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.
The Christmas Fund
for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund
For over a century, the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund has been a tangible expression of God’s love and light in the world. Year after year, United Church of Christ (UCC) members and congregations have reached out in kindness, compassion, and gratitude to those who have faithfully shepherded our Church in the past and who now find themselves facing unexpected financial needs. This year we will receive this special UCC offering on Sunday, December 23rd. Envelopes are in today’s bulletin and will be in next week’s also.
More information about this is posted on our UCC News bulletin board located outside the church office.
This year, the “Christmas Offering”, which is received on Christmas Eve, has been designated to go to UCC Disaster Ministries. The Emergency USA Fund allows UCC Disaster Ministries to respond to both large and small natural and human-caused disasters in all U.S. states and territories. This year it has provided aid to people affected by the California Wildfires and Hurricanes Michael and Florence, among many other disasters. A special envelope will be included in the bulletin for you to use.
During the month of December, we will continue to 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 continue to support this mission.
We have begun a Food Ministry to benefit the Prudence Crandall Center. Church members will meet in the kitchen on the third Thursday of the month, at 4:30 pm, to prepare a meal together for their residents and for themselves.
Following meal preparation, at 6:30 pm, members will stay for fellowship, conversation and dinner together. If you cannot make it to prepare food, you are still welcome to join us for dinner. This is an opportunity to try something new as we begin a new church program year. Please contact Judy Robertson, firstname.lastname@example.org or Don DelCegno, email@example.com, for more information.
BREAD BAKING THANKS AND REMINDER
Thank you to Arlyd Munoz-Snyder, Martha Moses, Isla Naples and Lois Zink for baking during the month of November. If you’d like to help, 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. Thank you to all who support this wonderful ministry.
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.
Please 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.
INTERGENERATIONAL MISSION TRIP
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.