The 6-member Christian Outreach Committee facilitates charitable work performed or supported by First Church parishioners for individuals and organizations outside of the church. Below is a list of these outreach missions.
 

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Mercy Touch is an orphanage in Ndola, Zambia, serving a critical need for 30 children. Founded in 2001 by Rev. Bernard Mukwavi (with assistance by Rev. Dr. John Clarke, our former pastor), it provides shelter, food, clothing, education (both Christian and secular) and a loving environment to children who are orphaned or have parents unable to care for them. The orphanage is located in three homes:
 Garment of Praise   Oil of Joy
   Farm
Each house provides for 8-10 children, a house mother and a manager. Mercy Touch also maintains

  • A feeding program for other malnourished children in the area

  • A Christian sponsorship program for area children providing for school needs and bible study

  • A farming project for growing vegetables to supply the homes

  • Mercy Touch Enterprises Project



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The Meriden 14th annual Back-to-School Bookbag EXPO was held on August 22, 2017 at the Meriden Green from 10am-1pm. 1500 book bags, each loaded with school supplies, were distributed to needy Meriden students. First Church donated $2220 to the 2017 Book Bag EXPO. This included $720 from parishioners, $500 from the FCC Christian Outreach Committee, and $1000 from the FCC Diaconate. Center Congregational Church partnered with us in this mission, resulting in a combined donation of $3890, making our two churches by far the number one cash donor to the event.  Great job by First Church and Center Church in supporting this mission!



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The 12th annual FCC Annual Food Drive was held on March 26, 2017. A total of 2053 lbs. was collected, with most going to the Meriden Soup Kitchen. This was the largest amount collected in the 12 year history of the Drive. Participants (all housed within the church) included the FCC congregation, Overcomers Tabernacle, Assurance Ministries, Casa de Gozo, Taiwanese Christian Church and Boy Scout Troop 10.



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Each year, the Christian Outreach Committee partners with the Covenant to Care organization to provide toys, clothing and other requested items to 50 needy area children during the Holiday season. Individual parishioners select one or more children and then purchase the desired items on that child’s list. Requested items run the gamut from toys to sheets to overcoats. The Christian Education Committee supervises this program each December, recruiting the donations and transferring the collected items to Covenant to Care.



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In 2014-2017, members of First Church, led by Pastor Bruce Miller, formed the core of annual international mission trips to Nagarote, Nicaragua. During this time, the mission teams built and renovated classrooms in a local school and installed much needed latrines for local homes. Temperatures and humidity usually hover around 100, making the work challenging. But the teams return each time, eager to plan the mission trip for the following year.



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The Meriden Clergy Association began an annual “Stone Soup” food collection for the Meriden Soup Kitchen in 2015. Each of nine Meriden churches bring contributions of a single food item that is most needed by the MSK. First Congregational Church was requested during the first year to bring egg noodles and ziti. The food donations in this category during the first year were brought to our worship service on Nov. 15, 2015 and all churches delivered their donations to the MSK on Nov. 20.



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The Christmas Tree Ministry was started in Dec. 2015 and has become an annual outreach event. An undecorated tree is erected near the entrance to the sanctuary, and parishioners are requested to attach new hats, scarves and gloves to be donated to the Meriden Homeless Shelter. By the end of the Christmas Eve service, the tree is loaded with gifts and these are then delivered to the Shelter the following week.

Additional Christian Outreach programs include:

  • Pastor’s Discretionary Fund (to assist needy residents)

  • Annually hosting Meriden's "Walk for Warmth"

  • Scholarships (financial support for camperships and college scholarships)

  • Home to AA and NA meetings four days/week

  • Safety Net Program (Meriden-Wallingford Housing Coalition)

  • Monthly hosting of  the UCC – Healthcare For Everyone

  • Weekly refreshments after worship service in Smith Hall