Worship 10:30 a.m.

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 15 : Revisiting Ashley Lecture:  Bishop spong

Facilitator:   Larry Anderson

The Fourth Gospel; Tales of a Jewish Mystic by Bishop J. S. Spong presents a mystical picture of Jesus very different from other New Testmanet writers.  Spong's many books, like most of the bible scholars who have done the Ashley Lecture series at FCCH, explore "rescuing the Bible from fundamentalism and literalimsm:

Rev. Larry Anderson is a frequent presenter at Forum and a member of our church for 15 years.  From a nothern Illinois dairy farm to the Chicago Theological Seminary to parish ministry to 25 years as a psychotherapist in Michigan, Larry likes to bring an attitude of curiosity and discussion to the Forum.


December 22:  : No Forum today


December 29: Release and Renew

Facilitator:  Romella Hart O'Keefe

This is an end of the year celebration.  The burning bowl ceremony is an opportunity to release to God negative thoughts, feelings, memories and habits that we have clung to during the year.  Writing down what we are leasing and committing it it to the flame, opens us to the possibilities of new beginnings.  With clarity of mind and in anticipation of beginning again, you will be invited to write a letter to God about your hopes and prayers for the New Year.  These letters will be kept for you until December 1st 2020 when they will be mailed back to you.  Finally, we will end with a White Stone ceremony to celebrate your anticipated new beginning.  Please join us for this blessed time of release and renewal.


Romella Har-O'Keefe is Co-Facilitator of our church's Pryaer Chaplain Program.  She retired from a position with Erie County in Buffalo, NY where she was first Director of the Early Intervention Program for children with Disabilities in Erie County, Buffao, NY.


January 5:  8 Habits of Love    6:  Play

Facilitator:   Rev. Karla Miller

We continue our monthly facilitated discussion of Ashley lecturer Ed Bacon's 8 Habits of Love, with a focus on PLAY!  Not only will we have discussion, there will also be hand-on opportunities to PLAY!!  Rev. Karla Miller will lead the discussion.

January 12:  Soulful Trees

Facilitator:   Mary Eichorn


The Connection Between Trees and Me – Mary Eichorn


This will be an interactive workshop in which we will be reflecting on the diversity, beauty, and soul found in trees to help us gain insight into the wisdom inherent in our own souls.  A photographic exhibit will be used to help us reconnect with our core humanity and unearth qualities we may have forgotten, such as:  resourcefulness, regenerativity, reliability, resiliency, and hope.


Mary Eichorn received an undergraduate degree from Kennesaw State University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia.  Currently retired, she has lived in Hendersonville for the past 5 years.  She was a practicing psychotherapist/counselor.   Mary, being a tree lover, has found a home here amongst our beautiful flora.  She has come to believe that the trees have much wisdom to impart…especially since they predate us by centuries.  She, therefore, started snapping photos of trees, eventually adding words, and the results, hopefully, tell a story of their lives.


January 19:  Return to El Paso

Facilitator:   Annie Fritschner

Shawn Kelly went to El Paso in the spring to support immigrants seeking asylum.  When she returned home she told a compelling, emotional story about the conditions on the border.  More recently, Annie Fritschner returned to El Paso and will recount the changes at our southern border.

January 26:  The Writers' Forum

Facilitator:   Randy Bishop

The Writers' Forum is devloted to our writers, whether church members, friends, or visitors.  The writer reads his or her own work, any genre, to the group.  If you'd like to read, please contact Rand Bishop at 808-697-0090 or  Come support our creativity!

Rand, a retired college professor of English, facilitates a Writers' Roundtable every fourth Thursday morning at the church.

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.

If needed, there is overflow parking available across the street (White Pine & 5th) at the Laurel Park Town Hall and the Park.

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.