SUNDAY MORNINGS

Worship 10:30 a.m.

Sunday mornings at First Congregational are designed to enhance the spiritual life of members and visitors alike.

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ADULT FORUM

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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

UPCOMING FORUMS

March 31:  Global Warming:  Part IV

Facilitator:   Jim Nourse

In conversations about social and environmental change, we frequently hear of the need for raising consciousness.  This is in keeping with Einstein's observation that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.  this discussion will examine consciousness as a universal factor, its non-local nature, and how it may be navigated and increased to higher levels so that our actions in the world are maximally harmonious and effective.  this discussion is the fourth in a series of FCUCC Adult Forums inspired by Matthew Fox's recent boo, "The Order of the Sacred Earth".

 

Dr. Jim Nourse is a spiritually-oriented psychologist and acupuncturist with a long standing interest in Eastern and ancient approaches to understanding and addressing human conditions.  He has been in practice 44 years and sees clients in Hendersonville and Brevard.  He has written two books - Simple Spirituality:  Finding Your Own Way and Aloah Mind:  Healting Self, Healing the World with Ho'oponopono.

 

 

 

April 4:  Writers' Forum

Facilitator:   Rand Bishop

Four times a year the Writers' Roundtable, composed of church members and community folks who meet monthly, will offer their work at the Adult Forum.  Writers - whether church members or not - are invited to attend and read their work (any genre).  Listeners are of course very welcome.  To sign up to read or if you have any questions, contact Rand Bishop randbishop33@gmail.com or 828-697-0090.



April 14:  The Best Three Months of Life

Facilitator:   Diane Swift

If you knew you had only three months to live, how would you want it to look?  Are you living your best three months now?  Are you where you want to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?  Are you happy with the relationships in your life?  We will explore the ways to make the last three months the best three months of your life, starting right now.

Diane Swift trained as a Sacred Passage Doula to assist people with end-of-life issues by helping people to normalize death and make death a peaceful, even joyous transition.  She was a psychotherapist for 40 years, currently is a Prayer Chaplain at Unity Church and assisted with the initial training of prayer chaplains at First Congregational.



April 21:  Easter - No Forum

April 28: Why Mary Oliver's Poetry Matters

Facilitator:   Tom Richie

Walter Brueggemann writes about the urgency and power of the "poetic word" for the worshipping congregation, a "community that has come all too often to expect nothing but prose."  He says that when the text of our lives is reduced to prose, "there is a dread dullness that besets the human spirit...we become so beaten by prose that only poetic articulation has a chance to let us live."  (Finally Comes the Poet, 9-10) Mary Oliver just may be the best contemporary poet to help us o vercome this "dread dullness" and to read the most important text of all, each person's own life.

Writing about Mary Oliver (1935 - 2-19) as a mystic poet of the natural world, Debra Dean Murphy says, "She remains true to what her work has always been about:  pointing readers to the gift of presence - reminding us, in the poems that are often deceptively simple, of what it means to attend to what is before us in any given moment."  Through more than 20 volumes of poetry, Oliver's poems have invited her readers to wake up, to listen, to ask questions, to be astonished, to face our mortality, and to bow often.  Her poems often evoke a deep spirituality, and many of them have been read, blogged, memorized and recited so often they are like an unbound book of common prayer.

Tom Richie, who has read, appreciated, and shared Oliver's poetry for many years, will lead us as we explore and respond to her work.  A native of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, he has been an ordained Presbyterian Minister for over 50 yeras.  He retired in 2008 and moved to Flat Rock in 2017.



May 5: How To die Young....As Late As Possible

Facilitator:   Bob and Fran German

Bob & Fran German, healthy-lifestyle advocates and authors, will help you discover the path to reversing your age and leading a more healthy, happy, purposeful, and youthful life....starting now!  This lively program includes a short video, a presentation of Bob & Fran's The Ten Strategies To Be Young At Any Age, and an interactive discussion.  Learn how to stay young in mind, body, heart, and spirit.  Don't miss this enlightening forum!

Bob and Fran German are an inspirational couple who are healthy-lifestyle proponents, mentors, and authors of "101 Ways To Be Young At Any Age!"  They believe that getting older does not have to mean getting sicker!  In their presentation, they share their knowledge based on years of wellness research, meeting wisdom teachers while traveling to more than 75 countries, and personal experiences, including overcoming life-threatening diseases.  Bob and Fran are not licensed health professionals and they advise everyone to get their doctor's approval before starting any new lifestyle regimen.


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WORSHIP SERVICE

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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

MUSIC AT FIRST CONGREGATIONAL...


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.


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CHILDCARE

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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

COFFEE HOUR

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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PARKING AND ACCESSIBILITY

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.

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DIRECTIONS

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.

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UCC
1735 FIFTH AVE W
HENDERSONVILLE, NC 28739
828-692-8630

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.