Susan Campbell Lecture
2000 years ago an itinerant preacher trekked across desert SLCampbelllands with new teachings of long-established beliefs. Jesus of Nazareth was a revolutionary whose call for simple, compassionate truth in everyday life reverberates more than ever. How might his words shape us today as we ponder our actions toward “the least of these?” The JPW Library is pleased to welcome lecturer and author Susan Campbell to speak to us on how “The Sermon on the Mount ls an Awesome Political Platform,” Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Susan Campbell is a distinguished lecturer at the University of New Haven, and an award-winning author of Dating Jesus: Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl, and Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker. Her new book, Searching for the American Dream in Frog Hollow, America, is due out in the spring of 2018.

Senior Lecture Series
Sunday, March 19, 2017
: “Know the 10 Signs” Ian MacDonald, Ian_MacDonald_PhotoNorth Central Regional Director and Public Policy Director for the CT Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, will discuss cognitive changes such as memory loss and behavior in seniors. Separate myth from reality and address commonly held fears about Alzheimer’s in America. Explore typical experiences of people who have the disease and find out how to recognize the signs in yourself and others.
Sunday, April 23, 2017: Elder Law, Attorney and Rev. Ed Falsey
Many of you might remember Attorney and Reverend Edward Falsey, who served at First Church during Geordie’s sabbatical a few years ago. Ed joins us after worship to discuss legal concerns such as Living Wills & Advanced Directives, Trusts, Wills, and Probate. There will be time for Questions & Answers.
Sunday, May 21, 2017: Aging at Home, Molly Rees Gavin, President of CT Community Care

In addition to the lecture series, the First Church Senior Resource Manual for seniors and their families provides information on care options, legal matters, illness, spirituality, local transportation options, and more. The resource manual is now available in the JPW Library.

Faith on Film
Friday, March 24th, at 7 pm in the JPW LibraryLandfillHarmonic
We will watch Landfill Harmonic, the story of the “Recycled Orchestra of Cateura.” This Paraguayan youth musical group plays instruments made out of garbage that members pick from the town dump. The film shows the formation of the orchestra, and how they later cope with a natural disaster that strikes their hometown. Light refreshments will be served.

Book Discussions


The JPW Library hosts two book groups, one weekly and one monthly. 

Awakening the Spirit Book Discussion

Mondays from noon – 1:30 p.m. from September-MayGreat Spiritual Migration Book
Our next book starting in March: The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian by Brian D. McLaren. The Christian story, from Genesis until now, is funda-mentally about people on the move—outgrowing old, broken religious systems and embracing new, more redemptive ways of life.
It’s time to move again. Brian McLaren, a leading voice in con-temporary religion, argues that— notwithstanding the dire headlines about the demise of faith and drop in church attendance—Christian faith is not dying. Rather, it is embarking on a once-in-an-era spiritual shift. For millions, the journey has already begun. With his trade-mark brilliance and compassion, McLaren invites readers to seize the moment and set out on the most significant spiritual pilgrimage of our time: to help Christianity become more Christian.  Copies of the book are available in the library, please bring your lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided. Our discussions are led by Rev. Susan Izard.

Food for Thought Book Group
First Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. from October – MayWhen-Breath-Becomes-Air-Cover
Thursday, April 6th, at 5:30 pm in the JPW Library
Our next book: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon,
Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. What makes life worth living in the face of death? Kalanithi wrestles with this question and many others in this profoundly moving memoir. Books are available through the Library. Please bring your own supper; beverages will be provided.