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.
*Please note our most recent missions on our “home” page.
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. Beginning today, November 5th, food cards will be available for parishioners to take. Food items should then be brought to the church no later than Sunday, November 19th, so that the baskets can be assembled and brought to the Friendship Center. We are thankful to all who support this mission.
During the months of November and December, we will collect nonperishable, “holiday food items”, to give everyone a taste of the holidays. Stuffing mixes, gravy, canned fruits and vegetables (including sweet potatoes) are needed; along with cake and crust mixes, pie fillings, frostings and kid friendly snacks. Thank you to all who brought in Back to School favorites during the months of September and October and, again, thank you to all who support this mission. Food items can be dropped up before or after worship on Sundays.
BOXES TO BOOTS . . . During the next week or two we’ll conclude our collection for Boxes to Boots, which sends care boxes to overseas troops who will not be home for the holidays. There is a handout with complete list of items in the Narthex; but some ideas are prepackaged snacks and breakfast items, coffee pods and tea bags, candy and gum and cotton t-shirts and socks.
The main packing event for Boxes to Boots will be on Saturday, November 18th, at McGee Middle School in Berlin. We have reserved two tables so congregation members can wrap packages together. Our times are 1:30-2:15 and 2:30-3:15 pm. There is a sign-up sheet in coffee hour.
This Ministry is a wonderful way to share God’s love, care, and comfort. The bears can be taken by anyone – children and adults alike – to share with someone who needs comfort and joy. Bears have gone to those experiencing both sorrows and celebrations.
To participate, church members collect and donate new or gently used Teddy Bears 10”-18” in size. The bears are sanitized, labeled with a note from First Church of Christ and placed in pews or other prominent places in the church. If you would like to sanitize bears before bringing them in, it is suggested that you close them in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer for at least 72 hours. Please consider including your children and grandchildren in this project. A collection box has been be placed in the Narthex for your donations.
The prayer requests noted above are opportunities to use our Sunshine Post Office to send good cheer. You can also send a greeting to someone we haven’t seen in a while. Cards and pens are in the Activity Corner of the Fireside Room . . . just write one out during Coffee Hour, put the person’s name on it and we’ll address, stamp and mail it out. They are a nice and easy way to send caring thoughts to our church family and are greatly appreciated by, and comforting to, those who receive them. Place the card on the hospitality table and it will be sent to the recipient via the church office snail mail.
- Our Thanksgiving Offering, received on Sunday, November 19th, will go to the UCC Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund.
- We will participate in the Adopt a Family mission, with our Christmas Giving Tree, also for the Friendship Service Center.
- Our Christmas Offering, received on Sunday, December 24th, will go to go to the HRA Food Pantry.
- Our summer mission project was making Summer Fun Packs for the children at the Prudence Crandall Center. Items were purchased with our Missions Discretionary fund; we will also purchase Pool Passes for them. The Mission’s Committee will make a monetary donation to South Church’s Feed the Need Ministry. This ministry feeds breakfast on Tuesday mornings to a crowd of 90-100 homeless or food insecure people. They also provide 120 bagged meals weekly, to the Friendship Center, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and package of cookies. The cost of this mission has been increasing due to the rising cost of food and the number of people in need.
- The Mission’s Committee will also make a monetary donation to the UCC project for Period Packs/Menstrual Hygiene Kits, a mission recently introduced by Church World Service, a UCC partner. They have stated “This is one way to help individuals living in period poverty. Unfortunately, many of these individuals are in transit or otherwise do not have reliable access to spaces where they can easily clean and sanitize reusable products. The kit provides several products that promote cleanliness and health during a menstrual cycle.” The Church World Service has pledged to match our donation.
“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
Since many are home and, possibly, knitting, please remember that our prayer shawl ministry is an outreach ministry. Prayer shawls 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 at this time, please let Rev. Margret or Kristine Lewko know and they will get you one. They are kept in large, plastic, sanitary zip bags. We ask that the shawls to be a rectangle, 18 to 24 inches wide and 60 to 72 inches long.
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 the past year, the Caroline Aston Fund committee has made donations to local organizations including the Hungerford Nature Center, Literacy Volunteers, Food Share, Warm the Children, the Prudence Crandall Center, Warm the Children and the YWCA Strive Program; among others.