This year we are providing an opportunity for you to delve into the world of reusable drinking straws! Did you know that over 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown away each day in the U.S.? Plastic straws can hurt wildlife and also end up contributing to that big “plastic soup” in our oceans. The easiest solution, of course, is to SKIP THE STRAW but if you need or want a straw, you can use a reusable straw. The church is going to take orders for stainless steel and bamboo straws. You can order by clicking the red button below or call the church office to place your order by April 22. Straws will cost $1-$1.50 each. You can order just one straw or several.
For the past four years, the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation (GMCF) has sponsored a fundraiser for community nonprofit groups called Grow Green. The event takes place on Earth Day each year (April 20 this year). Thanks to a very generous member of the community, donations made on April 20 to the GMCF accounts for churches and other organizations receive a 50% match. For example, your donation to the First Congregational Church’s account at GMCF goes into the principal of an endowed fund held by GMCF, but the 50% match is immediately available to the church. Please be aware that your donation to Grow Green is an additional gift to the church and is unrelated to any pledge you may have made toward the church’s annual budget.
You can go to the Grow Green website to find out more. If you click on the “How It Works” tab on the webpage, you will see that there are some restrictions. For example, the 50% match applies only to donations from $25 to $1000, and there are some additional rules that apply to donations made to two or more organizations through Grow Green.
As in previous years, the 50% match funds will go into the church’s annual budget in the budget line labeled “fundraising.” The endowed accounts at GMCF also support the church budget, in that a return of 4% annually is made available to the church for immediate use. These returns are considered part of the annual contribution of the investments to the church budget.
Please consider a gift to the church through the Grow Green event on April 20. You can do it in person at the Colony Square atrium or remotely from your computer. If you do it in person, your name goes into a hat for a drawing each hour for a $100 door prize that goes to your chosen organization. The church has benefitted from the door prize in each of the past two years.
Dear Fellow Members and Friends of First Congregational Church,
If you were in church on Easter Sunday, or if you have read the April newsletter, you know that after twenty-five years of wear and tear, we are now planning to replace the tile in the kitchen, the kitchen lobby and the bathrooms off the kitchen, and the carpet in Pioneer and Blachly halls. The total cost of this endeavor, which will include leveling the floor in Pioneer Hall, will be $40,000.
Sometimes it is easy to overlook the fact that maintaining our church building is part of our church’s mission. Our kitchen and fellowship halls not only provide us a space to conduct Christian education and have fellowship together on Sundays; they also provide space for Taizé worship on Thursday nights; for our ministry to the hungry, Second Helping, on Sunday nights; and for church board meetings and for meetings by a number of other service groups in the community, such as MAPJ, AAUW, and the MLK Committee. Over the life of the current flooring, we have conducted roughly 72,720 minutes of adult education classes, served 49,000 meals at Second Helping, and hosted 8,496 meetings by community groups.
We have already received $19,000 in pledges from members and friends of the church who were eager to contribute to our Step Forward campaign. We have $21,000 to go. We invite you to join this campaign and contribute to our new flooring.
If you received the No Fooling postcard in the bulletin on Easter Sunday, you know that you can make a one-time donation by simply depositing cash or a check in the offering plate, mailing your donation to the church, or through electronic giving. In each case, make sure you indicate what your donation is for.
If you would like to pledge a larger amount and pay it in installments, using the pledge card, we would like to receive your pledge card by April 30, and your total pledge may be paid by December 31, 2018.
You will be able to track the progress of our campaign by looking at a space on the floor of the main lobby where we will “fill the floor” with carpet samples as a visual representation of our progress towards our goal.
Work on the new flooring will begin on Tuesday, April 10, and it should be installed by May 1. During this time, we will be having our after-church Fellowship Hour in Andover Hall in the basement.
Thanks to all of you for your dedicated support for First Congregational United Church of Christ as we step forward into our renewed kitchen and fellowships halls.
Yours in faith,
Read Pastor Caela's reflection and invitation here.
Read why Gretchen & Jim Lewis support the campaign here.
UPDATE: Work is underway and photos are available here.
Before Dr. King's assassination 50 years ago, he initiated the Poor People's Campaign to seek justice and policy reform related to racism, poverty and militarism.
You are invited to join us Saturday, April 14th from noon to 4pm to learn about the local work being done to re-invigorate his vision for equality and justice in our community, state and nation. The training session will be held in the Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan (612 Poyntz Ave., ATA Red line).
At the training, we will review the basic principles and goals of the Poor People's Campaign: ending systemic poverty, racism, militarism and ecological devastation. We will also discuss how these four core issues affect our local community and introduce how we can get engaged at the state and local level in making positive social change. During the training, we will video conference with participants in 40 other states as we hear from Rev. Dr. Barber and Rev. Dr. Theoharis. Together, we are building unity across lines of division as we support one another in our efforts towards morally just social change.
To sign up for the April 14th training follow this RSVP link. We are working on plans to provide childcare and there is a place to indicate your need for childcare on the RSVP.
For more info on the national Poor People's Campaign, you can visit their website.
PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!
Share the Facebook event for the April 14th training
Print flyers for the event (single page, two-to-a-page)
Join us for our annual blessing of the animals on Sunday, May 13! We'll gather at 10:45 a.m, in (shady) Longs Park. Please bring along your own chair if you've got one.
During worship, we'll bless our pets. Childcare staff will be on hand to care for young kids who want to explore the playground or the rest of the park.
After worship, stick around for a good ol' fashioned potluck. Bring a dish to share and your own tableservice. Drinks will be provided by our Board of Deacons.