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Missions and Outreach

The Missions Committee seeks to help those in need in our community and beyond. Thanks to your pledges of support, we are able to provide the basics to many people, young and old.

Brown Bag Lunch April 28 sign-up to help.

Members of our church (or anyone associated with it) have the following volunteer opportunities available on an ongoing basis.  To sign up for any of these volunteer jobs, contact Tyler Maclay at, (978) 283-6776 x205.  Please be sure to let Tyler know that you found about this from First Parish Church.   This volunteer work will count for community service. Let Tyler know in advance if you plan to do it so she can accurately track your hours.

Open Door Community Meal Thursday May 4.  Signups must be finalized a week in advance (April 27) Two shifts available 5 people max / 3 people min per shift.    2:30 to 4:30 (preparation) and 4:30 to 6pm (serving and clean up). We will commit to May 4 and then more dates if it goes well.

Food Pantry/Warehouse –  Max 3 people. Signups finalized by Thursday the week before.  Mondays 1-3pm.   Responsibilities are to stock shelves, possibly help with checkout, bagging of produce,  and sorting food donations.

Second Glance Thrift Store – Max 3 people per shift.  Signups finalized 3 days before.  Thursdays 3-5pm and Saturdays 11-3.    Help with donations – good people skills important.

If you have any questions contact Nancy Peterson,  508-284-0883.

Sign up for the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast

Timing: March 1 to April 16, 2017

A “Fast” in Lent? Yes!  Give up a little carbon to benefit the planet!  Try a fun and instructive program that sends you daily clues by email reminding you of small ways you could make a difference.

Sign up yourself here or contact Lelly Smith and she will do it on your behalf.  Either way, let Lelly know you are doing it as she plans to follow up with everyone during Lent. Lelly Smith,, 526-9717


Brown Bag Lunches last Friday of the month, look for an email from Sign-Up Genius to donate or contact Lelly Smith  or Nancy Peterson  

Brown Bag Lunch Program Procedure

With YOUR help in 2016/2017 we have…

Contributed 14 Easter Baskets to Plummer Home

Prepared 34 brown bag lunches and delivered them to Gloucester (we’ve committed to doing this on the last Friday of each month

Collected food for Open Door and Bootstraps

Missions table at the Church Fair collected $300 for Open Door, Grace Center, and Beverly Bootstraps

Coats and boots drive for the Angels Ministry, December, thank you to all donors and especially the Seaside Parish Knitters for the beautiful hats and mittens!

Looking forward-

Volunteer at Grace Center on winter Sundays

Provide bag lunches and prepared meals

Fill in shifts at the Open Door and Second Glance in Gloucester

We hope to put together a calendar to make it easy to get involved. Stay tuned!

Your Missions Committee, Nancy Peterson and Lelly Smith, Co-Chairs

Deborah Rouine, Kim Gendron, Jim Brennan and Muriel Parker (super helper!)

Zimbabwe Update

Hello friends,

The 40’ container has arrived in Mutare, Zimbabwe and is awaiting clearance through

customs. There were apparently a couple new regulations, one pertaining to used clothing, so additional applications were required.

I will keep you posted with news as I hear it.

Prayers for a speedy clearance process, and safety for the unpacking crew, loading the

lorries, and transportation around Zimbabwe.

Peace, Kathy Blair

Hurricane Matthew and Haiti

From the United Church of Christ:

The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are well situated to respond robustly to people impacted both in the Caribbean and within the United States. Global Ministries’ (UCC/Disciples joint ministry) partners are reporting devastation of crops and houses in the southern regions of Haiti. Houses in Ganthier, Haiti, rebuilt for families displaced from the 2010 earthquake by Church World Service (including both the UCC and Disciples), now are flooded again. Torrential downpours have sent water rushing down streets, creating fears of waterborne diseases like cholera, an epidemic that was already occurring in Haiti prior to the hurricane. Cuba also has experienced extensive damage and several people in the Bahamas have perished.

Already, solidarity grants from the 2016 One Great Hour of Sharing Offering and Week of Compassion Fund are on their way to partners in in the region responding to immediate needs of food, shelter and safety. The UCC and Disciples are poised to respond with other churches to provide food, water, containers, roofs, mattresses, hygiene kits and psychosocial support. Within the United States, both denominations are active in local and national disaster response networks.

Your generosity to this disaster appeal will enable our churches to expand these responses and to walk closely with our neighbors now, in the immediate crisis, and through the long-term recovery process that will follow.

In the midst of tumultuous weather, people receive food and water to drink. In the midst of danger, people find safety and rebuild homes. In the midst of hopelessness, people experience a love that will not let them go.

Designate “Hurricane Matthew Response” to OGHS UCC International Emergency Fund and/or OGHS UCC Emergency USA

Send gifts by mail to: One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC) Memo: Hurricane Matthew
Financial Services Office 700 Prospect Ave. E. Cleveland, OH 44115

 Harvest Food Drive, October 2016harvestfooddrive

We gathered 96 pounds for Beverly Bootstraps and 99 pounds for The Open Door.

The annual First Parish Church Harvest Food Drive helps our neighbors who are struggling to feed their families. Every year our congregation responds generously to the call for food donations to stock the pantries at Beverly Bootstraps and The Open Door. The canned goods and non-perishables that are collected during our Harvest Food Drive assist families and individuals in Beverly, Manchester, Essex, Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, and Rockport.

Many people live in a state of food insecurity and continually worry about having enough groceries to make it through the week or even the next day. Beverly Bootstraps and the Open Door stock their shelves with healthful foods to help clients stretch their food budgets. The pantries provide a dignified shopping experience at no cost.

The Missions Committee, FPC Youth Groups, and the Sunday School are all cooperating in this important effort. All through the month of October we will be collecting non-perishable food items.

Items can be dropped off at the Chapel  or in the Narthex.

Shelving for The Grace Center, Gloucester

Zimbabwe Mission 2016

Serving Dinner at The Open Door

Here is a short account of the ministry we carry out at First Parish

Gloucester Office of Veterans Services, 12 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930, (978) 281-8740

The Office helps provide a program of financial and medical assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents. Qualifying veterans and their dependents receive necessary financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, housing supplies, and medical care. Eligible dependents of deceased veterans are provided with the same benefits as they would have were the veteran still living. The organization also coordinates Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances, maintains records of Gloucester veterans, and maintains the veteran cemeteries and death register.

The Open Door, 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA, 01930,

Mission: To alleviate the impact of hunger in our community using practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.  Last year, the Food Pantry provided 580,289 pounds of free canned goods, fish produce, meats, bread, dairy products, and eggs to 1,588 households during 12,405 visits, representing 3,726 people.  Community meals served 16,822 hot meals to guests needing food and companionship in a safe environment. Volunteer service totaled 22,166 hours of time, talent and engagement.

The Grace Center, P.O. Box 135, Gloucester, MA, 01930,  Volunteer contact: Rev Rona Tyndall (978) 857-9305

The Grace Center provides daily breakfast and lunch, advocacy and referrals, transportation, volunteer nursing services, life skills, job readiness, health screenings/testings, SPIRT Assessments, weekly yoga and meditation, therapeutic music and art programs, volunteer legal services.  Our chili-chowder lunch in April helped start organic gardens to help feed program constituents with nutritious vegetables.

South Down Church, Zimbabwe.

Joining with a United Church of Christ congregation in Keene, New Hampshire, we have collected needed clothing and supplies to ship to Africa.  In September, 2015, we packed and sent 44 boxes containing packages of fabric, dresses made from pillow cases, sewing machines, and even a wheel chair.  Our church website shows photographs of Rev. Fungayi Mutsumbei and other adults and children opening the boxes. Children hold up toothpaste and brushes or clothing items they will enjoy wearing.

Plummer Home, 37 Winter Island Road, Salem, MA., 01970.  (978) 744-1099

For 160 years, Plummer Home has served vulnerable youth.  Originally a reform school for boys, Plummer Home has evolved into a multi-service organization serving both boys and girls.  Most of the young people served are in or at risk of entering the foster care of juvenile justice system.  There are three operating principles:  Permanency:  Every youth has a safe emotionally secure parenting relationship in a life-long legal family.  Preparation:  Every youth should have the skills and support to meet his or her physical emotional and economic needs.  Community:  Every youth has a safe place to live, a sense of belonging and a chance to positively contribute to the community.

Youth Mission for May, 2016 Operation Troop Support

Throughout the month of May the Youth Group invites everyone to help with a collection for Operation Troop Support in Danvers. We are going to try to collect 300 items to coordinate with our 300th Celebrations this year!

Items such as socks, crossword puzzles, hygiene products for both males and females, band aids, sunscreen, visine, q-tips, kleenex, and more. If you have any questions contact Jessica The kids and I will also be writing thank you/encouragement letters to send along with the items we collect.

 Zimbabwe Southdown Church see moreZimSD_Sewing_Group


 Open Door Dinners

Chefs, servers, cleaners and general helpers from the congregation are encouraged to sign on. All the cooking and prep will be done in the Open Door kitchen beginning at noon. Volunteers may work in shifts so you can come early for food prep or setup, work during the dinner, or clean up at the end. After the meal the dining room tables need to be moved back and the clean-up usually goes on until about 6:30. March 16, June 15, September 21, December 22, 2016. Contact Jim Brennan to help out.

Easter Baskets for Plummer Home

Easter baskets brimming with Easter candy and goodies for the kids at The Plummer Home for Boys in Salem.

Children’s Winter Drive Each Nov/Dec

Our Church is given the opportunity to provide warmth for 25 underprivileged children in our community as the thermometer begins to rapidly drop. Members can sign up to donate winter boots, coats and other essentials.
Questions? Contact Priscilla Duda & Kim Gendron

Gingerbread Cookie Mission December

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, contact us at 978-526-7661 P.O. Box 187 Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944

Wellspring Holiday Store 

The Wellspring Holiday Store provides donated toys and gifts suitable for children of all age groups to needy and sheltered families. Parents pay a nominal cost ($2.00 per gift) which provides a dignified way for their children to shop. Staffing the Holiday Store for two-hour shifts requires only a small time commitment. Help is also needed for setup and for cleanup.

Wellspring relies on donations of toys and gifts from the community to stock the shelves. Missions has committed to purchasing new toys and gifts for the Wellspring Holiday Store on behalf of FPC. Last year individual FPC members made personal donations of toys and gifts and dropped them off at Wellspring. We hope that the congregation will continue their generosity this year. Last year the High School Youth Group restored the Holiday Store to office space after the store “closed.” Wellspring hopes for a repeat performance!

Committee Members:
Jim Brennan, Kim Gendron, Nancy Peterson, Deborah Rouine, Lelly Smith

Mission Trip 2013 H.O.M.E. Inc. Orland Maine, see photos here

Photo for Cricket Missions2013

 Gingerbread Cookie Mission Saturday December 8, 2012


Ginger Bread Cookie Mission, each December the Missions Committee partners with the youth of First Parish to make and distribute gingerbread men cookies to shut ins and those in need.

Gingerbread cookies 2011