During Lent, there will be small groups that fall under the categories of Mind, Body, Spirit and Connection. The hope is that the groups will contribute to people's sense of wellness during this winter and help us connect with our church family. The groups will meet during the weeks of Lent (Feb. 17 - April 4) over Zoom. Groups vary but each will meet between two and six times; once you sign up for a group, the facilitator will be in touch to confirm the meeting dates and times. Please reach out to Elizabeth Hess (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. We hope that you will try a group this Lent, and that you might consider inviting a friend to join with you. Descriptions of each group listed below; sign up here!
Tuesdays 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
If you love to bake, share sweet recipes, or learn more tips, this is the group for you! We may also explore donating baked goods to local frontline workers. Led by Carolyn Menan, this group will meet over Zoom on Tuesday evenings.
Book Club - Fiction
Thursdays 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Deepen your Lenten journey with a reading of the literary novel The Plague by Albert Camus, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Set in the fictional city of Oran in 1940’s French Algeria, the townspeople suddenly find themselves overrun by bubonic plague-carrying rats. Quarantine, desperation, and terror ensue, with citizens enduring their own COVID epidemic through heroic acts of compassion and a search for spiritual meaning in a completely unexpected community health crisis. Sound familiar? Discussions will be facilitated by Diane Rosier Miles and will take place on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 over Zoom.
Book Club - Practicing Christianity
Tuesdays 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Members of this group will read Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World by Kathy Escobar. This book explores unconventional spiritual practices like listening, including, failing, and mourning. These practical, tangible practices can help us find our way as people of faith in today's broken world. The group will decide which practices to read for each week's discussion. Discussions will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Zoom and will be led by Carol Schmidt.
Bread and Wine Book and Cook Study
Thursdays 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
For some of us, the later winter months can be the hardest on our mental health. Let’s put something on our calendar to look forward to each week! Join this reading and cooking group based on the book, Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist. Each week we’ll discuss the reading which covers topics like:; loss, faith, shame and relationships. We’ll also prepare a recipe from the book each week (lots of options!) and eat it during our group time! This is a great group for people who are looking to connect with others by going beyond small talk and who also love to cook or are cooking curious! This group will be led by April Hankins and will meet from Feb. 25 – March 25.
Celtic Perspectives: Reclaiming our Godliness
Wednesdays 3:00 p.m.
Celtic Christianity flourished in the British Isles and throughout Europe from the fourth century, and was declared heretical in the fifth century A.D. by the Catholic church. Still, Celtic Christianity continued to thrive throughout the British Isles even after it was suppressed in Britain in the seventh century, and it was purged in the eighteenth century. Still, Celtic crosses dominate the Scottish and Irish landscape. The Celtic tradition was revived at the Abbey in Iona in the twentieth century, and it has much to offer Christians today. This class will explore the people and ideas who inspired this rich well-spring of Christian belief in five areas: 1. God and Nature; 2. God and Self; 3. God and Gender; 4. God and Sabbath; and 5. God and Spirit. You will be surprised by what you don’t know about our Christian and especially our Presbyterian Heritage. And you will be energized and re-vitalized as you discover the richness of this vibrant but almost extinct Christian Tradition. The class will reference the book Listening to the Heartbeat of God (J. Philip Newell); purchase of the book is recommended but not required. This group will be led by David Dickey.
Fridays 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Come join us during Lent for a weekly Zoom Craft Brew sharing experience. We will taste, rate, and discuss a variety of Craft Beer styles from Pilsners and Lagers, to Belgian and Stouts. Over the 6 sessions will review at least 12 different brews from local breweries. Your hosts will be Brian Parker, Head Brewer at Cat in a Tree Brewing, and Dean Rasmussen, retired home brewer, with coordination of Sandor Kadar, staff liaison. You might ask: What has beer got to do with Lent? Monks began brewing beer as early as the fifth century. Beer became a popular Lenten drink because monks who abstained from wine and dairy products during Lent needed a hearty drink to sustain them, said Father William Saunders in his new book about Lenten and Easter traditions, and so they brewed a strong lager high in carbohydrates and nutrients.
Deeper into Homelessness: Discussion of Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
Wednesdays 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
A year ago, before COVID, First Pres began to explore the challenge of homelessness in the world and in our community. Our Lenten Matthew 25 campaign raised over $25,000 to help our pastors and mission partners address the issue in practical ways, while many in the congregation began to learn about the complexities of this problem. Though our attention shifted to the pandemic, housing insecurity has not gone away...in fact, it has worsened. So, once again the Missions Committee is asking the congregation to think about homelessness during Lent and to generously support our efforts to address it.
f you wish to learn more about the challenges of housing insecurity, we invite you to participate in this five-week discussion of Michael Desmond’s book Evicted. This gripping work combines scholarly research with human stories from both sides of issue—tenants and landlords—to give a well-rounded and thought-provoking exploration of homelessness. It is recommended that you purchase the book if you are interested in participating; besides the printed version, it is available in a Kindle edition. Scholarships are available for those who would like them. This group will be led by Doug Congdon-Martin and will begin Wednesday, February 24.
Wednesdays 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Is your life harried? Do you feel overworked and burdened? Maybe you need a Sabbath! Why not be part of Rev. Ann Dickey’s zoom class that will look at the ways to rectify this situation! This Lenten Wednesday lunchtime class will meet five Wednesdays (Feb 24- March 24) and will use the book Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest by Lynn Baab, a Presbyterian pastor now living in New Zealand. Participants are encouraged to read the book which can be purchased on Amazon. Join the discussion and together let's discover ways to make life more restful and meaningful for us all!
Fasting as Spiritual Practice
Mondays 6:30 p.m.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” - Isaiah 58:6-7
Many people fast to lose weight, to discipline themselves, or to invoke a spiritual experience. These are all valid reasons, but this passage points to another possibility. How can we fast for a more just, a more whole, a more beautiful world? Join us as we practice fasting together (apart) this Lenten season. You can give up food, money, social media, or anything else; the options are endless. No fasting experience is needed, and this is a no-shame zone. We’ll have a biweekly Zoom call to discuss, encourage, commiserate, and celebrate. Led by Eric Hankins, this group will meet every other week beginning February 15.
Saturdays 10:00 a.m.
This will be a time to share tips about gardening, great places to find plants, and plans for your own garden. Maybe you don't consider yourself as having a green thumb but you like learning tips or you enjoy the spiritual side of gardening - all are welcome. Discussing a garden might just make a cold winter seem to go more quickly! Led by Martha Anderson and Sallie Yoder over Zoom, this group will meet four times throughout Lent, beginning February 20.
Mario Kart Group
Fridays 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Looking for some good-natured, competitive fun? Connect with church friends online for some Mario Kart racing! Participants will need a Nintendo Switch gaming system, the Mario Kart game, and a paid Nintendo membership. Races will take place from 7:00 - 8:00 pm on Friday nights and will be hosted by the Pantazes family.
Parents of Preschoolers
Saturdays 10:30 a.m.
This group will meet at various local playgrounds/parks so the children can get outside, interact, and play. Parents, we need some outdoor interaction too to get us through these winter months! While weather permits, we will plan to meet outside and observe mask mandates and social distancing. This group will be led by Emily McClure.
Thursdays 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Photography can be a spiritual tool to shift our vision. During these five Lenten sessions, we’ll look to gain new perspectives, tell stories, interpret scripture and create the space to find God in all types of unexpected places. All you need is your cell phone camera and a bit of imagination. Participate as an individual, couple or as a family. Some basic photography instruction will be provided. We hope to see you there! Led by Peter Guman and Brooke Gamble.
Beginner runners, experienced runners, and everyone in between! Let's get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful trails that Chester County has to offer. Join us for weekly socially distant group meet-ups as we walk, jog, run together. Family fun for all ages. Led by Kelly Pruden; kick off meeting via Zoom on February 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Visio Divina Meditation
Wednesdays 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Visio Divina, which is Latin for “divine seeing,” is a method of meditation, reflection, and prayer through a process of intentional seeing. Members of this group will meet to blend group discussion and Bible study with visual meditation based on artwork that was created specifically for this Lenten season. The group will be led by Elizabeth Guman, Trisha Minicozzi, and Barb Snyder.
Saturdays 7:00 p.m.
Our wine tasting group will celebrate the joys of wine in all its richness and variety. We will explore wines from various countries, sharing their culture as well as the fruit of their vines. Everyone is welcome, regardless of your wine experience or palate; we’ll enjoy each other’s company while enjoying wine. This group will meet twice - March 6 and 20, and will be led by Dennis and Kathy Westhafer.