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.
Friends, in these very troubling times, I ask that you hold all of our congregations, their members, staff and friends in prayer. With that said, we will continue with prayers for specific congregations within our Association. For the month of April, we as an Association will be holding in prayer, the members, staff and friends of South Church. Please include the following information in your newsletters, and other forms of communication! While South Church has long embraced their motto “in the heart of the city, for the heart of the city,” they are currently crafting vision and mission statements that clearly articulate their purpose and the values that shape all that they do. They ask prayers of the association that they might bravely and boldly live their mission with even more depth and energy and desire to invite others into the joy of this ministry.
Peace, Rev. Margret Hofmeister
The Missions and Congregational Life working group has designated that the Easter Offering will be used to buy gift cards to local restaurants and to be given to hospital and emergency workers at the Hospital of Central CT.
For the month of April we will continue to collect tuna fish and pasta and will add macaroni & cheese, rice, canned and jarred goods (vegetables, sauces and soups), kid friendly snacks and peanut butter. These make for either an easy snack or a meal. These foods are also good for kids on April vacation. Thank you to all who support this mission. During our closure, any and all donations are welcome and may be dropped off in front of the Church Office door in the morning and they will be put inside by Glenn when he checks the building.
Our Food Ministry, which benefits the Prudence Crandall Center, will deliver a pre-made meal on the third Thursday of the month, until we are able to cook together again. Once we are able to gather together, we will meet on the third Thursday of the month. Church members 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. We will announce upcoming dates once restrictions are lifted.
The board members of Rebuilding Together, as well as the National Headquarters, has decided to postpone rebuilding day on April 25, 2020. The house selection process had just begun and will finish up in the spring. We are attempting to have a Rebuilding Day in the fall. I told Kathi Brummett that First Church will be involved when the new dates are finalized. Safety of the homeowners, volunteers, and all vendors was paramount in the decision. Thanks to all for your continued support. In the spirit of rebuilding you may want to work on or finish a project at home on this day. Please send photos to Kristine at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all for your continued support. Glenn Anderson
Sneaker Sunday will no longer be a walking event due to lack of participation. We will reinvent it next year with some new ideas. This year we would like to use donations for that day to support the Friendship Center and the Food Pantry.
“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.