Sunday, May 22, 2022 Adult Forum:
Looking at Abortion Through a Progressive Christian Lens
On Sunday, May 22, the Adult Forum hosted wide-ranging discussion about abortion. Emily Hoagland moderated an expert panel that included Kevin Paul, General Counsel to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains; and Marquisha Lawrence Scott, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. The presentation included an update on national and state-wide abortion trends as well as legal and theological perspectives.
Sunday, March 27, 2022 Adult Forum:
Our own Rev. Dr. Eric Smith led an in-person and virtual session entitled “Things About Christianity that Bother Me (You).” This discussion-based session deals with religious and secular topics that sometimes make Christians uncomfortable.
Sunday, February 20, 2022 Adult Forum:
The Racial Equity Team sponsored an Adult Education Program on Minority Voter Suppression featuring Mark Grueskin, Leading Colorado Elections Attorney, and Judd Choate, State Elections Director. Mark G. Grueskin is an attorney at Recht Kornfeld PC and is a leading Colorado Lawyer relating to election issues. He helps clients address Legislative & Governmental Affairs legal issues. He graduated in 1979 from American University Washington College of Law and admitted to practice law in 1985. He represents clients in the Denver area. Judd Choate is the Colorado Director of Elections and is immediate past-president of the National Association of State Elections Directors. He has a law degree from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from Purdue University and was a political science professor at University of Nebraska and a scout for the Kansas Royals. We are pleased that Mark and Judd have agreed to educate us on the critical issue of minority voter suppression. We are inviting other Colorado election experts to form a panel to inform us about voter suppression, answer our questions, and suggest what church members can do to oppose or protect against obstacles to the exercise of the right to vote. The Racial Equity Team is sponsoring the program to coincide with Black History Month.
Sunday, January 23, 2022 Adult Forum:
Our own Rev. Dr. Eric Smith led a video-conference session entitled “Things About Christianity that Bother Me.” This discussion-based session dealt with religious and secular topics that sometimes make Christians uncomfortable.
Sunday, January 9, 2022 Adult Forum:
"Moving Forward with Second Chance Center": The Mustard Seed Fund was awarded to the Second Chance Center, an annual recipient of Share-the-Plate and good friend of First Plymouth. In a survey, FP folks indicated that they wanted a grant recipient with whom our church could partner in racial justice work moving forward. Listen to the Adult Forum presentation from January 9 to find out how you can get involved! Representatives from SCC and the Racial Equity Team at First Plymouth brought participants up to speed on happenings at SCC and the volunteer opportunities available.
Sunday, November 14, 2021 Adult Forum:
The Creation Justice Ministry hosted a presentation on November 14 on ecological and holistic burial practices. Seth Viddal, from The Natural Funeral discussed water cremation, body composting, and Reverent Body Care in hopes of demystifying choices for our final footprint to be healing for people and greener for our planet.
Sunday, November 7, 2021 Adult Forum:
"Congregational Growth in the UCC and Factors Related to Both Growth and Decline." Are UCC churches growing? What factors relate to growth and decline in mainline Protestant churches and the UCC? How might this impact the future of First Plymouth? This was an informative presentation and lively discussion by Rev. Dr. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, Assistant Professor of Leadership and Formation and Director of the Office of Professional Formation at Iliff School of Theology and author of the report "American Congregations 2015: Engaging Young Adults" which outlines the state of young adult presence and ministry in U.S. congregational life. Kristina is also an ordained minister in the UCC and the former director for the UCC Center for Analytics, Research and Data.
Sunday, October 31, 2021 Adult Forum:
First Plymouth's Immigration Task Force hosted a presentation by Lutheran Family Services about Afghan Refugees.
Sunday, October 24, 2021 Adult Forum:
The UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) seek to include people with disabilities in all aspects of the Church’s life and ministry. This session with Krista Luttkus, is about the UCCDM and First Plymouth’s role in welcoming the disabled.
Sunday, October 17, 2021 Adult Forum:
The Creation Justice Ministry sponsored a presentation about investment strategies that individuals and institutions can implement to create and support markets for serving people and the planet equitably. Presenters were:
- Tom Abood – chair of the Endowment Fund Committee at First Universalist Church. Tom divested from Wall Street years ago and aligned investments with values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI), choosing people and planet over profit.
- Craig Jonas – a lifelong entrepreneur with a history of success in business, academics and athletics. Craig is the founder of CoPeace, a company creating inclusive, socially impactful wealth for all people with the intention to “Grow Your Money for Good.”
Sunday, May 2, 2021 Adult Forum:
Colorado Ceasefire was formed in 2000 as a political action committee (PAC), after the Colorado General Assembly failed to pass meaningful gun violence prevention laws following the Columbine High School mass shooting. It is the longest serving statewide, grassroots gun violence prevention organization in the State of Colorado.
Sunday, April 25, 2021 Adult Forum:
The Creation Justice Ministry hosted Denver Urban Gardens who presented some new gardening practices that produce not only healthy plants but also healthy soil. Regenerative agriculture is a relatively new term that utilizes the age-old principles of earth stewardship & holistic concern for the plants, micro-organisms and soil. “Jungle Judy” Elliot, a senior education specialist at Denver Urban Gardens, covered the importance of composting, mulching, an introduction to using water-wise landscape plantings, water conservation techniques, and the wonders of vermicomposting (composting with red wiggler worms). The focus was on practices we can all use to create a rich blanket to cover our soils and provide strategies that provide small steps towards mitigating climate change.
For an informative look at benefits of regenerative agriculture, watch the documentary “Kiss the Ground”, available on Netflix.
Sunday, April 18, 2021 Adult Forum:
“Documented but Forbidden to Work.” Beth Irtz led a discussion and brainstorming session on how we can help those in Colorado who, like Maribel, have permission to be in the US pending a decision on their asylum claims, but who are struggling to support themselves because the government has not given them a work permit.
Sunday, April 11, 2021 Adult Forum:
Quinn Yawger presented “Groundwork Denver – Fighting for Localized, Community-Based Environmental Justice from a Variety of Angles.” Learn about how this organization advocates for equal access to a clean and healthy environment for everyone by developing leaders from impacted neighborhoods, employing a youth Green Team, and building bridges between residences, business and government. A discussion to find out how we can develop partnerships to achieve environmental change is also included.
Sunday, March 21, 2021 Adult Forum: “Undocumented in 2021”
Convivir Colorado presented a workshop to encourage a holistic understanding of undocumented immigrants in the US. Facilitator Tania Chairez, highlighted identifying factors of our undocumented neighbors, the challenges and opportunities they face in this pandemic and under the Biden Administration, and the ways in which we can all get involved to better support them. Tania is an undocumented immigrant, educator, and immigrant rights advocate. She is the Founder & CEO of Convivir Colorado, which uses storytelling, artistic expression and community building to engage immigrant, refugee and first generation youth in self-empowerment and leadership development.
Sunday, March 7, 2021 Adult Forum: Second Chance Center
Established in 2012, Second Chance Center, Inc. (SCC) is a Colorado based nonprofit organization determined to be the state’s premier community re-entry program and a model for the nation. SCC offers case management, mentoring, and vital resources to assist formerly incarcerated individuals in reestablishing their lives and becoming successful members of the community.
Sunday, February 21, 2021 Adult Forum: “The Church and Slavery”
Grover Wrenn presented an overview of the role that the Christian church had initially in bring slavery to America, defending the practice for more than 200 years, and supporting segregation even after Brown vs. Board of Education. He also provided examples of recent efforts by major denominations and affiliated organizations to acknowledge their history of support for slavery and to seek redemption.
Sunday, February 7, 2021 Adult Forum: “I Found Slaveholders in my Family Tree”
Lotte Lieb Dula spoke about the discovery that led to her becoming an ardent proponent for reparations. This presentation explored her family’s history of slaveholding, traced the genesis of the racial wealth gap, and participants learned about the robust campaign within Christian churches to address the wrongs in our country’s troubled history. Committed to the work of reparations, Ms. Lieb Dula founded the reparations4slavery.com portal.
Sunday, January 10, 2021 Adult Forum: The Coronavirus Vaccines”
Larry Strawser discussed answers to questions such as "How do vaccines work? "Why do some vaccines have to be stored at very cold temperatures, but other vaccines do not?" [Factoid: storage of vaccines has never required this low temperature before.] "What are the pros and cons of the first vaccines that will be available?"
Sunday, January 3, 2021 Adult Forum: The Second Wind Fund
Ken Wiig from the Second Wind Fund shares the organization's mission with participants of this Adult Forum.
Founded in 2002, the Second Wind Fund (SWF) has built an innovative program that matches children and teens, ages 19 and younger, who are at risk for suicide and do not have the means or adequate insurance to pay for necessary mental health treatment, with licensed therapists in their local communities. So far over 6,500 Colorado kids have been referred to SWF. SWF's unique program provides an avenue for families to obtain actual treatment services for youth at risk for suicide by breaking down financial and transportation barriers.
Sunday, December 13, 2020 Adult Forum: Advent Music
The Third Sunday in Advent traditionally is about Joy. Our Advent 2020 series title is “Those Who Dream Sow Joy.” We celebrate Joyful New Beginnings and Good News. The Adult Forum on December 13 included music to support and time to reflect on these themes, along with more tips for your Advent health and wellness through music.
Sunday, November 22, 2020 Adult Forum: “Health and Wellness Through Music”
Heidi Thomas, musician, teacher and music practitioner will share some fun stories, beautiful music, cool neuroscience facts and tips on how to incorporate music into your everyday wellness practices.
Sunday, November 1, 2020 Adult Forum: The Empowerment Program
The Empowerment Program opened its doors in 1986 in response to a growing number of homeless women, women living in poverty, sex workers, women involved in the criminal justice system, women living with HIV/AIDS and women living with serious mental illness and substance abuse. Throughout the past thirty four years, Empowerment has continued to provide trauma-informed services to women in a safe and welcoming environment. Women are considered participants in the program, receiving education, employment training, individual and group level counseling, care management and a variety of supportive services. This organization has been providing essential services to low income & homeless women who are the least among us for many years with a mission of “Holistically helping individuals build healthier lives from the inside out."
During the November 1 Adult Forum a representative from The Empowerment Program will conduct a presentation about their programs and their upcoming Capital Campaign to fund a new building.
Sunday, October 25, 2020 Adult Forum: “Reparations”
What are Reparations, exactly? What’s the history and why are faith communities talking about them? Our three presenters were: Harold Fields, leader of the Second Tuesday Race Forum and president of the Denver Black Reparations Council; Dr. Marilyn Hosea, a fourth generation Coloradan national, university professor, and an organizational behavioralist specializing in social interactions and radical mindfulness; and Lotte Lieb Dula, retired financial strategist, who is the founder of the www.reparations4slavery.com portal. They gave their perspectives with plenty of time for Q&A. Read what Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC has to say about Reparations here and here.
Sunday, October 11, 2020 Adult Forum: Difficult Conversations about Racial Justice
Amanda Henderson led this important topic about how not to fight, flee, or freeze when talking race with family and friends. Do you jump into that Facebook fight with words swinging? Do you avoid these hot conversations at all costs? Do you simply shut down when you hear racist sentiments or denial? During this recorded session participants shared stories for skill building for stepping into important conversations, even with those we love, about the racism that shapes our lives in ways seen and unseen.
Sunday, September 13, 2020 Adult Forum: “Eco-Cycle”
On Sunday, September 13, Jasmin Barco, from Eco-Cycle, discussed the latest in recycling and composting. They have an international reputation as a pioneer and innovator in resource conservation. Can reusable grocery bags be used safely during the pandemic? What is the current research on using single plastic grocery bags? How has this pandemic reinforced the urgency of our climate crisis?
Sunday, September 6, 2020 Adult Forum: “Solar Energy International”
Solar Energy International (SEI) is an educational non-profit located in Paonia, CO which envisions a world powered by renewable energy to significantly impact climate change. SEI has been installing solar systems in under developed countries for decades as well as closer to us on the Western Slope. Solar Forward creates jobs and installs solar systems in Western Slope communities where jobs in the coal industry have disappeared and unemployment is high. The T4 program trains Native American solar technicians, who then teach these skills to members of their tribes, and bring electrical power, in some cases for the first time, to homes on the reservations.
During the Adult Forum on September 6, Marla Korpar, Development Director for Solar Energy International, offered a presentation about the organization’s work internationally, and the exciting challenge it faces to scale-up the solar energy workforce to reverse climate change.
Sunday, May 17, 2020 Adult Forum: “Living with COVID”
This session, hosted by FP WISE, focused on the emotional impact of COVID-19 upon all of us; upon uncertainties, anxieties and fears surrounding this pandemic as well as the stress impact upon each of us living within the family or living alone, as a result of prolonged, confined, social isolation.
Sunday, May 3, 2020 Adult Forum: “Spirit and Sustainability”
Marianne Langridge, PhD, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Synthesis Limited, PBC offers a message of faith and hope. On Sunday, go to the church calendar page to click on the Adult Forum event, and then click on the link to the program. This event will be worth your further chance to contemplate what it means to be a progressive Christian in this world, at this time.