Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in religious history, art, the relationships between religions, topics in social justice and other subjects that inform our understanding of how religion fits into the modern world. The 2nd Hour conversations often draw on scholars from the local academic community or on local activists, in addition to people affiliated with First Church. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events usually occur after the Sunday morning worship service, but there is no expectation that you need attend the worship service in order to come to the second hour event. These events are held in Community Hall towards the back of the building, near the parking lot. Events usually start at 11:15 am. There is coffee before hand, starting about 11:00 am.
You do need not be affiliated with First Church to attend and participate in second hour events.
Some examples of past events:
- Francis Oakley, historian and former President of Williams College discussed with moderator Charles Fox, “Christian Disunity: Was the Reformation Inevitable?”
- Robin Lenz of Higher Ground came to talk to us about Affordable Housing in the Northern Berkshires.
- On the 10th aniversary of the 9/11 attacks, three Chaplains from Williams College, discussed with moderator Charles Fox, the historic relations between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
- At Christmas time, an exploration of traditional religious art, Peter Low, Williams College art historian, spoke with moderator Charles Fox on “Images of the Christ and Mary.”
- Edan Dekel, of the Williams College Classics Department, held us enthralled three Sundays in a row, speaking about the book of Genesis.
Some of these events have been videotaped. When they are edited they get shown on Willinet, our local community access channel. The schedule of videos from our church on Willinet is:
Sundays 10:30-11:30 am, & 8-9 pm
Mondays 10-11 pm
Tuesdays 9-10 am
Thursdays 2-3 pm
Click the icon to go to our video page and view a sample (but the events are much better in person!).
First Church, in partnership with the Chaplain’s Office at Williams College, sponsors a student prize for passionate public speaking on matters that fall into the categories of Social Justice & Activism or of Spirtuality & Faith. The public is cordially invited to listen to these students deliver their speeches; watch for the details of the public event, usually held in April. Students who participate in this event are sometimes invited to preach from the pulpit at First Church.