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 August 2019 issue of Salt & Light to read up on our most recent plans! ♦ ♦ ♦



SISTER HELEN PREJEAN, social justice activist and author of Dead Man Walking, visits FUMC in September!
As part of our ongoing partnership with Literati Bookstore, we are happy to announce that Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, and longtime social justice activist, will be presenting her latest book, River of Fire, in our sanctuary on Wednesday, September 11 at 7 p.m. (Read all about this evening event and reserve your seat here.) Are you a fan of Sister Helen? Form your own Pop Up book club to discuss River of Fire, Sister Helen Prejean’s new autobiography or her classic, Dead Man Walking!

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. This fall, 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 as a fall study, or join us in a to-be-announced  discussion group of this book (time and place TBA).

LIVING THE QUESTIONS – An 8 week study
Are you new to FUMC? Do you have questions about Christian practices and beliefs? This class, Living the Questions, may be for you — join us for 8 weeks as we discuss topics like Lives of Jesus, A Kingdom Without Walls, Evil, Suffering, and a God of Love. Living the Questions has been called a curriculum that “does not aim to spell out a new doctrine, but to encourage people to have a lifelong conversation about the mysteries of faith and life”. The first session of this class will begin September 22 and run through November 10, 11am – 12:15 pm on Sunday mornings. (Room TBA)

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 in the Chapel.

Fall Brown Bag Study: Join this friendly and open group as we begin a study of the book of Jeremiah. From September 10 through November 12 (No meeting September 24)
Advent Study (TBD): December 3, 10, and 17.


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

FIRST SUNDAYS: Centering Through Faith  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 in Calkins Hall
Fall 2019 plans:

October 6 – Forgiveness practice with Shonagh
November 4 – Breath prayer with Debbie
December 2 – Befriending the Inner Critic with Elaine

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 in Calkins Hall

THIRD SUNDAYS: Vital Conversations. Elaine Shaw begins Vital Conversations this year with a study of White Fragility:Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.
Book discussion planned for September 15, October 20, and November 17. Meets third Sundays from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm in Calkins Hall.

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 in Calkins Hall.
Fall 2019 plans:

September 22 – Getting Around with Limited Mobility
Whether you use a cane, crutches, wheelchair, scooter, walker or other device, everyday obstacles can become a problem. Come hear from a panel of folks with limited mobility what obstacles are most limiting and become aware of simple things others can do to make navigating easier and more welcoming and accessible.

October 27 – Living with ADHD. (October is ADHD awareness month!) ADHD – it’s not just for kids anymore! And it’s not just about time management – it’s directly linked to low frustration tolerance, rejection sensitivity, and a host of other traits that can make us tough to live with. It’s also associated with strong empathy and sense of justice, and creativity. If someone in your life is dealing with ADHD – adults or kids – come to a talk and dialog with Mike Fedel, who’s been active in the ADHD community since being diagnosed in 2013.

We will then break for November and December; we will meet again January 26.


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,