The Mission Committee of First Presbyterian Church involves itself in several active, hands-on projects in Washtenaw County and in Southeast Michigan, in addition to contributing money to those not-for-profit organizations in the local community who are assisting where the need is great for:
- human rights and social justice,
- emergency and basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing
- helping people become more self-sustaining through economic development, employment, and education
Every year our congregation generously provides Christmas gifts of food, clothing, and toys for approximately 150 families in the Washtenaw County area. As many of those who have participated in the program will attest, the act of reaching out to others in need adds a poignant reminder of the meaning and celebration of our Lord’s birth. There are many ways to participate: adopt a family and either purchase and deliver gifts yourself or buy a gift card for the family; Make a donation of any amount to the Family-to-Family Project; or give a gift of your time by helping to buy and mail gift cards, deliver gifts, or work the sign-up table on Sunday mornings.
The Delonis Center
Located in downtown Ann Arbor, the Delonis Center is a shelter for homeless men and women. First Pres volunteers assist with Wednesday dinner preparation and serving. In addition, members contribute greeting cards and stamps for shelter residents, so that they may keep in touch with family and friends. At Christmas time, members contribute gifts of warm socks, hats and gloves to those at the center.
On the evenings that we cook and serve the meal, we also bring a collection of cards, envelopes and stamps, donated by church members, and make them available to Center patrons to help them keep in touch with those they know and love. This small courtesy is greatly appreciated by those who make use of it.
Find out more about volunteering at the center "Delonis Center Volunteers".
Rotating Shelter Program (Delonis)
January 7 - 21, 2013 - First Pres will host the Rotating Shelter program starting the first Monday of each January for two weeks. Founded in the 1980's, the Rotating Shelter Program is a collaborative effort between the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County and local faith-based congregations to meet the demand for shelter during the winter months. First Pres joins over 20 other congregations in providing refuge and warmth from 8:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. for 25 men who might otherwise sleep outside or in camps. First Pres members are needed to stay overnight at the church, provide games and conversation, and help transport the men from the shelter to church each night and evening.
Interfaith Hospitality Network (Alpha House)
Alpha House is a family shelter that is part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network, whose mission is to provide temporary shelter, food and support services in a caring atmosphere of dignity and safety. Alpha House also offers financial and job counseling, medical care, and tutoring. Three weeks of the year, First Presbyterian volunteers prepare and serve meals for the residents, tutor, or stay overnight to relieve staff. The shelter is located on Jackson Road between Zeeb and Wagner. For more information, visit http://www.alphahouse-ihn.org.
English as a Second Language
The English as a Second Language is a ministry of hospitality to international visitors in our community. Foreign visitors and students are vulnerable as they enter a social system without a sense of the cultural rules and local laws. They may be here without family or friends. They depend upon the grace and protection of the native.
ESL is a collaboration involving Washtenaw Literacy, the Taiwanese Fellowship, and our church. Students attend weekly on Tuesday afternoons for two hours. Most have had some English language education in their home countries. The program has three aspects:
- We offer a welcoming presence for international guests by assistance with English and adaptation to American culture.
- We provide ESL tutor volunteers from our church as well as Cluster churches and other interested individuals an opportunity to be involved in local ministry.
- We mentor college students interested in international work.
Volunteer tutors do not need to know a foreign language; additional tutor training is available through Washtenaw Literacy. Come and observe to see if this is a ministry you would enjoy!
Contact Ruth Primas, program coordinator if interested at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Deacons sponsor twice-yearly blood drives for the Red Cross, usually in October and April. Occasionally we host an emergency blood drive in July. Volunteers are needed for these events to prepare home-baked cookies, check people in during blocks of time, and generally extend hospitality to visitors to the church. For further information, contact Linda Koopman, email@example.com -- or through the church office.
Support of Local Human Service and Social Justice Organizations
First Presbyterian's Mission Funding Subcommittee also solicits and reviews aplications for financial assistance from local organizations that provide direct human services or promote social justice, and makes grants to worthy applicants. In 2008, First Pres provided more than $65,000 to the 22 human service and religious organizations below.
- Community Action Network
- Corner Health Center
- Dawn Farm
- Ecumenical Center and International Residence (ECIR)
- Food Gatherers
- Friends in Deed
- Hope Clinic
- Housing Bureau for Seniors
- House by the Side of the Road
- Interfaith Hospitality Network/Alpha House
- Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels
- Open Door Ministry (Fort Street Presbyterian Church, Detroit)
- Peace Neighborhood Center
- Religious Action for Affordable Housing (RAAH)
- St. Andrews Breakfast Program
- Samaritan Counseling
- Shelter Association (Delonis Center)
- Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ)
- The Interfaith Roundtable
- Washtenaw County Jail/ Whole Man Ministry
- Wee Kirk North Central