On Saturday morning January 10, 2014, you are invited to join us in our first group gleaning day of the year with C.R.O.S. Ministries. Gleaning is the ancient, biblical practice of picking produce from a field that has already been harvested. Less than grocery-store-perfect peppers, cucumbers, and corn are picked, boxed and distributed to the hungry in Palm Beach County. We will not know until the week before where we will be gleaning. If you are interested in participating, contact Ginny Somerville, Janet Lisle, or email us to let us know you will be participating.
Update 1/4/14: Thanks again! As of today our total is over $5,500. We have added the Guatemala Mayan Center and Compass AIDS Education to the list of Lake Worth organizations we will be donating to.
Update: Thank you! As of Christmas Eve, we had surpassed our goal with $4100. What a great way to show our love for others in a practical way!
Dear Church Family,
Last year we began a new tradition here at First Congregational United Church of Christ. Instead of collecting an offering at Christmas to support the general operating fund of our church, we decided to give a Christmas gift to our community by supporting people and organizations that directly influence the lives of others in Lake Worth and Palm Beach County.
God’s goodness, your faithfulness and generosity throughout the year, and the careful stewardship of the resources entrusted to our church by our staff and volunteer leadership, allow us to look beyond ourselves to our community to see how we can join the work God is doing in Palm Beach County. Because we have covered our operation expenses for the year, we do not need to use our Christmas offering to “catch up” or balance our budget. Every penny of our offering will go outside our doors and into the community. Our goal for this offering is $3500.
We will be contributing to the following organizations:
We will again be participating in Adopt-a-Family’s Holiday Adopter Program. Adopt-a-Family is dedicated to restoring families in crisis to stability and self-sufficiency by providing access to all-encompassing services to families and their children. We will be supporting one of their families with food and gifts for Christmas.
Christians Reaching Out to Society is an organization in our community that reaches out to and advocates for the poor and marginalized in Palm Beach County. We will be helping them provide assistance during the Christmas Season.
Faustina has been a member of our church since she moved into our neighborhood almost five years ago. Faustina immigrated from Ghana over 30 years ago with her husband who came to the United States to attend graduate school. Once here, her husband divorced her and Faustina has spent the past decades earning a living with odd jobs and relying on the kindness of those she meets. Recent circumstances have brought her to the decision to return to her homeland. We will use part of our Christmas Offering this year to cover Faustina’s transportation costs and help her transition to her new life in Ghana.
The Women’s Circle
The Women’s Circle is an organization in Boynton Beach, FL that exists to help empower low-income women to realize their full potential to become all they can be and to gain financial stability by providing assistance with education and career development. Services include literacy, career development, and citizenship classes.
I cannot wait to see how God will provide for these needs through the generosity of First Congregational United Church of Christ. We will be receiving this offering through January 12, 2014. You can use the enclosed envelope to bring your gift to church or give online by going to www.fcclw.org/giving.
Rev. Jason Fairbanks, Pastor
As our Sunday morning worshiping congregation continues to grow in diversity, the desire has been expressed that we explore a wider variety of music and worship styles when we gather. To do that, we need your help! Do you play an instrument? Did you play an instrument and are you willing to pick it up again? We want to worship in ways that connect with people of many cultures and generations. Would you be willing to accompany congregational singing on a guitar? How about a flute solo at the offertory? How are you willing to participate in our worship service? Let Pastor Jason know.
This year, we will once again be participating in Christian Reaching Out to Society’s End Hunger Walk. The End Hunger Walk is a 5K (3.1 miles) along Flagler Drive. We walk rain or shine. Walkers are encouraged to make banners, posters, and/or tee-shirts to identify themselves. Each walker is encouraged to collect a minimum of $100 in monetary pledges for their participation as well as a can of tuna or jar of peanut butter. All funds raised at the Walk go to support CROS Ministries’ programs. For more information or to sign up, please contact Janet Lisle.
Since 1978, CROS Ministries has provided food and basic needs assistance to people living in food insecure and low-income households in South Florida. Utilizing the talents of more than 3,000 volunteers, our programs help families and individuals from falling into the downward spiral of poverty, food insecurity, and in many cases homelessness. They include: seven community food pantries; The Caring Kitchen, a hot meal and social services program, summer camps, an after-school snack program, a weekend food backpack program, and a gleaning and food recovery program. All services are provided without regard to race, religion, national origin, marital status, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
We are collecting food for Christians Reaching Out to Society. C.R.O.S. Ministries collaborates with people of different faiths and organizations to create solutions to the unmet needs of people in our community. We collect food for them twice a year.
This month we are setting a goal of collecting 75 bags of food for CROS.
Boxed Macaroni and Cheese , Rice, Tuna Fish, Pasta, Peanut Butter, Beans
Bring a bag (or three!) with you this Sunday!
Update: Thank you so much for your generous donations to our 2014 School Supply Drive. Janet Lisle, Patricia Bellonci, Nancy Lydon, and Faustina Appiah delivered supplies to North Grade Elementary. The school administration sent us a letter of appreciation, noting the supplies would be a significant benefit to many students.
We are once again collecting school supplies for both North Grade Elementary School. This school serves a largely disadvantaged student population and every little bit helps. Please consider picking up some of these items during your next trip to the grocery or discount store and bring them to church with you this Sunday:
- 12 – # 2 Pencils
- 24 – Crayons
- 2 – Glue Sticks
- 1 – Box of Tissues
- 1 – Pink Eraser
- 8 – Broad Tip Markers
- 1 – Pair of Fiskers Scissors
- 1 – Pencil Case
- 1 – Wide-Ruled Spiral Bound Notebook
- 2 – Pocket Folder
- 12 -Pencil Crayons
- 2 – Pkg Wide Ruled Loose Leaf Paper
- 1 – Pkg. Washable Felt Markers
- 1 – Pair Scissors
- 10 – Duo-Tangs
- 1 – Pkg. Lined Paper
- 1 – Pkg. Plain Paper
- 8 – Lined Notebooks
- 2 – Blue Pens
- 1 – Red Pen
- 1 – Ruler
- 1 – White Glue
- 2 – 1″ Binders
- 8 – Subject Dividers
- 1 – Scientific Calculator
- 1 – Geometry Set
- 1 – Pocket Dictionary
- 1 – Pencil Sharpener
- 3 – Highlighter Pen
- Composition Books
- Copy Paper
On Saturday, March 15th, we are going to join Christians Reaching Out to Society in gleaning a local field. Gleaning is when people go into a field and collect produce that has been missed or intentionally left. That produce is then distributed to agencies that feed the hungry. It is a practice that has been in place ever since Biblical times Mark your calendar for this opportunity to make a difference!
You can find information on C.R.O.S.’s gleaning ministry here.
Watch a piece from WPTV Channel 5 here.
And let us know if you will be joining us!
February is one of our months to collect food for the C.R.O.S. Ministries Pantry.
CROS Ministries collaborates with people of different faiths and organizations to create solutions to the unmet needs of people in our community. One of the ways they do this is through food pantries located throughout Palm Beach County.
The greatest needs are for canned meats, macaroni and cheese, rice, dry beans, and peanut butter. You can bring in your donations all during the month of February.
Thank you church! Together we gave $4,700 to the Christmas offering this year, bringing the Good News in a very, very practical way to our community!
Dear Church Family,
I am more excited writing this Christmas letter to than I ever have been before. First of all, let me thank you for your incredible faithfulness in returning a portion of the gifts with which God has entrusted you to First Congregational United Church of Christ. In 2013, we have covered all of our expenses for the year. We have officially moved from surviving to thriving!
Your faithfulness and generosity, along with the careful stewardship of the resources entrusted to our church by our staff and volunteer leadership allow us to look beyond ourselves to our community to see how we can join the work God is doing in Palm Beach County. To that end, we have decided that our Christmas offering will be different this year. Every penny of our offering will go outside our doors and into the community. Our goal for this offering is $3000.
We will be contributing to the following organizations:
We will be participating in Adopt-a-Family’s Holiday Adopter Program. Adopt-a-Family is dedicated to restoring families in crisis to stability and self-sufficiency by providing access to all-encompassing services to families and their children. We will be supporting one of their families with food and gifts for Christmas.
We will be helping to support the family of a veteran. The father was in the Army Infantry and served in both Iraq and Afganistan. He was seriously injured by an IED and suffered a traumatic brain injury and PTSD. The help he receives from the VA takes time and is not always sufficient. He, his wife and his two small boys, ages 3 and 5, could use our help with their care here at home. He has been receiving some help locally from the American Legion and through them the “Stand-Down House”. His wife now has a job, but no car, so uses the bus, and his children are in day care.
People Engaged in Active Community Efforts (PEACE) is an organization of religious congregations and groups which are working together to solve critical community problems. We are not a service provider, but a grassroots, direct action, multi-issue organization, which has come together to be a powerful force for improving the quality of life in our communities. Recent projects for PEACE have included improvements in alternative education and shining a light on wage theft issues in Palm Beach County. In 2014, our church will be participating as a congregation in this organization
Christians Reaching Out to Society is an organization in our community that reaches out to the poor and marginalized in Palm Beach County. We will be giving specifically to their Summer Camp program.
Back Bay Mission Trip
In May of 2014, we are sending a team to the United Church of Christ’s Back Bay Mission for a week to help in the continued recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi. We will help defray the costs of those that are going.
I cannot wait to see how God will provide for these needs through the generosity of First
Congregational United Church of Christ. We will be receiving this offering through January 12, 2014. You can use the enclosed envelope to bring your gift to church or give online by going to www.fcclw.org/giving.
Don’t forget that we will be in the Lake Worth Christmas Parade on December 14th and that we will be gathering to worship together at 7:00 PM on Christmas Eve.
Rev. Jason Fairbanks, Pastor
On Saturday, March 2nd, 20 members and friends of First Congregational United Church of Christ headed out to Bedner’s farm in western Delray to pick green peppers.
Gleaning is a biblical initiative that involves volunteers picking produce from farmers’ fields that have been left from commercial harvesting methods. The food is distributed through the Food Recovery Program, operated by Village Baptist Church and the Palm Beach County Food Bank, to local agencies that work to feed the hungry in our community.
Keith Cutshall, CROS gleaning coordinator, explained that in earlier times when food was grown closer to where people lived, farmers would intentionally leave produce behind in the field for those who needed it. As farming became industrialized and removed from close proximity to communities that was no longer possible. Keith explained that the CROS gleaning program and our participation in it served as a bridge between available produce and those who need it.
We plan on gleaning once more this season, probably in May. Keep an eye out so you can participate in this vital, fun ministry!
Grace & Bobbi
Trish, Emerson & Jason
Cathy and Carla
Pat and Michelle
Loading the Truck