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.
NEW MISSIONS PROJECT: BOX TOPS
As many of you know, schools throughout our area collect “Box Tops”. These are found on various grocery items and are used by the schools as way to earn money to cover non-budgeted items. All “Box Tops” that we collect will go to help the children at Gaffney School. Look for our ‘BOX TOP” Collection Box in the Narthex.
OSGOOD FOOD PANTRY
October will be SOUP month. We will be collecting all types of soup . . . canned, mixes, cup-o-soup, etc. As always, any and all donations are welcome Sunday and during office hours. Thank you to all who brought in “after school snacks” and other food donations in the past month. We could not support this mission without your help.
BREAD BAKING THANKS
Thank you to Martha Moses, Lois Zink, Judy Robertson and Lois MacFarlane for baking during the month of October. Arlyd Munoz-Snyder will be baking, Sunday, October 1st, Margo Hunt will be baking, Sunday, October 8th, Lois MacFarlane will be baking, Sunday, October 15th and Lois Zink will be baking, Sunday, October 22nd and Carolyn McElravy will be baking, Sunday, October 29th.
Bakers are needed for all Sundays after October 29th. 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.
We are, again, asking for bakers to make some extra loaves to keep in the freezer to have when someone forgets it’s their day, a baker is unable to come to church or extra loaves are needed. Just bring in the loaves and place in the marked box in the kitchen freezer. Thank you!
Please remember that our prayer shawl ministry is an outreach ministry. Yes, prayer shawls are for those in our congregation who are ill or grieving; however, they are also for people outside our membership. So if you have a family member, a friend, or a co-worker who you think might appreciate a soft, warm symbol of God’s love, please let Lois MacFarlane or Kristine Lewko know and they will get you one of our beautiful prayer shawls.
The Missions & Congregational Life Working Group will continue to collect coupons for military families to help them provide for their families. We ask that they be already cut out and coupons are welcome with an expiration date of up to six months. Please remember to bring in your coupons, drop them off in the basket in the church office and help us continue with this worthwhile venture!
We have had lots happening in our First Church Family lately. Following the Apostle Paul’s call to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep,” (Romans 12:15), we have greeting cards for you to write to someone who has been mentioned during our “Prayers of the People” or in “Our First Church Family” or anyone you would like to reach out to. Cards, pens, and an address book are available during Coffee Hour, on a card table in the Fireside Room. Just place your cards in the Sunshine Post Office box and they will be stamped and mailed out on Monday. This is an easy way to show you care. Please challenge yourself to write at least one card a month. As Jesus made it abundantly clear, as we do it for another so we do it for him.
ANNUAL SOCK COLLECTION
We wrapped up out sock collection in the spring. We will begin again vert soon and continue through the winter months. Thank you to all who donated to filing our Sock Basket in the Narthex. Over 100 pairs of socks were collected. More information to come.
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.
International Mission (Thailand)
The good work of First Church reaches half way across the world touching the lives of twenty-plus children in northern Thailand. The generosity of our church has helped to build two residences for these children, as well as providing school supplies, winter coats and ongoing annual financial support. A trip to visit the children took place during the summer of 2010. Those of us fortunate enough to make the journey witnessed first hand the loving atmosphere they are now living in, the quality education they are receiving and the sense of family unity that has developed. We were moved by the strength of them all and realized we are truly blessed by this opportunity for international ministry.
Our friend Rev. Sirirat Pursurinkham, from Thailand, last visited New Britain in August of 2014! She preached during worship and the next day prepared an evening meal for church and community members, a short program followed the meal. On June 12, 2016, Children’s Sunday, we collected about $323.00, and will be sending a check to Rev. Sirirat. And she will say Kap koon ka – or thank you so much!