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.
SAVE THE DATE, SATURDAY, APRIL 27th
First Church is getting prepared for another call to help our neighbors! We are currently in the house selection process, and will provide project and the scope of work. Please reserve April 27th to be part of this annual tradition. Come for the day or any part to give a hand. This year’s signup sheet is in the office, and a spot is listed for the world famous t shirt size. Thank you all and to the generosity of our mission Committee. Glenn Anderson
THE OSGOOD FOOD PANTRY . . . NEEDS AND THANKS!
For the month of April we will continue to collect tuna fish and will add macaroni & cheese 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 donated tuna during the Month of March and to all who support this mission. Any and all donations are welcome and may be brought in on Sunday or during office hours.
EASTER SPECIAL MISSION OFFERING
The Missions & Congregational Life Working group has designated that the Easter Offering will be split between Holy Joe’s Cafe and the Osgood Food Pantry. Any and all contributions would be greatly appreciated by these much needed organizations. This collection will take place on Easter Sunday, April 21st. Holy Joe’s is a Coffee House Ministry, proudly serving U.S. Troops since 2006. United Church of Christ military chaplains have found an old way to invite U.S. soldiers into a safe and informal place where they can receive spiritual care and good coffee.
The goal of the Osgood Food Pantry, part of the New Britain Food & Resource Center, is “Increasing food security in New Britain’s northwestern region by providing a holistic safety net of services to those who need help in a variety of areas”.
5H ANNUAL SOCK COLLECTION
We will continue our sock collection through the winter. 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!
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 4-7 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 Thursday, March 21st, Thursday, April 18th, Thursday, May 16th and Thursday, June 20th.
BREAD BAKING THANKS AND NEED
Bakers are needed for this ministry! We like to have one to two welcome breads on hand 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. Please sign up in the church office. Breads can also be made and dropped off during the week. We take a break over the summer, so bakers are needed for April and May. We thank Lois MacFarlane for baking several breads to have on hand over the last few weeks and single-handedly supporting this cause.
MISSIONS PROJECT: BOX TOPS
We will continue to collect “Box Tops” to help children at Gaffney School. These are found on various groceries and used by the schools to earn money to cover non-budgeted items.
Last Sunday we had a Gallery Opening to show some of our beautiful prayer shawls and thank those who support this ministry. If you weren’t able to come, please stop in to see these works of art. Also, remember that our prayer shawl ministry is an outreach ministry. Prayer shawls are for those in our congregation who are ill or grieving; 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, packages of yarn are available any time in the church office.
An organization called “Prayer Shawls for Fallen Soldiers”, has recently come to our attention. About twice a month they receive a list of military casualties from the Department of Defense, which includes their next of kin to be notified following their death. The organization sends a letter to each of the next-of-kin inviting them to request a Prayer Shawl. When they receive a request, they contact prayer shawl ministries in their state, notifying them of the request and asking them if they can meet the request. The only commitment is to be willing to provide a Prayer Shawl (if one is ready) when asked. The shawls need to be a rectangle, 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. For those who want to help, but don’t knit or crochet, monetary donations or donations of gift cards to local craft stores would help our Prayer Shawl mission.
We are excited to announce that an Intergenerational Mission Trip is being planned for Summer of 2019. The “Who, What, Where, When and How” have not been determined. If you are interested in going we encourage you to contact Rev. Margret to receive more information and be part of the planning team. This trip is open to anyone 14 years of age and older. Thank you! ~ Rev. Margret and Julie Lavigne
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.