Lifelong Learning Institute


The Lifelong Learning Institute Announces its 2017 Spring Courses.

LLI is also now on Facebook! Find reminders about upcoming courses, photos from classes and additional information.


The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County provides stimulating and affordable short courses in many fields for active seniors. Courses are held in fall and spring, in addition to a lecture series in midwinter. There are no tests or grades — just the joy of learning. No previous studies or degrees are required.

LLI course brochures are available at the Greencroft Goshen Community Center (1820 Greencroft Blvd.) and the Goshen College Welcome Center (1700 S. Main St., 574-535-7566), as well as at other community locations.

Classes typically meet for one and a half hours, twice a week, for two weeks, though schedules may vary. LLI instructors are usually seniors themselves, often former teachers, professionals or others with special interests in the area of their course. They volunteer their time. The courses provide for lively discussion.  Courses are held at Goshen College, the Goshen Public Library, Greencroft Goshen and other suitable community locations.  Restrictions on class size may apply. Some courses may require extra fees for supplies, transportation or tickets.

Spring Courses

Global Faiths
Marlin Jeschke
Mar. 6, 8, 13, 15; 10:00-11:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen
Community Center
The global Christian landscape has seen a broad variety of denominations, varieties, and movements. Most recognize each other within the Christian family, but some may be regarded as unorthodox or even heretical. We will consider a broad range of these: their history, their beliefs, and their practices—the types of topics that his popular Goshen News columns touch on. Jeschke taught at Goshen College for 33 years: on world religions, philosophy, theology, and religion in America.


The World in a Rectangle
John Blosser
Mar. 20, 22, 27, 29; 9:30-11:00 OR 2:00-3:30
Goshen College Cabin
In this experiential drawing class, we will learn basic skills and contexts, then use them to draw some of the beauty of early spring. We will be inspired by both historic and contemporary masters. The course is available to both beginning and experienced students. Participants should be able to walk with drawing materials to several work sites. Blosser has taught art at both Hesston and Goshen College; he continues to create and show his drawings both locally and nationally. Please note: 1.) An extra fee of $15 is required for basic drawing materials. 2.) Two “sections” are offered in order to accommodate more participants; please register for EITHER the 9:30 OR the 2:00 session.


How We Read the Bible Today
Don Blosser
Apr. 3, 5, 10, 12; 10:00-11:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen
Community Center
The Bible is accepted as the sacred text for most Christians. And indeed it is, but what makes it sacred? How can we read these sacred writings in a way that has integrity for us and our children in a world so vastly different from when they were written 2000 years ago? Does the Bible contain God’s final Truth for the faith community? These and your own questions will guide our discussion. Blosser taught Bible at Goshen College
for many years, and brings both pastoral experience and theological studies in Scotland to bear on these questions.


A Walk Back Through Goshen’s History
Everett Thomas
Apr. 18, 20, 25, 27; 2:00-3:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen
Community Center
Thomas will coordinate this four session course beginning with a review of his nearly quarter century on the City Council. The following two sessions will
scan an earlier time period with deep dives into certain events and crises in Goshen’s history. The final session will feature Luke Gascho, director of Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Center, focusing on the indigenous peoples who lived in the Goshen area before the settlers arrived. Thomas currently serves as the Executive Director of the Greencroft Communities Foundation.


Birds. And Why They Matter
Melissa Kinsey
May 1, 3, 8, 15; 2:00-3:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen
Community Center
Do you listen for the songs of birds, and see their nests and joyful flights? We will learn ways to identify their visual markings, songs, habitats, nests, behaviors, migration patterns, and the impact of environmental changes upon them. Birds are found everywhere: in gardens, farms, city parks, and near skyscrapers. Birders listen for each faint call, and watch for the flick of a tail. Birds help keep our world in balance by dispersing seeds, pollinating plants, eating carcasses, and recycling nutrients. They lift our spirits, mark the seasons, and remind us of creation’s incredible beauty. Join us for a celebration of Birds. Kinsey is an avid birder, a Certified Master Naturalist, has served the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and is a professor at Goshen College.


News in a Post-Fact Society
Duane Stoltzfus
May 22, 24, 31, June 2; 10:00-11:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen
Community Center
We will trace the evolutionary arc of news, from café conversations to social media. We think of news as a social sense, a deep and abiding need to connect to others and to what is going on in the world. That seemed simple enough when news trickled out at the top of the hour; now that news gushes without end from the Internet and mobile devices, we need a new frame of reference. We’ll explore some of the high points (fact checking) and low points (fake news) in the world of news, and best practices for staying informed and wellbalanced. Stoltzfus is Professor of Communication at Goshen College. **Note unusual schedule, to avoid the May 29 holiday.


Membership & Fees

Who is eligible for membership? Persons 55 and older are welcome. You do not need to have attended college or to live at a retirement community. The LLI membership year runs from July 1 through June 30.

The benefits of membership: Your first course is free and additional courses are half price. For members residing in HUD housing all courses are free. Your LLI member card also entitles you to privileges at the Goshen College library and free admission to home Goshen College athletic events. With professor approval you may also audit approved classes at Goshen College for a reduced fee. Greencroft Goshen will provide free transportation from GG to LLI classes held at other locations..


  • Membership is $50 per academic year (from July 1-June 30). A member’s first course is free and additional courses are half price.
  • For persons in HUD housing, membership is $10 and all courses are free. For non-member HUD residents, classes are $10. 
  • Most courses for non-members are $40.

Community Involvement

LLI is a member organization in which participants assist with curriculum planning and help to guide decisions on publicity and finance. There are 11 LLI board members.  Four are appointed by the sponsoring organizations, Goshen College (2) and Greencroft Communities (2). Four are elected by membership from members. Three are from the community-at-large and are elected by the board.

LLI is cosponsored by Goshen College and Greencroft Communities.

The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is part of a grassroots movement.  Retiring seniors everywhere are seeking stimulation, continued growth, and connections to others with similar interests. Our local LLI is a member of The Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN), a national network of similar programs.

Contact Us

If you have questions, want a course offering brochure, or need further information, please contact Directors Wilbur and Fanni Birky by phone at 574-533-6352 or by e-mail at