At First Church we understand that we truly are the body of Christ, and our outreach missions reflect our belief in showing kindness and compassion to all of God’s creation. There are countless ways to get involved in the outreach work of First Church — whether you want to serve hot meals to your neighbors or build houses for those who desperately need them, your hands are needed here! First Church Outreach is involved in helping people who struggle with food insecurity and homelessness, and we are particularly involved in working for equity and social justice. These are a few of the organizations that First Church members actively support:
Hats & Mittens Drive
The Annual Hat and Mitten Drive begins October 16th and will continue through the end of the year. Marked boxes will be available in the Narthex and outside the auditorium to collect your donations. If you continue to worship from home, we will be happy to pick up your donations from you. Any new or used winter outerwear or clothing in good condition is welcome.
Covenant to Care Share a Gift Tree
Please look for the Share-A-Gift Christmas Tree in the Auditorium beginning on November 27th! Please take a tag, buy a gift for the child designated, and bring the unwrapped gift to the office or the auditorium (during coffee hour) by December 18th. Gifts will be given to our two Covenant to Care social workers for the children they work with. If you are still worshiping from home and would like to participate, please call Janice Carter Hall at 860-305-0940 or Carole Carter at 860-690-1338 and we will drop a tag off to you.
The Festival of Trees is a community event on the first Thursday evening of December at which the Outreach team raffles off decorated Christmas trees donated by local businesses, residents, and members and friends of First Church. A cadre of cookie-bakers donate hundreds of cookies for guests to nibble as they stroll among the festive trees. Director of Music Jim Boratko and the First Church Gallery Singers provide a holiday soundtrack for the event, which raises over $10,000 for area charities.
Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA) a broad-based social justice initiative piloted by the Center for Leadership and Justice. GHIAA is comprised of over 40 churches, synagogues, mosques, and meeting houses, creating a diverse organization of lay leaders and clergy from across bounds of race, class, gender identity, religion, and geography. GHIAA builds relational power in local communities to address social justice issues. GHIAA’s current campaigns are focused on the areas of Criminal Justice Reform, Education, Gun Violence, Healthcare, and Housing.
GHIAA Opportunity Wednesday, December 7th from 7 to 9 p.m. at Weaver High School in Hartford (and not at CCSU).
Please join us for an exciting in-person GHIAA gathering with GHIAA supporters from all 45 member churches and organizations, as well as invited public officials and legislators. If you would like to attend, please contact Terry
Schmitt (email@example.com) or Linda Bronstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be registered for the program. Let’s show the strength in our numbers!
Covenant to Care provides a chance to impact the lives of families and children at risk through First Church’s relationship with an area social worker. Throughout the year we collect food, clothing, furniture and household items from First Church members and friends. Four major collections include: baskets at Easter, backpacks in September, food baskets at Thanksgiving, and warm clothing and gifts at Christmas. The generous and willing spirit of First Church reaches into the community, offering help or aid and striving to make a difference.
Hunger doesn’t take a vacation
Without school-provided meals, many parents won’t be able to afford 2 extra meals per day and children will go hungry. To help, make a financial contribution to Connecticut Food Share (Donation Form – Foodshare – Foodshare (convio.net) or the Town That Cares (Food Pantry – Town of West Hartford (westhartfordct.gov), or bring food items to church and place in the blue buckets for distribution to the West Hartford Food Pantry or Loaves & Fishes. Thank you!
The Outreach Team.
Hands-on Service Projects such as assembling meals for Harvest Pack; picking apples for local soup kitchens; making no-sew blankets; and collecting baby-care items for infants of refugee families.
Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen, provides warm meals and a safe place to eat for Hartford residents. Once a month First Church volunteers work with Loaves and Fishes staff to serve a hot meal. First Church members and friends also regularly donate grocery items for Loaves and Fishes’ “meals-to-go” program.
Communications Team. The Communications team is a branch of the Outreach Ministry, and is charged with spotlighting what goes on here at First Church. We employ many avenues to communicate and market our mission and events to the community and to our membership. In addition to electronic messaging we still use banners, signs, flyers, newspapers and good old word of mouth!
As the world of social media and publicity evolves, we do our best to evolve with it! Church members who have an interest in marketing are invited to check out the Communications Team!