  This has significance for the ownership of theology, formerly the preserve of the university, seminary, or specialist theologian.  It suggests a different sort of theology, not derived from academics or church hierarchy but emerging from within the ordinary people of God.”

—Dr. Ros Stuart-Buttle, Journal of Education & Christian Belief, 2014

Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership