As we look out from the comfort and safety of our own homes, we are well aware that inflationary pressures and poorly distributed wealth means that many people need our help to meet the challenges life throws at them. As individuals, many of us contribute to charities of our choice to alleviate the distress of others. As a church, we also make annual contributions to a list of charities that need our help now, more than ever. Many of us are familiar with the services offered by Webster Rock Hill Ministries and Shepherd’s Center. First Church was instrumental in starting these agencies. Members of our church have used their services as well as those of other partner agencies.
Every time we say our Covenant we commit ourselves as a Christian Community to “the joy and struggle of discipleship.” Our Benevolent Giving Campaign and the allocation of the resulting gifts is a major way we fulfill that commitment. Last year we raised over $21,000 to apportion among the various agencies we support. Let us accept the challenge to duplicate or exceed that effort this year.
Our live event was a success, but we fell a bit short on the total this year. Please consider writing a check to the church, with Benevolence in the memo line, in an amount similar to what you contributed last year. Or you may donate here on our website.
This year there will be an in-person event as well. Your invitation to our Not-So-Trivial Trivia Night on March 11 is included with this letter. Use this form to register yourself and/or friends and family. Bring or mail to the church. Deadline for advance registration is Sunday, March 5. In conjunction with the Trivia Night, there will be a small silent auction, a small oral auction and a delicious dessert buffet. Come and enjoy being together in support of many worthy causes.
The Benevolent Giving Campaign Committee,
Jane Porchey, Kay Roush, Jeanene Harris, Joan Musbach
Recipients of our Benevolence Giving
Beyond Housing – Provides affordable housing, helping families achieve and sustain homeownership, fostering the well-being of families, and identifying and addressing neighborhood needs. Comprehensive approach addresses the key areas identified as crucial to community success-education, housing, health, job training and access, economic development, and personal finance.
Care and Counseling – St. Louis – This agency is a pastoral counseling center which incorporates spirituality in psychodynamic clinical work. Services include mental health services for children, adults, and families, as well as congregational and clergy training and psychoeducation programs.
CHADS Coalition for Mental Health – CHADS provides programs to advance the awareness and prevention of depression and suicide. Provide adolescents and young adults ages 25 and under and educational programs, for parents, educators and community members.
Emmaus Homes – Based on unique needs and goals, Emmaus provides homes and programing for adults with development disabilities to help them live their lives as independently as possible, housed in numerous group homes throughout St. Louis and St. Charles. UCC
Gateway 180 – Gateway 180 is a valuable resource for those experiencing the burden of homelessness. Provides temporary shelter and support systems.
Gateway ONA Coalition – The mission is to serve as a resource for churches who seek to embrace the diversity of God’s people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Open and affirming organization within UCC churches that recognizes gender choices and concerns.
Habitat for Humanity – Christian housing ministry to build houses in partnership with families in need. This local branch of the national organization builds affordable housing. Each year there is one home built by UCC churches throughout the area.
Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis – Diverse faith group offering a public voice on matters of religious, moral, and ethical issues. Our church is a member of the organization.
Lydia’s House – Lydia’s House is the only transitional housing program in Eastern Missouri that is specifically for battered and abused women and their children and that offers immediate community. They have 50 confidentially located homes and apartments for women and their families. Provides transitional housing with comprehensive, goal-oriented support services, and access to community resources for abused women and their children.
Minister’s Discretionary Fund – FCCWG – Provides funds for individual church members, families and people in the community in need. May include food gift cards, gas money, money for prescriptions, etc. For 2021 this was funded through the Giving Store.
Prevent + Ed (Local affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse) – Provide counseling, education and resources on the harms of alcohol and drug abuse. Programs offered through education, intervention and advocacy. Provides resources and services that promote safe and healthy living.
Operation Food Search – Distributes food and necessities to 330 community partners in the City of St. Louis and surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois.
United Church of Christ – Our Church’s Wider Mission and Missouri Mid South Conference – UCC churches unite to reach out to people in need. Our Church’s Wider Mission supports local congregations with worship and faith forming publications, resources, and education. There are 44 Missouri Mid South Conference UCC congregations in the St. Louis area. It also includes churches in Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. Our church is recognized for being a 5 for 5 Congregation of the UCC, for support to Our Church’s Wider Mission, Neighbors in Need, One Great Hour of Sharing, The Christmas Fund, and Strengthen the Church Special Mission offerings.
United Church of Christ-St. Louis Association – St. Louis Association offers support and outreach to people in need. Some of the programs supported by the Association include Neighborhood Ministries, Joint Neighborhood Houses, Union Community Neighborhood House, Lydia’s House and Doorways.
Unleashing Potential – Formerly Neighborhood Houses. Seeks to close the opportunity gap for children and youth by building on their strengths. They offer Early Childhood education, after school programs, youth development and enrichment camps.