The Zephyr Experience
July 7-12, 2013
Looking for a weeklong escape to a quiet setting to reconnect with God? The Zephyr Experience conference provides you and your family with that time to grow in faith and community. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada on a half-mile of Lake Tahoe shoreline, Zephyr Point is one of the most beautiful retreat centers in the world.
The Zephyr Experience conference supports theological learning, spiritual growth and deepening Christianity in our everyday lives through classes in: Bible, Church & Society, and Spirituality. Interactive and fun programs are provided for children and youth of all ages. Join us for a stimulating and enriching experience surrounded by the unparalleled splendor of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras.
Adults may choose two sessions from our five classes:
- First Period
- Second Period
- Children and Youth
|Bible:||God in the Old Testament, by Greg Love|
|Church and Society:||Zionism: the Doctrine that Drives the Demand for a Jewish State, by Walt Davis|
|Bible:||Early Christianities, by John Mabry|
|Church and Society:||Economic Justice, by James McDonald|
|Sprituality:||Deep River: Praying the Spirituals, by Ann Jefferson|
|Ages 4-9||Zephyr Point Day Camp|
|Ages 10-13||David – Life and Times, by Tom Nolen|
|Ages 14-17||Christian Contribution, by Brandon and Ellen Williams|
Description of Courses:
God in the Old Testament
by Greg Love (First Period)
by John Mabry (Second Period)
Is the God of the Old Testament violent? Or is God faithful, compassionate, and merciful, abounding in grace? What is God really like? From the earliest Christian beginnings to the German Christian Movement in 1930’s Nazi Germany, some have claimed that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures is a different (and inferior) deity than the God worshipped and embodied by Jesus. The heart of the Church, however, has insisted that the God of Jesus is Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. God is One. This class will study specific and vastly different texts in the Old Testament to identify the portrait of God that emerges from the 2,000-year history of Jewish reflection given in the Hebrew Bible. We may be surprised at what we find.
The Rev. Gregory Anderson Love, Ph. D., is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Prior to teaching seminarians, Dr. Love taught college students at St. Olaf College. Also a Presbyterian pastor, Dr. Love brings together the best of contemporary Christian theology with the issues of Christians in the pews.
The idea that there was one early Christian church, united in faith and practice, is a myth. Instead, it was a wildly diverse collection of movements, each group of which holding different ideas about who Jesus was and what his mission was all about. In the end, with the help of an emperor convert, one of these groups emerged victorious, banishing the rest. Did the movement that eventually won out have the truth? What did those other early Christian movements believe, and is something of the real Jesus preserved in their teachings? In this class we will discuss these and other intriguing questions as we re-approach these “divergent Christians,” to learn about them and from them.
John R. Mabry is professor of interfaith theology and spiritual direction at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry in Berkeley, CA, and assistant director of the Master’s Program in Interfaith Spiritual Guidance at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto. He has served as associate pastor – and later pastor – at Grace North Church (Congregational) for nearly twenty years. He has written numerous books on spirituality, spiritual guidance, and world religions. He sings for two progressive rock bands in the South Bay, Metaphor and Mind Furniture. He lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife and dog.
Church and Society:
Zionism: the Doctrine that Drives the Demand for a Jewish State
by Walt Davis (First Period)
by James McDonald (Second Period)
This class will provide a sympathetic yet critical overview of the history of political Zionism from the 1880s to the present, with illustrations from its major spokespersons and its major critics.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, political Zionism has morphed into a quasi-religious faith that drives Israeli expansionism, Israeli apartheid, and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. At first American religious Jews were divided on the issue of Zionism, but after the Six-Day War in 1967, Jewish “denominations” in the US rallied behind Israeli Zionism. Together with other Jewish organizations, they silenced debate on the issue. The Holocaust and centuries of Christian anti-Semitism were proof enough that without a Jewish state containing a permanent Jewish majority, no Jew anywhere would be safe.
Building on the Churches’ theological resistance to Apartheid in South Africa, we will explore a Christian critique of Zionism and the implications for interfaith dialogue.”
Walt has an M. Div. from Union Theological Seminary and a Ph. D. in Social Ethics from Boston University. From 1981-2000 he was Director of Advanced Pastoral Studies and Professor of the Sociology of Religion at San Francisco Theological Seminary.
He has been a pastor in Texas, a missionary professor in Congo and Nigeria, and was the first moderator of a union of all the Protestant churches in Congo. From 1979 to 1981 he and his wife Libby were co-directors of an organization dealing with issues of international justice and peace.
Walt is now the coordinator of Keep Hope Alive-USA which organizes two trips to Israel-Palestine per year. This project is in partnership with the YMCA of East Jerusalem and the YWCA of Palestine www.jai-pal.org. He is also education co-chair of the Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the PC(USA) www.theIPMN.org.
For 18th century Scottish economist Adam Smith, the wealth of nations came from the efforts of individuals who pursued their own self-interest, and who, guided by “an invisible hand,” created a public benefit. Adam Smith’s theories and writings became the basis for our understanding today of capitalism, its dynamics and dynamism. In our time, the global economy has created great wealth and vast benefits that are enjoyed by many. Yet, a million people still go to bed hungry every night, and the U. S. electorate is deeply divided over the role of government in creating economic opportunity. This course will look at what the Bible says about economic justice to see if it still has the power to inform and shape our contemporary world.
Rev. Dr. James McDonald is the 11th president in San Francisco Theological Seminary’s (SFTS) history. Before coming to SFTS, McDonald, an ordained Presbyterian minister, worked for Bread for the World, a faith-based advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., that urges national legislators to end hunger. From 1998-2011, McDonald managed day-to-day operations, spearheaded fund-raising, and focused on advocacy and strategic efforts to build a broad movement against hunger and poverty. With a PhD in international relations from American University, McDonald led efforts to secure debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. After receiving Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary in New York, respectively, McDonald worked in pastoral ministry for 15 years. He was associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Ind., and then served Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia from 1980-90.
Praying the Spirituals
by Ann Jefferson (Second Period only)
In this workshop, participants will engage a “Lectio Divina” process using African-American Spirituals as “sacred text.” Through song, word, and image each person will have the opportunity to experience these timeless treasures anew and to apply the “living word” that emerges to contemporary life and spiritual practice. The class will also create a collective Spirituals Prayer Project.
Rev. Ann Jefferson, a 32-year resident of the Bay Area, currently works in Community and Continuing Education as Program Coordinator of the Theological Education for Leadership (TEL) Program and co-director of Worship at Pacific School of Religion. Ann also serves as Associate Pastor of Worship & Liturgy at City of Refuge UCC in San Francisco and has been a musician and music director of several congregations throughout the Bay area. She brings 30+ years’ experience to her study and teaching of the history of African-American sacred music. A key planner of the African-American hymn festival for the Society’s conference held in 2008, Ann has taught numerous seminars in this subject area. In August 2010, she received a Heritage Keepers’ Award from the Friends of the Negro Spirituals. Rev. Jefferson enjoys working with circles of learning and leadership to inspire hearts toward greater reflection, worship, and transformative action. She is also passionate about preaching and creating sacred liturgies and liturgical items customized for a variety of congregational, family, and community settings. In October of 2012, she realized her dream to conduct a concert of her own sacred compositions and arrangements.
Children and Youth Classes:
Fun and Adventure in Day Camp
Leaders: Zephyr Point Summer Day Camp Staff
(Ages 4-9; special exceptions may be possible upon request)
This summer we are offering a new, fantastic camp experience for your children! They will have fun and adventure within the grounds of this special piece of God’s creation known as Zephyr Point. Activities include: swimming, canoeing, archery, nature hikes, group games, arts and crafts, fun skits, singing, and worship.
Safety is a priority. Supervision and direction will be provided by caring, college-age role models. Lifeguards certified by the American Red Cross will be on duty at all times kids are in the water, and additional CPT and First Aid certified staff will be on site.
The day camp will officially run from 9 am to 4 pm. As parents wish, kids may leave the day camp at any time during the day and rejoin their parents. Costs for the camp are included in the Zephyr Experience children’s fee.
David – Life and Times (Ages 10-13)
led by Tom Nolen
In the class we will focus on one of the great leaders of the Old Testament: David. He was a humble shepherd and a mighty king. A dancer and friend and father; yet also a betrayer and trickster. Together we will look at several of the central stories about David and those around him.
What can we learn about God and faith by studying David? Along with our Bible study and discussion the class will include time for group activities and games; tie-dying and other fun crafts; humor and song and food and just a lot of fun being together at Zephyr Point.
Christian Contribution (Ages 14-17)
led by Brandon & Ellen Williams
Last year we discussed the morality in every day decisions. This year we’ll take the things that we determined were important to us and find ways to keep up with our dreams of contribution in the face of the demands of everyday life as teenagers. We’ll rediscover the passions that move us to make a change in the world and then focus on tools to keep all areas of our lives in balance. We’ll look at how people make a difference through various forms of media, including films such as Pay it Forward. We look forward to another amazing year with our incredible teens!
Daily Schedule: Monday-Thursday
|8:45 – 10:15||First Period|
|10:30 – Noon||Second Period|
|1:00 – 6:00||Freetime|
|7:15 – 8:15||Worship|
Afternoon Free Time: The afternoons are free to explore, swim at the lake or hang out at the beach, bike or hike in the splendor of the surrounding Tahoe area. Organized Crafts & Activities will be available and Class One Hour Overviews will be presented by our leaders.
Evening Program: Monday & Wednesday evening, worship will be led by one of our adult class leaders. Tuesday evening will be a time of sunset music at Donaldson Amphitheater. Children and youth are included in all worship services.
Talent Show: Thursday night is our annual variety show. All ages are invited to participate with short songs, skits or special talents.
Communion: Friday before lunch, there will be a communion service to complete our week’s experience.
Zephyr Experience t-shirts will be on sale this year at the conference.
Room and Board Per Person
|~Tahoe Center~||After 5/15|
|Ages 18 and Up||$545||$555|
|Ages 18 and Up||$490||$500|
|Ages 18 and Up||$310||$320|
- Includes Sunday dinner through Friday lunch
- Non-refundable deposit due with registration: $120 per adult; $30 per child/youth
- Non-refundable balance due by June 7th
- If you would like to make a donation to Zephyr Point or contribute to the general scholarship fund to help enable others to enjoy a Zephyr Point experience, please click here to open our online donor application.