First Presbyterian Church begins series of free talks

First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich will kick off a free fall series of talks on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. with a discussion of this year’s Greenwich Reads Together book, The Boys in the Boat, facilitated by Esther Bushell.

Other discussions led by local corporate and thought leaders include ethics in the workplace and in medicine; women in Jesus’ ancestral lineage; Michelangelo and his relationship with the church; and preparing for aging, including planning for your own memorial service. All programs are free and open to the public.

Ms. Bushell, founder of Literary Matters, will lead the discussion of The Boys in the Boat. The critically acclaimed novel by Daniel James Brown is the story behind one man’s personal quest, and the triumph of his team, the University of Washington rowing crew, that stunned the world at Hitler’s Olympics.

The following classes take place Sundays in the second floor chapel at approximately 11:20 a.m. On Nov. 2, the Rev. Erin Keys will host Aging Gracefully. Ms. Keys will lead a discussion detailing what the Bible says about aging, and how individuals can prepare for their own aging process or help a loved one through it. The first half of the class will be spent on the spirituality of aging and practical steps one can take to support others. The second half will discuss the practical need we all face — the steps involved in planning for a memorial service. While this can be a somber subject, it need not be.

Larry Thompson will address a wide array of ethical issues faced in business today on Nov. 9 during Ethics in Business and Corporate Responsibility. Mr. Thompson’s discussion will include moral guidelines for the conduct of business based on notions of what is right, wrong and fair. Mr. Thompson is executive vice president of government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary for PepsiCo. Earlier in his career, he was a partner in the Atlanta, Ga., law firm of King & Spalding. His government career includes serving as deputy attorney general of the United States Department of Justice. Recently, the National Law Journal recognized him as one of the 50 Outstanding general counsels in the nation.

Ethicist Tom Hughart will give a brief survey of the basic principles of medical ethics: autonomy, beneficence, bioethics, and non-maleficence on Nov. 16 during a program entitled Justice in Biomedical Ethics. He will then discuss in detail the three pillars of justice in biomedical ethics: attributive justice, distributive justice and retributive justice. Mr. Hughart recently retired as course director for the Bioethics Institute at New York Medical College. He serves on the ethics committees at Westchester Medical and at Norwalk Hospital, and is pastor emeritus of the Bedford Presbyterian Church in New York.

Dec. 7 brings The Five Women in Jesus’ Ancestral Lineage facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Susan de George

Matthew begins his gospel begins with a genealogy of Jesus—a genealogy that differs from Luke’s because it traces a different path through Jesus’ lineage and because it includes something strange — the names of several women. Dr. De George will examine the stories of the five women who are found in Matthew chapter one—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheb and Mary — and look at various reasons they could have been included in Jesus’ ancestral lineage.

In honor of the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni’s death (6 March 1475-18 February 1564), Paul Gaffney will provide an overview of the life and times of one of the world’s greatest artists, including his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church on Dec. 14. Mr. Gaffney recently had the opportunity to visit Michelangelo’s last major fresco, The Last Judgment, painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This masterpiece is strongly influenced by Michelangelo’s own extensive reading of Dante, a subject on which Gaffney can shed great light. Gaffney is associate professor and chair of the philosophy department at St. John’s University.

More information about these and other programs at First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich may be found at

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