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.


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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


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

September 3: Our Beliefs and How They Are Formed

Facilitator: Dr. Don Emon

As we age, we form beliefs. A presentation of this process will be provided with emphasis on key developmental stages. These stages include: early years, teen years, early adult, and mature adult. We would probably agree that our beliefs change as we grow older. Some examples of each developmental stage will be provided. Since the Forum is a religious setting, Don will emphasize our religious beliefs. This is planned as a lively give and take with the audience.

Don Emon has spoken at a number of Forums the past two years. He has four college degrees, is a retired nuclear scientist, and is almost 80 years old. He believes he has learned much about life and about himself. Forum faithful Raymond Stone recently asked Don to give a talk on this subject. Don hopes to remind us of the psychology we have learned plus provide some new ideas. Don is very active in the community, especially with IAM and with Compassion and Choices of the Western Carolinas.

September 10: Science, Religion, and Emily Dickinson

Facilitator: Richard Brantley

There will be handouts of the poems to be considered.  No knowledge of Emily Dickinson is necessary.

Richard Brantley and his wife, Diana, have recently joined FCUCC.  Richard grew up on the campus of Virginia Intermont College, in Bristol, Virginia. He received degrees from Wake Forest and Princeton and is now an emeritus professor of English at the University of Florida. For 42 years, he taught courses in Romanticism, the history of criticism, and the Bible as literature. Having always gravitated to the debate between science and religion, Richard still writes about the Anglo-American Romantic struggle between the evidence of the senses and the stirrings of belief. He and Diana have often benefited from the Ashley Lectures.

September 17: A New Seventh Story

Facilitator: Joann Collins and Ben Coonrod

As a society and even personally, we live under the influence of six age-old paradigms based on fear and lack. Come to the Forum and hear about a new Seventh Story that is emerging at this time that is based on love and enough for all. This new story comes from the collaborative work of Brian McLaren and Gareth Higgins. (Brian McLaren has been a Distinguished Lecturer at FCUCC.)

In May, Joann and Ben attended the Movies and Meaning festival in Albuquerque and heard Brian and Gareth tell this story for the first time. They were so touched by the power of the presentation and its message that they would like to share it with us. JoAnne and Ben recently became members of our church and will be married here on September 30th.

September 21 and October 1: That's Life! Ecclesiastes and Jesus, Two Sages

Facilitator: Dr. Earle Rabb

This two-part series will focus on Ecclesiastes as an Old Testament wisdom teacher and Jesus as a New Testament wisdom teacher – where Jesus is similar to Ecclesiastes and where he differs.

Dr. Earle Rabb is a retired United Methodist minister. He is an experienced leader of numerous workshops and seminars and is the author of the book, The Case of the Missing Person: How Discovering Jesus of Nazareth Can Transform Individuals and Communities. An active member of the Jesus Seminar, he has spoken to our Forum several times. He and his wife, Ann, reside in Brevard, where they are  members of the Transylvania Unitarian Universalist congregation.

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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.