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


December 31: World-Healing Meditation and Letter to God

Facilitator: Romella Hart-O'Keefe

This Forum has two parts. The first is a focus on our “interior world” as we write a letter to God about how we’d like our life to flow in the Now for every day in the coming year. We invite you to bring a self-addressed and stamped envelope so that the church can mail you your New Year’s letter 12 months from now. Thus, you will be able to compare your stated goals with what you accomplished during 2018.

The second part is an exterior focus, a World-Healing meditation that we will read together, joining millions of people around the world who traditionally pray this healing meditation on the morning of the last day of the year, setting intentions of peace, compassion, and care of all the earth for Now and for the coming year.

Romella Hart-O’Keefe is co-chair of Forum and has served as Assistant Moderator this past year.

January 7: Writers' Forum

Facilitator: Rand Bishop

This Sunday we’ll host the quarterly FCUCC Writers’ Forum. Writers – members of the church or not – who would like to read from their work (any genre) are invited to register in advance with Rand Bishop (828-697-0090). All are invited whether you wish to read or not. Note: The Writers’ group meets the fourth Thursday of every month in the Parlor at 11 am. Check with Rand for details.

January 14: Metaphors and Madness: Ways to Talk about God and Jesus

Facilitator: Larry Anderson

Larry will continue his discussion of our feeble attempts to speak of Divine Ideas and link these attempts to our past evolution through Ken Wilbur’s stages of development from the pre-rational to the transpersonal stages of human growth. He will talk about the contributions of modern theologian Karl Barth and “neo-orthodoxy” and Barth’s clarifying remarks on the Epistle to the Romans.

Dr. Anderson, a retired prison psychologist, was formerly a minister. He plays the guitar on our Communion Sundays and often presents these Forums.

January 21: Interfaith Practices for Spiritual Growth

Facilitator: Joan McKinney

All religious traditions stress the importance of spiritual practices for growth and development. In this Forum, depending on time constraints, four to six different practices will be introduced and demonstrated. They will include a Breathing and Meditation method common to many traditions; a Judaic Cabala mystical practice; Christian contemplation; an Islamic/Sufi ritual; and a practice from Tantric Buddhism. Joan will also assess whether there is sufficient interest in possible follow-up sessions at our church to delve deeper into some of these practices.

Joan has been involved for more than 40 years in spiritual practices of various kinds from all the major religions. Her teachers include Georgetown University Jesuits; Arthur Young, founder of the first Institute of Consciousness in America; Claudio Naranjo from Berkeley; Pir Vilayet, well-known American Sufi leader; and Sogyal Rimpoche, Tibetan Buddhist.  She has also studied Yoga, Reiki, Est/Landmark Education and various other healing techniques.

January 28: Death Thoughts

Facilitator: Dr. Don Emon

Death is a subject that many people choose not to talk about. In Don’s role as President of the local chapter of Compassion and Choices, and his recent recovery from cancer surgery, he has been thinking and reading about death. He will present many different ideas about death which he’s hoping will cause the audience to think more about the subject and be better prepared for death. As an example, death is often given as the primary reason for religion in that religion may provide answers to many questions associated with death. Time is planned for questions and comments.

Don has spoken at a number of Forums in the past several years. He has four college degrees, and is a retired nuclear scientist. He has represented Compassion and Choices for many years in this community; he is also quite active in IAM. He loves to lecture to varied audiences on many subjects.

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.