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Adult Education & Faith Formation Opportunities

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 this fall generally meet in a hybrid format, with the options of participating in person or online via OWL technology.

Unrelenting Grace: A United Methodist Way of Life - Sept. 17 & 24 at 9:15am

Sundays, Sept. 17 & 24, 9:15-10:15amClass is offered in person and online via OWL technology

A new season of Christian Adult Education at First Church begins with a fresh take on the core values of our United Methodists faith tradition. Join Ron Anderson, Professor of Worship and Music at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, for conversation and reflection centered on Bishop Kenneth Carter’s latest call to action and unity, Unrelenting Grace: A United Methodist Way of Life.

United Methodist people long to love God and serve their neighbors. Unrelenting Grace by Bishop Ken Carter shows us how to come together and embrace grace, seek holiness, and build meaningful connections promoting strength and healing.  The book evokes insights and courage to overcome feelings of isolation, loneliness, and alienation. As we wrestle with the effects of the pandemic, social disruption, and conflicts, this resource offers guidance for stepping into the future as individuals and as communities of faith.

Copies of Unrelenting Grace are available for purchase from the front church office for $10.

Please register here:  https://onrealm.org/faithatfirst/PublicRegistrations/Event?linkString=NDBiZTVhNDgtYzAzNC00YmZmLWI2MmEtYjA3NDAxMWUyMWZj

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.

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  on Zoom via OWL techology.  New participants are always welcome.  Please contact Mari Leonard at mari.leonard@comcast.net.

Homelessness in Evanston - Oct. 1, 8, 15 & 22 at 9:15am

“On any given night, 136 Evanstonians are experiencing homelessness in an emergency shelter or outside, on the train or other locations not meant for habitation.” (2022 Sheltered and Unsheltered Point in Time Count)

Join us on Sundays, Oct. 1, 8, 15 & 22, at 9:15 am for an interactive 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.

  • Interfaith Action of Evanston: Soup Kitchens, Hospitality Center, Winter Overnight Shelters.
  • Connections for the Homeless: Emergency services for people in crisis, secure permanent housing for individuals and families.
  • Reba Place Development Corporation: Affordable Housing Provider.

Discussion Leaders
Ann Weatherhead, FMC Interfaith Action Delegate, Affordable Housing Advocate
Melissa Appelt, Interfaith Action Board Chair

Please register here: https://onrealm.org/faithatfirst/PublicRegistrations/Event?linkString=Yzc1NTczODYtODg1OS00YjYwLWI2NmItYjA3NDAxMjMyN2Yw

Covenant Hike Group - First Sundays 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!

Beginning Sunday October 1st, 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.

Theology, Identity & Me: An Affirming Study of Gender, Sex, and Human Sexuality - Oct. 29, Nov. 5, & 12 at 9:15am

As First Church embarks on its 1oth year as a Reconciling Congregation, we invite the congregation into a deep exploration of Christian thought, natural sciences, and Church history in relation to gender, sex, and human sexuality. Using a three-part video course and discussion questions from the Reconciling Ministries Network, we will seek to understand gender expression and sexual identity in connection to our faith as well as seek ways to practice radical hospitality and grow as a welcoming and affirming community of faith.

“When we seek to understand each person’s sacred worth, we can better honor the beauty of God’s creation and our kin.” – Reconciling Ministries Network

Video presenters: Liam M. Hooper, M.Div., (He/Him), Rev. Quest Hunter (They/Them), Rev. H.N. Gibson (They/Them/Theirs), Ophelia Hu Kinney (She/Her), and Rev. Anjie Peek Woodworth (She/Her)

First Church Facilitator: B.J. Birkhahn-Rommelfanger

Please register here: https://onrealm.org/faithatfirst/PublicRegistrations/Event?linkString=OWM5ZWI0ZTUtNGYyNS00YTJlLWE4MjYtYjA3NDAxMjUzZjVi

This class is offered in person and online via OWL technology.

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.

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

The Wednesday Bible Study is a longstanding group that welcomes new participants.  This group meets online every Wednesday 10-11:30am with the exception of a short break in the summer. The current study, which runs through October 18 is The Gospel of Mark by Amy Jill Levine.   A new study (to be determined) will begin on October 25.   

New participants are always welcome. Please contact Janet Lutz at janetatl@aol.com if you are interested.

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 on Zoom to discuss and reflect on selected books, typically one book per month.

The first selection is Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence by Diana Butler Bass. Eleanor Nicholson will facilitate that discussion on Sept. 7, 14, 21, & 28.

How can you still be a Christian? This is the most common question Diana Butler Bass is asked today. It is a question that many believers ponder as they wrestle with disappointment and disillusionment in their church and its leadership. But while many Christians have left their churches, they cannot leave their faith behind. 

In Freeing Jesus Bass challenges the idea that Jesus can only be understood in static, one-dimensional ways and asks us to instead consider a life where Jesus grows with us and helps us through life’s challenges in several capacities: as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence.  Freeing Jesus is an invitation to leave the religious wars behind and rediscover Jesus in all his many manifestations, to experience Jesus beyond the narrow confines we have built around him. It renews our hope in faith and worship at a time when we need it most.

On Oct0ber 5, 12, 18, & 25 our discussion on The Elephant is Running: Process and Open and Relational Theologies and Religious Pluralism by Bruce Epperly will consider if/how we might affirm religious pluralism while remaining faithful Christian true to Jesus. The author will join our Oct. 5 discussion.

Interested? Email Bonnie Beckonchrist at bbeckonchrist@gmail.com  for the Zoom 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 via Zoom 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.

 Get Involved This Fall

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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Interested in volunteering? Looking to build meaningful relationships? Want to see what’s on the calendar that sparks your interest?