Serve outside the church
Outreach is at the heart of what it means to be a people of faith. We gather for worship to be renewed and challenged for our work in the world. Some of that work is accomplished through financial contributions.
Family Promise is a cooperative, interfaith partnership, offering hope to homeless families with children through safe transitional shelter, meals and supportive case management as they seek permanent housing. We open our church building for a week several times a year to provide a welcoming place for families to stay. Volunteer opportunities range from set-up to shopping; hosting meals to sleeping over; offering activities for children to fundraising. Every spring many from First Church participate in the Family Promise Walkathon which begins and ends just across the street on the Natick Common. Visit Family Promise Metrowest for more information about the local network and its work.
Contact the Coordinator, Chris Gentry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Natick Service Council is an advocacy, referral, case management, and information center serving the most economically disadvantaged members of our community with basic needs for food, housing, and access to health care with the goal of promoting self-sufficiency. Our congregation has been a community partner with NSC since its founding. We continue to support their outreach with volunteers, special projects and and fundraising. To get involved with Service Council programs, visit, www.natickservicecouncil.org.
First Church Natick also collects food for the Natick Food Pantry. The food pantry serves approximately sixty families per week. The pantry serves individuals and families in Natick who are unable to provide food for themselves and their family. First Church Natick has collection bins at the church. Volunteers are needed to donate food as well as help deliver donations to the pantry.
On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the communion table overflows with food donations from our congregation that are added to the over 150 Thanksgiving baskets which are distributed to Natick residents in need by the Natick Service Council. In addition, the West Virginia Workcamp crew bakes homemade apple, pumpkin and pecan pies which can be purchased to be donated to the Thanksgiving basket project. The pies are always greeted with great excitement by the community volunteers who are assembling the baskets at the Service Council.
The Magi meet the Caesars on "Souper Bowl" Sunday
During the football playoff season in January, First Church engages in its own competition. The congregation is divided into Team Magi and Team Caesar based on whether you live east or west of Route 27. By the final whistle at the end of worship on Super Bowl Sunday, the Progresso-Boyardee Trophy is presented to the team scoring the most points on the number of donated cans or online/cash contributions. All donations help restock the shelves at the Natick Food Pantry.
Living Creche, Brass Ensemble and Caroling
Our Living Crèche has become a town event! Families in the area come back year after year and say that their kids couldn’t wait! Look for the Living Crèche on our Front Porch during the Town Treelighting on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Or better yet sign up to join the cast. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it is the reason for the season. In thirty minutes and a costume change, you can be the Word made flesh! We have everything you need to transform yourself into a shepherd or wise guy or even an angel. Thirty minutes goes by quickly with fast all the hustle and bustle out on the Common and with Strike Up the Band’s brass ensemble serenading you with carols. In a half hour, everybody is in the Christmas spirit!
METCO – the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities – has promoted diversity and enhanced educational opportunities for Boston and Springfield students since the 1960’s. Today 57 students are attending Natick’s middle and high schools. The mission of the Friends of Natick METCO is to build community between Natick and Boston families to ensure the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of our students. As a Friend of Natick METCO, First Church had raised funds to help bridge the gap where additional resources are needed for extra-curricular activities or school trips or needed supplies to allow METCO students to thrive and feel at home. We also encourage families to become METCO host families.
Contact Rasheedah Clayton, METCO director at email@example.com.
West Virginia Workcamp
Every June about 40 adults and young adults from FCC and other area churches travel down to Lincoln-Cabell County, West Virginia. While there, they work to make homes "warm, safe and dry" through the work of the West Virginia Work Camp. The project involves year long fundraising to underwrite the expenses of the work-campers and offset the cost of equipment and supplies. The community that is shared opens up eyes and lives to God's transforming power. The big WV fundraising project is the food booth on the Front Porch of the church at the Boston Marathon. Watching other people burn calories works up an appetitie. For more info on the Workcamp,
Contact Stephen Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of Angels of Hope, Inc. is to provide the best possible medical, psychological, and social care to as many of the millions of orphans in Uganda as possible. Clinics are staffed by nurses with excellent skills and experience who work, not just to care for the immediate needs of the patient, but to understand their psychological needs, keep watch for signs of physical abuse and/or long term illnesses, and to keep accurate files on each patient. Regular donation opportunites occur for vitamins, hydration, children's aspirin and other products to restock clinic shelves.
Contact: Fay DeAvignon at FayDeA@aol.com
After years of war and a devastating tsumani, the Church of the America Ceylon Mission is working to rebuild congregations and support to children and families in Sri Lanka. The church was founded by Congregational missionaries from Massachusetts in the 1800's. First Church has partnered with a congregation in Anaivilunthan to assist with their daycare and after-school programs and with rebuilding the seminary library which was destroyed during the war.
First Church is concerned about climate change. Working with local, national and denominational partners the Green Team works to raise environmental awareness in our congregation and community through education and action; to develop a strategy for longer-range environmental improvements for our physical plant and property; and to expand our public witness. Watch for great opportunities to get involved with local clean-up, legislative actions, sustainable options, environmental witness and the annual Natick Earth Day celebration on the Common each spring.
Children's Stewardship Program
Encouraging our children's natural generosity is an important part of our faith formation program. Each week during Community Time an offering is received to support a particular need. Projects are chosen to be relatable and reachable so that each child can recognize that they have gifts to share which can make a difference. Projects range from international ones like Heifer Project or Angels of Hope or children's programs in Sri Lanka to very local needs like the Natick Food Pantry or purchasing pillows for our Family Promise families. Often the whole congregation gets involved in supporting the children's project.
Cityreach is an overnight urban outreach program in Boston for youth with accompanying adults; young adults; and college students from churches of all denominations. CityReach provides the opportunity to learn first-hand about homelessness from people who have experienced it. During the 20-hour session, participants join CityReach staff in street ministry offering hospitality, food and clothing as well as sharing and reflection. The whole congregation gets involved in collecting socks, sweats, jackets, gloves and hats that the youth distribute.
Ecclesia Ministries is an ecumenical church community that engages homeless and privileged people, service providers, clergy, seminarians, artists, and professionals of all kinds in activities that work to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of homeless people in Boston. First Church raises funds and volunteers in this vital street ministry. The homeless artists of "commonart" have exhibited in our space during Open Studios. One artist's painting of Christ hangs in our sanctuary.
Heifer Project International
For five decades, Heifer Project International has helped people around the world become more self-reliant through the gift of animals and training in their care. Support from churches and individuals have made it possible for HPI to provide food and income-producing animals to more than a million families in need. Our church school children are regular supporters of Heifer Project and families can visit the Heifer Farm in Rutland, MA for their fall, holiday and spring festivals.