Grow & Learn



Our hope is to foster lifelong spiritual growth for our congregation and our community through a variety of faith formation opportunities. All are welcome!

Sunday morning faith formation at 9:45 a.m. unless otherwise noted.

(9:00 a.m. in the summer – one class in Room 203)

The John Knox Fellowship (John Knox Room)

Drawing on scripture, denominational tenets and a quest to understand God’s call to us in the world, this class combines lecture and discussion in a weekly format for adults of all ages.  Led by a teaching team of class members and guest speakers, this is a group with varied interests and aspirations, a commitment to life-long learning, friendly relations and open communications.  Whether it is exploring particular scripture, a Christian perspective on social issues, a General Assembly position paper or the Holy Land as an armchair tourist, participants seek to grow in their faith as they commit to being active disciples in the world.  This call to service is demonstrated through missions and special class projects.  Fellowship is enhanced through occasional social gatherings, group trips and discussions that build strong personal relationships in this community of faith.

Enrichment Class (Room 228)

For over 25 years, the Enrichment Class has studied a variety of topics from atonement to world religions. The discussion-based class, led by Henry Carrouth and Bill Massey, runs year-round, even through the summer months. Everyone is encouraged to share their opinions as we affirm each other on this faith journey.  The Epiphany party held each January is one of the social events for the class each year. Class members actively support missions, like rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina or building a wheelchair ramp for a local cancer patient or adopting a Christmas cheer family. If you are looking for a place to grow your faith and build new relationships, try the Enrichment Class.

The Point (Room 227):

A group of young parents, working together on our faith journeys and parent journeys. None of us are masters of the Bible and its teachings, but we come together to humbly work on our spiritual growth and to be better stewards of our time and talents. Together, we feel we can see hope in God’s promises, and inspire each other to walk a little closer to Christ through his teachings. Always ready to laugh, love, and support each other in faith. We use Conversations on the Feast a lectionary-based curriculum.

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Adult Studies this Winter/Spring

Faith formation is a lifelong journey! At First Presbyterian Church of Burlington, we believe that faith formation is an essential element of discipleship and therefore we offer a variety of opportunities to learn and grow. Opportunities of 2019-2020 adult faith formation include:


Sunday Morning Adult Studies, 9:45 a.m.

January 12-March 1, 2020: Marianne Moore (1887-1972) Selected Poems, led by Harry Brown, Room 122

Born in Kirkwood, Missouri, Moore lived much of her life in New York City, where she passionately supported the Brooklyn Dodgers. A major modern American poet admired by Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., and W. C. Williams, Moore was known for originality, preciseness, humility, and reserve in her poetry. Translator of La Fontaine’s Fables, Moore often wrote about birds, animals, and plants, finding in Nature significant strengths and virtues. Moore was Presbyterian. We will use Moore’s Complete Poems (Macmillan Publishing Company/Penguin Classics, 1994), reading and discussing three or four poems each week. This book can be purchased very reasonably in used paperback on Amazon.

February 2 and 9, 2020: Christian Mystics: What Are They? Who Are They? And Are You One? Led by Bruce Shields & Nan Perkins, John Knox Room

Every religion has its mystics. Those of the Christian faith began with the birth of the church, but have been misunderstood by many of us and not always a central part of our traditional worship. We will explore the definition of mystics, look at some examples from ancient and modern Christian history and consider how it all impacts our lives.

February 16 & 23, 2020: Wyatt Outlaw, led by Wade Harrison, John Knox Room

Wyatt Outlaw was the freedman son of a prominent landowner and his slave. He grew to be a successful tobacco farmer, craftsman, soldier merchant, churchman and community leader. He was lynched on February, 1870 by members of the Ku Klux Klan on the limb of an elm tree facing the Alamance County Court House in Court Square. We will look at his extraordinary life and times in an effort to expand our views of history, culture and explore how Christ would have us respond to social and cultural divisions based on race.

January 12-March 1: Marianne Moore (1887-1972) Selected Poems, led by Harry Brown, Room 122

Born in Kirkwood, Missouri, Moore lived much of her life in New York City, where she passionately supported the Brooklyn Dodgers. A major modern American poet admired by Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., and W. C. Williams, Moore was known for originality, preciseness, humility, and reserve in her poetry. Translator of La Fontaine’s Fables, Moore often wrote about birds, animals, and plants, finding in Nature significant strengths and virtues. Moore was Presbyterian. We will use Moore’s Complete Poems (Macmillan Publishing Company/Penguin Classics, 1994), reading and discussing three or four poems each week. This book can be purchased very reasonably in used paperback on Amazon.

March 1 and 8: Beth Hooten and others from the Racial Justice Task Force will lead the class on March 1, doing a follow-up to Wade Harrison’s two weeks on Wyatt Outlaw. On March 8, Frank Covington will do an additional follow-up, the theme of which will be “The Truth that Sets Us Free.”

March 15 and 22, 2020: God’s Creative Hand and the Human Genesis – Who Are We? Who Were Our “Brothers and Sisters”? led by Jim Johnson

Week 1: Getting Ready for “Us”!

• Universe – Big Bang, Birth, Life and Death of Suns, Formation of our Solar System

• Earth – “The Third Rock from the Sun!”, Goldilocks Zone, Life with a Common “Molecule of Inheritance” (DNA) and a nearly Universal Genetic Code, Time Line of Life on Earth, • When and how did we first arrive on this earthly sphere? – Humans, Near Humans and Cousins “Oh My!”

• Were we created, made, or evolved, or are we chimeras? Can we discern God’s “Creative Input” in the whole of the origin of contemporary humankind?

Week 2: How do we begin to “square” the tenants of our religion’s creation stories and teachings about human nature with our current understanding of our earthly origin(s)?

• Human Nature and the concept of “Original Sin” – How bad were/are we – Really?! As the song says we are “Walking Contradictions”!

• Why are we humans and our many behaviors associated with so many polar opposites? – Tribal, Altruistic, Inclusive, Exclusive, Selfish, Self-Sacrificing, Loving, Hateful, Peaceful, Warring, Trusting, Suspicious – Where do we turn to understand “Me/Us/Them”? Does science help, hinder, thwart, or replace our Biblical understanding of being human?

• What does knowledge make us? – God-like, Demonic, Creatively Crafty, Deceitful, Noble, Arrogant, Welcoming, Xenophobic, Supportive, Discriminatory

• Did the God of the Old and New Testament use earth’s origin plus the lives of prophets and ordinary people to “set the stage” for the grace and redemption of Jesus? – If so, where does this leave us (professing Christians) relative to the current scientific search for a factual understanding of human origins within the context of the universe?

April 19: The Land of the Bible Today

The land in the Middle East, known to some as Israel, to others as Palestine, or even simply as The Holy Land, is precious to Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims, because so much of the Bible’s story took place there. And for some, it remains important because End Time events are expected to unfold there.

This land is also home to six million Jewish Israelis and six million Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians. It can be confusing and overwhelming to try to understand the complexities of the present political situation, and how it might relate to the Bible, if at all. Finding reliable authorities who can speak with deep understanding and compassion from a Christian perspective about Israel, Palestine, or The Holy Land, can be difficult.

Jonathan Kuttab is an Evangelical Christian Palestinian attorney and human rights activist.  Son of a minister with the Church of God (Pentecostal), and later Nazarene Church, he grew up in a Christian home in Bethlehem, studied in the United States at Messiah College (Brethren in Christ) and graduated from the University of Virginia Law School.  He worked for a few years at the Wall Street law firm of Mudge Rose Guthrie & Alexander. He is a member of the Bar Associations in New York, Israel and Palestine.

Mr. Kuttab founded a number of human rights organizations including Al Haq, and the Mandela Institute for Palestinian Prisoners, and Nonviolence International.  He is on the Board of Bethlehem Bible College, in Bethlehem, and is the Chairman of the Board of Holy Land Trust. He is also active in many other Christian and civil society organizations in Palestine and internationally. He was the Head of the Legal Committee negotiating the Cairo Agreement of 1994 between Israel and the PLO and has been active in peace and justice issues for many years.

Mr. Kuttab is a committed Christian and is a recognized authority on international law, human rights and Palestinian and Israeli affairs.

Jonathan Kuttab is available to speak to churches and church groups, colleges and schools over the next few months, to help in particular Christians gain a better understanding of life today in the land of the Bible. He is able to deliver lectures or lessons to small or large groups, including sermons on Biblical themes, or simply engage in conversations about any aspects of life in the Palestine.

A sampling of topics to  be dealt with:

  • What is going on in the Middle East?
  • What is the relationship between Israel and Palestine?
  • Who are the Palestinian Christians?
  • What prevents peace between Israel and Palestine?
  • What can we do to understand the situation in Israel better?
  • The Bible and the Holy Land in modern times.

May 3, 10, 17 & 24, 2020: Paul’s Writings and the Influence on the Development of Christianity, led by the Rev. Dr. Mickey Efird

The early Christian movement began as a Jewish-Christian identity but with Paul the focus began to turn away from Jews and open the good news about Jesus to the Gentile world. In this study we shall focus on parts of Acts and a few passages from Paul’s own writings.

Pritchett Symposium, Sunday, March 29: Our speaker will be the Rev. Diane Moffett

More information to come

Chancel Choir: Chancel Choir is not just singing on Sunday. It is Christian formation, theology, biblical literacy, and more. Come explore music and singing as a way of faith formation on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in the Choir Room.


The Book of Jeremiah, Bible Study with Dr. Ron Shive

Linked here you will find the schedule for Ron Shive’s Bible study from early January to the end of April. We will be studying the book of Jeremiah and referencing Eugene Peterson’s book, Run with the Horses. The book is only available new in hardback and the cost is $20. If you would like Ron to order you a copy, please email him at and let him know. Classes began the week of January 6.

• Men’s Tuesday Morning Bible Study (6:45 a.m.)

• Wednesday Morning Bible Study (10:00 a.m.)

• Women’s Thursday Morning Bible Study (6:45 a.m.)


Contemplative Ministry

Meditation each Wednesday morning at 7:45 a.m. at the home of Nan Perkins and Bruce Shields. One hour of conversation, reflection on a spiritual text, and silent meditation, for those seeking to create space in lives to become more aware of the Divine and to travel their faith journey with other pilgrims. No meditation experience needed! Contact Nan Perkins 336-380-1778 or A second Christian Meditation group meeting at a different time will be added if there is sufficient interest.

Meditation & Inspirational Reading Group: We are starting a new Meditation & Inspirational Reading Group at First Presbyterian for our members beginning in Lent on Tuesday, March 3, 12:15-1:15 p.m. in Room 201, continuing on Tuesdays during this mid-day time. As many of you know, Nan Perkins has been leading a very successful Meditation group for years at First Presbyterian on Wednesday mornings from 7:45-8:45 a.m. Since this group has reached its maximum capacity, we decided to add an additional meditation group on another day and time.

Jane Wellford has agreed to share in leadership with Nan Perkins for this new mid-day group on Tuesdays. Jane brings a rich background of skills in meditation to this new mid-day meditation group and looks forward to working in leadership with Nan. We envision this new offering as a simple way to put “a little calm” in your day to help keep you centered.

The time would be no more than 1 hour in length, where participants sit in a circle in chairs, take some simple deep breaths together to begin a calm pace. We will then read and respond to an inspirational passage together, the first few Tuesdays being centered on Lent. The hour would conclude with prayer and a guided meditation for centering. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Jane Wellford,, 336-214-9657 (call or text)                   

Nan Perkins,, 336-380-1778

Attached here is our Contemplative Ministry flier which outlines our additional offerings.


Lunch Bunch Book Club

Join us the second Tuesday of the month for our Lunch Bunch Book Club. Discussions are held at noon in Room 122 from September through May. Registration is not required—just a love for reading! Take note of the schedule, bring a lunch, and join us for great conversation. Here is a current list of Book Club books for 2020:

January: The Lost Girls of Paris (Pam Jenoff)

February: The Masterpiece (FionaDavis)

March: Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens)

*April: Selection Lunch for 2020-2021

May: The Perfect Horse (Elizabeth Letts)


Presbyterian Women

Any woman in the Church may choose to be active in Presbyterian Women. Join women of all ages, young and old, who are active in our circles. Your experience will include:

• Yearly dinner meetings in September and May for all circle members

• Special luncheons that highlight missions or spiritual enrichment

• Monthly circle meetings that offer fellowship, prayer and Bible Study

• Local and international mission opportunities

• Lifelong friends that are made in circles as we support one another in all aspects of our lives.

Presbyterian Women meet monthly in Circles for fellowship, prayer and Bible Study. The current study for 2019-2020 is Love Carved in Stone: A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments by Eugenia Anne Gamble with Suggestions for Leaders by Joyce MacKichan Walker. The 2019-2020 Presbyterian Women/Horizons Bible Study asks what would it mean to consider the Ten Commandments not as a harsh list of what not to do but, instead, as a “love letter” from a loving God? A fresh embrace of the Ten Commandments (or Words), author Eugenia Gamble suggests, may ultimately contribute to the restoration of ourselves and our communities and the furthering of the gospel in the world.Each lesson begins with an exploration of one of the Ten Words in its biblical context. From there we consider a moment from Jesus’ life that shows us how he lived out that Word.

Check the monthly church calendar or with the church office to confirm dates, times and locations before you attend a circle.

Circle# Day of the Month Time Place
Circle #1 Second Saturday 6 pm Church-John Knox Room
Circle #2 Second Monday 10 am Homes
Circle #3 TBA- Meets for lunch in December and May

Circle #4 Second Tuesday 7 pm Church-John Knox Room