As First Pres member Freda Gardner has said on more than one occasion, “Everything the church does, teaches.” Worship shows the world what we value. Helping the poor teaches our children what we value. From how we talk over coffee to the Sunday sermon, everything we do has an education component.
9:15–10:15 Education Classes
Godly Play in the Preschool Class (3-year-olds thru kindergarten)
Godly Play in The Upper Rooms (Grades 1-5)
Youth Education in the Youth Room (Grades 6-12)
Adult Education in the Rose Room
A Nursery with trained care givers is available on the second floor of the education wing on Sunday mornings between 9:10 am – 11:10am during the summer and 8:45 am-12:15 pm during the rest of the year for families who desire childcare for infants through 5 years old. Our nursery offers parents the opportunity to participate in Adult Education activities, as well as our two worship services. Children of all ages are welcome at worship services, and the participation in worship of children 5 years and older is strongly encouraged.
The Preschool Class (for 3 years old through Kindergarten) meets on the second floor of the Education Building from 9:15 to 10:15 to explore Bible stories hands-on and participate in age-appropriate prayer, song, games, and craft projects. Godly Play is the curriculum used for this age group.
Education Classes for 1st through 5th graders are held in The Upper Rooms on the third floor of the education building. The children are taught using the “Godly Play” curriculum. Children are encouraged to make meaning through story, wonder and play. Children’s spiritual lives are nurtured by honoring the centrality, competence and capacity of children.
Sunday at 9:15 AM on the second floor in the youth room.
Youth programming at first Pres Albany strives to be an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all genders, expressions, & backgrounds. We will explore and make meaning of the world around us and our place in it using the lens of our Presbyterian tradition and as disciples and followers of Jesus, our movement founder, friend, and brother. And sacred text of the Christian tradition. Our goal is to form followers of Jesus, who practice radical love in the world, pursuing peace and justice and mercy.
Youth will have opportunities for service in our community, engagement recreation and interrogating the Bible. We will explore and practice mind-body spiritual practices, which will help us engage in daily life, and the work of radical love in the world. Periodic retreats, trips, and an overnight in the church building will be planned throughout the year.
We will also learn about and experience other faith traditions, and engage in social justice community organizing, especially with the Poor People’s Campaign; a national call for Laurel, revival, a continuation of the work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, and other civil rights and human rights leaders.
The Adult Education Class gathers at 9:15 on Sundays between September and June in the Rose Room and via Zoom. The topics for the class vary widely, and are often led by Pastor Glenn who has oversight of the class. Sometimes other church members or special guests lead the class. There are seasonal class topics, like an Advent or Christmas theme in December or a Lenten them during the weeks prior to Easter.
Some of the topics have included:
- Gospel of Luke—reading and reflecting on the lesser known portions
- Global Climate Change
- Prayer in many forms
- The Occupy Movement
- Prosperity Gospel
- Gun Violence
- Racism and White Privilege
- Presbyterian history
- What was life like in first century Palestine?
- Islam: Shiites and Sunnis
- The writings of Frederick Buechner
- Restorative Justice
- How white was Jesus? and more.
There are separate classes for those who wish to learn more before deciding to join First Pres. Pastor Miriam leads these classes. Called Inquirer Classes, you could call these classes “First Pres 101” where a broad introduction to our faith and practice is given and all questions are answered. The next set of classes will be held in the fall.
Small Groups at First Pres are intentional face-to-face gatherings of 10 or fewer people on a regular time schedule with the common purpose of building relationships with each other and God. These groups covenant/agree to meet usually twice a month for sharing, study and prayer. Deep relationships develop, and faith is deepened. The number of groups and their meeting times can vary—currently we have seven groups. We always encourage the formation of new Small Groups for Spiritual Growth.