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Adult Education & Faith Formation

Sunday Classes and Groups


Adult classes typically meet during the 9:15-10:15am education hour on Sundays, concurrently with classes for children and youth.  Sunday classes meet in person or in a hybrid format, with the options of participating in person or online via OWL technology.

Continuing Dialogue about the Palestine-Israel Conflict - Sunday, April 7, at 9:15am

This gathering is a joint offering by the Social Justice Committee and Adult Christian Education. Come together for dialogue about the Israel-Palestine conflict. This will be an informal but important time to review and reflect upon our shared and individual learning and consider next steps toward education and action.

Contact person:  Tom Butler, Social Justice Committee Chair, at theo1033@comcast.net.


Messy Church - first Sunday of each month through May 5, 9:00-10:15am in Great Hall

Life is rarely neat and tidy. But God isn’t afraid to enter the mess.

Messy Church is an opportunity for children, families, and adults to engage in hands-on creative activities, celebratory worship, and time together in community.

Messy Church, a different kind of Sunday School for children and adults, is offered on the first Sunday of the monthm fall through spring from 9:0010:15 a.m. in Great Hall, and continuing on the first Sunday of each month  throughout the program year. While walkins are welcome, your RSVP helps us plan appropriate amounts of food and materials.

Questions? Please contact Colin McDonald, Director of Children’s Ministry, at colin@faithatfirst.com.

Finding God in the Natural World: A Spiritual Revolution - Sundays, April 14, 21,28, May 5, 9:15am

Please join us (in person or online) for any or all of this four-week exploration of nature as God’s first sacred text. Participants will be invited into a deeper understanding of God through nature.

Three weeks will be a group discussion facilitated by Judith Campbell and inspired by the ideas from Diana Butler Bass’ book Grounded: Finding God in the World – A Spiritual Revolution. On April 21 we will participate in the presentation by Rev. Emily Carroll, Northern Field Director for Green the Church, an organization working to expand the role of African American churches as centers for environmental and economic justice.

Reading the book ahead of time would be helpful but is not required for participation. All are welcome. Those wishing to purchase the book, can find copies for sale at the church office or other book sellers.

Registration is preferred, but drop-ins are welcome. This class will be available online using OWL technology for those who are pre-registered.

Questions?  Please contact Judith Campbell at judithc@me.com.

Homelessness in Evanston - Sunday, May 5, at 9:15am

Join us as we pick back up on our fall 2023 discussion of homelessness in Evanston to learn about current services for those experiencing housing and food insecurity and explore our response as a Faith Community.

Questions?  Contact Colin McDonald at colin@faithatfirst.com.

The Invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the Impact on the Role of the Orthodox Church - Sunday, May 12, 9:15am

Led by Bruce Rigdon, pastor, scholar, theological educator, and activist, and sponsored by the Social Justice Committee. Questions? Contact Tom Butler at theo1033@comcast.net

Recap of General Conference - Sunday, May 19

Details to come.  Questions?  Please contact Henry Carrigan, Adult Christian Education Council co-chair, at carjrn@aol.com.

Faith and Parenting - Sundays at 9:15am

Faith and Parenting

Sundays at 9:15am in Room 24

Faith & Parenting offers a weekly opportunity  for parents at all stages to share and reflect on how their personal and familial faith journeys are nurtured and challenged through the vocation of parenting. Brief guided reflections based on scriptures shared in Children’s Sunday school will accompany each session.

Contact person:   Colin McDonald, Director of Children’s Ministry, at colin@faithatfirst.com.

Abide - Sundays at 9:15am

Abide provides ongoing space for spiritual connection to God, mutual support in community, and faith formation in the ways that lead to life. This gathering is open to all who seek to abide with Jesus through the Spirit in the company of friends.

Abide meets Sunday mornings at 9:15am in person and online via OWL techology.  New participants are always welcome.  Please contact Mari Leonard at mari.leonard@comcast.net.

Inquirers Class - Sundays, April 7-28, 11:30-1:30pm

The Inquirers Class is an opportunity to 

  • Explore First Church, its people and ministries, Methodist theology, and the global United Methodist Church
  • Reflect on your faith journey: Where are you now? What “spiritual food” do you need? 
  • Discern whether this faith community is a good fit for you, and if you would like to  become a member.

The class is led by Pastor Grace Imathiu, Mary Taylor-Johnson, and other church leaders.  In addition to the class sessions, Inquirers typically gather for hands-on experience with our large mission and outreach projects (soup kitchen and diaper bank) and serve in worship one Sunday.

Curious? Want more info?  Please contact Mary Taylor-Johnson, Director of Membership and Communications, at mary@faithatfirst.com.

Covenant Hike Group - first Sunday of each month at 2:00pm

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” – George Washington Carver

The Covenant Hike Group invites all who have a wonder of the natural world to share nature immersion with each other through 3 seasons while experiencing the presence of God. The format is simple. We begin with a brief reading (scripture or poem), hike along while sharing joys and concerns, and appreciate 5 minutes of silence at mid-point. Each hike concludes with an optional, brief time of sharing about our experiences on the hike, closing prayer, and a cool or hot drink.  All ages are welcomed.

Each month we will meet at a designated location at 2 p.m., hiking various paths in our area for about an hour at a comfortable pace for everyone. The group will meet each first Sunday through May and participants may join in as schedules allow.
All who participate are welcomed to share in ownership. The wonder of the natural world and God’s presence in it is limitless.

Facilitators: Jim Johnson and Lee Rader. If interested, please contact Jim at jjohnso@luc.edu to be placed on the distribution list.

Faith Around the Table - first Sunday of each month, 5-7pm

This group is currently at capacity.

Are you hungry for deeper discussion with members of your First Church community that goes beyond the usual Sunday morning chit chat (as lovely as that may be)? This new group is for you! Once a month, we’ll gather for a potluck dinner and discuss a topic or prompt relating to faith and spirituality. We may explore a question or theme from a recent sermon, or try answering John Wesley’s favorite question: “How is it with your soul?” Topics will vary based on the group’s input. Andrew and Amy Schumacher will lead the group and host the first meeting with potential for others to host subsequent dinners or use church space. All are welcome, this is NOT a couples group. Monthly dinners will be on first Sundays from 5pm to 7pm with the first meeting on Nov. 5th. The group will commit to six months and then reassess.

Please email Andrew (andrew.r.schumacher@gmail.com) with questions.  Come join us for good food and real honest discussion!

Ongoing Weekday Groups

Several groups gather regularly during the year for Bible study, discussion and reflection on faith-related issues in a supportive environment.  Note that some of these groups meet online.

Learning the Prayer of Examen - Tuesdays, April 2 - May 14, 8:30-9:00pm (online)

The Prayer of Examen is a spiritual practice of reviewing the day to retune ourselves to the sacred in ordinary life. Usually lasting 15-20 minutes and done in the evening, the prayer prompts us to remember God’s presence, express gratitude, reflect on the day, and prepare for the day to come. The Faith Formation Council is offering the opportunity to learn this beautiful spiritual practice via zoom on Tuesday evenings, April 2 – May 14, from 8:30pm – 9:00pm. Participants will learn the history of the practice originated by St. Ignatius Loyola, the five steps of the practice, experience one step together each week, & reflect on trying the practice individually between meeting times.

Facilitators: Lee Rader, Tom Scott
Contact Tom to sign up: tom.scott.goblue@msn.com

Wednesday Bible Study - Wednesdays 10-11:30am (online)

The Wednesday Bible Study is a longstanding group that meets online every Wednesday 10-11:30am with the exception of a short break in the summer.   

Please contact Janet Lutz at janetatl@aol.com with any questions.

Progressive Christianity Reading Group - Thursdays 1:00-2:15pm (online)

First Church’s Progressive Christians Reading Group invites new and former participants to participate as the group gathers each Thursday 1:00-2:15pm online to discuss and reflect on selected books, typically one book per month.

Interested? Email Bonnie Beckonchrist at bbeckonchrist@gmail.com to be included on the group mailing list for current/upcoming reading and the online meeting link. A copy of the book may be borrowed from the church office.

God's Story, Our Stories - Thursdays 7:00-8:30pm (online)

The Lectionary Bible Study Group meets online each Thursday evening. We are a band of curious explorers, reflecting upon the lectionary passages for the coming Sunday. We ask many questions. We have “ah ha” moments in our discussions. We attempt to unearth how these ancient stories inform our current day stories. We deeply seek to live out our best understanding of the heart of these stories week by week in the midst of our common humanity. Several group members rotate the facilitation.

Come and join us! You may be placed on the group distribution list by contacting Bill Brown at bbrown@wwbrown-inc.com.

Other Opportunities

Webinar Watch Party and Discussion about General Conference 2024: Resurrection of an Inclusive Church - Tuesday, April 9, 6-9pm at the church

The Reconciling Task Force invites you to discuss the upcoming UMC General Conference on Tuesday, April 9, 6-9pm at the church. We will gather at the church to view presentations on “Resurrecting An All Inclusive Church,” a webinar featuring UMC church leaders of color and LGBTQIA+, including Bishop Karen Oliveto, Rev. Adam Hamilton, Rev. Israel “Izzy” Alvaran (RMN Regional Organizer) and others. More...

Please contact B.J. Birkhahn-Rommelfanger if you wish to attend and need access to the building that evening.

Connecting Through Storytelling - Saturdays noon to 3pm on April 27, May 4, 11, 18

This spring, eight persons from the congregation will have the opportunity to participate in a four-session storytelling class.  The course is designed for participants to learn basic elements of creating and telling stories, connect with others in the class, and have the experience of giving (and receiving) only positive feedback about stories told in class.  On Sunday, May 19 at noon, class participants are invited to share one of their three-minute stories with an audience of family, friends, and anyone in the congregation. More…

First Church member Kitty Dutenhaver has taught this storytelling class for 10 years. She finds the experience of guiding others in creating and sharing stories very meaningful and enjoys it immensely.  Persons who are interested or simply curious about the class are encouraged to contact her at 312-860-1956 or kdutenhaver@comcast.net.  

This class will be capped at eight persons with a wait list.  Online registration is open now at https://bit.ly/storytellingatFirstChurch .

Common reactions from former participants in the storytelling class:

  • At first I worried I had no stories to tell. Then I was surprised I actually did have stories and even more surprised when people listened.
  • I wondered how I would last through three hours of class, but the time simply flew by.
  • I never knew I could say so much in three minutes.
  • I did not like her [another person in the course] before I took the class. Now that I have heard her stories, I would like to get to know her better.

 Get Involved this Spring

Interested in making connections (or reconnecting) but not sure where to start?  Contact us using the button below and provide your email or phone number; we’ll reach out to hear about your interests and identify opportunities that mighit be a good fit.  We look forward to chatting with you!

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