“To reach out to those in need and serve as a beacon to the community”, excerpt from the mission statement of First Church

Missions activity at First Church was quite vigorous through the Christmas Holidays, and continues into the New Year.  As our Christmas Offering, a generous donation of over $4100 was sent off to Solidarity House in Nicaragua.  Muchas Gracias!  In addition, nearly $1000 in Alternative Gifts were given by our congregation this year.  The Missions Ministry sincerely thanks Julia Wistran for coordinating this outreach effort each year.

As 2012 dawned, we were inspired by the young people from the Hope for Creativity Organization, who held their 3rd annual Music-a-thon on Saturday, January 14th in Clarke Hall.  The talented performers entertained a large crowd for several hours, with tap dancing, rock music, dueling violinists, pianists, and a capella performances.  The organization collected art supplies at the door, and also raised over $2000 at the event, which will go to fund art packs for homeless children in Massachusetts.  First Church is pleased to host the meetings of this (YOUTH-led) group, and appreciates the involvement of Michael Foye, who serves on the Board, but was also the “sound man” for the Music-a-thon.

A collection of hats were knitted by First Church Knitters, blessed, and sent off to Ecclesia Ministries!  Our association with this inspiring group continues, following the late October 2011 pilgrimage.  Rev. Tina Rathbone and several of the pilgrims will serve as judges for the International Food Fair on Saturday, February 4th.  Sharon Thomas reports that a strong contingent will be representing regions, countries, and continents again this year (our 28th), and that the Symmes Family is gathering an exciting array of silent auction items.  Hope we’ll have great weather and an enthusiastic and hungry crowd on Saturday, 2/4 (11 AM to 2 PM)!  The IFF benefits Habitat for Humanity-North Shore, and Habitat-International.

Finally, in January, the Missions Ministry also supported the Friends of Christ in India, an organization with whom we have had a long partnership.  Since 1983 they have been helping the poorest of the poor in Andhra Pradesh, India.  Similarly, we supported the missionary family of Daniel and Shelly Young, who have recently completed a five month furlough, and have returned to their ministry in Mexico (through Latin America Missions).

If anyone is aware of any domestic opportunities that we might explore as a mission trip option in 2012, please be in touch.  We probably won’t be going to the Gulf Coast this year; not because the work is all done, but we just don’t have an obvious place to plug in at the moment.  We would be happy to run down any leads for other domestic locations, including New England, for a trip in the April-May-June timeframe.

Sue Burgess, Ellie Casteel, Janet Fischer, Joan Sawyer