Mature Ministries

The Mature Ministries Program has many interesting lectures, trips, and conversations that you are invited to join! Our monthly gathering is a lunch and learn that we call “Hilltoppers.” If you are 60 and up and are not getting our email news update, email Lisa Haddrill at


The mission of Mature Ministries is to address the spiritual and social needs of the mature members of First Pres and the community. Mature Ministries includes pastoral support and care, education and learning opportunities, fellowship and social activities, and facilitates service, mentoring, and mission outlets.

2016-2017 Programs


Have you ever yearned to do some spiritual writing, but you can’t seem to start, or to find time, or wonder if you should even try? Well, here’s your “start!” It will begin, in the early months, with a group leader’s spiritual writing “prompt,” followed by a 45 minute period for the members to write a response/reflection, and then a final 45 minute period for sharing, discussing, and critiquing our written responses. The group, led by member Meg Brown, will have it’s first meeting on Thursday, October 13. Starting in November, it will meet the first Thursday of each month, 10:30 a.m. - noon. Sign up, please, with Rev. Rogers, Space is limited.

Meeting Dates

  • October 13 (One week later)
  • November 3
  • December 1
  • January 5
  • February 2
  • March 2
  • April 6
  • May 4.


January 2017 Hilltoppers

Thursday, January 19 (a week later) at Noon in the Social Hall - "From U High to the Big House: A Life in Football"
Herb Deromedi, the winningest football coach in Mid- American Conference and Central Michigan University history, one of four new members on the NCAA College Football Playoff Selection Committee, will speak about his experiences on the playoff committee, and his calling as a Football Coach at CMU. Note: This presentation is a week later than our normal schedule.

February Hilltoppers

Thursday, February 9 at Noon in the Social Hall - "Sexuality in our Modern World"
Jim Toy, co-founder of the UM Spectrum Center, will be our guest and speaker. His topic? “Sexuality in our Modern World”- gender identity, gender expression, transgender, and other new terms. What does it all mean? Are we truly inclusive? How do we navigate this new terrain?

March Hilltoppers

Thursday, March 9 at Noon in the Social Hall - "Hospitalist - What?"
Dr. Robert Chang, Director of UM’s largest Hospital Medicine Service, will speak on “Hospitalist - What? - The Docs that Care for You when You are Admitted to the Hospital.”

April Hilltoppers

Thursday, April 13 at Noon in the Social Hall - "Growth and Change in Southeast Michigan"
Xuan Liu, SEMCOG in Detroit (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) Xuan is the Data Center Manager and makes the predictions and estimates for growth in this region with a team of people who know much! We’ll also talk about transit and train plans for the region.

May Hilltoppers

Thursday, May 11 at Noon in the Social Hall - "The God-Pleasing Creative Life"
Dr. Lew Klatt, Professor of English Literature and Writing, Calvin College, and author of Sunshine Wound, Christian Poetry, and a new collection (prose and poems) called The Wilderness After Which will join us to talk about Christian poetry. Bonus Event: Lew will stay in Ann Arbor for a book reading Thursday evening at BookBound on Plymouth Road. Bring friends!

Mature Ministries in Motion
2016-17 Field Trips


Bring your spirit of adventure and join Mature Ministries on a visit to the Ziibiwing Center, a museum of Saginaw-Chippewa Indian lifeways and culture located near Mt. Pleasant. Modern day tribal guides tell stories of Indian life and culture in their own words and from their own lived perspective. Be prepared to have your current understanding of North America’s first residents challenged! A one-hour walking tour of the collections will be followed by a short workshop where we will handle and learn about original tribal artifacts.

Lunch will follow at the Aurora Buffet in the Soaring Eagle Casino. First Pres will provide transportation and admission to the Ziibiwing Center. Lunch on your own at the buffet will be either $10.55 (soup/salad) or $17.75 (full buffet). To reserve a spot on this outing, contact Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers today.


First Pres does work projects at Cass Community Social Services each year, supporting their many amazing ministries to those who are hurting in Detroit. We will travel by chartered bus into Detroit at 9:00 a.m. to meet with Rev. Fowler, hear from her about her work with CASS, and take a tour of the facility from 10:00 a.m. - noon. Lunch will follow at the Eastern Market. There is no cost except for lunch (on your own). Registration/Reservations to be announced at a later date.

Did you know that this Detroit-based agency works across the city in areas of concentrated poverty providing programs for food, health, housing, and jobs. CCSS prepares and serves 1 million meals annually. 325 homeless men, women and children currently stay in CCSS shelters, transitional housing, or permanent supportive housing programs. CCSS operates a weekly free medical clinic and a day program for 100 adults with developmental disabilities. 70 adults are currently employed in the agency’s Green Industries which marry jobs with sustainability.


We are heading west ... to Ferris State University in Big Rapids, home of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and its charismatic founder/curator, Dr. David Pilgrim. An extraordinary assemblage of hateful artifacts, the museum leverages hateful lessons from the past to teach tolerance and social justice in the modern world. Pilgrim will lead a small group of 25 through the exhibits and lead a conversation that is bound to transform participants.

Lunch with Jim Crow staff will follow at The Rock on the Ferris State campus. This will be a challenging day of great reward. We will travel together by chartered bus (no charge for transportation). Registration/reservations to be announced at a later date.


Did you know that one of the Smithsonian museums is named after a businessman from Detroit? Learn about the life of Charles Lang Freer during a one-hour tour of his home, rarely visited by the general public. Freer collected Japanese art for himself, but was a major patron of contemporary American artists of his time, including James McNeill Whistler. Freer was one of the founders of the Detroit Institute of Arts. This tour will lift the curtain on yet another little known chapter from Detroit’s rich history.

Follow your tour with a relaxing but elegant high tea service with 40 of your favorite First Pres friends at Detroit’s renowned Whitney Restaurant, another of Detroit’s Victorian gems. We will travel by chartered bus (no cost to you.) Registration/Reservations to be announced at a later date.

Health and Wellness - Monthly Health Screening

For a Sunday blood pressure check, email or call the Parish Nurse, 662-4466, ext. 350, to schedule a visit. Our Parish Nurse, Sandy Talbott, also makes home visits.

OSHER Classes

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Michigan offers educational and cultural programming for adults over the age of 50, including lectures, small classes, and travel. OLLI membership ($20/year) is required; class registration is an additional fee. For more information and to register, visit or call 734-998-9351.

Email Don Deatrick for further details or other questions:

Religious Traditions of India
Wednesdays, September 28 - November 16 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. No class on October 12

Did you know that India is home to the world’s oldest religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism? And that Islam, Christianity. Judaism and Zorashtrianism also flourish in India? This lecture-style course will explore the development and religious evolution in India. We’ll study religious philos­ophies and practices as well as the current socio-reli­gious-political environment. Mr. Lakshminarayan was born and raised in India. He has led several OLLI study groups on Indian political, cultural and religious topics.

Tuesdays, November 1 - December 6 from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. November 15 will be at 1:00 p.m.

Beginning with an introduction to ethics, we’ll consider a different ethical theme each week: virtues and sins, health care, politics, business and war. Each class will have short lectures, but the focus will be on interactive discussion. We’ll talk about traditional ethical understandings and modern ethical dilemmas that challenge them. You are encouraged to read at least one article or book on ethics to prepare for the discussions. Ken Phifer is a retired minister, serving 25 years at First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor. He is the author of three books and a dozen or so articles.

The “Wanderers”: Russian Paintings in their Political and Religious Context
Mondays, November 7 - November 21 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

The three-session course will present late 19th-century paintings by Repin and Surikov, in chronological order, including the background of each and opportunity for discussion. Linda Speck holds degrees in music (A.B., Duke University) and Musicology (M.A. and Ph.D., University of Michigan). Teaching interdisciplinary arts courses at Wayne State, along with a trip to Russia, sparked her interest in Russian paintings; subsequent trips and studying Russian language and culture continue to nurture that interest.