Lifelong Learning Institute


The Lifelong Learning Institute Announces its 2016 Fall 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.

Fall Courses

Sept. 6, 8, 13, 15; 3:00-4:30 p,m.
Judy Wenig Horswell
Women Artists Now

With a brief introduction to the activities of women artists in the 1970’s as a foundation, the focus will shift to active artists of the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. These active artists, some familiar and others less so, will be selected to represent a range of media, technique, subject matter, perspective, and national origin. There will be discussion of both the process and content of their work. Judy taught both studio and art history classes at Goshen College and in retirement helped establish the Goshen Jewelers Guild.

Sept. 19, 21, 26, 28; 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Jacob Elias
Jesus: His Family, Friends and Followers

When he was informed that members of his family were looking for him, Jesus said to those around him, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  We will explore how Jesus related to his own family and his followers, including his mother Mary, Peter, Mary Magdalene, and "the beloved disciple." We will also consider how James the Lord’s brother, the disciple Peter, and Paul the apostle got along with each other after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Elias is Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, where he taught Biblical Survey and courses on Paul’s letters. 

Oct. 3, 5, 10, 12; 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Larry App
Inspirational Women and Men

We will examine the lives of a variety of inspirational men and women, inspired by Eric Metaxas’ two books Seven Women, and Seven Men. The women were chosen precisely because of their identity as women, not in spite of it, and their greatness has nothing to do with being measured against men, or with competing against them. The men who were chosen also surrendered themselves to a higher purpose—that of giving something away that they might have kept.  Included are such greats as Susannah Wesley, Mother Theresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and George Washington.  Larry App is a local videographer known for his recording of “Life Stories.”  

Oct. 18, 20, 25, 27; 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Mark King
Retirement Past, Present & Future

Over the past one hundred years the concepts of life in retirement have changed, and the next fifty years will bring even more significant changes in how we experience these “golden years.” The first fifty years focused on life in “old people’s homes,” and the next fifty years brought an enhanced emphasis on providing meaningful living for senior citizens. The coming fifty years will see the inclusion of technology and of life-altering drugs that enhance the aging process.  The classroom format will include data, stories from the past, and opportunities to share family experiences from each time period.  Dr. King is President & CEO of Greencroft Communities.

Nov. 2, 4, 7, 9; 10:000-11:30 am
Alan Kreider 
The Growth of the Church in the Roman Empire

The growth of the early church continues to astonish. How could a network of dubious groups gain strength even though illegal, despised by the respectable, and likely to get their adherents in trouble? And how could they grow without seeming to try – without writing about growth or urging evangelism? We will look at the early Christians’ attractions, note their stance of “patience,” and tell stories of outsiders who found a home in their life and worship. We will make extensive use of early Christian writings and works of art. Kreider lived in England for thirty years, and taught church history and mission at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. His newest book is The Patient Ferment of the Early Church.

Nov. 14, 16, 21; 2:00 – 4:00pm 
Kelby Rose
World War II & Elkhart County

World War II touched the lives of millions, gave shape to the 20th century, and is a popular topic among historians. But often the most compelling stories are found in local communities. With local documents and artifacts, Director Kelby and his staff from the Elkhart County Historical Museum will illustrate its effect on our own community.  Participants will also be invited to share their own stories of and surrounding this war of 70 years ago, and to reflect on how its effects are still felt in our everyday lives.  Please note the somewhat unusual schedule of two hours each day for only three days. 

Nov. 28, 30, Dec. 1, 5; 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Mary Oyer
The Festival of Carols

We will study the music to be performed at the annual Festival of Carols at Goshen College on December 2, 3, and 4.  The choirs and orchestra will perform a wide range of music—both familiar and new, American and international.  Class guests may include some of the directors and student performers, as available.  Special note:  the Thursday session will feature the class’s exclusive attendance at the afternoon dress rehearsal.  In our final session we will discuss various aspects of the performance.  Dr. Oyer is distinguished Professor Emeritus of music and fine arts at Goshen College.

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. At Greencroft Goshen, members receive the reduced resident rate for special events, and free transportation from Greencroft Goshen to LLI classes 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