Center for Faith and Life

Connecting Faith and Life through Education, Exploration, and Conversation

The “center” is not so much a building, though the facilities of First Baptist Church of Asheville will be where most of the gatherings will happen. “Center” is, instead, the overall term for a cluster of educational and formational experiences aimed at connecting the challenges, opportunities, and callings of life with the resources of wisdom, beauty, and practice found in the Christian faith.
Our mission is to explore theological imagination, nurture vocation, and encourage engagement by offering gatherings and convening conversations at the intersection of church and world.
Four distinct approaches will be employed to address our mission:
Learning Gatherings for Education, Exploration, and Conversation
               Annual Speakers & Artists Series
Spirituality Events – including Retreats, Pilgrimages, and Labyrinth Walks
School for Theological Study – Seminary Level Theological Education for All

Fall 2021 Courses

Registration is open for Fall 2021.
Please read below for more information.
The link to register for a course is found under each course heading.
See course description for cost.
Please contact with questions regarding these courses.

Learning Who We Are from Who Jesus Is: Reflections on Identity from the Gospel of John
Dr. Guy Sayles
Register HERE
Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. (hybrid)
October 5 – November 23
Cost: $50

This course will focus on the well-known “I am” sayings of Jesus in John’s Gospel, as well as related themes, as catalysts for conversations about growth as human beings and followers of Jesus.

Book Discussion: Faith After Doubt
Dr. Terry Hamrick
Register HERE
Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. (hybrid)
October 6 – November 17
Cost: Free

This course will explore Brian McLaren’s book Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It. McLaren proposes a four-stage model of faith development in which questions and doubt are not the enemy of faith, but rather a portal to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith. The four stages―Simplicity, Complexity, Perplexity, and Harmony―offer a path forward that can help sincere and thoughtful people leave behind unnecessary baggage and intensify their commitment to what matters most. You can purchase the book here or wherever you buy books. (

Listening to the Wilderness in Pandemic Times
Heather Swanson, MA
Register HERE
Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. (in person)
October 6 – November 17
Cost: Free

Hitting the pandemic wall? How can listening to the wilderness make space for our grief and joy during these ongoing troubled times, while deepening our experience of belonging? Join Heather in listening to an African American ornithologist, an ecological theologian and a wild saint to find out.

Growing in Mystery and Maturity: Study of Ephesians
Dr. Tommy Bratton
Register HERE
Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. (in person)
October 13 – November 17
Cost: Free

This epistle to the Ephesians is a book of worship, with prayer at its beginning, middle, and end. In this course, we will explore this letter’s insistence on our growing maturity and unity in Christ.

Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers
Dr. Beth Newman
Register HERE
Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
October 7 – November 18
Cost: $50

Christian hospitality is more than a well-set table, pleasant conversation, or even inviting people into your home. Christian hospitality, according to Beth Newman, is an extension of how we interact with God. It trains us to be capable of welcoming strangers who will challenge us and enhance our lives in unexpected ways, readying us to embrace the ultimate stranger: God. You can purchase the book here or wherever you buy books. (