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.

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


February 25: Matter, Mother, Mater, Material: The Many Faces of God/Reality 

Facilitator: Larry Anderson


Join Larry Anderson, our most prolific Forum presenter, as he helps us clarify (or further confuse) our understandings about God and the First Commandment. Do not worship strange gods, but honor only the Higher Self God – or is our personal Higher Self synonymous with the Deity of whom we speak? One is reminded of these sayings from Thomas Merton: “God is not someone else”; Larry Anderson: “Codependence is a sin against the First Commandment”; and Jesus: “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”


Larry Anderson, besides being our resident guitarist philosopher, is a retired prison psychologist (state of Michigan) and a former UCC minister.


March 4: Planning for End of Life

Facilitators: Annie Fritschner and Sarah Leatham


Advanced Care Planning is a process to help your loved one know how to speak for you and honor your wishes if you are ever unable to make your own medical decisions. This planning is important for any adult 18 and over and should be revisited as your health status changes throughout your life and when you move to a new state.

Annie is a Palliative Care Chaplain and an Episcopal priest on Sabbatical, as well as a member of our choir. She has also been very active at Four Seasons and is a former board member and fund raiser. Sarah is the Community Education and Outreach Manager with Four Seasons. We welcome her to our church.

March 11: Peak Experiences -- A Revisit

Facilitators: Ed O'Keefe and other Peakers

In late 2012 Ed published his book, Take It From the Top: What To Do With a Peak Experience. In today’s Forum he will revisit what PE’s mean to the spiritual evolution of each “peaker” and to the whole human race. He will interview a number of area persons whose experiences were featured in the book. You won’t want to miss this uplifting and inspiring presentation. Copies of his book will be available for sale after the Forum.

A retired college administrator and teacher, Ed facilitates these Forums along with his wife, Romella. They have been members of this church for more than six years.

March 18: Chakras, Maslow, Waves, and Needs

Facilitator: Larry Anderson

The Ancients identified seven (at least) chakras (waves/levels/energies) on the human dance through Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.” Your experience of God/Self (always morphing) can be different at each wave. Prayer will vibrate uniquely at each level. At the early foundational levels, many will kill or die for their God/gang/ideals. Let’s consider some contemporary thinkers who explore these ideas.

Larry Anderson, retired psychologist and former Minister, also plays guitar on Communion Sundays.

March 25: "Oh no, it's for real" -- A Grief Workshop 

Facilitator: Carol Turano

It’s for real! Our beloved pastor, Dr. Richard Weidler, is retiring on Easter, and we need to come to grips with that reality. How is this accomplished? By healthy grieving, of course! (As a side note and just as important, if we are grieving, how much more must Richard be feeling the same?)

After teaching and tutoring elementary pupils for years, Carole heeded God’s call to Lancaster Theological UCC Seminary where she obtained a Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis on healing modalities and Spiritual Direction. Loving, listening, and helping the young and not so young heal, is Carole’s passion. She is a FCUCC prayer chaplain and invites everyone to consider in this Forum some often overlooked grief concepts and tools.

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


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

expresses love...

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

                                                               Music Heals + Beauty Heals + Love Heals

                                                     These three simple phrases guide the work of our choir.

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 open to everyone, high school through adult; members of the church and friends from the 

community are all welcome.

We sing a variety of literature in our 10:30 worship service each Sunday, from traditional classical anthems to spirituals

to songs of social justice.

Instrumentalists both from within our church and our community are also 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.


Contact us to learn more about First Congregational. 

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.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.


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.


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.


Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.