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.

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. 


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


December 10: Beating Holiday Depression

Facilitator: Rebecca Sharp-Cassanego

Contrary to what is often portrayed in the media, holidays can be a time of difficulty for many people. Estrangement from family, loss of a loved one, family conflicts, and holiday stress can all contribute to low moods or depression. This Forum concentrates on the signs and symptoms of depression, current treatments, and ways to prevent and manage stress through the holiday season.

Rebecca Sharp-Cassanego is the RN Team 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 working with older adults around mental health issues such as dementia. Rebecca says that, “understanding the disease process no matter the diagnosis, positively impacts the well-being of both the individual and their loved ones.”

December 17: Movement and Music for Health, Relaxation, and Spiritual Deepening

Facilitator: David "Sotar" Hoffman

Song, chant, and movement offer wonderful and easily accessible pathways to shift our inner landscape of thoughts and feelings, quiet the mind, tap into our joy, improve our physical health, and nurture a deeper connection with our true essence and others.

This offering will explore a wonderful world of user-friendly possibilities to open our hearts, laugh, and quietly relax.  Don’t worry if you feel you can’t sing or are wheelchair-bound. This program has been enjoyed by all, including those with Parkinson’s.

David “Sotar” Hoffman is a heart-centered song, dance, and meditation leader with a background in counseling, special education, wellness counseling, Reiki healing, and yoga.

December 24: Christmas Eve, No Forum

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.

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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.