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


This Is Us Discussions/Potlucks


Who Are We?

What Do We Believe?

Who Are Our Neighbors?

 What Do We Believe God Is Calling Us To Do?

These are the Big Questions that we will tackle together during this next phase of our Transitional Time at First Pres Palo Alto.  How shall we do this?

Your Session has been addressing this question with creativity and wisdom.  Often a congregation will simply choose a Mission Study team and launch them on the deep, deep task of surveying the demography and the needs of the congregation, while discussing identity and values/mission.  Following months of intense study, the committee writes up a consensus report (aka The Mission Study), delivers it to Session and Presbytery for comment, and then condenses that report to fit into the more standardized form for distribution to potential pastoral candidates in what is now called the Mission Information Form.

And after all of that… the Pastor Nominating Committee is elected.

We were blessed to have had Annanda Barclay and Mohan lyer launch us into the beginning of our own Mission Study process without any of us even being aware.  Their presentations took place during two Sunday Conversations during the month of May.  A group of 30 or so First Pres’ers participated in the “The Heart of First Pres” discussions–wherein each participant was invited to offer a few words that best described their own experience of being engaged in the life of this community.  It was a wonderful and very helpful exercise.

Now – the Session calls on us to expand these “Heart of First Pres” conversations to include even more of us – and to do it over a period of three Sunday evenings.  These conversations will lead us into the beginning of our own Mission Study process.  They will be led by your pastoral staff and members of the congregation who have special gifts in facilitating this kind of free-ranging conversation, covering topics related to

  • who we’ve been (appreciating our heritage),
  • what our commitments have been/and what they are now,
  • who we are now, and how we present ourselves to the world theologically as well as practically,
  • and who we dream to be as the Body of Christ here on Cowper in Palo Alto.

Also, we will spend some time looking into the options for designing our own First Pres PA Mission Study Working Group, which will reflect the broad diversity of points of view, theology, age and stage, etc.—and then talk through the Mission Study process as it advances from there. So, yes – we’ll combine the traditional way of doing a Presbyterian Mission Study and add our own creative twist.  This sounds like First Pres, doesn’t it?!

Please plan to join us for all three of these important conversations for the future of First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto.  All Voices are invited, urged, and needed!  We are the church together.  And join your Session in prayer for the hope-filled future of First Pres, and – add your energies to theirs in this very Presbyterian (with our own fprespa variations on the theme) process.

Mark the dates for these potluck dinner conversations:  Sundays, Sept 16, 30, and Oct 21, 5:30-7:30pm. Potluck details TBD.