By PHYLLIS HODGES
Since 1976, South Shore residents have furthered their “lifelong” learning experiences with classes at the Community Church College in Sun City Center. Going forward, starting with the fall semester, the school — now renamed Center 4Life Learning — has a new home in the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1210 W. Del Webb Boulevard. It also has adopted a new motto: Learning Is Forever.
Course and trip information can be found at the school’s website (www.4lifelearning.org) and in catalogs now available around the community and at the school’s office. The first class is Sept. 30 and the last one is Nov. 22. Depending on the class, units can be one to seven sessions — all led by volunteers wishing to give back to their community by sharing their knowledge and talent. Their objective: Contribute to the school’s purpose “to inform, entertain and inspire.” Cost for a regular course of six classes is $35. Walk-in fee per session (for unlimited-size classes only) is $7. Cost of the 10 trips/tours offered varies from $24 to $42.
Larry Piechoski, now in his sixth year as the school’s office manager, is psyched about the new venue and new name. “It is all very exciting. The congregation here has been very supportive, and we are seeing a higher level of class enrollments compared to those who attended the South Shore Church of Christ,” he said. In his view, a couple of factors are contributing to that — a larger congregation (1,000 to 2,500, depending on the season) and many of them just becoming aware that the school exists.
Although the school has been folded into the church’s Community Connections Ministry, it is still operated autonomously. That means all curriculums and programs are planned and implemented independent of the church, and all course material and opinions of the instructors are not to be construed as that of the United Methodist Church of SCC.
To help smooth the transition, two church staff members – Associate Pastor Pam DeDea and Director of Ministries Pat Hill – are serving as deans of the school. (Piechoski calls them co-deans.) They acknowledge that fitting the school’s 45 classes into the church’s activity schedule has been challenging, but they are thrilled to be a part of this outstanding service to the South Shore area.
The college draws from surrounding communities because there is no Sun City Center residency requirement for attending. Mail order enrollment forms are included in the catalog, or a form can be printed from the website (above). Those who prefer to sign up personally can stop by the office, normally Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to noon.
The Center 4Life Learning (formerly Community Church College) began as a mission of the United Community Church (now South Shore United Church of Christ). at 1501 La Jolla Avenue in Sun City Center in 1976. Then pastor Dr. Robert Gingery felt the area offered a lot of activities but needed more to challenge the intellect and keep the mind active.
For questions about the school’s classes, trips, etc., call 813-634-8607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.