Mature Ministries

2019-2020 Mature MinistriesThe 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 “Lunch and Learn.” If you are 60 and up and are not getting our email news update, email Lisa Haddrill at

View our 2019-2020 Mature Ministries Brochure here!

Upcoming Special Trips

Reserve Your Spot Today For ...

  • Jesus Christ, Superstar - Note: This is open to the whole congregation! Sunday, February 9, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $69 including bus transportation. A $20 deposit per person is required (non-refundable), with final fees due December 1.
  • Chicago & Spamalot in Stratford - June 11-12, 2020 20 rooms/40 spots max are available for A+ Orchestra Seating. A nonrefundable deposit of $75 is due at sign up. Rooms are released on November 12.

Sign up with Rev. Rogers at or call the Church Office.

Detroit Parade Company

Tuesday, November 12, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Cost: $40.00, payable in advance. Includes bus, tour & lunch.

Michiganders share special memories of our annual Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition. This outing takes us to the place where everything comes together—the Detroit Parade Company—as final arrangements are being made for this year’s extravaganza. A one-hour tour will make you the expert on the parade at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner table. This is guaranteed to be a great bit of fun before the holidays are upon us! Lunch to follow at the original Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit. Pizza, salad, soft drinks, and gratuity included. Who doesn’t like Buddy’s?

Payments, Cancellations, & Refunds

A $10 deposit is required to guarantee your spot. Deposits are non-refundable. All final owed monies for these Mature Ministry trips – for travel, meals and programs– are due 30 days before the trips take place. Refunds are only possible if it is 72 hours or more before the event AND if another member can be found to take your place. Otherwise, your deposits and payments are forfeited.

Mature Ministries Book Club - October 6

Mature Ministries Book Club meets on Sunday, October 6, at 4:00 p.m., to discuss David Brooks’ The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. We will meet in the home of Mary Smith in Ann Arbor. Join us for snacks, drinks, and great conversation. This event is limited to 15 participants. Sign up with Rev. Rogers at or contact the Church Office. Please purchase the book on your own.

Mature Ministries Writing Groups

"Writing with a Spiritual Prompt"
Our Spiritual-prompt writing group continues, led by Meg Brown. The group begins with a word or phrase, provided by Meg. Each participant then writes on paper, or on their laptop, for 45 minutes, in silence. They then share their written pieces with one another. A prompt could be a word, such as “Remembering” or “Communion.” This group meets the first Thursday of each month, September to May, in the Vance Room, 10:30 a.m. until noon.

"When I Was Little"
“When I Was Little” is a small writing group for people who want to record some of their childhood stories for members of their family but never take the time to sit down and write. The group begins with a “story starter” line provided by the facilitator, Ginny Rezmierski. Each participant then writes on paper or on their laptop for one hour, in silence. If they wish, participants then take turns sharing their writing with the others. Meeting once per month at First Pres, October through May, the first Monday of each month, 10:00-11:30 a.m., members accomplish their writing, enjoy the fellowship, laugh or cry at old memories, and get to know each other in new and inspiring ways.

The Wisdom Project Workshop

Tuesdays in October, 10:30 a.m. - Noon, French Room/Library
Our Personal Faith memories can be grouped in four tracks or categories — Creative Expression, Joy and Happiness, Harmony, and Adversity. Each of the four workshops will start with a brief talk introducing one of the tracks described above, followed by discussions on identifying your faith memories and how they can be shared with others you care about.

Facilitator Howard Deardorff is a 78-year old retired person who thinks about what he believes and what he should do with what he believes. He is married to his wife Jan who refers to herself as “The Quiet One”. He received a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from UM in 1966 and a Masters Degree in Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1980. Sign up by September 25 and commit to all four sessions with Rev. Rogers at Limited to 20 people.

Lunch and Learn

Held the second Thursday of the month in the Social Hall at Noon for lunch ($5). Reservations respectfully requested to the Church Office at 662-4466, or Rev. Rogers at

Thursday, October 10 - Coming of Age in Jerusalem & Damascus

Anan Ameri, Founding Director of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, shares her first hand account of growing up in a Middle East that few Westerners would recognize today. Dr. Anan Ameri will read from her book, The Scent of Jasmine: Coming of Age in Jerusalem and Damascus. Copies will be available $20  ($12 will go to the publisher and $8 will be donated to First Pres’ local mission program) and Ameri will autograph them for those interested in purchasing one.

Thursday, November 14 - House Sitting. The Best Way to Travel the World

Josie Schneider and Conrad Knutsen on house sitting... “House sitting is an even-steven arrangement; homeowners gain peace of mind knowing their home and pets are in good hands, and travelers have no cost for lodging. The ‘no cost for lodging’ is what appealed to us, but in the 10 years we’ve been traveling by house sitting, we discovered the real benefits are way more valuable than saving money.”

Thursday, December 12 - Medical Innovation and Entrepreuneurs

Tom Shehab is a Managing Partner at Arboretum Ventures, a venture capital firm in Ann Arbor specializing in the healthcare sector. He serves as a board director for Aira Tech Corp, Fifth Eye, Lucina Health, and SonarMD and led Arboretum’s investment in nVision Medical, which was acquired by Boston Scientific in 2018. Prior to joining Arboretum, Tom spent 12 years as a physician executive and practicing physician specializing in gastroenterology. Most recently, Tom served as Chief of Staff for more than 1,000 physicians at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor and as the Chair of Medicine for Integrated Health Associates (IHA), a multi-specialty group consisting of 300+ providers. Both St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and IHA are part of Trinity Health.

Thursday, January 9 - Imagining a Dementia Free Community

For people with dementia, it’s a daily challenge to live in a typical community, as most do. That’s why cities nationwide, from the size of Saline to the size of Detroit, are taking simple, practical, low-cost steps to embrace the “Dementia-Friendly Community” concept. Jim Mangi will discuss sensible practices that Dementia-Friendly communities nationwide have implemented. Hear about how “Purple Angel” signs can help first responders save lives in Florida and how diners reserve Purple Tables in Massachusetts. Hear about “Dementia-Aware” ninth graders in Alabama, dementia- friendly libraries in Indiana, and dementia-friendly movie theatres, choruses, and church services. Learn about the business, and the social benefits, that dementia friendly communities in Colorado, Minnesota and Great Britain have realized, and what it might take to develop a dementia friendly community right here.

Before relocating to Michigan, Jim Mangi had a career as a scientist, owning a consulting firm that did environmental studies on power plants, dams, highways and the like. Unexpectedly, his wife developed Younger Onset Alzheimer’s about 11 years ago and he became her caregiver. When he’s not by her side at the Memory Center, Jim serves as a volunteer Community Educator for the local Alzheimer’s Association, presenting a variety of Alzheimer’s awareness classes throughout the area.

February 13 - Congresss: How it Worked and Why it Doesn’t?

Kevin Portteus is the Lawrence Fertig Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Ashland University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Dallas.

To say that Congress is a “dysfunctional institution” is not exactly profound. As our federal legislature winds down yet another fractious and unproductive term, explanations for its decline are everywhere. Indeed, diagnosing the problems of Congress has become a veritable American cottage industry. Whether it is gridlock, partisanship, the decline of civility, the Republicans, the Democrats, lawmakers who keep their families out of Washington, the filibuster, committee system, earmarks, the lack of term limits, lobbyists, and big money, there is an explanation to suit every turn of mind and a supposed panacea to match it. The dysfunctions of Congress observed by scholars and journalists are merely symptoms of a more profound disease in our government. Leaders from both parties are infected with the desire to abdicate their legislative power, and it has corrupted the whole institution. Until the disease is properly diagnosed and treated, legislative decline will only continue.

March 12 - The Inside Story on Elizabeth Parke Firestone’s Clothing Collection at The Henry Ford

Nancy E. Villa Bryk is an Associate Professor and Director of Eastern Michigan University’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. She has been a curator at The Henry Ford and Director of Education and Public Programs at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. She specializes in historic house research, interpretation, and furnishings and consults widely with historic houses and sites across the country. Ms. Bryk received her M.B.A as well as her M. A. in American Culture, Graduate Certificate in Museum Practice, and B.A. from the University of Michigan. The speaker will share the experience of acquiring this extraordinary collection of high-style clothing and our process of learning about its fashionable owner. We will discuss specific pieces that were worn for special occasions in Mrs. Firestone’s glamorous life, many of which were exhibited at The Henry Ford Museum. Our Mature Ministries group saw the Firestone couture collection (those tiny shoes!) as part of our spring 2019 visit to the Benson Ford Research Center.

April 16 - Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Lake Huron’s Underwater Museum

Sarah Waters, NOAA Education and Outreach Coordinator, discusses how Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary off of Michigan’s northeast coast protects our rich maritime history through research, education and resource protection. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.

Note: Meets a week later than usual.

May 14 - Michigan Environmental Council

Exective Director Conan Smith, will speak to us about current issues facing the Michigan Environmental Council.