On May 7th at 11:15 am, First Church will offer a screening of “An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story“, a new PBS documentary by Martin Doblmeier. This 2nd Hour features a special screening event of a new PBS documentary and film by Martin Doblmeier, An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story. Niebuhr was a … read on


Our Second Hour program on April 23rd will feature Dr. Vincent Wimbush, the current Croghan Visiting Professor of Religion at Williams College. Dr. Wimbush received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and a PhD in New Testament Studies from Harvard University. Dr. Wimbush has previously taught at Union Theological Seminary in NYC … read on


Middle Sunday School Students will perform their understanding of Jesus Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16), using puppets they have made themselves. The entire school year, thus far, has been spent creating this drama. We hope the whole congregation will stay after our worship service on Sunday, April 30th, for the performance at 11:30 … read on


The Making of A Racist. In this powerful memoir, Charles Dew, the Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College, and one of America’s most respected historians of the South — particularly its history of slavery — turns the focus on his own life, which began not in the halls of enlightenment but in … read on


Nicolas C. Howe of the Williams College Environmental Studies Program will address the issue of Sacred Space in a Secular World at First Church’s Second Hour, November 6th, 11:20 am.  He will discuss how American environmentalists have navigated the religious/secular divide in battles over wilderness preservation. His book Landscape of the Secular: Law, Religion and … read on


On May 15th, Professor Michael J. Lewis, the Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art History at Williams will speak to us about Early New England Church architecture.  The Early New England Church is remarkable in every small-town.  These universally white structures were erected by local builders, joiners and occasionally by itinerant master carpenters. With no trained architects … read on


Melanie Johnson-Debaufre’s work extends beyond the classroom and library, into churches, popular media, and community groups and architectural sites in Turkey.  Through her research, teaching, and speaking, she explores how the study of early Christianity and its context in the Roman Empire provides insight into contemporary debates about the Bible, religion, sexuality, and globalization. Her … read on


The First Congregational Church of Williamstown is hosting a talk by William R. Moomaw, lead author of five U.N. Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports. Moomaw will speak on “Exceeding Expectations: Beyond the Climate Agreements at COP21. Moomaw attended last December’s panel in Paris. He will describe what happened in Paris outside the official … read on


On Sunday, March 13th at 11:20 am, First Church will present: Ethical oil? a discussion with Dr. David Bond, Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College. Working at the intersection of hydrocarbon disasters and governable forms of life, David Bond is a cultural anthropologist specializing in the study … read on


The Second Hour Committee would like to announce the proposed Second Hour schedule for the next few months. (We will notify everyone when any “open” date is filled.) The Committee plans a regular rolling sequence of programs related to the specific topical focus mentioned in the Mission Statement of Second Hour (that is, Biblical study, … read on


Elizabeth Kolbert will lead a discussion on February 21st, as part of our 2nd Hour @ the Meetinghouse series, starting about 11:15 am in Community Hall.  This discussion will center on our government’s policies for fullfilling the promise of COP21. Nearly 200 nations joined in Paris at the 21st Congress of Parties in December, agreeing … read on


During 2nd Hour on February 14th John W. Chandler, President Emeritus, Williams College will interview Adriana Millenaar Brown about her new book: An Unlikely Hero. In a quote on the book jacket President Chandler says: “This book is the gripping and inspiring story of the towering courage and indefatigable resolve of Adrianus Millenaar, a diplomat … read on


Community Pancake Brunch February 7 to Benefit The Williamstown Food Pantry On Sunday, February 7th members of the community are invited to a pancake brunch in Community Hall after worship service to celebrate Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. This year’s meal will celebrate the season before Lent begins. Pancakes with delicious toppings and sausage will … read on


Our January 24th Second Hour discussion on Hildegard Von Bingen, will be led by Williams College Professor of Music, Jennifer Bloxam.  Hildegard Von Bingen, (1098-1179) was a medieval mystic and visionary, as well as an Abbess. At a time when women were not recognized in the public and religious sphere, Hildegard was also an author, … read on


During March, the 2nd Hour Task Force has taken some time off, allowing the congregation to enjoy the Lenten Small Group discussions, instead of having talks after church on Sundays.  We have also celebrated the passing of Jeannie Ranney, with a luncheon, and had a New Members reception during this past month. April brings Easter … read on


Second Hour @ the Meetinghouse for March will continue with the second half of the Divestment discussion, which began with Rev. Jim Antal’s visit last Sunday (February 22nd). Rev. Antal and Ben Downing discussed the reasons for divestment from fossil fuels, both in Rev. Antal’s sermon (available on the website here), and in the 2nd … read on


Members of First Church plan to follow up on Williams students’ efforts to raise the issue of individual and institutional divestment from fossil fuel industries.  On February 22nd Jim Antal, Conference Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, will deliver the sermon and lead a workshop with Sen. Ben Downing (D-Mass.).  Rev. Antal … read on


Every fifty years or so we are called to renew The Meetinghouse for the community – both our own congregation and the broader community which we invite into our building and serve. Once again it is time to renew for coming generations of Williamstown. Last Spring, on Sunday May 4th, 2014, we held a 2nd … read on


Williamstown 1765: The New World Frontier Samuel Y. Edgerton, Amos Lawrence Professor of Art, Emeritus, will introduce us to the historical and religious dynamics of the period of the French and Indian Wars on Sunday, January 25th at 11:20 am. The most local of the worldwide conflict called the Seven Year’s War, the French and … read on


Please join us after worship service on January 11th, when we will have Williams Professor Scott Wong, Attorney Sherwood Guernsey, and Eleanore Velez from Berkshire Community College as panelists for a discussion of Immigration Reform: What Is It? Why are people scared?  There will be short readings, suggested by Sherwood Guernsey and Scott Wong, which … read on


What do shirt collars and the current building of the First Congregational Church have in common?  How did Williams College create the circumstances making it necessary to redesign the architecture of First Church?  Some of this information is common knowledge in Williamstown, but you may be surprised by some information that has newly been connected … read on


November 23, 2014 Where we will: – donate pies for the Berkshire Food Project’s Thanksgiving feast – enjoy tasting a variety of home-made specialties during Second Hour. – crown this year’s “First Church Pie Champion.” How it began: The FCC’s youth group began the tradition of providing dessert for the Thanksgiving feast offered by the … read on


Our Second Hour programming begins November 2 and continues on November 9, and 16, featuring two different concurrent small group opportunities to learn and engage with each other. The two groups are: Real Good Church with Lynn Chick and Rev. Mark. Following on the heels of attending a UCC workshop on church renewal with author/pastor … read on


The Berkshire Immigrant Center has been assisting Berkshire County immigrants, regardless of race and religious affiliation, to become American citizens since 1997. – Phil Smith and Sherwood Guernsey of our Outreach Ministry Team will host Hillary Green and Brooke Mead from the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Mpaza Kapembwa, Williams Class of 2015 and a naturalized citizen born in Zambia, … read on


In the years following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Director Holly Hardman focuses her lens on a fundamentalist cross-carrier, a fervent youth choir leader, and a fascinating collection of their born-again brethren along the Gulf Coast. All believe that God sent the hurricanes of 2005 to punish America for its sinful ways. And all share a … read on


The Protestant Reformation in Europe in the first half of the 16th century seriously challenged the Roman Catholic Church.  Before Martin Luther publicized his “95 Theses” attacking church corruption in 1517, virtually all Europeans belonged to the Catholic Church, but just 20 years later much of the continent belonged to the Reformed, or Protestant, church.  Although … read on


During the months of October and November our Second Hour schedule promises us once again an engaging blend of reflective and activist programs. Please mark your calendars to attend these wonderful events. Programs begin at approximately 11:20 in Fellowship Hall and are open to the church and Williamstown community. October 5th: Berkshire Organizing Project: Bringing Faith and … read on


October 5th: Berkshire Organizing Project: Bringing Faith & Justice Together How can people of faith from many congregations build the voice to win new transportation resources and better access to food for the growing number of hungry, working families in our county?  Join the conversation with Wendy Krom, Ken Galdston, and Pastor Mark Longhurst. Wendy Krom, Lead … read on


Our Building and Its Historic Clock September 21, 11:20 am What do shirt collars and the current building of the First Congregational Church have in common?  How did Williams College create the circumstances making it necessary to redesign the building?  Some of this information is common knowledge in Williamstown, but you may be surprised by … read on


On April 6 we will have another community-oriented program (as we had last month and will have next month) in which, under the leadership of our own Margaret McComish and guest Carrie Greene, we will explore a number of important issues facing our community regarding the future of our high school. Entitled “Committing to our … read on


On Tuesday, March 4 members of the community are invited to a pancake supper in Fellowship Hall to celebrate Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday – the day before Lent begins. Pancakes with delicious toppings will be served from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. A donation of $5 to $10 is requested to benefit  Higher Ground. Current or … read on


We are very pleased to have a return appearance from Dr. Glenn Shuck of the Williams College Department of Religion. Dr. Shuck is a specialist on contemporary American religious and quasi-religious movements, and he has written extensively about the topic, especially concerning right-wing evangelicalism. He previously explored with us the fascinating political and cultural inroads of various … read on


On January 12th and 19th it is our great pleasure to welcome back Dr. Edan Dekel, Associate Professor of Classics and Judaic Studies at Williams College. As you all know from his past appearances in Second Hour programs, Prof. Dekel is a remarkable Biblical scholar, whose rich insights into the Hebrew text have provided us … read on


Thanks to our partners at Willinet, video of the following second hour at the meeting house series is available online. You can watch it here, go to the Willinet website and search on “First Congregational” or, if the timing is right, watch the program on TV.  Showtimes on Willinet for 2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse videos are currently: Sundays 10:30-11:30 am, & … read on


For the 2nd Hour program on November 17th: “Coming Out, Spiritually: LGBT Identity and the Journey of the Spirit” will be discussed by a panel of Williams students. How do today’s students view “organized religion” in relationship to sexual orientation in general, and the struggle for civil rights for the LGBTQ community in particular? What … read on


On November 10 at 11:15 am, we welcome Judy Grinnell for a presentation and discussion of her work on the Hoosic River as it passes through our Northern Berkshire communities. In particular Judy has focused her attention and activism on the path of the river through North Adams. This great local environmental initiative, led by one of … read on


On October 27th Second Hour @ the Meetinghouse will welcome professors Bill Wootters, & Stuart Crampton Stuart Crampton, the Barclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy, Emeritus as well as Co-Director of North Berkshire Center for Religion and Science, and Bill Wootters, the current Barclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy, will discuss questions concerning the relationship between … read on


Thanks to our partners at Willinet, video of the following second hour at the meeting house series is available online. You can watch it here, go to the Willinet website and search on “First Congregational” or, if the timing is right, watch the program on TV.  Showtimes on Willinet for 2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse videos are currently: Sundays 10:30-11:30 am, & … read on


Historian and Williams College legend, Stewart Burns, will present the story of the church bombing that took place 50 years ago and the significance of this event for the civil rights movement. He will show a brief clip of Spike Lee’s moving documentary “Four Little Girls” and facilitate a discussion about the fate of the 1965 … read on


First Church will have a special welcome with an ice cream social for new and returning college students (from Williams, MCLA, Bennington or elsewhere!) Sunday September 8 at about 11:15 am following the 10:00 am church service. The ice cream social will be in the Fellowship Hall. Students of all faith backgrounds and inclinations are … read on


Thanks to our partners at Willinet, video of the following second hour at the meeting house series is available online. Magnus Bernhardsson on Religion & the Arab Spring About the Series


Thanks to our partners at Willinet, video of the following second hour at the meeting house series is available online. You can click on the links here, go to the Willinet website and search on “First Congregational” or, if the timing is right, watch the program on TV. Showtimes on Willinet for 2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse videos are currently: Sundays 10:30-11:30 am, … read on


On Sunday May 1st, Professor Magnus T. Bernhardsson will speak to the community on Islam & The West. Professor Bernhardsson specializes in the modern Middle East, specifically the political and cultural history of Hashmite Iraq (1921-1958). After earning his B.A. degree in theology and political science at the University of Iceland, he came to the … read on


    11:15 am May 12th The public is cordially invited to hear Magnus Bernhardsson Professor of History and Chair of International Relations at Willams College discuss “Religion and the Arab Spring” Magnus Bernhardsson’s research interests center on Middle Eastern history, particularly modern Iraqi history, U.S.-Iraqi relations in the 20th century, archaeology, and nationalism in … read on


Please join us for a conversation: May 5th 11:15 am Prof. Francis Oakley discussing with Charles Fox “The Current Crisis of Authority within Catholicism” First Church is delighted to welcome back Prof. Francis Oakley, the Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas at Williams College. Dr. Oakley last spoke in the second hour … read on


Due to Illness the Sunday April 28th program listed below has been cancelled The Sacred Spaces of Islam with Holly Edwards Senior Lecturer in Art Williams College Hosted by Prof. Magnus Bernhardsson Dr. Edwards is a historian of Islamic Art. She teaches courses that range from painting to architecture and from Spain to India. Her … read on


Celebrate Earth Day by coming to a conversation on: Planting Trees & Going Solar 11:15 am April 21st All are welcome at a special Earth Day Second Hour at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown that will explore responses to global warming, Sunday, April 21, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.  Andrew Parkman of Mountain Home Property Care … read on


On April 7th Dr. Richard Ford will lead us in the third and final session in the three part bible study series on the “Parables of Jesus”.  The topic for this program is “Jesus’ Parable of the Dishonest Steward and the War in Afghanistan”.  To see the article on this series click here. You need not have … read on


Congratulations to Sarah Zager & Hamza Farrukh on winning in their categories! It was a great effort by all the students this year. We look forward to hearing more next year! Passionate Speaking here on April 14 at 7pm We were delighted to host, once again in our sanctuary, the speeches of the six finalists … read on


A three part interactive Bible Study series by Local Author and Clinical Psychologist Richard Q. Ford on Jesus’ Parables in a Modern Context March 17, 24 and April 7. On March 17 and 24 and April 7 we welcome FCC member Dr. Richard Q. Ford for a three-part series of Bible studies devoted to thinking … read on


The Second Hour program schedule for March is as follows: March 3: “The Sacrifice of Isaac”, a conversation with Prof. Edan Dekel March 10: Pot-luck Luncheon and small table discussions of our Interim period March 17:“Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Tenants and America’s Invasion of Iraq” (a Bible study led by Dr. Richard Q. Ford) … read on


On February 24th & March 3rd we welcome back Edan Dekel, Associate Professor of Classics at Williams College, to speak to us once more on Genesis, this time focussing on Abraham, including the famously difficult section where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. 11:15 am Feb. 24, God’s Covenant with Abraham 11:15 am … read on


Thanks to our partners at Willinet, video of the following second hour at the meeting house series is available online. You can watch it here, go to the Willinet website and search on “First Congregational” or, if the timing is right, watch the program on TV.  Showtimes on Willinet for 2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse videos are currently: Sundays 10:30-11:30 am, & … read on


John Chandler: Reminiscences of My Career as an Educator and Academic Administrator Please join us Sunday February 17th at 11:15 am when Charles Fox interviews John Chandler, former Professor of Religion and President of Williams College, about his career in teaching and administration. Coffee is served at about 11:00 am. More on President Chandler The … read on


The Keystone XL Pipeline: Environmental Concerns Sunday, February 10th, 11:15 am a Second Hour @ the Meetinghouse discussion with Philip R. McKnight, Environmental Lawyer and Sarah Jacobson, Environmental Economist Philip R. McKnight, Williams class of ’65 is a trial and appellate attorney.  At Williams he completed the honors program for both American History and Literature … read on


The Second Hour team is hard at work arranging events for February 10, 17 and 24 (Feb. 3 being the Annual Meeting of the Congregation), but the schedule is not yet available. As information on the February Second Hour events becomes available it will be posted on the website. Also watch for posters around the … read on


January 27, as part of the 2ndHour@theMeetinghouse program, we are pleased to welcome back Prof. Sam Crane to talk about “Identifying Indian Religion.”  He spoke earlier this month on “Religions and Cultures in China.” Prof. Crane is the Fred Greene Third Century Professor of Political Science at Williams College. His current book project, Life, Liberty, and … read on


January 13, as part of the 2ndHour@theMeetinghouse program, we are pleased to welcome Prof. Jason Josephson to talk about “The Invention of Japanese Religion(s).”  Prof. Josephson is an assistant professor of Religion at Williams College. Josephson’s scholarship has concentrated dominantly on Japan of the Edo-Meiji Era (1600-1912). Drawing largely on sources written in Japanese, Chinese, French, … read on


January 6, as part of the 2ndHour@theMeetinghouse program, we are pleased to welcome Prof. Sam Crane to talk about “Religions and Cultures in China.”  Prof. Crane is the Fred Greene Third Century Professor of Political Science at Williams College. His current book project, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American … read on


The Second Hour program for January will feature three sessions devoted to an understanding of what we in the West tend to think of as the “Eastern religions”.  We identify those as “Hinduism” in India, “Buddhism” as a trans-national religion that extended all over South and East Asia, “Confucianism” and “Taoism” as distinctively Chinese “religions”, … read on


During November 2012 we return for some new programs in the “101” series initiated in the Fall of 2010 and Winter of 2011.  The “101” label indicates a basic presentation on a topic.  Thus we had Bible 101 on the Old Testament, Gospels 101, Koran 101, and Judaism 101.  On November 4 we will begin … read on


On Thanksgiving weekend, November 25th, we will have the first of what we hope will be a series of programs in the style of the Public Radio’s “Story Corps“.  Our first program will be dedicated to “Stories from our Elders”, in which a group of our long-time members will share the story of their personal spiritual … read on


[singlepic id=216 w=320 h=240 float=none] The Second House presentation on October 28th will feature a guest from afar, Dr. Robison James, of Richmond, Virginia.  Dr James holds a PhD in Religion from Duke University, and prior to that studied theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and at the University of Edinburgh.  He is … read on


As part of the 2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse program, our program for November continues a series of programs initiated in the Fall of 2010 and Winter of 2011.  During that period we had a program series using the “101” label to describe a basic presentation on a topic.  Thus we had Bible 101 on the Old Testament, … read on


We will begin October with a three-part series led by Dr. John Messerschmitt, the now retired Director of the Counseling Center in the Berkshires, who is also an ordained Presbyterian and Congregational minister.  The title for the series will be “Stages on Life’s Way”, and it will take its point of departure from the very influential … read on


[singlepic id=216 w=320 h=240 float=left] Our program for October will feature two persons of great talent and insight. We will begin the month with a three-part series led by Dr. John Messerschmitt, the now retired Director of the Counseling Center in the Berkshires, who is also an ordained Presbyterian and Congregational minister. The title for … read on


Homecoming Sunday! We welcome everyone back from their summer travels, and also make a special effort to encourage persons who have not attended in some time to join us again.  We will share a pot-luck luncheon to to allow everyone to catch up from their summer experiences. Luncheon will begin directly after worship, around 11:15. … read on


As part of the 2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse program, First Church presents two thought provoking lecture/discussions on an important topic of special current interest. The public is welcome; no affifilation with First Church is required or expected. First Church is pleased to welcome: Julia Pedroni, Lecturer in Philosophy at Williams College Rachel Tarses, Clinical Ethicist for Hospitals … read on


[singlepic id=216 w=320 h=240 float=left]September 9 – Welcome to Williams Students. Tirhakah Love ’15, Coffin Prize finalist, preaching. The Second Hour will consist of a social reception for students attending the service, with juices and finger food. September 16 and 23 – The Second Hour program on these two Sundays will feature two persons who … read on


Welcome to Williams Students! First Congregational Church sits in the middle of the Williams campus and there is a long history of a close association between the College and the Church.  During the first century at the college, large all college gatherings (such as Convocation or Commencement) were held in our building. College students (Williams … read on


Earth Day: Climate Change Impacts and Solutions Frank Lowenstein, Director of Global Climate Adaptation for The Nature Conservancy, spoke on “Climate Change: Local Impacts, Local Solutions” at 3:30 pm on Earth Day, April 22 in Fellowship Hall.  The event was co-sponsored by the church, the Center for EcoTechnology, the Williamstown COOL Committee, the Zilkha Center andCenter for Environmental Studies at Williams College, … read on


[singlepic id=143 w=320 h=240 float=left] Starting on Sunday, April 29th we will begin a series led by Bob Scherr, Jewish Chaplain to Williams College, entitled Searching for the Sacred: An Introduction to Jewish Thought and Practice.  In his career Robert Scherr has been a cantor, a performing artist, teacher, listener, student, and occasional chef.  Coming to … read on


On Sunday, April 15, Second Hour@The Meetinghouse invites you to enjoy lunch while learning about the work of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative. Since February 2011, NBIAI has been running the biggest food pantry in North Adams, staffed solely by volunteers and funded by donations. All are welcome. A staffed nursery for babies and toddlers … read on


[singlepic id=133 w=320 h=240 float=left] Look closer . . .   Faces of Witness   Meet artist Elaine Denny at a special Easter coffee hour, 11:30 am to noon, Easter Sunday in Fellowship Hall Faces of Witness is a portait series that amplifies the voices of extraodinary “ordinary” people from El Salvador – each created … read on


In March, Conversations@theMeetinghouse looks forward to the return of Rick Spalding with Gospel 101: Dissonance and Confluence.  This three session study will invite participants into an “entry-level” exploration of the unique perspective of each of the four canonical witnesses to the life of Jesus. It is intended especially for those for whom a careful comparative … read on


On February 12th, 19th, & 26th 2012, First Church was pleased to present three consecutive segments of the Forum on Contemporary Religious Issues as part of our “Conversations@theMeetinghouse” series (now called “2nd Hour@theMeetinghouse”).  Our own Charles Fox hosted Edan Dekel, Associate Professor of Classics at Williams College, for a series of “Genesis Talks.”  Dr. Dekel … read on


Conversations@The Meetinghouse will continue at 11:30 am on February 5th with Dr. Richard E. “Dick” Markham, a member of this Church and retired professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, will lead a discussion on Redefining Heaven and Hell.  What were your childhood views of heaven and hell? How have your views about … read on


January 8, 15 and 22 Bilal Ansari, Muslim Chaplain, at Williams College will be leading a series on Islam Today. This is part of the Conversations @ theMeetinghouse series, a regular program of lectures and discussions held at the First Congregational Church, Williamstown MA. Conversations are held Sunday morning at about 11:15 am in the Fellowship … read on