Bethesda Friends Meeting

Adult Religious Education Programs

We welcome visitors to join our online Quaker Meeting for Worship on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. 

We also offer indoor, in-person worship on the SFS lower school campus. 

Adult programs are still being held for virtual gatherings and are open to visitors. 

Please go to this page to see our weekly schedule and to learn how to join our online or in-person worship,

as well as other events. Use our Contact Us form to request access to our Zoom links.   

BFM Adult Education Programs

 Various committees and groups at BFM schedule our adult educational programs and forums on a variety of topics.  We also hold a session on "Introduction to Quakerism" once a year, usually in the fall. 

Most of these programs are held via Zoom (during Covid).  

For Upcoming Programs, please check below, as well as our calendar, weekly Bulletin schedule, or current newsletter

  • Please use the Contact Us form for questions or to request the Zoom link.
  • Child Care can be provided for in-person sessions if parents can give us a week's notice.  

Upcoming, ongoing, and past adult education programs and events 

Please use our Contact Us form if you would like to join us and need the Zoom link, or if you want BFM to repeat a class listed below.


  • In addition to the listings below, a Quaker Book Group meets monthly and the "Experiment with Light" meditation group meets twice a month (see the Events Calendar). 

1. Spiritual Journey: On October 16 at 12:30, Lauren B. offers us insights into her personal Spiritual Journey, via a hybrid in-person and Zoom session. 

2. Exploring the Roots of Religion: All are invited to the comparative religions study group. They begin a new year-long course in October - "Exploring the Roots of Religion," a lecture series from Great Courses. They meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. for a half hour lecture and a half hour discussion. John R Hale Ph.D., Director of Liberal Studies at University of Louisville KY, will explore evidence of religious activity around the world, primarily through the discipline of archeology. In October, after the introductory lecture, we will study Neanderthal burials, the Paleolithic cave art of France and Spain, and rock art in South Africa. All are invited to join at any time. 

2. Spiritual Formation Group: Meets monthly on Zoom from October through June at a time and day chosen by members. Its purpose is to meet with others from BFM to nurture and strengthen your spiritual life, using the format of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Spiritual Formation Program. Sign up is by early October.

  • The structure is that there are small groups that meet monthly (some will on Zoom and some will meet in person if it is safe to do so).  

3. Collective Journey to Redress Systemic Racism:  This important program will run in fall 2022 and into 2023 with advance sign-ups. It will be led by Lucy Duncan and Rob Peagler. 

    4. Comparative Religions discussion group: A 12-lecture series from Great Courses entitled "Great World Religions: Hinduism" taught by Prof. Mark Muesse of Rhodes College met weekly from June-September on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. for a half hour lecture and a half hour discussion. 

    5. Virtual Spiritual Coffeehouse:  In July: People brought their favorite music, art, poetry, etc. to share and reflect on as a group. 

    6. Glenstone Art Museum: In July, there was a BFM visit to Glenstone to enjoy an outdoor museum experience in community with BFM friends. 

    7. Spiritual Journey: In June, Peter N-J offered us insights into his personal Spiritual Journey, via a hybrid in-person and Zoom session. 

    8. Comparative Religions discussion group: The group continued on Tuesdays, weekly, at 7:00 p.m., through Spring 2022. "Comparative Religions" used the Great Courses series "Religions of the Axial Age" (800-200 BCE, examining Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and Vedanta, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Taoism). 


      • Sundays, for 3 months, at 9:30 a.m. Oct 10, Nov 14, Dec 12. "Deepening our Quaker Faith and Practice." A brief video on an introductory Quaker topic followed by a discussion, for those new to Meeting and those looking to deepen their experience. 

      • Monthly (on the 3rd Saturday), starting Oct 16, at 1:30-3:00 p.m. October 2020 - June 2021. A larger "Spiritual Formation Group" meeting of all participants meets once a month for nine months. There are also small groups that  meet monthly. This is a monthly worship sharing of readings chosen by the group with the intention of deepening our spiritual connection and personal practice.  

      • Tuesdays, Weekly, at 7:00 p.m., October 5 until Spring 2022. "Comparative Religions" using the Great Courses series. Religions of the Axial Age (800-200 BCE, examining Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and Vedanta, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Taoism). 
      • September 19, 2021 at 7:00 p.m., Zoom game night. An intergenerational social hour with easy-to-play online games. 

      • August 22, 2021, 12:30. Virtual Spiritual Coffeehouse. Bring your favorite music, art, poetry, etc. to share and reflect on as a group. 

      • Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. on April 29, May 6, May 13.  Group discussion of a free course from Lancaster University & the Woodbrooke Quaker Center in England. Topic is History of the Early Quakers.
      • February 14, 2021, 12:30. Virtual Spiritual Coffeehouse. Bring your favorite music, art, poetry, etc. to share and reflect on as a group. 
      • Thursdays, Weekly, at 7:00 p.m., continuing from October 1, 2020 through April 2021. An online lecture "Understanding the Old Testament" from the Great Courses lectures and small group discussion.


      • November 8, 2020, 1:00, "Using Personal Queries about Racism" sponsored by the BFM Diversity Change Group. Purpose is to develop personal queries on racism and help us be more self-aware of the impact that racism has on our thoughts, behaviors, actions, and inactions. 
      • Monthly on the third Saturday at 1:30 p.m., October 2020 - June 2021. Spiritual Formation Group meeting (supplemented by monthly small group sessions). Monthly worship sharing of brief readings chosen by the group. 
      • October 5 & 6 at 7:00 p.m. "A White Historian Explores Black Voting Rights." Presentation by Susan Strasser with an emphasis n Reconstruction and the early 1960s. 
      • Thursdays, Weekly at 7:00 p.m., from October 1, 2020 and continuing. An online lecture "Understanding the Old Testament" from the Great Courses lectures and small group discussion.
      • August 20, 2020, 12:30. Virtual Spiritual Coffeehouse. Bring your favorite music, art, poetry, etc. to share and reflect on as a group. 
      • June 27, 2020, 10:00-12:00. "End of Life Workshop." A forum to explore the issues, needs, and various responses of Quakers to the topic of living and dying well as Friends. Details here.  
      • May 10, 2020, 9:30 a.m. "What do you do in Meeting for Worship?" Worship sharing with Ministry & Worship on ways our practice may have changed in this time of worship with Zoom. 
      • February 9, 2020, 9:15 a.m. "End of Life Care: Five Wishes

      • Monthly on Sundays at 1:00 and weekly on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m., February onwards. An online lecture "Understanding the New Testament" from the Great Courses lectures and small group discussion.  

      • January 12, 2020, 9:15. "Held in the Light for Transformative Conversations about Race" sponsored by BFM's Diversity Change Group.



      • November 28, 2018: "My Favorite Quaker"
      • October 14, 2018: "My Summer of Solidarity," an inspiring presentation of Lauren Brownlee's service, teaching, peacekeeping or other activities in Bethlehem, China, Washington State, and Washington, DC.  
      • September 23, 2018: "Radical Faithfulness in Action"
      • July 22, 2018: "Spiritual Coffeehouse" (bring the songs, art, writings that are meaningful to you)
      • June 24, 2018: "Good Grief: Co-Creating Ourselves by the Choices We Make"
      • June 10, 2018: Spiritual Formation Information Session
      • May 13, 2018: Are we a Blessed/Beloved Community? Handout link here.
      • March 25, 2018: Margaret Fell and the Growth of Early Quakerism
      • March 11, 2018: Worship Sharing to consider our best responses to the challenges of the current political and cultural environment
      • February 25, 2018: Friends and Money
      • February 11, 2018: Workshop on Implicit Bias (Sponsored by Peace & Social Justice Committee)
      • January 28, 2018: Spiritual State of the Meeting.
      • January 14, 2018: Spiritual Coffee House (share the songs, art, writings that are meaningful to you).


      • November 12, 2017: Living in Afghanistan.
      • October, November, December, 2017: Six-class series "Exploring Quaker Faith and Practice" using Letters to a Fellow Seeker by Steve Chase with a Discussion Guide.

      • August 13, 2017: Spiritual Coffeehouse (bring the songs, art, writings that are meaningful to you).

      • June 11, 2017: Sharing our Journeys to Quaker Faith and Practice.

      • May 28, 2017: What we Learned Listening to Trump Voters in Conway, S.C. (Jane Chalmers & Frank Greves) Summary essay.

      • May 14, 2017: Vocal Ministry Workshop. (Guest leader: Betsy Meyer, past clerk of Baltimore Yearly Meeting) Summary documents: Vocal Ministry-1 and Vocal Ministry-2.
      • April 9, 2017: Spiritual Journey Series (Ralph Steinhardt)
      • March 12, 2017: Spiritual Journey Series (Alex Bell)
      • February 12, 2017: “Faith and Practice”: A discussion of the document that was written by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as a guideline for the meetings within BYM. (Susan Kaul)
      • January 22, 2017: Finding Meaning and Purpose in the Recent Election. (Bernie Benson & Stephanie Koenig) Essay by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
      • January 8, 2017: Interfaith Worship Sharing -- based on the queries: “How can we most effectively foster a caring attitude among all the faiths in our community? What helps us to listen deeply to one another, and to understand one another’s perspective? How can we best support one another?” (This forum was a collaboration between the Omega Interfaith Forum and Bethesda Friends Meeting.)
      • October & November 2016: Exploring Quakerism: A 6-part series for newcomers as well as more recent and long-time Friends, using the workbook “Exploring Quakerism” by Marsha Holliday and the book “Letters to a Fellow Seeker,” by Steve Chase.  
      • September 18, 2016: Visit with Omega Interfaith Forum

      The Evolving Face of BFM Adult Education Programs

      In November 2019, Bethesda Friends Meeting thought carefully about the religious/spiritual education of BFM adults. All agreed that educational programs and forums for our adults are an important function that should continue, even if there is not a standing committee to organize these sessions.

      Both the Nominating Committee and the current Adult Religious Education Committee proposed laying down the formal Adult Religious Education (ARE) committee as a separate committee for 2020. 

      In the place of a standing ARE Committee, the group proposed

      1. Asking each committee to take responsibility for organizing periodic programs of interest to that committee, in particular asking Ministry & Worship to take the lead on spiritual programming, and

      2. Providing a mechanism to coordinate the scheduling of committee-sponsored programs or forums.

        • This might take the form of asking each committee that supports programming to appoint one or more committee members to serve on a programming coordinating committee that would have the limited role of coordinating schedules and topics, or the designation of a single individual to address such schedule coordination.

        • This will normally include a standard session on "Introduction to Quakerism" once a year, usually in the fall. 

      Friends approved proceeding with these proposals.  As programming is developed and scheduled, it will be listed in the Newsletter, on the website Events calendar, and on this web page. 

      Since spring 2020, these programs are usually held on various dates via Zoom, with a few held in-person as Covid safety allows.  

      Prior to spring 2020, many Adult Educational Programs were held on the 2nd (and perhaps the 4th) Sundays, usually at 9:30 a.m. and usually in the "common area classroom" in the Groome Building

      • DIRECTIONS to the Common Area Classroom: Enter the Groome building via the large doors in the patio & breezeway. Go across the cafeteria to the far left side of the stage. Pass through the stairwell into the classroom area.  This room is wheelchair accessible. 

      Please look at the schedule above, or check our calendar or current newsletter for an up-to-date schedule. 

      Bethesda Friends Meeting

      Mailing Address:
      P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824

      Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland

      We are a member organization of the Religious Society of Friends
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