Share with God’s people who are in need.
– Romans 12:13a
Local Mission & Outreach
First Presbyterian has had a strong focus on local mission and outreach throughout our history. Although the specific projects undertaken have varied over time, our commitment to the community–and to the poor, the disadvantaged and the oppressed–has remained strong in every era.
We invite you to join us! You don’t need to be a member of our church to help others. Community members are always welcome to join in our outreach activities. Listed below are some of our current outreach programs. More information on these and other projects can be found on the church calendar (on top menu bar), the Open Door Newsletter (under the “News” tab), or by contacting the church office.
Food & More Partnership Program. On the third Tuesday of each month our church family expands to include about 30 “partners” from the larger community who come to select food for their families. Our partners have helped us build the program. For example, we added no salt and low carb food items when our partners with health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, said they had a hard time getting these items. We also now offer a household product each month (e.g., soap, toilet paper and toothpaste) because our partners told us how hard it is to afford even these basic items on a limited budget.
Education was also of interest to our partners. Some attend the monthly nutrition and food buying program offered by the University of Illinois Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), where they get new ideas for preparing healthy food on a budget. Others take the short pamphlets that are available on dealing with stressful situations. Still others enjoyed the opportunity to garden using the “Salad in a Pot” gardening kits we provided this spring.
While we have some things to share with our partners, they also share with us. They help us better understand the root causes of poverty and disadvantage in our community and what is needed to overcome these problems. They help us understand the resilience and faith of those with limited resources. They tell us stories that make us laugh. And they pray for us, just as we pray for them. We started out as a food pantry. We have become a community—laughing, caring for, and sharing with each other. We invite you to join us!
Impact Events. Several times a year the whole congregation joins together for a hands-on mission project in Fellowship Hall. We enjoy each other’s company as we work together to extend God’s love to others. Recent activities include:
- Working in partership with Illini Fighting Hunger to pack 1,500-2,000 pounds of rice for local food pantries;
- Creating reusable grocery bags out of used t-shirts for local food pantries;
- Making fleece blankets for children at the Crisis Nursery and Church World Service Baby Care Kits for infants throughout the world;
- Making “salad in a pot” planters to give to our partners who come to the Food and More Partnership Program;
- Making bird feeders for our feathered friends and cat scratching blocks for the local Humane Society.
Twice Is Nice Thrift Shop. In 2008, the congregation renovated the historic Royer house behind the church on west Elm Street and opened a thrift shop. Church members and others in the community donate gently used items which are then sold at modest prices. In addition to promoting environmental stewardship by recycling usable items, the shop provides individuals with limited incomes and the general public access to quality clothing, kitchen and household items, toys, books, and other items. Half of the proceeds from the shop are used to renovate the house while the other half are given to local agencies and organizations that provide important services to children, youth, families, and seniors. Click here for more information.
Mission Partners Program: Our community is blessed with many agencies and organizations that work to improve the well-being of individuals and families through education, empowerment, and support during times of stress. Each Christmas we take a special offering that is used, in part, to support our community partners.
Some of the groups we have supported include the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, empty tomb, inc, Restoration Urban Ministries, Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund, Reading Group Scholarship Fund, Crisis Nursery, Champaign County Christian Health Center, Boy Scout Troop 6, Don Moyer’s Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics, ECIRMAC Refugee Center, and the Salvation Army.