The mission principles laid out in First Presbyterian's Statement of Purpose are put into action in a wide variety of ways, providing opportunities for hundreds of members to become actively involved in their particular mission passion.
A range of mission task forces develop and implement special projects in the community and abroad, including medical mission, building projects, tutoring programs, peacemaking and more.
In addition, First Presbyterian has long supported a number of existing aid programs in our community with our energies as well as our funds.
Several times a year First Presbyterian joins with all Presbyterian churches, or with both Presbyterian and other denominations, in taking special collections for specific world-wide needs. These include:
One Great Hour of Sharing
Since 1949, Presbyterians have joined with millions of other Christians through One Great Hour of Sharing to share God's love with people experiencing need. Our gifts support ministries of disaster response, refugee assistance and resettlement, and community development that help people find safe refuge, start new lives and work together to strengthen their families and communities. Funds for One Great Hour of Sharing are divided among three programs:
* Presbyterian Hunger Program supports ministries working to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes, responding with compassion and justice to poor and hungry people in local communities, in the nation and throughout the world, as well as ministries addressing homelessness and affordable housing.
* Presbyterian Disaster Assistance supports disaster response and ministries with refugees.
* Self-Development of People supports partnerships with groups of people who are oppressed by poverty or social systems, who want to take charge of their own lives, have organized to do something about their own condition, and have decided what they need to do to produce long-term benefits for themselves.
Church World Service Blankets+
Some 8,000 congregations and groups across the U.S. hold Church World Service Blankets+ (Blankets Plus) events, providing funds to help people in need around the world, including the U.S. For over 60 years, CWS has worked in partnership with local communities to identify their needs, and access the resources they need to build a foundation for a more viable future, including:
* Blankets, tents, food and other emergency supplies in the wake of a disaster.
* Tools and seeds for refugees returning home to replant their fields.
* Wells for families living in drought-prone areas to provide clean, safe water to drink and to irrigate crops and gardens.
* Literacy training and microcredit for women struggling to realize their potential.
The Pentecost Offering is traditionally received on the day of Pentecost. It provides a direct way to meet the needs of children at risk, youth, and young adults. congregations are encouraged to keep 40 percent of the Offering to support ministry with children at risk in their communities. The General Assembly's portion (60 percent) provides leadership development opportunities for Presbyterian youth and young adults and supports children-at-risk programs at the national level. Since 1998, Presbyterians of all ages have raised over $7 million for these ministries that benefit younger members of God's family.
Christmas Eve Offering
Each year the First Presbyterian Mission Committee designates a mission fund to receive all contributions (not otherwise marked) collected during the four Christmas Eve services. This past Christmas the money was given to the Peace Neighborhood Center. Peace serves families and individuals by providing after school programs and meals, a summer day camp for kids, and job training and counseling services for individuals and families.
The 2012 Christmas Eve offering will be donated to the village church in Davydovo, Russia, to help build a center for ministry, serving at-risk teens, children with disabilities and their parents. One of only four Orthodox churches in Russia engaged in such ministry, the church community in the village of Davydovo currently makes do with an old house for the teens, and construction sheds as housing for the parents attending the summer camp for their children with disabilities. Fr. Vladimir Klimzo envisions a center that
can adequately serve the teens and function also as a year-round retreat center for children with disabilities and their parents. Such ministries are relatively new in Russia and are few and far between.