Change of Adult Religious Lecture Topics over the Years

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

Last month we looked at some of the topics presented by guest speakers in the Broadwell School’s Adult Education series [see The Broadwell legacy to religious education]. These speeches were offered in the early part of the Twentieth Century.

Beginning in 1965, our church participated in a city-wide series of group discussions of issues of the day. It is interesting to note the change in topics from the early part of the century where the selections were often looking inward at the individual, the family and our own country to these mid-century topics, labeled as “Great Decisions for 1965,” which looked outward to a challenging and shrinking world.

The topics for 1965 were: Trade, Food and Prosperity; The Population Explosion; The United Nations at Twenty; West Germany: Key to Europe; Communist China: Increasing Threat to Peace; The United States and Latin America; Union of South Africa: Is Race War Inevitable?; and Viet Nam: War Without End.

The series was continued in 1966 with the following topics: Struggle for Viet Nam: What Stakes?; What options for the United States?: Israel in the Arab World: Is Peace Possible?; Western Europe and the United States: End of the Atlantic Alliance?; Sub Saharan Africa: Can Peace Be Achieved?; Russia After Krushchev: Does Coexistence Have a Future?; Japan Insurgent: What Kind of Ally?; Latin America and The United States: Will the Inter-American System Work?; Making Foreign Policy in a Nuclear Age: Can the United States Meet the Challenge?

1967 offerings were: Communist China and the United States: Are we on a Collision Course?; India and Pakistan: What Hope for Stability on the Subcontinent; New Deal in Chile: Will Internal Revolution With Liberty Succeed?; Yugoslavia and Rumania: What Future for National Communism?; The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: Can It Be Stopped; National Liberation War: Is Viet Nam the Test?; NATO in Crisis: Will the Atlantic Alliance Survive?; The War on Hunger: Can It Be Won?

No mention of another series is found in 1968. It is interesting how many of these topics remain unsolved and still with us nearly 50 years later.