Adult Faith Formation

What is Faith Formation?

Faith Formation is an intentional time for learning and growing in our faith.  Faith Formation for Adults meets at 11:00 a.m. and offers multiple interactive learning opportunities, including Bible study, worship dialogue, and discussion groups. Attend a gathering that catches your interest on any given Sunday, or join a group for a multi-week study.  


Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis

February 11
Host: Jim Peggs   
Led by Ryan Bates, Executive Director End Gun Violence Michigan and Dr. Sonya Lewis, President, PPGV
Mr. Bates will describe recently enacted legislation in Michigan designed to reduce gun violence and when and how the new laws will be put to effective use in Michigan. He also will describe plans for future legislative efforts to make our communities safer from the ravages of gun violence and suggest ways each of us concerned citizens can help advance the cause of gun safety. Mr. Bates will be joined by Dr. Sonya Lewis, President, Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence ( PPGV ) who will describe efforts made over the past decade to inform and inspire healthcare professionals to take steps to protect their patients from gun violence. 
Grace, Forgiveness, Reconciliation ... and What About Justice? 
February 18 & 25
Hosts: Margie Reynolds and Jeanette Kibler
February 18
Forgiveness is a moral imperative and a religious belief that cuts right to the core of what it means to be Christian.  The journey to forgiveness can be arduous and often painful.  We will explore relevant scripture and poignant personal accounts to guide us in deepening our understanding of grace and forgiveness; and perhaps to help us begin to address a challenge that may be a struggle for us. 
February 25
In today’s world of great conflict, can grace make a difference?  We will take a more global view and discuss this potentially powerful force in healing a broken world. We will study some examples of where seemingly impossible forgiveness transformed communities and nations. And reflect on how we might seek to forgive and be forgiven, not just as individuals but as a church and as part of our community, nation, world.
How Do We Talk About. . . : A Big Questions Series
March 3 - 24
Host: Sidonie Smith
March 3 - Speaking of God: A Conversation about what we mean when we invoke the name “God”
In a workshop environment, we will explore how we imagine this “God” that we invoke. We will look at how God or gods are described in various traditions; and we will think about how those of us in this conversation understand the concept of “God.”
March 10 - Speaking of Grace: A Conversation about what we mean when we invoke the concept “Grace”
In a workshop environment, we will briefly explore the history of the concept of grace in Christianity and then have a conversation about the lived experiences of grace. What are the metaphors we use to describe grace? What do we feel about grace?
March 17 - Speaking of Suffering: A Conversation about what we mean when we invoke the word “Suffering” 
In a workshop environment, we will ponder the troubling issue of God’s
relationship to human suffering. How do we hold together in our belief and in our hearts the notion of an omnipotent, beneficent God and the ceaseless suffering of humankind and of the rest of the natural world?
March 24 - Speaking of Mission: A Conversation about what we mean when we talk of “Mission” 
In a workshop environment, we will consider the meaning of the work of mission and its history. Can the concept of mission work be disentangled from the history of Western oppression of peoples around the world? How do you define the work of mission for the 21 st Century? How do you think about the benefactors and the beneficiaries of mission work?

Poetry of Faith and Climate Change
April 14 & 21 

How do we approach subjects that are too vast--too awesome or too awful--to comprehend? For many, from biblical times to the present, one way is through poetry. In recognition of National Poetry Month and Earth Day, Chris Dahl and Susan Whitlock will lead two sessions inviting you to engage with select poems relevant to the climate crisis. A "deep dive" into the language and themes of works by poets from the psalmist(s) to 2019 U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will help us explore how we can develop a faithful response. 

Exploring the Lived Impact of the Holocaust on the Second Generation 

April 28 
Host: Jane Dutton
Co-sponsored by First Friends

From the compelling collection of their recently published and award-winning book, The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust, Rita Benn, and Natalie Iglewitz will read excerpts highlighting the gifts and challenges growing up in the shadow of this history. Authors will encourage Q and A and discussion of their lived experience, and the intergenerational transmission of trauma, healing and resilience. To learn more about the authors and this anthology, visit The first 10 attendees will receive the gift of the highlighted book, The Ones Who Remember!

First Pres Pilgrimages
May 5 
Led by Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers and First Pres pilgrims
Since 2011, First Pres has had a robust ministry of spiritual pilgrimage. First Pres pilgrims have traveled to Iona, Scotland; Northumberland Coast, England; Santiago, Spain; West Highland Way, Scotland; the Highlands of Iceland, and Tuscany and Rome, Italy.  What is the meaning of pilgrimage? How do we prepare to take an internal journey while on an external one? How is this different from a group travel tour? What experiences can they share with those who may never undertake such a daunting spiritual trek? Pilgrims from each of these journeys will share memories and reflections on the process of pilgrimage – the year-long preparation, the hours of physical and spiritual training, and more. They will explain why the most important words they hear after a pilgrimage are these:  “Your pilgrimage begins now.” 
AI, Ethics, and Society
May 12 & 19
Host: David Yntema
Machine Learning is generating headlines in part because of AI’s controversial societal and ethical implications. Leading researchers believe that A.I. tools offer “profound risks” for humanity. Others focus on the breakthroughs A.I. promises in medicine, industry, and education.
In this class, we will learn some accessible Machine Learning basics and consider how concepts like morality, ethics, and theologies of technology may intersect with these present and future technologies.
New Testament: Epistles of Peter
French Room and Zoom
Class Host: Ed Koster
Join us for a study through some shorter New Testament epistles this fall as we dig deep into scripture. Throughout the study, we will explore the historical context in which these letters were written, examining the cultural and societal challenges faced by the early Christians. We will also delve into the theological teachings and principles contained within each epistle, seeking to apply them to our own lives today.

View Previous Classes

This class format is an open discussion and everyone is welcome to participate.  There is no homework and Bibles are provided. If you cannot be present in person, you can participate by Zoom.



The Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance 
February 11
Video and discussion.

Slave Songbook: Origin of the Negro Spiritual
February 11
Video and discussion.
February 18 & 25
Film about 13th Amendment freeing slaves. 
Karl  Barth
March 3-17
Led by Keanu Heydari
A three-part series on Swiss Reformed theologian Barth who is best known for his commentary The Epistle to the Romans.
Farewell: Karl Barth and the Future of 
American Evangelicalism 
March 24
Video and discussion
Wrestling with Doubt
April 7, 14, 21; May 5, 12, 19
Everyone has doubts. Where is God when bad things happen? Does God hear our prayers? Is there a heaven? How can we know? Often, we treat such questions as the enemy of faith. But uncertainty doesn’t mean our belief is lacking. Doubt can be a path to a deeper, richer encounter with God.
In Wrestling with Doubt, Finding Faith, join best-selling author and pastor Adam Hamilton as he discusses some of our most significant sources of doubt and shows how a steady trust in God can emerge from them. 
April 7: Is There a God?
April 14: The Good Book: Wrestling with the Bible
April 21: Are All Non-Christians Going to Hell
May 5: Is Heaven Real?
May 12: When Prayers Go Unanswered
May 19: Why Do the Innocent Suffer?
Dying with Dignity
May 26
Speaker: Barb Kafka