Home » Ministries & Community » Adult Faith Exploration

Adult Faith Exploration


The Adult Faith Exploration Ministry helps us grow in faith no matter where we are in our lives, welcoming all with joy and offering programs and events that help to begin or expand our faith journeys.  Our goal is to enhance the educational and spiritual life of adults in our congregation and community. Come explore with us!


Current/Upcoming Programs

Roots and Branches

Consider joining a “Roots and Branches” discussion group at First Congregational Church.  Laughter, the discussion of a passage from sacred Scripture, the chance to know one another in new ways, a possible service project together … these are all dimensions of our Roots and Branches program.

Our groups meet twice a month in a comfortable setting, often a home. Many groups last year rolled up their sleeves for a single service experience as well.  This year the Roots and Branches groups will focus on the questions that Jesus asked.  We think the material is life changing and hope that you will consider being part of our groups.

We are forming groups in the early fall and will also have a group with rolling membership meeting after church.  To learn more about our program … and to explore signing up … please contact us at this link.


The Roots and Branches program invites you to sign up in the month of September.  Groups will begin to meet in early October.

Monthly Bible Study

Second Wednesday of the month, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Contact Will Burhans for more information.

Led by Reverend Will Burhans, Lead Pastor, this informal group studies and discusses a different piece of scripture each time, looking at the historical, political, and religious factors. What does ancient scripture have to tell us about ourselves and the world we live in today? We seek to discover what God desires for each individually.

Racial Justice:  Talk, Learn, Act

Since our opening Zoom discussion on racial justice last June, followed by our book discussion series in November (see “Past Programs” below), a group of volunteers has formed an “FCCW Racial Justice Working Group” to carry and extend this important work into our church more broadly.  Learn about this group, follow their efforts, and find further resources by clicking here.

Past Programs

Tuesdays with Jesus Beginning March 8, 2022

Return and Renew, every Tuesday in Lent 10 am on Zoom or 7 pm in-person (rooms will be assigned)

We invite YOU to Return and Renew!
Small groups will be meeting during Lent!

It is with joy and anticipation that the FCCW is offering an opportunity for you to regather in small groups. Investing in each other builds beauty and healing strength in this season! For six weeks we will consider themes that “relate to” and “reenergize” our lives as we meet either virtually or in person in groups of eight to twelve. We hope you can join us for the full six weeks in order to develop deeper relationships with your group members and with God. Read more….

Advent Study: “The O Antiphons”,

Ripley Chapel, in person, every Tuesday in Advent 7 pm

You know the “O Antiphons” from one of the most cherished of Christmas Carols that we sing – O Come, O Come Emmanuel. But do you really know the O Antiphons? It’s a beautiful rich liturgical tradition that reaches deep into Christian history drawing on biblical images of the promised Messiah and using them to pray for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas. Join us in Ripley Chapel on Tuesday evenings at 7pm to learn more and deepen your engagement with this holy season.

A Study of The Resurrection: 4 Gardens, 3 Trees, 2 Breaths, 1 Love

Mondays at 7pm-8pm on Zoom starting May 17th

Tuesdays at 10 am-11am in the Reno Garden starting May 18th

Join Rev. Will for a Bible study of the Resurrection as together we plumb the depths of this great mystery with the Bible in front of us, our community beside us and the Spirit guiding us. The Monday night zoom sessions and the Tuesday morning in-Garden sessions each week will be the same so you can pick and choose as the 4 weeks proceed. We’ll have two sessions, skip Memorial Day week and end on June 14th and 15th.

The Three Abrahamic Religions

This 3-part, recently concluded series brought our focus to the three “Abrahamic” religions that share Abraham as their common ancestor:  Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  Below, in reverse date order, is a brief description of each program.


  • Judaism:  The Beginnings

This third and final segment of the series, on Judaism, was held via Zoom on Sunday afternoon, April 11, 2021.  It had been long postponed in hopes it might be held in person when the pandemic ended, but as the months went by we finally decided to go ahead with it as a Zoom program.  It featured a thought-provoking, hour-long video, hosted by Simon Schama, focused on the life of the prophet Moses:  “The Story of the Jews – 1. In the Beginning.”  A brief discussion followed the video. Read more…


  • From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians.

During the fall of 2019, we continued our series on the Abrahamic religions with a look at our Christian roots via Frontline’s TV series, “From Jesus to Christ:  The First Christians.”  The four one-hour segments explored the life of Jesus, his death, and the men and women whose faith (and often martyrdom) created the religion we now know as Christianity.  Sessions were followed by a half-hour discussion period.  You can still watch the series online beginning with this link to the first segment:  https://www.pbs.org/video/jesus-christ-first-christians-part-one-uosmze/.


  • Islam: The First Steps

After worship on March 3, 2019, we held the first in our series about the three religions that share Abraham as an ancestor – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  We began with an introduction to Islam through videos addressing history, beliefs, and practices. Read More….

Transgender Awareness

3 Webinars – Thursdays Feb 25, Mar 4, Mar 11, 7 to 8:30PM

Since declaring ourselves an Open and Affirming church in 2001, we have done much to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people to our church.  But there is always more we can do and more we can learn about the LGBTQIA+ community.  You are invited to continue the church’s ONA learning journey by attending any of these transgender awareness webinars being offered by the Open & Affirming Coalition of the UCC.  For more information and to request a Zoom link, click here.

Tuesdays with Jesus (an annual Lenten program)

Six Tuesdays beginning February 23, 6 to 7PM

Come, bring a bowl of soup and bread to your computer and we’ll gather together on zoom for our annual “Tuesdays with Jesus.”  This year we are providing recipes from members of the church and encouraging you to make your own soup to have while we read to you a chapter each week from the book “Trouble the Water: A Christian Resource for the Work of Racial Justice.”  Alternatively, bring whatever you might like to eat as you listen.  Each week’s chapter reading will be followed by a time for discussion.  Look for the Zoom link (for the following Tuesday) in each Thursday’s “FCC Weekly,” and click here for recipes.  We hope you can gather with us!

Racial Justice:  Talk, Learn, Act

In November 2020 we held a 3-part discussion series about Ibram X. Kendi’s timely and provocative book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” which was our shared “FCC Reads” book over the summer.  Led by Prof. Jerry Mechling, we explored many aspects of Kendi’s book and its possible implications for actions by our individual selves and our church. For a fuller description, click here.

The series was part of our church’s ongoing “Racial Justice: Talk, Learn, Act” effort (see above), which kicked off last June with a probing Zoom discussion on the topic of antiracism.

Advent Bible Study on the Incarnation

Led by Rev. Will Burhans

This 4-week on-line study during the season of Advent 2020 invited us to take a deeper dive into the scriptures that reveal the story of the Incarnation of God, which we celebrate at Christmas.  We explored the paradoxes that abound in the story of the incarnation — from the eternal entering time, to the divine becoming human, to power itself revealed in vulnerability; and we will learn more about what the Incarnation can mean for our everyday lives.  What better time to take a deeper dive into the meaning of Christmas than at the end of this difficult and tumultuous year?  More details …

For six weeks in January and February, 2020, we offered both an evening class and a daytime class called Introducing the New Testament. This was the latest in our very popular series of programs using the “Exploring the Bible” curriculum created by the Massachusetts Bible  Society. For more information, click on this link 


“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Screening 

On Sunday afternoon, February 10, 2019, we viewed this popular, poignant documentary about Fred Rogers and his long-running show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” and had a brief discussion period afterwards.

SpeakOUT Boston

SpeakOUT Boston came to our church in October 2018.  SpeakOUT Boston is the nation’s oldest LGBTQIA speakers’ bureau and features a panel of speakers sharing their personal stories.  This program supplemented our recently concluded program, “Transgender Awareness and Understanding” Read More…

Introduction to the Old Testament

In September 2018 we conducted a six week, small group Bible study, using the Massachusetts Bible Society’s Exploring the Bible series Introducing the Old Testament. Read more


Additional Resources from Past Programs


Adult Faith Exploration News