Upcoming Second Hours

Acknowledging the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s Reformation, there will be two lectures by Reformation Historian, Dr. Peter Starkenko.

The first is on Sunday, October 29, Luther After 500 Years, and the second on Sunday, November 5, Luther’s Revolutionary Children. The Second Hour lectures begin at 11:20 am, following a short coffee fellowship.

Luther sent the Theses enclosed with a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, on 31 October 1517, a date now considered the start of the Reformation and commemorated annually as Reformation Day. Luther may have also posted the Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church and other churches in Wittenberg in accordance with University custom.

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An American Conscience, May 7th

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 moral voice, and a celebrated public theologian in the 20th Century. The film features interviews with President Jimmy carter, Civil Rights leader Andre Young, N.Y. Times’ David Brooks, Cornel West, Susanna Heschel, and others.

Through archival photos, recordings and interviews with his daughter, former students, The New York Times writer David Brooks and civil rights icon Andrew Young, the documentary also explores Niebuhr’s influence and impact on numerous leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama, and former President Jimmy Carter. With revealing insights from academic experts who discuss his life and influence, the stories capture Niebuhr’s seminal role in American life.

A follow-up discussion will take place on May 15th, also at 11:30 here at First Church. This presentation will include further clips of commentary from the scholars interviewed in the film, plus a discussion with three scholars from the Williams community. The discussion will focus on the ongoing relevance of Niebuhr’s thought for engaging the moral and religious challenges of contemporary political life.

2nd Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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 these 2nd Hour events.

Dr. Vincent Wimbush, April 23rd

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 and the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. He is also the founder and Director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures in Pasadena, California. Dr. Wimbush will speak to us on the topic of “Scripture, Slavery, Freedom”, reflections from his most recent work on the significance of “scriptural traditions” in the formation of the Afro-Atlantic community.

Vincent L. Wimbush, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scholar of religion, intellectual leader, and academic gadfly, with more than thirty years of advanced graduate-level teaching and research experience. He is author/editor of more than twelve books, including White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery; MisReading America: Scriptures and Difference; Theorizing Scriptures; and African Americans and the Bible; and scores of articles and essays. He is founding director of The Institute for Signifying Scriptures (ISS) (www.signifyingscriptures.org), an international scholarly organization, and is conceptualizer and director of several collaborative trans-disciplinary research projects, including a documentary film (Finding God in the City of Angels) on the ethnography of scriptures. Recipient of numerous awards and research grants, he is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature.

These lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examine issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, stewardship of the earth or other subjects of general community interest. These events are open to the entire community. There is no expectation that you need attend the worship service in order to come to these after Church events. These events are held in Community Hall towards the back of the building, near the parking lot. Events usually start at 11:20 am. There is coffee and snacks before hand, starting about 11:00 am.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

2nd Hour Puppet Show!

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 am in our Community Hall. A bulletin board display about the puppets and the presentation has been set up in Community Hall by Dick Ford for your viewing.

The Making of a Racist

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 a society unequivocally committed to segregation.

Dew re-creates the midcentury American South of his childhood–in many respects a boy’s paradise, but one stained by Lost Cause revisionism and, worse, by the full brunt of Jim Crow. Through entertainments and “educational” books that belittled African Americans, as well as the living examples of his own family, Dew was indoctrinated in a white supremacy that, at best, was condescendingly paternalistic and, at worst, brutally intolerant. The fear that southern culture, and the “hallowed white male brotherhood,” could come undone through the slightest flexibility in the color line gave the Jim Crow mindset its distinctly unyielding quality. Dew recalls his father, in most regards a decent man, becoming livid over a black tradesman daring to use the front, and not the back, door.

The second half of the book shows how this former Confederate youth and descendant of Thomas Roderick Dew, one of slavery’s most passionate apologists, went on to reject his racist upbringing and become a scholar of the South and its deeply conflicted history. The centerpiece of Dew’s story is his sobering discovery of a price circular from 1860–an itemized list of humans up for sale. Contemplating this document becomes Dew’s first step in an exploration of antebellum Richmond’s slave trade that investigates the terrible–but, to its white participants, unremarkable–inhumanity inherent in the institution.

Dew’s wish with this book is to show how the South of his childhood came into being, poisoning the minds even of honorable people, and to answer the question put to him by Illinois Browning Culver, the African American woman who devoted decades of her life to serving his family: “Charles, why do the grown-ups put so much hate in the children?”

Please come to hear Professor Dew discuss his book on Sunday, March 5th at 11:20 am.  These lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examine issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, stewardship of the earth or other subjects of general community interest. These events are open to the entire community. There is no expectation that you need attend the worship service in order to come to these after Church events. These events are held in Community Hall towards the back of the building, near the parking lot. Events usually start at 11:20 am. There is coffee and snacks before hand, starting about 11:00 am.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

If you missed hearing this wonderful talk, you can see in online, thanks to Willinet!:

Sacred Space in a Secular World, November 2nd Hour

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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 American Sacred Space was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. At Williams he studies the relationship between religious and environmental thought in America from the perspective of cultural geography and teaches in the environmental humanities.

To quote the University of Chicago Press website talking about this title:
“What does it mean to see the American landscape in a secular way?” asks Nicolas Howe at the outset of this innovative, ambitious, and wide-ranging book. It’s a surprising question because of what it implies: we usually aren’t seeing American landscapes through a non-religious lens, but rather as inflected by complicated, little-examined concepts of the sacred.

Fusing geography, legal scholarship, and religion in a potent analysis, Howe shows how seemingly routine questions about how to look at a sunrise or a plateau or how to assess what a mountain is both physically and ideologically, lead to complex arguments about the nature of religious experience and its implications for our lives as citizens. In American society—nominally secular but committed to permitting a diversity of religious beliefs and expressions—such questions become all the more fraught and can lead to difficult, often unsatisfying compromises regarding how to interpret and inhabit our public lands and spaces. A serious commitment to secularism, Howe shows, forces us to confront the profound challenges of true religious diversity in ways that often will have their ultimate expression in our built environment. This provocative exploration of some of the fundamental aspects of American life will help us see the land, law, and society anew.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

If you missed this fascinating talk, you can watch it below, thanks to our partners at Willinet!

Early New England Church Architecture with Prof. Michael Lewis

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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 or schools of architecture in the country at the time, inspiration came from traditional designs and pattern books.  These structures are revered for their physical beauty, simplicity and elegance – and for their role in the early history of this country, the early churches of New England hold a special place in the American consciousness.

According to Steve Rosenthal, a photographer of New England Churches, “These are the buildings which give New England towns and villages a unique sense of place and define, in many minds, the New England character …  Collectively, they are as important to the cultural and architectural history of these villages as are the great cathedrals to the cities of Europe.”

Michael J. Lewis has taught American art and architecture at Williams College since 1993.  After receiving his B.A. from Haverford College in 1980, and two years at the University of Hannover Germany, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989.   He has taught at Bryn Mawr College; McGill University, Montreal; and the University of Natal, South Africa.  A critic of architecture, he writes for a wide variety of publications.  He is the author of, among others, Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind (2001), The Gothic Revival (2002), American Art and Architecture (2006), and the prize-winning August Reichensperger: The Politics of the German Gothic Revival (1993).  His research interests include  architectural theory; utopian and communal societies; and the nature of creativity.  In 2008 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support the completion of City of Refuge: the Other Utopia, a study of millennial town planning.  Lewis was named Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art in 2008.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

If you missed this fascinating talk, you can watch it below, thanks to our partners at Willinet!

The Gospel of Mark & Utopian Social Dreaming – April 24

MJohnson-Debaufre_squareMelanie 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 scholarship centers around the traditions of the earliest Christianities (historical Jesus, Q, Pauline communities) in the context of the Roman empire, with interest in both the ethics and practices of historiography and contemporary reconstructions of Christian origins; feminist and liberationist hermeneutics; and rhetorical analysis of biblical texts and their histories of interpretation. She is currently working on a book that draws on theories of space and place, postcolonial and feminist thought, and material culture to think about how Paul’s letters, read spatially, map out the complex and contested emergence of the material and discursive space “Christian” over the course of the first century.

Dr. Johnson-DeBaufre holds a master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard Divinity School and is ordained in the American Baptist Churches, USA.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

If you missed this fascinating talk, you can watch it below, thanks to our partners at Willinet!

Exceeding Expectations: Beyond COP21, with Bill Moomaw, April 10th

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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 boundaries of COP21—among the regions, the states, the cities, the private sector business groups, the municipalities, and individual organizations.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be at 11:20 am, April 10th, in the church’s Community Hall, 906 Main Street, in Williamstown. It is one of the church’s Second Hour programs, which follow the regular 10 am Sunday morning service.

Moomaw is Emeritus Professor of International Environmental Policy and Founding Director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. He was a coordinating lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chapter on greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and for the special report on renewable energy due in 2010. He was a lead author of three other IPCC reports (1995, 2005 and 2007). The work of the IPCC was recognized with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Previously he taught for 26 years at Williams College, which in 2013 bestowed a Bicentennial Medal on him for his work combining science and policy to address climate change. He recently served as Chief Science Officer for Earthwatch Institute, and is now on the Board. Moomaw and his wife, Margot, live in a zero net energy home in Williamstown.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

If you missed hearing this wonderful talk, you can see in online, thanks to Willinet!:

Ethical Oil? with David Bond, March 13th

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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 of crude oil, the environment, and science. His dissertation is an ethnographic account of how scientists and officials scrambled to get a handle on the recent BP Oil Spill. His research shows how this deepwater blowout went from a sprawling mess to a manageable problem by first transforming the ocean into a scientific laboratory within which the scope of the oil spill could be pinned down. Disasters, in this reckoning, are productive events that often instantiate new understandings of what normal life consist of after the fact of its disruption. Turning an ethnographic eye to a wide range of hydrocarbon disasters in the United States as well as the destruction and outrage they incited, Bond is currently putting together a manuscript that offers an environmental history of the hydrocarbon present. Bond has conducted ethnographic research on how oil spills, broadly defined, have instigated new kinds of knowledge on the vulnerability of life in Ecuador, India, Puerto Rico, and all along the Gulf Coast. His work has been supported by the Wenner-Gran Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Bond studied anthropology at the New School for Social Research and has taught at SUNY Albany and the Bard Prison Initiative at Bard College. He was a visiting faculty member in anthroplogy at Bennington for the 2013-14 academic year and returns as faculty and senior associate in the Center for the Advancement of Public Action for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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 11:20 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.

Second Hour Schedule

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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, Christian thought, Christian history and art, and ethical responses to contemporary issues). Second Hour Committee members are Charles Fox, Sam Humes, Dick Ford, Terry Clark, Moira Jones and Rev. Mark Longhurst. If you have ideas or feedback for Second Hour, please contact any member of the committee.

Schedule:

  • February 14th: John Chandler interviews Adriana Brown
  • February 21st: Elizabeth Colbert on Climate Change
  • February 28th: Crossan/Borg on “The Last Week” (Part I on a video.)
  • March 13th: Ethical Responses to Climate Change (sermon feedback discussion)
  • April 3rd: Conclusion of Passion Week (Part II video discussion – see Feb 28)
  • April 10th: Report from the Six Lenten Study Groups
  • April 17th: We are looking into a Second Hour with Tony Coleman, preacher of the day (update from February 22nd: this day is part of the weekend of Chaplain’s Office activities at Williams College.  We are therefore encouraging our members to attend the Williams Interfaith Chapel Service on April 17th.)

“Reflections of COP21 & the Obama Climate Legacy,” with Elizabeth Kolbert

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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 on the need to combat the heating of the environment and, in general terms, how to go about doing it. The Obama administration was a leader in the process and made commitments, subject to the U.S. political situation, toward reducing the country’s reliance on fossil-based fuels.  Is the world prepared to meet the challenge? Will the United States continue to be a leader?

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert is a New Yorker writer and currently the 1946 Environmental Fellow-in-Residence at Williams College. She is also well-known for her book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Both books, and numerous New Yorker articles, deal with climate change. Ms Kolbert’s books will be available at the event.

The Hoosic River Watershed Association and the Williams Collage Center for Environmental Studies join First Church in presenting this discussion.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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.

Berlin & World War II: John Chandler speaks to Adriana Brown

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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 who stayed behind at the Dutch embassy in Berlin after Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the Netherlands during World War II. Millenaar’s daughter, Adriana Millenaar Brown, then a young child, remained with her parents throughout the war. Her book, which combines careful and detailed scholarship with eyewitness accounts, relates how her father worked to improve and spare the lives of many of the thousands of Dutch citizens whom the German police and military captured and sent to a variety of destinations and fates-forced labor battalions, prisons, concentration camps, forced conscription into the German military. Adriana Brown’s book shines revealing light on both the depths of depravity to which humans sometimes sink and the heights of nobility to which they are capable of climbing.”

Bert van der Zwan, Historian at the Netherlands Foreign Office, The Hague, says of this book: “Adrianus Millenaar was a true Dutch war hero. In Berlin, in the lion’s den, during World War II, by endangering his own life, he helped many Dutch prisoners and slave laborers. His story must be read.”

Adriana Millenaar Brown is the author of An Unlikely Hero, and poetry, including ‘Never Shall I Forget Her Calm Eyes’ in At Grandmother’s Table, edited by Ellen Perry Berkeley. She has described her personal experiences in two German historical works, and a number of her short stories have appeared in the Berkshire Review.  She has taught Dutch at Williams College and English to speakers of other languages at MCLA.

Second Hour at the Meetinghouse is a lively non-denominational speaker/discussion series examining issues in social justice, religious history, art, the relationships between religions, or other subjects. These events are open to the entire community. The name “second hour” refers to the fact that these events 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.

February 7th Pancake Brunch

Mardi Gras

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 be served from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. A donation of $5 or more is requested to benefit The Williamstown Food Pantry.

To add to the festive occasion, diners will be treated to Mardi Gras beads and background jazz.

Special pancake toppings will include real maple syrup, homemade applesauce, blueberry sauce and whipped cream. Gluten free pancakes and sausage will be available also.

In the liturgical calendar the day preceding Lent is known as Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are associated with that day because they were a way to use up rich foods, such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the forty days of Lent, when many people eat plainer food to simulate fasting.

The Williamstown Food Pantry, housed at St. Patrick’s Church, provides food for families in need. Depending on the situation, they try to help with other items also. The food pantry serves over 400 different families every year.

We need lots of help in putting this together, so please chip in. Can you whip up some luscious blueberry sauce? Or can you donate some butter or orange juice? Can you assemble the pancake ingredients beforehand? Can you help at the brunch: taking donations at the entrance? helping to set the tables? servicing the tables to keep them tidy? washing dishes and cleaning up?

Please let Carolyn Behr know how you can help  <carolynbehr@gmail.com>

Thanks, and we hope to see you and your families and neighbors there.

January 24th 2nd Hour: Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

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, counselor, artist, physician, healer, dramatist, linguist, naturalist, philosopher, poet, political consultant, visionary, and composer of music. She wrote theological, naturalistic, botanical, medicinal, and dietary texts as well as letters, liturgical songs, poems, and the first surviving morality play. She also supervised the production of many brilliant miniature illuminations.  She corresponded with both ordinary and powerful people, and was a critic of secular and religious leaders.

Unless otherwise noted above, all events in the “2nd Hour at the Meetinghouse” series are held at about 11:20 am Sundays in the Community Hall towards the rear of the historic white meetinghouse in the center of the Williams College campus. Parking is located to the rear of the building, which is located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown (just across the street from the top of Spring Street).  Childcare is available on request, please email education@firstchurchwilliamstown.org or call 413-281-3589 to make arrangements.  Coffee and snacks are served beginning about 11:00 am, or so.

2nd Hour for April

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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 on the first Sunday of the month, which usually means time for family, so there is no planned after church event other than coffee fellowship on the 5th.  The 12th will have  the William Sloan Coffin Prize for Passionate Public Speaking at 7 pm, please come back in the evening to hear these stirring speeches.  The 19th will be a discussion of the recent Lenten Small Group Discussions.  On April 26th, the student intern we are sponsoring, Iman Limpumba, will talk about her recent work on immigration in our nation, accompanied by an exhibit of her photographs.

Looking forward, on May 3rd, we will worship later in the day, in order to install our new pastor, Rev. Mark Longhurst.  This special service will be shared with many clergy from different parts of our region, who have had a special impact on our current pastor, which is why it needs to be in the afternoon.

May 10th, will be another installment of the fossil fuel divestment discussion:  How can we create a more sustainable house of worship? with Jim Nail (Williams class of 1978), President of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light.  Please save these dates for future discussions.

Unless otherwise noted above, all events in the “2nd Hour at the Meetinghouse” series are held at about 11:20 am Sundays in the Fellowship Hall towards the rear of the historic white meetinghouse in the center of the Williams College campus. Parking is located to the rear of the building, which is located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown (just across the street from the top of Spring Street).  Childcare is available on request, please email education@firstchurchwilliamstown.org  or call 413 281-3589 to make arrangements.  Coffee and snacks are served beginning about 11:00 am, or so.

2nd Hour @ the Meetinghouse

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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 Hour discussion which followed the service.  Both the sermon and the following discussion were filmed for Willinet.  Stay tuned to see the video sometime during the first week of March on Willinet, and here. This was a rare treat to have our Massachusetts UCC Conference Minister in our pulpit!

The March 1st Second Hour panel discussion will featuring representatives from the Williams College divestment group, 350 Massachusetts, and the Green Century Fund, a mutual fund advisory company owned and managed by a partnership of nonprofit environmental organizations. Although not all of us have portfolios of stocks, in some way most of us benefit from investments and could exercise some control over them. The argument is made that since global climate change is fueled by carbon emissions, reducing carbon by whatever means has become an ethical issue. Divestment is one way to take a stand. The public is welcome to come on one or both days.

On March 15th, there will be a reception to celebrate our new members who joined on February 1st.  Please come and meet these new members of our Church community.  For the rest of the month the 2nd Hour series will take a brake to allow folks the time to participate in the ongoing Lenten Small Group discussions.  For more information about these groups, see last month’s newsletter article here.

Events in the “2nd Hour @ the Meetinghouse” series are held at about 11:20 am Sundays in the Fellowship Hall towards the rear of the historic white meetinghouse in the center of the Williams College campus. Parking is located to the rear of the building, which is located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown (just across the street from the top of Spring Street). Childcare is available on request, please email education@firstchurchwilliamstown.org or call 413 281-3589 to make arrangements. Coffee and snacks are served beginning about 11:00 am, or so.

Jim Antal & Divestment, February 22nd & March 1st

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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 will speak on divestment from a faith-based perspective, and Sen. Ben Downing, will address it from a legislative view.  The UCC nationally and the Massachusetts Conference have divested. Senator Downing is the sponsor of a bill to implement a five-year gradual divestment of state pension funds from fossil-fuel-based companies.

On March 1st a Second Hour panel discussion will featuring representatives from the Williams College divestment group, 350 Massachusetts, and the Green Century Fund, a mutual fund advisory company owned and managed by a partnership of nonprofit environmental organizations. Although not all of us have portfolios of stocks, in some way most of us benefit from investments and could exercise some control over them. The argument is made that since global climate change is fueled by carbon emissions, reducing carbon by whatever means has become an ethical issue. Divestment is one way to take a stand. The public is welcome to come on one or both days.

Events in the “2nd Hour at the Meetinghouse” series are held at about 11:20 am Sundays in the Fellowship Hall towards the rear of the historic white meetinghouse in the center of the Williams College campus. Parking is located to the rear of the building, which is located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown (just across the street from the top of Spring Street).  Childcare is available on request, please email education@firstchurchwilliamstown.org  or call 413 281-3589 to make arrangements.  Coffee and snacks are served beginning about 11:00 am, or so.

We’ve made the UCC news for these discussions!  To see the article, click the button: UCC Global Divestment Day

 

Renewing the Meetinghouse Workshop, February 8th

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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 Hour workshop to gather ideas for projects that might be pursued for Renewing the Meetinghouse with money raised through a 250th Anniversary Fund. At this workshop the congregation offered up ideas for projects to renew:

  1. Kitchen
  2. Sanctuary
  3. Fellowship Hall & Parlor
  4. Entries’ Energy, Safety, & Accessibility

We have formally started the 250th Anniversary Fund Drive and it is time to define the detailed requirements for these projects so that we can determine what we can afford to do in the coming couple of years.

2nd Hour Sunday February 8, 2015 we will hold a Renewing the Meetinghouse Projects Workshop II to entice congregation members to join project committees for these projects, review requirements proposed at last year’s workshop, define new requirements, and consider proposed concept drawings by our architect.

Events in the “2nd Hour at the Meetinghouse” series are held at about 11:20 am Sundays in the Fellowship Hall towards the rear of the historic white meetinghouse in the center of the Williams College campus. Parking is located to the rear of the building, which is located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown (just across the street from the top of Spring Street).  Childcare is available on request, please email education@firstchurchwilliamstown.org  or call 413 281-3589 to make arrangements.  Coffee and snacks are served beginning about 11:00 am, or so.

Williamstown 1765: The New World Frontier, Jan. 25th

SEdgertonHeadShotWilliamstown 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 Indian Wars (1754–1763) was the period of the founding of the settlement of West Hoosuck, and our Church. In the eighteenth century, Massachusetts law stipulated that in order to incorporate a settlement into a town, the settlement must have a settled pastor. Thus the founding of our Church in 1765 was necessary for the incorporation of the settlement of West Hoosuck into the town of Williamstown. This presentation is coming to us as a part of our Church’s 250th anniversary celebration.

Events in the “2nd Hour at the Meetinghouse” series are held at about 11:20 am Sundays in the Fellowship Hall towards the rear of the historic white meetinghouse in the center of the Williams College campus. Parking is located to the rear of the building, which is located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown (just across the street from the top of Spring Street).  Childcare is available on request, please email education@firstchurchwilliamstown.org  or call 413 281-3589 to make arrangements.  Coffee and snacks are served beginning about 11:00 am, or so.

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