Resident ministers at First Pres have often played a key role in adult education, but this year they are even more deeply involved. All three current residents are helping to develop the programing for the year. Working collaboratively with the Adult Education Committee, they have launched "First Forums" that focus on challenging issues in our world and seek to discern faithful responses to them. Each Forum is an opportunity for open dialogue, respectful conversation, and faithful disagreement. November's topic was "Race Still Matters." Participants filled the Lewis Room for a light lunch and a presentation by Dr. James Perkinson of Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit followed by a lively discussion period. More First Forums are planned for 2018. January's topics include engaging environmental ethics.
Sunday mornings you will find that our Residents are deeply engaged in teaching and facilitating Adult classes on such topics as the “Reformation Here and Now,” a timely subject on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, and the study of Isaiah and the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. Of course, Adult Education doesn’t just happen on Sunday mornings. You will also encounter the Residents working with Stephen Ministry continuing education, Advent small group studies, and in the Officer Training Retreat.
Though we have just come through Advent, the Liturgical year will soon move us to Lent, which begins this year on February 14. Last year you may remember that two of our previous Residents, Angela Ryo and Daniel Ervin, engaged the artists of the church in a Sunday morning series called “Artists as Our Prophets.” The Social Hall was filled with original and repurposed art. There was even a full sized labyrinth. Plans for this year are built around the book, Be Not Afraid: Facing Fear With Faith by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells, former Dean of Duke Divinity School, as the general template for small group and other Bible studies. We can look forward to a creative engagement with the theme of Exploring the Faith. Our congregational experience is much enriched by the vision and dedication of these new ministers. We are so glad they are here.