Services in-person & online at 8:30 and 11:00am at Florida's Oldest United Methodist Church

2021 Winter Classes

This Winter find Connection, Hope, and Healing through new opportunities with Christian Education at First United Methodist Church. All classes are meeting virtually via Zoom unless otherwise noted.

self-guided Studies  

If you can’t find the time to take a class or just prefer to study on your own, here are a few suggested studies:

Short Stories by Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine
Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used images from everyday life to stir up interest in his message about the Kingdom of God. But life in first-century Galilee and Judea was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus’s stories not only ignore this difference, but also often import anti-Jewish and sexist views. As eminent Bible scholar Amy-Jill Levine writes in Short Stories by Jesus:

Jesus was requiring that his disciples do more than listen; he was asking them to think as well. What makes the parables mysterious, or difficult, is that they challenge us to look into the hidden aspects of our own values, our own lives. They bring to the surface unasked questions, and they reveal the answers we have always known, but refuse to acknowledge. Religion has been defined as designed to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. We do well to think of the parables of Jesus as doing the afflicting. Therefore, if we hear a parable and think, “I really like that” or, worse, fail to take any challenge, we are not listening well enough.

In this wise, entertaining, and educational book, Levine explores Jesus’s most popular parables, revealing their hidden depths, exposing their misinterpretations, and showing how they can still challenge and provoke us two thousand years later.

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or “gone down” are the only ones who understand “up.” Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.

The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus by Adam Hamilton
Travel with Adam Hamilton as he retraces the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Using historical information, archaeological data, and stories of the faith, Hamilton follows in the footsteps of Jesus from his baptism to the temptations to the heart of his ministry, including the people he loved, the parables he taught, the enemies he made, and the healing he brought. 

This 40-day focus will help you grow deeper in your faith, learn more about the life of Christ, spend time daily reading and reflecting upon the Scriptures.

Staff Book Recommendations

  • Rev Ken Autrey: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Rev Brandon Bures: The Bible and Moral Injury by Brad E. Kelle
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn
  • Rev/Dr. Rick Branch: How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram K. Kendi
  • Denise Van Atta: Seculosity by David Zahl
    Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison
    The Gift of Wonder by Christine Aroney-Sine
    Doing Life with Your Adult Children by Jim Burns
  • Lisa Bond: A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie
    Reckless Faith by Beth Guckenberger
    Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances by Alistair Begg
    Faithful Families by Traci Smith
    • For Children:
      The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
  • Jennifer Piver: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
    The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
  • Sarah Hicks: Invitation to a Journey A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.
    The Life with God Bible (NRSV) by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Walter Bruggemann, Eugene H. Peterson
    • For Children:
      Images of God by Marie-Helene Delval
      Psalms for Young Readers by Marie-Helene Delval
      Making Heart Bread by Matthew Linn

Education Team Book Recommendations

  • Jenny Medley: Love is the Way by Bishop Michael Curry
    Miracles and Other Reasonable Things by Sarah Bessey
  • Ann Grandin: Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World by Rabbi Harold Kushner
    Paul by N.T. Wright
    Messengers of God by Elie Weisel
  • David Boyd: The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu
    Our Purpose is Love: The Wesleyan Way to be the Church by David N. Field
    The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal
  • Lisa Hutcheson: Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
    Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliott
    A Long Obedience by Eugene Peterson
  • Roz Leahy: Choose Joy by Kay Warren
  • Cindy Smith: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande