The Board of Missions at First Church focuses on creating ministries of care, providing service opportunities for our congregation and giving generously to those in need.
First Church was a leader in the creation of the Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless addressing the housing problem of families in need, a first of its kind program in Massachusetts, moving families from motels to homes at a cost lower than the state funded motel housing. From these efforts followed the Children’s Center, providing low-cost daycare, as well as the Cape Cod Ecumenical Youth Ministries program, ministering to the needs of troubled youths. In addition, Pine Oaks affordable housing for the elderly was an idea that began at First Church back in the 1970’s.
In 2001, the congregation made an important decision to support the Board of Missions by including Missions as 15% of the annual pledges, thus creating a budget for this very important work. This solidified the church’s commitment to lead the way for meeting the spiritual and social needs of the community and beyond.
The Board supports the United Church of Christ’s offerings each season, starting in the Fall with the Neighbors in Need campaign, at Christmas with an offering for the the Christmas Fund (formerly, Veteran’s of the Cross) and at Easter with the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. In addition, as disastrous conditions and conflicts occur around us, Missions take the lead in asking the congregation for monetary gifts and work with our denominations partners to ensure the gifts are distributed appropriately.
In 2002 through 2019, several large initiatives occurred to support causes. With many natural disasters occurring in the United States and abroad, Missions created fund-raising opportunities that helped support relief efforts. Some of these included Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami in Asia. First Church supported the Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless (HECH) who are charged with developing compassionate solutions to homelessness in Harwich and surrounding communities. Each year Mission’s named a “Celebrity Walker” for the HECH “Walk for Love” to raise funds for this project. The “Apostles Build” (Habitat for Humanity) saw First Church raise over $8,000 to help fund a home build with other churches.
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, resulted in Missions moving to providing funds for many local organizations in desperate need.
During 2021-2022, Mission’s created opportunities for the congregation to be involved in the community, including:
As you will discover, First Church is generous and caring, concerned and actively involved each year in meeting the spiritual and social needs of our community and beyond.