Missions

Missions

An old popular UCC bumper sticker once proclaimed, "To believe is to care. To care is to do."  Or, as the book of James in the New Testament puts it, "Faith without works is dead." If there's any single trait that First Parish Church members share in common, it's our commitment to building a better world through our advocacy, our service, our financial gifts,  our prayers, and our personal growth and understanding. Our "witnessing" is not insisting that others must believe exactly as we do do, rather our "witnessing" is taking our love and faith in Jesus Christ and working for justice for the marginalized and oppressed. Our page content reflects the diversity of directions that our open hearts and caring hands lead us to follow Christ. There are no formulas, no concrete steps, nor rigid guidelines that dictate to First Parish parishioners to whom, to what, or when we should give.

As a community of faith we understand that financial giving is part of our worship, but we know that Christian action can also transcend financial giving.  Thus, our church missions reflect the varied ways in which we reach out as individuals and as the Body of Christ. The need is great in our community and in the world. The UCC has recognized our church as a '5 for 5 Church' because we have demonstrated leadership not only in Basic Support for UCC's Wider Mission, but for also supporting four special mission offerings, which include One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church, and the Christmas Fund for retired clergy. For more information, visit www.ucc.org/ocwm_specialsupport .

On Going Missions


Tithes & Offerings
Tithes and offerings are intended to be a joy and a blessing.  As we follow our faith we know that a church's human resources and infrastructure needs are no different than any other non-profit.  We know we need leaders who can offer spiritual guidance and management expertise.  Knowing this we believe every tithe or offering should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ.  We reflect within ourselves, searching our minds and hearts, and we pray.  From these many perspectives we offer our tithes and offerings, and, as it says in Corinthians, “Each person should give what he s/he has decided in her/his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Give


Pastor's Discretionary Fund
At the beginning of each month we celebrate communion at First Parish.  As part of that worship service we offer individual support to those within our parish and community who need help with fuel oil, food, clothing, and the like.  Our Senior Minister weighs each request with prayer and with the knowledge that he carries our church’s spirit of caring and love to each person in need.

Give


Caring Cards
Caring cards are filled out by parishioners each month and these are mailed to a recipient designated on the address side of the card.  This caring and loving feature allows you to let someone know that there is hope and love as they carry a burden or know that others are celebrating a milestone in their life.


Prayer Shawls
This FPC ministry consists of knitters and crocheters who follow their passion for their craft, creating garments that are blessed by prayer. These works of hope and love are given to the poor, sick and disadvantaged, and are used to celebrate joyous occasions such as weddings, graduations and baptism.


Johnson/Atkinson Fund Projects
The Johnson/Atkinson Fund is a gift to the church to inspire and support development of church ventures to faciiatate spiritual growth.  It is intended to serve as a catalyst for new energy and commitment to grow in the knowledge and love of God in Christ and radiate God's love in an ever-changing world.  We are thankful for the thoughtfulness of this gift from Bill and Mary Johnson who established this fund.  Recipients are chosen each year by the J/A Team.

J-A Fund Application


Saco Food Pantry
The Saco Food Pantry (located at 67 Ocean Park Road) provides food for local Mainers in need through short-term and intermittent help, or long-term help for those who continue to struggle. The pantry is run by a volunteer staff which includes a Board of Directors. Days and Hours: Monday - Friday 9 to 11 a.m. Call 207-468-1305. All members of our congregation are invited to place non-perishable food (for the Saco Food Pantry) into the church’s shopping cart.

Saco Food Pantry


Bon Appetit
This meal program, open to the public Monday to Friday starting at 4:30 pm, is located at Second Congregational Church, 19 Crescent St., Biddeford. The director is Deb Gagnon; phone 283-0380. First Parish Congregational Church supports Bon Appetit with donations, and by providing volunteers to serve and clean up the meal on the second Monday and Fourth Friday of each month. The sign up sheet for volunteers is posted on the bulletin board near the office of First Parish Congregational Church-UCC.

Shoe Ministry
The Mission Team collects and stores new and slightly used footwear to give away to those in need.  We display a shelf of shoes in the church’s Atrium. We also give away shoes on our MLK day of sharing, and to any charity or person who requests shoes. Some of our footwear goes to Open Hands Open Hearts (free clothing for children), located next to the Saco Food Pantry (67 Ocean Park Road, Saco).


Paul Hazelton House Breakfast
Volunteers sign up to make and serve breakfast (from 8 am until 10 am) for residents of this senior housing facility. This event takes place the 3rd Saturday of every other month. The sign up sheet is posted on the bulletin board near the office.


Huot House Meal
About 4 times per year, the congregation makes and serves a meal for the veterans that live in this transitional housing facility. The dates and times are announced, and the sign up sheet is posted on the bulletin board near the office.


Welcome Immigrants Our New Neighbors
When Christ Federated Church in Kennebunk, Maine, is in need of more donations for the new immigrants who are seeking asylum near us, then a mission team member communicates the needs to the congregation, and volunteers transport donated items to the immigrants or to storage in Kennebunk.


Seacoast Mission
For quite a few years, the mission team has annually helped support volunteers from our congregation who refurbish low income housing in Cherryfield, Maine each fall. In addition, the Twomeys have collected mittens for children, and lap robes for the elderly, which the Seacoast Mission has distributed to those in need.

Martin Luther King Day of Service 
Each year first Parish Church opens its door on MLK's Day of Service to provide services for anyone in need.

 

Worldwide and Ecumenical Missions


Mother's Day Blankets
Blankets+ is a special mission opportunity for all ages.  Some 8,000 congregations and groups across the U.S. hold Church World Service Blankets+ events, providing funds to help people in need around the world, including the U.S.


UCC and Church World Projects
Since its formation in 1957, the United Church of Christ has worked with Church World Service (founded in 1946) to accomplish more together than it could alone, joining hearts and resources to create a tradition of help and a legacy of hope. When disaster strikes, Church World Service is the primary agency through which the UCC gives support for relief and recovery efforts. This assistance may take the form of winterized family tents for earthquake survivors, food packages and tankers full of water for displaced people in violence-torn nations, or long-term recovery assistance for families affected by hurricanes, tornados, or flooding across the U.S. The UCC is also involved with issues of justice. For more
information, visit www.ucc.org .
The Mission Team welcomes your help for any or all of our activities, and if you have an idea about a new undertaking, contact Carol at spencerlemay2@gmail.com or come to our meetings on the Second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm in the parlor.

United Church of ChristWorld Vision

Super Bowl Sunday
A simple prayer: "Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat" is inspiring a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.  This prayer, delivered by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy?
Using the energy of the Super Bowl to mobilize youth, this event is a united national effort to care for people in their local communities who are hungry and those in need.

The Souper Bowl of Caring agency believes:

  • The idea for Souper Bowl of Caring is a gift from God;
  • Young people have the ability to serve and should be given opportunities to lead their communities in helping others;
  • Every dollar collected through Souper Bowl of Caring should be donated directly to a charity selected by each participating group;
  • People of all backgrounds and beliefs can work together; and
  • Hunger and poverty have a negative impact on individuals and the communities in which they live, yet there is joy in serving and giving to those in need.

Feeding Forward
Once per year, donations are collected to provide meals for children in Honduras. This mission is organized by the York County Association of the UCC, which also sponsors mission trips to Honduras. Visit daisyschildren.org for more information. This mission endeavor was started in 2004 under the title of “Amigos”.

Congregational Church
UCC, SACO MAINE


12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072


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