First Church is committed to being a church that cares about the world around us and our brothers and sisters in the Greater New Britain community who are less fortunate.
A majority of our mission funds are given to the United Church of Christ’s Missionary Society of Connecticut, which disburses these funds to areas in need in the United States and around the world.
Thank you to all who supported our Thanksgiving and Christmas giving opportunities. From our Adopt-A-Family Thanksgiving food baskets, to military collections, to our collection for Holy Joe’s Cafe, to our Christmas “givng tree” . . . you gave generously, touched lives and many are very thankful for it.
Thank you to all who brought in holiday food items for the Friendship Center baskets and the Osgood Food Pantry collection during November. We had planned on filling four baskets and we were able to fill five. Thank you also to the staff at First Church, who chipped in and provided 24 items to “fill a box” and feed a family for Thanksgiving. We could not support these missions without your help.
6TH ANNUAL SOCK COLLECTION
As cold weather approaches, we will begin our winter sock collection. There is a Sock Basket in the Narthex for you to place your donations in. Please note that only new socks can be accepted. Thank you!
Breads will be needed for Sunday, January 12th and all Sundays after. Many thanks go out to all who’ve signed up to revive and support this wonderful ministry. We try to have two welcome breads on hand each Sunday, to be given out to visitors, returning members or those having difficulty in their lives. Any kind of homemade bread is appreciated, from yeast breads to sweet breads to bread from mixes.
FOOD MINISTRY AND DINNER DISCUSSION
Our Food Ministry, which benefits the Prudence Crandall Center, will be meeting again on Thursday, January 16th. Church members will first meet at 10 am to prep for the meal and reconvene from 5-7 pm, to prepare a meal together for residents and themselves. Following meal making, members stay for fellowship, conversation and dinner together. If you cannot make it to prepare food, you are still welcome to join us for dinner. Other upcoming dates are February 20th, March 19th, April 16th, May 21st, June 18th and July 16th. This is a wonderful opportunity to put our faith into action!
“Shawls . . . made for centuries, universal and embracing, symbolic and inclusive, unconditionally loving, God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles” ~Janet Severi Bristow, 1998
Prayer Shawls were blessed on Sunday, September 15th. They are for those in our congregation who are ill or grieving and they are also for people outside our membership. If you have a family member or friend who you think might appreciate a soft, warm symbol of God’s love, please let Rev. Margret, Lois MacFarlane or Kristine Lewko know and they will get you one. If you have time to knit, we have donated yarn, in the church office. The shawls need to be a rectangle, approximately 18 to 24 inches wide and 60 to 72 inches long. Please see Rev. Margret or Lois MacFarlane for more information or if you’d like to participate in this outreach.
On a more “hands on” level, we are a dedicated supporter of the Osgood Food Pantry. Through the generous food donations of our members, we strive to make the lives of those struggling with food insecurity a little bit easier. We have also been a long time supporter of Rebuilding Together (www.rebuildingtogether.org). This past year, through the Florence Morgan Fund, we gave a monetary amount at the level of a Platinum Sponsor and on Rebuilding Day sent a team of parishioners to help with the repair projects of a local homeowner.
The Friendship Service Center (www.friendshipservicecenter.org) has been a special organization to First Church members for many years. Our Annual Sneaker Sunday raises money for them and with a walk through Walnut Hill Park on that day, we try to raise awareness of the needs of the homeless in our city. We also participate in their Adopt-A-Family program and donate Thanksgiving food baskets and Christmas gifts.
This Fund’s charge is to distribute income from investments for foreign needs and for local and United States needs. This Fund can be added to at any time. It was begun in 1935 and small bequests were added over the years by women of the church who saw a special need for such a fund. Donations are carefully and happily distributed, usually twice a year.
Our projects for distribution overseas come from requests we make for unbudgeted needs through the United Church Board of World Ministries. Special needs of women and children are often considered before general needs. We pray that our choices over the years have done the most good where truly needed.
In May of 2016, members of the Caroline Aston Fund committee met to distribute to both local and overseas organizations including the Prudence Crandall Center, Holmes PTA Go Tri Committee and Global Ministries. In an excerpt from a thank you note from Global Ministries, Rev. Jane Sullivan-Davis wrote, “Global Ministries sincerely thanks you for your gifts. As indicated, your donation will be used to support the Armenian Missionary Association of America, the Youth Internet Café in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Tilda Evangelical Hospital in India, the Orthodox Initiative in Jordan, Melel Xojobal in Mexico and Dumaguete Kalauman Development Center Building Project in the Philippines. Gifts like yours are vital to Global Ministries as we all work together with international partners in God’s Global mission. We are very grateful!”. Contributions to local organizations included the Hungerford Nature Center, Literacy Volunteers, MOMS / Nurturing Families, the New Britain Plan to End Homelessness, the New Britain Public Library, Pathways Senderos, Prudence Crandall Center, Warm the Children and the YWCA Strive Program.