Adult Faith Formation

Throughout the year, a variety of Adult Faith Formation opportunities are available through First Church. We hope you will find something that piques your interest and nourishes your faith. These classes are open to all and there are no fees unless mentioned in the blurbs below. Come back often to check out our schedule of adult education offerings. If you have questions or you are interested in leading a class or are looking for a specific topic, be sure to contact Debbie Houghton (


♦ ♦ ♦ See our March 2020 issue of Salt & Light to read up on our most recent plans! ♦ ♦ ♦


The General Conference of 2019 is now several months past — what is the direction of the United Methodist denomination? Here is an opportunity to discuss and think about that question. You are invited to join a congregational read of Where Do We Go From Here?, a collection of essays from 24 UM leaders, who respond to the outcome of the General Conference and the adoption of the Traditional Plan, which excludes the LBGTQ+ community from ordination and marriage in the church. Why a congregational read? FUMC considers itself to be a thinking and learning community, and this book can help us to have thoughtful conversations about the controversial decision of the 2019 General Conference. We are in a time when we need to listen and respond to each other, with respect and compassion. This congregational read may give us an opening to practice compassionate listening. You are invited to use Where Do We Go From Here? with your small groups or join us in a to-be-announced discussion group of this book. Debbie Houghton has produced four book study guides to help your discussion and reflection: Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4

Bring your lunch and join us for this weekly midday hour-long drop-in Bible study. This is a great place to either begin a regular practice of reading Bible, or to ponder books of the Bible you have yet to read. Bring your lunch and join the conversation. Meets Tuesdays from 12-1pm ONLINE.  Contact Debbie Houghton for Zoom ID. Currently studying the Gospel of Matthew.


Adult Faith Formation Sunday offerings are offered in a rotation schedule – each Sunday will focus on a different aspect of our spiritual lives:

Linking to the center – First Sundays
Living in creation – Second Sundays
Loving the community – Third Sundays
Learning to be Christ followers – Fourth Sundays

All classes meet in the same location and at the same time on Sundays: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm in Calkins Hall

In person meetings will not take place until further notice. See notes below about online meeting alternatives.

FIRST SUNDAYS: Centering Practices  We are all searching for deeper meaning and divine connection in our life. Join us as we share and learn practices that nourish our faith journeys. Sessions will introduce centering practices like expressions of prayer, drumming circles, Advent yoga, and visio divina. Come along on the journey to learn and practice new (and very, very old) ways to celebrate the Divine and deepen your spiritual connection. Learn more about this offering and our current/future topicsMeets first Sundays from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm. Contact Debbie Houghton for Zoom meeting ID.

SECOND SUNDAYS: Conversations About Science and Religion  How do we bridge the gap between science and religion? Join Brian Fowlkes and our own FUMC science and medical community for conversations about experiences and struggles with faith, belief, and the place of God in scientific study.  Read more about our meetings and future plans. Meets second Sundays from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm. (Not meeting in April.)

THIRD SUNDAYS: Vital Conversations. Meets third Sundays from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm.

Vital Conversations – Beginning our Spring Book Study—Why do schools, churches, universities and businesses who claim to value diversity, still fall so short of their words? Join Shonagh Taruza and the Vital Conversations group this spring as we ponder and discuss Austin Channing Brown’s book, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. She tells us of her journey in stories of her experience with the complexity of our American social fabric, and invites us to confront our own beliefs and discover how Blackness may save us all. We will meet again Sun., May 17 at 11am. Contact Debbie Houghton for Zoom ID. The book is also available on Audible, read by the author. For more information about the author and access to some of her podcast, see:

FOURTH SUNDAYS: DISABILITY AWARENESS TALKS  Are you curious about the challenges faced by those with disabilities? Do you have a disability and want to share your experiences? Join us for Disability Awareness Talks! Each talk will begin with a presentation by a person experienced with the disability, and then will open up to group conversation. Becoming more aware is the first step in being more welcoming. Meets fourth Sundays from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm. 

Disability Awareness Talks present “Arthritis and Pain” with Dan Clauw, M.D. Sunday, April 26, 11am. Contact Debbie Houghton for Zoom ID. Nearly one in three people suffers from chronic pain, in many cases due to various forms of arthritis. Current research reveals new approaches can help treat pain including diet, acupuncture/acupressure, yoga, and mindfulness.  Join us on Zoom to learn more from Dan Clauw, M.D., Director of Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at U of M.


If your passion is in learning about and solving food insecurity issues in our community and in Michigan, please join us. Read more about our group and our upcoming plans.


VirtualStoreLogoIf you are interested in buying any of Adult Education books, please do so through our Cokesbury Virtual Store. First United Methodist Church benefits when you shop with Cokesbury using this link.

Please contact our Director of Adult Education, Debbie Houghton, or the church office for more information,