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.
During the month of November, we will collect nonperishable, “holiday food items”. Stuffing mixes, gravy, canned vegetables (including sweet potatoes), pie fillings, crust and dessert mixes will give all a taste of the holidays. Thank you to all who brought in soups and meal items during the month of October. There are many more families in need than in the past, so please consider supporting this mission and the following one, for thanksgiving food baskets. And, again, thank you to all who support this mission. Food items can be dropped up before or after worship on Sundays.
Once again, our Missions & Congregational Life Working Group has notified the Friendship Service Center that we will participate in their holiday “Adopt-A’Family” program. As such, we will be providing five Thanksgiving food baskets to them so that they may be distributed to their clients.
On November 8th and 15th, food cards will be available for parishioners to take after worship. Food items should then be brought to the church no later than Sunday, November 22nd, so that the baskets can be assembled and brought to the Friendship Center. We will also continue our tradition and have a Christmas Giving Tree to collect gifts to be distributed to their families.
This year’s special Thanksgiving Offering has been designated to go to Warm the Children. Warm the Children works with the New Britain Public Schools to provide new, warm, winter clothing to children ages 3 through 10; who are in need and are referred by school social workers. They raise funds and arrange for families to go shopping at a local department store. The collection will be taken the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, which is Sunday November 22nd. Envelopes are included in your box of regular giving envelopes and will also be available in the November 22nd bulletin.
“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.