1140 Cowper St Palo Alto CA 94301 Sundays at 8:30am and 10:30am

Adult Study Sessions this Fall


Adult Study series for Dec. 2-16.  These sessions will be led by Annanda Barclay and Dave Thornton to allow for more of the open dialog that was one goal of the Oct. 7-21 series on racism. We will start on Dec. 2 with what Annanda recorded in a video that she sent to Dave for our Adult Study on Oct. 21. In that video Annanda spoke of her experience as a black woman as pastor in a largely “white” church. The October series was entitled Confronting Racism: Privilege and White Fragility and had closed with a session on Racism and Social Change–resisting white privilege and systemic racism, and considering steps for continued learning and open dialogue.

Here are links to relevant articles:


November 11, 18, 25.   These three Sundays will be a series led by Byron Bland on three short articles he has written with his colleague Lee Ross. This will include distribution of each article in advance of the study where we will discuss the article. Much of each session will be Q&A with Byron. The working titles of the three articles are

  • Deserving and Undeserving: Who is Entitled to What?
  • Safeguarding and Securing as Communal Engagement
  • Compromise as an Act of Respect

Here are links to the articles:


Revised Final Fear-Safeguarding-Securing


November 4. NO ADULT STUDY because of 125th Anniversary 

On Oct. 28th, the Rev. Dr. Lou Knowles will lead Adult Study.  As a Stanford student in the 1960s, he became aware of First Pres through our work in East Palo Alto.  The weekend of October 27-28, he has organized a reunion of other Stanford students who were involved in Community House, the project started at First Pres in East Palo Alto.   Suzanne Smith, also part of that reunion event, will be with him in our Adult Study. She was a member of First Pres very involved in Mid-Peninsula Community House in East Palo Alto. 

Adult Study on Confronting Racism, Sundays, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 9:45-10:15 in Fellowship Hall.  Annanda and Dave Thornton are partnering in leadership for this series using as a primary source a new book by Robin Diangelo entitled White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White People to talk about Racism. Our first session will focus on “Racism and White Privilege”. We will be defining terms like racism, privilege, white supremacy, power and domination, and ways that we all participate in sustaining structures of racism in our country today.

The goal is to engage in open conversation about systemic racism in our history and its ongoing reality in our current time. This is not about blaming and guilt, but about naming and understanding how we are all involved in maintaining the system. While not an easy topic, it is nevertheless so very critical in this moment of our collective life. We hope this class will be a somewhat uncomfortable but courageous time of holy confrontation and foundational healing. Please come with an open and receptive spirit.