The landscape of our life has changed. Words long forgotten (pandemic), or ignored (racial injustice), or new (Zoom), now frame our collective experience. God, however, still lovingly holds and directs our journey. Beauty and purpose emerge even in the wilderness.
As people on a journey following Jesus inward and outward together, we are becoming people of compassion and mercy through a deepening intimacy with Jesus. Our journey inward beckons us to the journey outward, to serve others tangibly and radically, as agents of renewal participating in God’s mission in the world—an enduring mission of hope and abundant life.
Whether you are just beginning the journey with God or seeking new vistas to enliven the well-worn paths of your travels, there is a next step for you along the pathway.
For more information about our communities and classes for adults, contact Michelle Vecchio-Lyzenga, Minister for Christian Formation at firstname.lastname@example.org or Janet Sanders, Director for Christian Formation at email@example.com.
Navigating the Journey of Faith
Every journey has a starting point. Whether you’re just getting to know First Pres, are interested in taking the next step to becoming more engaged here, or are ready to explore making this your home church through membership, Starting Point is for you.
Sundays, February 14–March 28 Time: 11:15 am–12:30 pm, via Zoom
Following the Sunday worship service, join the Open Door Community Group for a time of connection, prayer, and conversation using the weekly Questions for Reflection based on the Sunday message. Drop-ins are always welcome.
If you’re new to First Pres or looking for new ways to engage with others and Scripture, come and experience one of our four Sunday morning Emmaus Communities (ECs). These communities (20-60 people) are a great place to connect with adults in all stages of life and faith.
Everyday Advent Discovering Hope, Faith, Joy, and Peace in the Everyday
Our community explores one book of the Bible at a time, alternating between Old and New Testaments, using questions that help us to more fully understand what God is saying to us and where God beckons us outward.
All are welcome to join our diverse community dedicated to sharing our lives and studying God’s Word. This season we explore the Letter to the Hebrews, seeking wisdom to confront life’s frustrations and disappointments with courage and confidence.
Men’s Bible Study Fellowship (BSF)
Beginnings | A Study of Genesis
Thursdays, September 17–May 13
6:55–8:30 PM via Zoom
Men of all ages are invited to be a part of this community that pursues God—seeking God’s wisdom for today’s challenges through the story of God’s people. This group meets for a large group lecture and small group discussions.
Psalms | Prayers of the Heart | 12 studies by Eugene Peterson
It has been said that everything one can feel or experience in relation to God is found in the Psalms, the prayers of the heart. This inductive study guides an exploration of 12 different Psalms touching the interior dimensions of our lives and bringing them to expression before God.
Co-sponsored by New College Berkeley and First Pres
Saturday, December 5 from 9:30–11:30 am via Zoom
Instructor: Susan Phillips, PhD | Fee: $25
Christians are called people of the Way (Acts 9:2). Join us for prayer, reflection, and getting ready to continue our great pilgrimage with Christ in the year ahead. Click here for more information and to register by December 1.
Communities Serving Others…
Responding to God’s call, participating in God’s mission
Serve with Local Mission Partners
One primary way to live missionally is to serve alongside our First Pres local mission partners who extend God’s grace and mercy to those in need in our East Bay communities. Various needs and ways to support our Mission partners as they safely serve others are updated frequently. Learn more here!
First Pres Prayer Teams via Zoom
Mondays, 10–11 AM
Wednesdays, 8:45–9:45 AM
Thursdays, 4–5 PM
Serving others through intercessory prayer is a grace God extends to each of us— a personalized invitation to be intimately involved in laboring for the well-being of others. Prayer teams bring the needs and concerns of our community, our church, our nation, and the world before the Lord each week. Join us regularly or drop-in when you can.
Families Journeying Together…
Providing encouragement and care for Christian families
Dates: Fridays, September–November 20 Time and Location: 10–11 am via Zoom
Moms Together is a caring and supportive community of mothers with children of all ages. Hosted by First Pres moms, we gather to share life’s joys and challenges in the context of faith in Jesus Christ.
Building Families of Faith
Dates: October–November Time and Location: dates and times to be announced to meet via Zoom
Our homes are the primary place we live out our lives as followers of Jesus. And families are a crucial incubator of love for God. Now even the best of our intentions to nurture the faith of our children, as well as our own, are stressed and stretched. More than ever we need each other for support, encouragement, and hope!
Coffee & Conversation: A Morning Devotion with Pastor Tom Elson | John 17: Jesus’ Prayer
Pastor Tom guides us on a journey through the prayer of Jesus from the Gospel of John 17:1-26. Christ’s prayer speaks to us today in our uncertainty as clearly as it did to the disciples in the face of Jesus’ death and departure. Over these 10 sessions we will dwell with the words of Jesus as he prays-for himself, for his disciples and for us!
Coping with stress can be a challenge for any of us under “normal” circumstances. Shelter-in-Place and the Covid-19 pandemic, however, have unleashed stressors that take us into uncharted territory. In the Understanding Stress series, Dr. Kristen Gustavson discusses how stress works and guides us in looking at ways to build resillience into our daily rhythms.
Kristen is a faculty member in the Department of Social Work at CSU East Bay and an expert in community mental health. Dr. Gustavson is the former Executive and Clinical Director of Berkeley Christian Counselors. She and her family are members of our First Pres community.
Just as our human development follows fairly predictable stages and seasons, a similar dynamic is at work in our spiritual journey. Dr. Kate Rankin guides us to explore these seasons of spiritual development using the influential work of Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich in their book, The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith. Greater awareness of these Stages of Faith can illuminate our own journey and enable us to better appreciate and support others on their path. Kate is Professor and Psychologist at UCSF Department of Neurology. She and her family are members of our First Pres community.