News & Events Highlights

Here you will find information on some of the exciting things going on at FCC. Visit this page often to review featured events, ongoing opportunities, and various updates from the congregation.

Scott’s Column: Depression & Resilience

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
May 12 2021

Last week I was in a down mood for much of the week, so on Friday morning after I dropped Sebastian off for school, I headed to my favorite breakfast place, Lisa’s Radial Café, to read the newspaper, drink coffee, and eat pancakes.  And from there headed out to Chalco Hills Recreation Area to walk along the unpaved trails through meadows and woods enjoying sunshine, birdsong, and lilacs.  I felt much better.

Back in January I was in a dark hole.  We had just announced our divorce.  Plus there were all of the lingering effects of the last year from the pandemic, parenting full-time, remote schooling, getting tear gassed and shot in the back of the neck by a pepper ball, and more.  As I was in that darkness, I reached out to a couple of friends and my sister, and they helped me craft my plan.

That night I emailed my physician and asked for an anti-depressant, which he prescribed me the next day and which has greatly helped.  I talked to my counselor.  I talked to my spiritual director, who suggested various prayer practices.  I talked to a few friends with similar experiences for their wisdom and advice.  I took book recommendations and began reading a lot of helpful material.

Getting my first vaccine shot in late January also greatly helped.  I was fully inoculated by early March and was able to begin interacting more with friends and family, who were also getting their shots.  Social life began to return, and I needed that.

My reading has helped.  Brené Brown’s Rising Strong is about embracing our vulnerability and how to develop resilience.  Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity discusses the issues facing contemporary relationships.  Bessel Van Der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score is about how trauma affects us physically and ways to heal.  Katherine Woodward Thomas’s Conscious Uncoupling is an excellent guide for how to divorce well; I read that book in January and then returned to it in the Spring, working slowly through the exercises and spiritual practices it recommends.

Many of my mornings these days start with such reading and then a passage from the Bible.  For Holy Week my spiritual director advised me to read through John’s version of the Passion narrative, praying with the text.  It’s amazing what different words and phrases leap out at you from a familiar passage when you apply a new lens.  Equipped with ideas from my reading, I’ll go for a morning walk during which I pray, reflect on the reading, and sometimes engage in a recommended meditation from one of the books.  Most days I also pray a version of St. Patrick’s breastplate prayer, calling on the presence and power of Christ to surround me.  When I get home I try to do at least 5-10 minutes of yoga, facing toward the east as the morning sun shines brightly through the windows.  Namaste.

Nature of course helps with depression.  Even in the winter, I would bundle up and go for long walks on various trails and am doing even more this spring.  Back in the winter it was fun watching people walk, skate, and fish on frozen Standing Bear Lake.  One morning in April I saw twenty-two deer in Chalco.  These walks are also times to think, pray, and listen to music.  Early on I was listening to a lot of medieval church music for the calm.  On the day I got vaccinated it was the Scissor Sisters and there was a definite spring in my step.  Another day in early January an old friend called, and we talked for a long time as I walked on the Field Club Trail.  She shared from her experience and wisdom and ended the call by praying for me and singing to me.  It was a blessing.

I’m glad for the arrival of spring so that I can garden, work on the yard, and fill my patio and porch with flowers.  I’ve also added a lot of houseplants.  They freshen the air, add visual interest, but also are something to tend.  And I find comfort in the tending.

Because there were some gaps on my walls calling for new art, I’ve started looking for new pieces.  A friend on Facebook posted a photo of some paintings I really liked by Patty Talbert, so I arranged to visit her studio and bought two.  During the pandemic and the uprising for racial justice, Patty had painted a series of works looking for joy.  I thought that fit perfectly with what I needed.  Her painting is hanging in my home library, where I eat breakfast most mornings.  Every day I look at her painting and am reminded of joy.

It’s been good to spend time with friends again.  I’ve had a handful of people over or met them out for drinks and meals.  Others have called and sent notes and messages.

I’m much better now than I was in January, though I’m still on the healing journey.

I don’t write this column because I’m seeking caring responses.  May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  As a pastor I have always felt it important to be open and vulnerable and to give testimony to my faith journey and how spirituality intersects with the various aspects of life.  In this season I have good news to share about coping with a life crisis, building resilience, and healing from mental illness.  I’ve been finding the rituals, practices, and treatments that are helping me.  If you find yourself in such a season of life, I encourage you to reach out and get help and to use the tools available to you.

Just My Thoughts – Mind Matters

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
March 24 2021

Sometime last April, one of those Facebook memes floated by my distracted attention span, but really spoke to me.  It read: Welcome … More

Pandemic Spirituality

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
June 24 2020

This spring Senior Minister Scott Jones wrote a series of five essays connecting our pandemic and quarantine experiences with the spiritual wisdom … More

Katie’s Musings: COVID Time

Katie Miller
June 24 2020

I think the weirdest thing about COVID life is the passage of time.   June is almost gone.  But May was only … More

Living Well During the Pandemic: Zoom Forums

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
May 26 2020

We are living through a public health crisis with profound implications for all other aspects of human living—morality, psychology, culture, politics, economics, … More

From the Health Team

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
May 13 2020

Submitted by Bonnie Harmon, First Central Health Team   In preparation for this week’s Adult Forum on Mental and Spiritual Well Being, … More

From The Refugee Team

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
May 5 2020

We received word last month that our (current) refugee family was struggling during this time of pandemic. The bread-winner of the Khamis … More

From The Health Team – Mask Mastery

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
April 24 2020

Your mask protects me, and my mask protects you. I hope you have heard this many times by now. It is the … More

An Interview With… Sally Lewis

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
March 18 2020

Late last year, the Council – with guidance from the Health Team – asked First Central member Sally Lewis to step into … More

State of the Church 2020

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
January 27 2020

At yesterday’s Annual Meeting, Senior Minister Scott Jones delivered his annual “State of the Church” address. This being my tenth Annual Meeting … More

TAGG – One Easy Way to Give to First Central!

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
November 20 2019

TAGG, which is an acronym for “Together A Greater Good” is a non-profit organization unique to Omaha.  The phone app was launched … More

From the Health Team: Cold & Flu Season

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
November 19 2019

Here we are again, right at the onset of cold and flu season. We are all interested in things we can do … More

Education Spotlight: What’s Happening Downstairs?

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
November 6 2019

On Sunday mornings, the kids all head out of the sanctuary after the Children’s Sermon.  But then what happens? Most Sundays, the … More

Parables: Wednesday Night Bible Study

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
September 11 2019

“The parables give us access to the way Jesus re-imagined the possibility of living, of being in the world.”–Brandon Scott Our Wednesday … More

First Central Library

Cassie Williams
June 21 2019

Ever wondered what books are available in the church library? The First Central Library catalog is now online. You can access it … More

Scott’s TED Talk

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
April 2 2019

In February Scott was an invited speaker to this year’s TEDxUNO where the theme was Resilience.  His talk, “Living Open” has now … More

A Note from Pastor Katie

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
May 5 2021

Hi Friends! I’ve been here at First Central for 5 years already. Can you believe it? Such a wonderful time with wonderful … More

Scott’s Column: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
March 16 2021

While you are preparing your corned beef and cabbage or whatever you do at home this year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, … More

Just My Thoughts – I’m Fine

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
February 24 2021

Once I worked in a big fancy office, with lots of mahogany furniture, and a corporate dress code. And every morning, everyone … More

Scott’s Column: Our Best Selves

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
February 9 2021

This Epiphany season our worship has focused on the Fruits of the Spirit.  This theme has allowed us to focus attention on … More

Katie’s Musings – The Vaccine Diaries

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
February 3 2021

Last week, Scott, Jim, and I were fortunate enough to receive the vaccine.  For weeks, there’d been some confusion as to whether … More

Gratitude: Guest Columnist Jamie Rudd

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
January 5 2021

“Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude” was the culture topic at Nebraska Medicine for the month of December. How timely. On December 23rd, … More

Scott’s Column: The Consolations of Poetry

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
December 31 2020

I encountered my slogan for the year 2020 in the Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan: This cracked year with its … More

Advent – Guest Columnist, Fred Nielsen

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
December 9 2020

This the first real Advent of my life. There were other Advent seasons, of course, all of them arriving precisely on schedule … More