Sunday mornings at First Congregational are designed to enhance the spiritual life of members and visitors alike.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.


Contact us to learn more about First Congregational. 

Our worship service is a balance of participation among our pastor, the lay leader for the Sunday, and the congregation. Each Sunday, beginning at 10:30 am, the pastor offers a sermon based on a scripture reading, often connecting the passage to current events. We believe that Jesus had a passion for social justice and mission, and so does our pastor. It would not be unusual to hear him speak out against the denial of civil rights due to racism, sexism, and homophobia; inequality of opportunity and income; abuse of the environment; violence and war, and other injustices that contribute to brokenness in a world that needs healing.

Worship is enhanced by a variety of musical offerings, including our choir, member instrumentalists, and guest musicians from the community.

I finally found a church in which my understanding of God has been stretched, my experience of God’s spirit enlarged. In this place I feel surrounded by folks who take Jesus’ message seriously. I am so grateful to be part of this loving community.

Charlotte Shipley


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We provide a child-centered, caring facility for children during the worship service, including nursery, childcare, and a Sunday School program that uses the Progressive Christianity curriculum, incorporating free play time with guided instruction in basic Christian values through stories and activities.

First Congregational is what my husband and I were looking for in a church community...a place to question, a place to reflect, and a place to take action. My children get to experience the support and love of an open and affirming community and are taught values not just literal biblical stories. As a couple in our 40s, many of our peers have left organized religion. First Congregational is a place where we can raise our children by modeling social justice, inclusion, environmental stewardship, and progressive Christianity.

Kirsten Cone


Each Sunday after worship, congregants and visitors gather for coffee hour. Members volunteer to host and provide refreshments, while the church supplies fair-trade coffee. This special gathering offers opportunities to welcome newcomers, to experience the warmth of fellowship, and to be an integral part of church life.

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We are located in Laurel Park at the corner of Fifth Avenue and White Pine Road. This interactive map provides directions to the church from your location.

1735 5TH AVE W

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The Church has ample parking on each side of the building, including reserved spots for visitors.

Handicapped parking is located in both lots. The building is also accessible to wheelchairs and to people with special needs. During Worship, hearing devices and large print bulletins are available.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.


Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.

Most Sundays at 9:00 am, First Congregational holds our Adult Forum, which offers programs designed to encourage participants to explore new ideas and deepen their religious faith.

Congregants and visiting presenters provide lectures, videos, and discussions examining multiple aspects of spirituality, philosophy, other religions, Scriptural topics, health-related subjects, and more. All points of view are encouraged at this open exchange of ideas and views; there is no “correct” doctrine. Everyone, including visitors, is welcome to attend.

I came first to the Ashley Lecture Series and remember thinking any church that would have such interesting and challenging speakers must be special. So I came back to a service or two and went to a few Adult Forums. Consistently, I have been intellectually engaged by First Congregational's commitment to questioning, thinking, and life-long spiritual growth.

Roger Smith


July 30: Journeys of the Heart: Thoughts on a Recent Visit to Palestine

Facilitators: Rev. Lyndon Harris and Maria Lund

Is peace possible in the Middle East? What might that look like? Our presenters recently traveled to Palestine on a cultural exchange coordinated by the Amos Trust (a UK foundation) in partnership with singer/songwriter Martyn Joseph’s charity, “Let Yourself Trust” (also UK). Every day, except one, was spent in occupied territory: Bethlehem, the ancient city of Hebron, Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, and the Judean desert. Join us to hear them tell of their eye opening and life changing experiences.

Lyndon Harris is the Co-Director of Tigg’s Pond Retreat Center in Zirconia, NC. Harris is also a forgiveness coach and an inspirational and motivational speaker. He has spoken at numerous conferences across the US and around the world. His work in forgiveness is featured in the award winning documentary, “The Power of Forgiveness” (Journey Films, 2006).

Maria Lund is president and COO of First Sun EAP, a regional provider of employee assistance services in South Carolina. Maria has over 25 years of experience working in the counseling and EAP fields. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is a certified Employee Assistance Professional as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is a columnist and Chair of the “Journal of Employee Assistance,” the EAP industry’s professional publication.

August 6: Substance Use in the Older Adult

Facilitator: Rebecca Sharp-Cassanego

This Forum focuses on the often under-identified and under-addressed issue of substance misuse in adults over age 60. The discussion looks at the various substances commonly used, the physical and mental impacts on the aging, and reasons why this issue has continued to be a silent epidemic in our communities.


Rebecca Sharp-Cassanego is the RN Lead for the Vaya Health Geriatric and Adult Mental Health Specialty Team. Over the past 36 years. Rebecca has worked in multiple settings, including mental health and substance abuse. She has a passion for education and especially likes working with older adults around mental health issues. Says Rebecca, “Understanding the disease process, no matter what the diagnosis, positively impacts the well-being of both the individual and their loved ones.”

August 13: The Hitler Years through the Eyes of a Child

Facilitator: Charlotte Self

Charlotte Self will speak about her experiences growing up in Germany during the Hitler and Nazi years. The daughter of two physicians, she was raised by her grandmother and her mother who was an active member of the underground resistance movement. Charlotte considers the end of her childhood the infamous “Kristalnacht” on November 9, 1938, the beginning of the pogrom against the Jews.            

During an eight-year period, Charlotte was twice a refugee and an immigrant. She has live in England, Canada, and California and moved to Hendersonville in 2005 with her husband Sydney. She is active in the Unitarian Fellowship and the Lifelong Learning Program of Blue Ridge Community College. Last year she published a book about her unusual childhood, copies of which will be available at the Forum.

August 20: Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama

Facilitator: DVD Discussion

This DVD has won at least four major awards. It was written, directed and filmed by Rick Ray, a prolific producer of 12 films, who poses questions collected in his many travels. Examples include: How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when faced with violence? Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future?

August 27: Beyond Meditation -- Sing Yourself Free

Facilitator: Tina Firewolf

If you are looking for a simple and sustainable way to sink beneath your chatter, and want to gain the tools to navigate your inner world with ease, join us to remember the power of your voice to heal yourself whole. This is a day to build the relationship to your still centered point – your inner wisdom. Tina will walk you into a deeply meditative state with her Soul Song. You will gain a direct experience of your soul and tools to maintain your capacity for a higher state of mental functioning, joyful nature, and productive expression in your life.

Tina Firewolf is the author of a contemplative photography book, Beneath the Chatter, along with a Beyond Meditation CD of Soul Singing entitled Medicine Within. Tina is igniting the world’s people in elevating and navigating their human experience and stopping their downward spiritual spin. She shares the HOW of self-leadership and personal healing by empowering us to sing our souls free and lead everyday enlightened lives. She invites connecting with her at

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lifts spirits...offers hope...inspires joy...

expresses love...

nurtures potential...creates unity...praises God

The choir rehearses each Thursday afternoon from 3:30 to 5:00. Members of our choir family are enthusiastic,

committed, encouraging, and welcoming to all. Read about the joy being in the choir has brought to one of our members.

Membership in the choir is also open to non-church members from the community, high school through adult,

with no audition required.

We sing a variety of literature, from traditional classical anthems to spirituals to songs of social justice. We sing each

Sunday at our 10:30 worship gathering.

Instrumentalists both from within our church and our community are a regular part of our Sunday gatherings.

To learn more about the choir and other musical opportunities, call our Minister of Music, Mark Acker, at 615-430-3506.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.