Feasting on the WordFirst Congregational United Church of Christ believes that education is a life long spiritual practice. We are Living Our Faith Together  (L.O.F.T.)  Our children and youth are involved in programs using the Feasting on the Word curriculum published by John Knox Press. Adult Bible Workbench that meets at 9:15 am on most Sunday mornings for a lively discussion of biblical texts being explored that Sunday.  Along with our preachers, learners follow the revised common lectionary. More information about the scope and sequence of the curriculum is available at  http://www.feastingontheword.net/Pages/Item/1444/Curriculum.aspx

Child care providers are carefully screened and a Child Welfare Policy adopted in 2012 guides all adult volunteers. Parents are requested to fill in a form for each child, so that we have adequate information. L.O.F.T. Family Information Form.  Read our Safe Church Policy.

Read our Child Welfare Policy

Many of our explorations and activities are inter-generational, while other programs recognize and include special interests, provide age appropriate groupings and one time excursion opportunities.

 

Running the Race of Faith Together2017 – 2018 Sunday School Year.  This Fall, the children and youth of First Church will be running the race of faith!  Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews calls upon us to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”  Life’s journey of faith requires joy, courage, love, and the knowledge that God is with us.  But how do we run the race at home, in our school, in our communities, and with the people in our lives? Read more...
Youth Mission TripAugust 6-11.  Some of the highlights of this trip will include:  Three days of volunteering with the Housing Development Alliance where we will work with seasoned carpenters to help build homes for Appalachian families; an Appalachian Meal offered by our hosts, First Presbyterian Church of Hazard County, KY; learning about the cultural significance and power of stories from Dee Davis of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, KY; attending an Appalachian concert and a dance at the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School; a hike up to Cascade Falls in southwest Virginia.Read more...
Summer Sunday School This summer, the youth and children will be learning about the Sanctuary Movement.  In the spring, First Church officially became a Sanctuary Church, calling itself a congregation who will act on behalf of and in solidarity with all those who are persecuted. Over the course of seven weeks, the children will learn, in an age-appropriate manner, about the Sanctuary Movement through books, story sharing, arts and music.Read more...
Confirmation Journey 2017confirmationParents’ Gathering, Sunday, November 13, 12 PM – 1 PM, Living Room.  In January, a remarkable group of junior and high school students will begin the confirmation journey.  To prepare for this journey, we are inviting parents for an important conversation about hopes and expectations.  In the past 12 months, it’s been wonderful to see this group grow in faith through Sunday school, community service, an urban ministry retreat, and taking leadership roles in worship.Read more...
Adult Nurture: October 29500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  On Sunday, October 29, First Church will commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation with the special worship service, “Faith Not Fear,” and an Adult Nurture session following worship. The Nurture will focus on the UCC resource A Study Guide for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and the historian Martin E Marty’s October 31, 1517: Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World. Read more...
Adult Nurture on October 15: Climate ActionThe federal government may be stocked with those who deny climate change, but the scientific consensus has become rock solid and the effects of climate change are appearing now in increased heat, melting ice, desertification, extreme storms, sea level rise, wildfires, ocean acidification, coral destruction, and many other consequences.  What can be done collectively and individually?  What does God call each of to do? Our guest at this nurture will be Vicki Arroyo, an internationally respected law and policy expert and Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center. http://www.georgetownclimate.org.Read more...
Faith and Justice: Labor in the PulpitFirst Church will use the week of Labor Day to call forth beloved community and justice for workers, working families and a living wage.  September 8:  Documentary screening and panel discussion of “Union Time,” the story of the successful effort to organize workers at the Smithfield Processing Plant in Tar Heel, NC.  The panel includes the filmmaker, as well as local and national labor and faith leaders.Read more...
Theology Reading Group, June 27Tuesday June 27, 6:30 PM. The Wounded Healer:  Ministry in Contemporary Society by Henri J. M. Nouwen. The Wounded Healer is a profoundly simple book that speaks directly to people who want to be of service in their church or community, but have found traditional ways threatening or ineffective.  Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures and religious traditions in preparing a new model for ministry.  Weaving cultural analysis with psychological and religious insights, Nouwen proposes a theology of service that begins with the realization of fundamental woundedness in human nature.  Read more...
Theology Reading Group, March 28, 6:30 PMReading Group MarchWhy Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohamed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, by Brian McLaren.  Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths?  In this book, Brian McLaren proposes a new faith alternative, one built on "benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility."  Read more...
The Future of Christian Unity, May 14Sunday, May 14 at 12:00 PM. We are delighted to welcome Father John Crossin, OSFS, lead a discussion about the significance of ecumenism and interfaith partnerships in the 21st century. Father Crossin is a trained moral theologian and ethicist, who has become an international leader on ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. He most recently served as executive director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in 2011.Read more...
Theology Reading GroupTuesday May 23, 6:30 PM. Truth Speaks to Power: The Countercultural Nature of Scripture by Walter Brueggemann. World-renowned biblical interpreter Walter Brueggemann invites readers to take a closer look at the subversive messages found within the Old Testament. Brueggemann asserts that the Bible presents a "sustained contestation" over truth, in which established institutions of power do not always prevail.Read more...
Special Guest Preacher/Speaker on May 7Rev. Marvin Ellison.  On May 7 we will be joined by the Rev. Marvin Ellison, member of First Congregational Church, UCC in South Portland, Maine, who will share his church's recent experience with conversations about white privilege.  Marvin is a leading Christian ethicist, former professor of ethics at Bangor Seminary, and current director of Alumni Relations at Union Theological Seminary.  He will be our guest preacher that day.  The Anti-Racism working group is sponsoring a nurture following worship to discuss the anti-racism strategy, led by Rev. Ellison. Read more...
Theology Reading Group, April 25, 6:30 PMParables of Jesus The Parables of Jesus (Jesus Seminar), by Robert Funk, et al.  Jesus died in about 30 CE.  The first gospels were not written for several decades after that, and in the intervening years, Jesus’ teachings were preserved by oral tradition.  This short book focuses on the parables of Jesus, which tell us so much about his understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The book sifts through the parables and reaches conclusions about which of the parables are most likely to have been taught by Jesus.Read more...
A Deeper Conversation About Hospice, April 9Hospice How Do We as a Community Support One Another in End of Life Decisions? 12 PM.  This is an important follow-up conversation to the nurture on Hospice in November.  The goal is to identify practical ways that we as a community of faith can support one another during the end of our lives. We will be reviewing advance directives and living wills and outlining the legal protocols regarding the power of attorney.  We will also be brainstorming ways that we, as a church community, can provide family-type support to church members as they approach the end of their life.Read more...
Showing of “13th,” Documentary by Ava DeVurnaySunday, March 19 at 12:00 PM. 13thOn Sunday, March 19, we will host an extended nurture, during which we will show Ava DeVurnay’s celebrated documentary “13th.”  The film explores the nexus among race, justice, and mass incarceration and suggests that today’s over-incarceration of African Americans is an extension of slavery.  Although the 13th Amendment banned slavery in the U.S., it allows an exception “for the punishment of a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The 100-minute film will begin at noon in the Community Hall.  It will be followed by a discussion that will end at 2:30 p.m.Read more...
Theology Reading Group: February 28, 6:30 PMPowers that BeThe Powers That Be:  Theology for a New Millenium, by Walter Wink,  reclaims the divine realm as central to human existence by offering new ways of understanding our world in theological terms.  Walter Wink reformulates ancient concepts, such as God and the devil, heaven and hell, angels and demons, principalities and powers, in light of our modern experience.  He helps us see heaven and hell, sin and salvation, and the powers that shape our lives as tangible parts of our day-to-day experience, rather than as mysterious phantoms.Read more...