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


April 1: Easter Sunday, no Forum


April 8 : Subtle Activism

Facilitators: James Nourse and Ed O'Keefe


This Forum is based on a 2015 book by David Nicol, a Consciousness scholar and founder of the Gaiafield Project (See www.Gaiafield Project). Subtle Activism is defined as “spiritual or consciousness-based practices intended to support collective transformation.” The book offers information and many examples throughout history of how deliberate group consciousness can effect and affect social and political change. Nicol provides the first comprehensive treatment of the subject.

The Forum will combine the latest science on Consciousness and the power of communal intention, otherwise known as group prayer. We will be reminded of Jesus’ words: “If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt18: 19,20)

Jim Nourse recently joined our church. He is a psychologist and acupuncturist working out of Brevard.  He has written several books on Spirituality and is a specialist in Native Hawaiian spiritual practice. Ed O’Keefe coordinates the Forum with his wife Romella.  Ed is a retired college teacher and administrator. He is the author of a book on Peak Experiences.

April 15: Writers' Forum

Facilitator: Rand Bishop

Four times a year the Forum hosts the writers’ group composed of church members and community folks who meet monthly to share their writing. Members, or not, who would like to read from their work (any genre) are invited to register with Rand Bishop (697-0090) This month’s Forum coincides with a church art display whose theme is “Love Heals, Music Heals, Beauty Heals.”  Writers are invited, not required, to select readings related to this theme.

Rand Bishop, a retired university professor of English, coordinates our Writers’ Group.

April 22: Individual Practices for Spiritual Growth 2

Facilitator: Joan McKinney

In January, Joan presented part 1 of this subject. She discussed and demonstrated several different practices used by various spiritual traditions including Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as several common to all traditions. She now continues to draw from this rich lode by demonstrating other spiritual practices.

Joan has been active in this field for over 40 years. She has experienced many practices and has been taught by distinguished leaders such as Pir Vilayet (Sufi) and Sogyal Rimpoche (Tibetan Buddhist), and Arthur Young, founder of the first Institute of Consciousness in America.

April 29: Anxiety in the Older Adult

Facilitator: Rebecca Sharp-Cassanego


Anxiety Disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. Developing an anxiety disorder late in life, while common, is not a normal part of aging. In this discussion, we will look at current theories surrounding anxiety, the different types of anxiety disorders, evidence-based treatments, and tips on how to manage symptoms of anxiety.


Rebecca Sharp-Cassanego is the 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 likes working with older adults around mental health issues such as dementia. Says Rebecca, “Understanding the disease process no matter

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.