Adult Forum–History of Old First

Adult Forum–History of Old First

Join us for the Adult Forum at 10 a.m. in the Social Hall on the four Sundays of January 9, 16, 23, and 30, as we think and talk together about the past and present at Old First, how to get from one to the other (going in either direction), and what we might learn from them about our future as a congregation.

With Bob Schneider moderating, new members and veterans, young and old, the over-informed and the curious will share their questions, knowledge, insights and puzzlements.  The sessions will be guided discussions, not history lectures, with the guidance coming from the collection of historical documents produced by the church as part of the celebration of our 275th anniversary in 2002.  Entitled Two Histories and an Essay:  the Story of Old First Reformed Church, UCC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the booklet consists of two reprinted histories of Old First—one published by pastor David Van Horne in 1876, and the other a historical pamphlet produced for the 220th anniversary of the church in 1947—and a reflective essay written by Bob in 2002.

Contact the church office if you would like a copy of the booklet.

The Adult Forum discussions will be informed by selected portions of the booklet.  Participants can read the assigned passages prior to the session or just show up and join in the conversation.  Each session will begin with a brief review of the passages for that week, followed by discussion of prepared questions based on the reading.

The first session on January 9 is entitled “How do you get around in the past as a foreign country?” It will include an overview of how to make sense of Old First’s history by breaking it into distinct periods or phases.  The discussion questions will focus on our sense of how much the previous periods of congregational life have influenced who we are and what we do as a congregation today, and on what the names we have given our church over the years have conveyed about it as a community of faith.  The reading for this session in Two Histories and an Essay is from the essay:  pp. 63-65, from the bottom of p. 72 to the top of p. 74, and the “concluding reflections” on pp. 109-111.  The whole essay underlies the approach in these adult forum sessions, and the two earlier histories are there in the booklet for reading thoroughly or dipping into, as you like.

Your interest in Old First is your passport to the foreign countries of its past.  Join us in January for the journey.