At First Church we honor the yearning for deeper relationships with one another and with God through many spiritual formation approaches, ranging from traditional Bible Study groups to Sunday-morning sessions. Led by our ministers and other teachers in our community, a variety of small groups meet our needs in different ways at different seasons. Through study, small group participation, and retreats; through worship, art, and spiritual practice; through multigenerational inquiry and creative outlets, we are exploring what it means to be God’s people in a modern world.
Opportunities for Exploring Your Faith
Our Adult Formation offerings on Sunday mornings are deep and varied. We offer staff- and lay-led presentations and discussions in the time before worship. During the pandemic, we meet at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom to connect on topics ranging from theological explorations of key themes in our tradition to book study to conversations on current events or the life of the church. All are welcome to participate, even if you are new to Christianity or First Church. Occasionally we offer more than one 9:30 track. Check the Sunday bulletin, First Glance (our e-newsletter), or our calendar for a listing of upcoming formation programs.
If you are looking for a way to dip your toes into the life of our church beyond Worship, Faith & Life Groups are for you! Led by First Church members, Faith & Life Groups help us make meaningful connections with each other through shared interests, exploring spiritual practices, delving into a challenging social issue, or attending to significant life stages (parenting, aging, job transitions, etc.). Group participation requires a short-term commitment (a single session to several weeks, depending on the group) with the option to extend the experience if the group desires. We regularly hear stories from people who join our Faith & Life Groups that the experience is delightful and sometimes transformational experience.
The most recent Faith and Life Groups ran in the Fall. Please watch for registration information for the Winter Faith and Life Groups beginning January 2021.
A small group gathers together on Zoom every Thursday evening at 6:00pm for Bible Study. A rotating schedule of First Church members lead these informal gatherings to further engage with the sacred text of our faith and to gain insight into how it might speak to us anew in our lives. The goal of the discussion is to deepen our understanding of the Bible to further enrich our faith and to form new connections and friendships along the way. We will not study merely as an academic discipline, but with the desire to know God more intimately.
Join us in reflecting on the writings of the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr. His teachings are as accessible as they are profound. If you would like to receive a daily reading to help you learn about and ground yourself more deeply in Christian tradition, especially through these trying times, you can sign up on the Center for Action and Contemplation’s website.
Senior Minister Dan Smith and Community Minister Alex Steinert-Evoy offer a drop-in call every other Thursday afternoon in which we can share brief reflections on the daily devotions for a given week. We are taking a break now until early 2021 but please contact them if you have any questions.
Twice a year, during Advent and Lent, we choose a theme to accompany us through the season, exploring it during our formation programs and worship services. One recent Lenten theme was “Making a Way Out of No Way.” In our gatherings, sermons, and prayers, we spoke honestly about our weariness and gloom in response to events in the news. We read James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and reflected on the mysterious power of God at work even amid the terrors of history. Advent and Lent are seasons in our life together that provide opportunities for deeper connection with each other and with God through these adult study programs.