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 38 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  • New Girl's Home
Each house provides for about 12 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

  • A Business Enterprises project to train older children for careers



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The 14th annual Back-to-School Bookbag EXPO was held on Aug. 22, 2017 at the Meriden Green. More than 1000 bookbags filled with necessary school supplies were distributed to needy Meriden schoolchildren. Center Congregational Church and First Congregational Church were major contributors to this mission, both being listed as Salutatorian Sponsors with a combined donation of $3890. First Church donated $2220, with $1000 coming from the Diaconate, $500 from the Christian Outreach Committee (as matching funds), and $$720 coming from 20 individual donors in the congregation.
Next EXPO date: Aug. 21, 2018



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The First Congregational Church of Meriden 13th Annual Food Drive was held on March 25, 2018 to benefit the Meriden Soup Kitchen. In addition to our parishioners, donors included the Assurance Christian Ministries, the Taiwanese Christian Church and the First Congregational Preschool, all of whom share space in our building. A total of 2398 lbs. of non-perishable food was collected, exceeding the previous record.



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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. One member of 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 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. This mission work was briefly suspended in 2018 due to civil unrest.



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The Meriden Clergy Association has held three annual “Stone Soup” food collections for the Meriden Soup Kitchen. In 2018, seven Meriden churches each brought contributions of a single food item that was most needed by the MSK. First Congregational Church was requested to bring egg noodles and ziti. The food donations each year are brought to our worship service and then delivered the next day.



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The Christmas Tree Ministry was started in Dec. 2015, and has since 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.  

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 three days/week

  • Weekly refreshments after worship service in Smith Hall