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 comtributed items to Joan Cromwell’s collection which will be sent to deployed members of our military. Some of the items collected were: toilet paper, toothpaste and brushes and body wash. Please see the notice on the bulletin board in the front hall, leading to Fellowship Hall, for other drop off locations. You may join them Saturday, November 9th, anytime between 11 am and 2 pm, at the New Britain VFW, 41 Veterans Dr, New Britain, CT, 06051, to help pack and wrap boxes and write cards to the troops. Bring the entire family. Many thanks to Joan Cromwell for taking this on this very worthy cause.
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 10th and 17th , food cards will be available for parishioners to take. Food items should then be brought to the church no later than Sunday, November 17th, so that the baskets can be assembled and brought to the Friendship Center.
This year’s special Thanksgiving Offering has been designated to go to the Friendship Service Center. The mission of the Friendship Center is to provide direct service to the poor and needy of Central Connecticut, including the ownership and operation of housing for the poor. Outreach starts simply by reaching out. Providing care services starts simply with caring. The Friendship Center is a place where the hungry are fed, the homeless are sheltered, and everyone is welcome. We believe that every act of generosity and kindness can transform the world for those around us. The collection will be taken the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, which is Sunday November 24th. Envelopes are included in your box of regular giving envelopes and will also be available in the November 17th and 24th Sunday bulletins.
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 personal care items, and other items, for our September and October collection. Thank you to all who support this mission!
Thank you to Amanda Costa for baking for the whole month of October. Breads will be needed for November 17th and all Sundays after; thank you to all who’ve signed up to bake. 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. Thank you to all who support this wonderful ministry.
NEIGHBORS IN NEED SPECIAL OFFERING
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community to organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. The 2019 theme for the NIN offering is “Love of Children.”
This year we will receive the NIN offering on Sunday, October 6, 2019 as part of our World Communion Sunday observance. Envelopes and information will be in the Sunday bulletin.
World Communion Sunday is a celebration observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October, that promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation. This year, that date is October 6th.
The tradition was begun in 1933 by Hugh Thomson Kerr who ministered in the Shadyside Presbyterian Church. In 1936 the practice was adopted throughout the US Presbyterian Church. In 1940, the Federal Council of Churches (now the National Council of Churches), led by Jesse Moren Bader, endorsed World Communion Sunday and began to promote it to Christian churches worldwide. ~Information from Wikipedia
Our Food Ministry, which benefits the Prudence Crandall Center, meets in our kitchen on the third Thursday of the month. Church members first meet at 10 am to prep for the meal. They reconvene from 5-7 pm, to prepare a meal together for residents and for 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. Upcoming dates are November 21, December 19, January 16, February 20, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18 and July 16. 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.