Outreach to others is a major aspect of our mission activities. We actively participate in a number of mission projects that directly involve our members and provide financial support for a variety of local and wider missions and social justice ministry efforts. Your involvement will help us further God's vision of shalom for all of creation.
First Congregational UCC is a “5 for 5” congregation, contributing to all of the annual special missions offerings that are collected by the United Church of Christ in support of their denominational programs. These include an annual pledge to Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM; http://www.ucc.org/ocwm, and several special all-church offerings collected during the year:
One Great Hour of Sharing http://www.ucc.org/oghs/ A multi-denominational Lenten offering providing help, hope and life in over seventy countries, including the United States and Canada.
Strengthen the Church http://www.ucc.org/stc/ A Pentecost offering through which we share in the growth and future of the United Church of Christ through its local congregations and conferences.
Neighbors in Need http://www.ucc.org/nin/ An autumn offering dedicated to supporting justice and compassion throughout our nation and Puerto Rico. One-third of this offering supports the work of the American Indian Ministry's twenty United Church of Christ congregations. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries(JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.
Local Missions and Social Justice Partners Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy http://www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/ We are a faith advocacy partner with the VICPP, working with them to raise up issues of economic and racial justice in the Commonwealth
RISC http://www.riscrichmond.org Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities (RISC) is an interracial, interfaith, nonpartisan organization which brings congregations together to build the power to meet God's call to “do justice” in the Greater Richmond region.
CCHASM http://www.cchasm.org/ We participate in the Chesterfield and Colonial Heights Alliance for Social Ministry (CCHASM), a faith-based, non-profit, tax-exempt, ecumenical coalition working cooperatively with government and community agencies to care for the emergency needs of the citizens of Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights. CCHASM programs that we actively support include the Food Pantry, the Career Cloths Closet, and the Thanksgiving Ministry.
CARITAS https:/caritasva.org/ Participation in CARITAS (Congregations Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter) is one of our major missions and outreach projects. We serve as a CARITAS shelter site for one week per year. The congregation provides shelter, three daily meals, and services including transportation to showers, mending, used clothing and toiletry supplies to a group of women in the Single Adult Program.
CROP Walk http://www.crophungerwalk.org/ The CROP Walk is community-based fund raising event to raise money for local hunger-fighting agencies as well as the international relief, community development and refugee resettlement efforts of Church World Service.
Through our Change4Change program, we provide financial support to local and wider missions programs, geared towards empowering and improving the lives of women and girls. Recent recipients of funds have included:
Kiva https://www.kiva.org/ Kiva is a microloan program that enables entrepreneurs around the world to grow a business and create opportunity for themselves, helping to shape the future for a family or an entire community. To date we have made nearly 50 loans to 29 different countries, focusing on small businesses run by groups of women.
Room to Read https://www.roomtoread.org/ Room to Read is a global organization focused on literacy and gender equality in education for millions of children in low-income countries. They work in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions.
Safe Harbor offers comprehensive services for survivors of sexual and/or intimate partner violence including: 24 hour helpline, children/youth services, community education and training, counseling, court advocacy, emergency shelter, and hospital accompaniment. They have also partnered with Bon Secours to open the first dedicated shelter in central Virginia for human trafficking victims.
Caring Corner: Let us remember those who are dealing with health problems and need our support in prayer, as well as those struggling with under- or unemployment and financial hardship. Let us also remember our shut-ins, and others we don't see regularly. This month, we raise special prayers for our students and teachers as they return to school. Finally, we continue to pray for our service men and women in harm's way as well as those living in areas affected by conflict whose lives are disrupted by war.
Along with all of “Metro Richmond at Prayer,” during September we pray for schools and educational institutions of Metropolitan Richmond.
Our visitation cell group members are available to talk on the phone, visit, or help where needed. If we can help in any way, please call Dot Gerstenlauer (744-9677).