Converting faith into action is a central theme of the Outreach efforts at First Church. The Outreach Allocations committee is part of the Outreach Ministry Team. Here is a list of the organizations on which First Church has an impact.
- ABC (A Better Community) Clothing Sale
- Berkshire Food Pantry
- Berkshire Food Project
- Berkshire Mediation
- Equus Therapeutic
- Family Life Support Center — Louison House
- Hearts with Haiti
- Higher Ground
- Local Teens — JavaJive/J café
- Meals on Wheels
- Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation
- Sudan Relief Task Force
- Turner House Veteran’s Home
- Williamstown Cool Committee
Within the church there are also projects that impact both local and international needs:
Alternative Gift Fair
The Williams College Students for Social Justice at Williams College organize an Alternative Gift Fair held on the Saturday of the town’s Holiday Walk weekend, in the church sanctuary. This annual event brings together people who sell items such as cloth bags from Guatemala, Sudanese Lentil Soup Mix, jewelry from different parts of the globe, and fair-trade chocolate, coffee and tea. Holding this event on the Holiday Walk weekend gives them access to local people who are trying to find special gifts for their loved ones.
An organizer from First Church collects tags from the Salvation Army and Louison House to decorate the church’s christmas tree in the vestibule. On these tags, are listed items that our neighbors in need are wishing for as Christmas gifts. Many people in the church participate in this effort, including some who need help from an “acquisition angel” to get their shopping done. The tree’s location in the vestibule allows community members, who are passing through to also participate.
As a member of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, First Church sends delegates to events both in our neighborhood, our conference, and the wider UCC. This past year we were pleased to send a group to the national UCC Synod in Florida.
Approximately ten First Church women knit shawls for the “Knitting into the Mystery” work. The shawls are knitted with love and filled with prayers of healing, peace, thanks, and celebration. Happily enough, this quiet mission provides warmth to the knitter and the receiver. Usually five meetings are held annually to gather-in the shawls, create a list of recipients, conduct the Pass and Pray circle and offer the shawls for dedication at occasional church services throughout the year. From time to time generous donations of enough yarn for one shawl of a single color are accepted. New knitters are always welcome.
Our weekend Meals on Wheels project, part of the larger ecumenical “Take and Eat” program, has been cooking on Saturdays and delivering approximately 70 meals on the fourth Sunday of each month since September of 2005. Our recipient list includes people referred by Elder Services, local churches and a few members of our congregation.
More than two-dozen people regularly tie on aprons to help cook and/or package and bag the meals: a dozen more bake the luscious desserts and twenty or so have lend their time and autos to deliver the meals. We welcome all who wish to be part. Cooking skills are not required.
Here’s a video from the UCC about the 200 years of global mininistries.
The “prayer in a haystack” discussed in this video occurred here in Williamstown! A few hundred yards north of our church, there is a small park and monument, in the middle of the Williams College campus, commemorating the event. Here’s more about that event from the Williams College archives.
For more on the celebration that took place in 2006, please see this page on the Global Ministries website: 200th Haystack Celebration