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.
PRUDENCE CRANDALL HOPE TOUR
On Tuesday, Feb. 13th you will have the opportunity to go on a “Hope Tour” at the Prudence Crandall Center. The tour is set to begin at 6 p.m. (please arrive by 5:45) and lasts one hour.
On the tour, you will see the facility (including an apartment and the teen rooms) and hear 3-4 stories of women who are living there; to help build a better understanding of how domestic violence impacts survivors, their children, and us all.
The tour is open to First Church members, friends and anyone else who may be interested. First Church has been a longtime supporter of Prudence Crandall and because of our commitment to them; many lives have been transformed from despair to hope. Please sign-up if you are able to attend.
If you have any questions, please talk to Sharon Chamberlain.
OSGOOD FOOD PANTRY NEEDS AND UPDATES
In November and December we are asking parishioners to bring in personal care items. This would include such items as toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, soap, lotion, shower get, deodorant . . . and the list goes on. These are things we take for granted that aren’t affordable to many.
As always, any and all donations are welcome Sunday and during office hours. Thank you to all who brought in soup and other food donations over the past month. We could not support this mission without your help.
4th ANNUAL SOCK COLLECTION
We will continue to collect socks through the winter. As weather is cold and wet, the need for warm, dry socks increases. For the fourth year in a row, 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!
BREAD BAKING THANKS AND REMINDER
Thank you to Lois Zink, Carolyn McElravy and Lois MacFarlane for baking during the month of January. Lois Zink will be baking, Sunday, February 4th and Carolyn McElravy will be baking, Sunday, February 18th.
Bakers are needed for Sunday, February 11th and all Sundays after February 25th. Please sign up, in the Narthex before church or during coffee hour, to bake two welcome breads 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.
MISSIONS PROJECT: BOX TOPS
As many of you know, schools throughout our area collect “Box Tops”. These are found on various grocery items and are used by the schools as way to earn money to cover non-budgeted items. All “Box Tops” that we collect will go to help the children at Gaffney School. Look for our ‘BOX TOP” Collection Box in the Narthex.
Please remember that our prayer shawl ministry is an outreach ministry. Yes, prayer shawls are for those in our congregation who are ill or grieving; however, they are also for people outside our membership. So if you have a family member, a friend, or a co-worker who you think might appreciate a soft, warm symbol of God’s love, please let Lois MacFarlane or Kristine Lewko know and they will get you one of our beautiful prayer shawls.
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.