Mission & Outreach

Mission is an integral part of our church ministry.Our location, which is across the street from a homeless shelter, behind a food pantry and up the street from a women's shelter, makes ministry to those in need a high priority at First Church ... 

by Youth...

In 2003, our youth groups  re-established their earlier tradition of feeding the homeless staying at the Salvation Army, Booth House, across from the church. Several years later, youth began the Saturday Cafe and expanded to a lunch served once a month at the church to the community-at-large who were helped by this free meal. This mission continues to grow! Many other area churches, as well as the local branch of National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Wood River Woman's Club and Tri Del Federated Women's Club now serve lunch here three Saturdays each month. One of our neighbors, First Unitarian Church serves lunch at their location, one block from us, on the fourth Saturday. Soup's On, a multi-denominational group comprised of area church members, now serve a lunch each Tuesday of the week. These cooperative neighborhood church efforts are all within two blocks of the downtown area homeless shelter, women's shelter and food pantry.

    

Youth sell Fair Trade items during fellowship hour after worship in a shop, Abraham's Tent. These articles come from all over the world, and sales help offset expenses of youth projects, activities and missions, including sposorship through World Vision of a boy living in poverty in the Philippines.

                  

Youth also collects school supplies in the fall which are distributed at the Market Street Block Party, a neighborhood mission of churches each August. School supplies, including 266 backpacks and over 300 bags of school items were ditributed at the block party in 2013. Youth participates in the 30 Hour Famine , through World Vision, Community Clean-Up, 5 A's Animal Shelter and Working Together- Rebuilding Madison County,  which helps people in need with repairs to their homes at little or no cost.

by Deacons...

Deacons extend mission, both within the church congregation and to the community. The Board of Deacons extends our worship on assigned Sundays to our homebound members by taking communion to their residences and care centers.

    

Each Thanksgiving, deacons prepare food boxes for families in need. They also presented a Health Fair this year for members of the church and community. They implement a community assistance, relief and emergency fund (Simpson Fund) that helps people from the community with utility bills, prescriptions and housing costs. Deacons also use the funds they raise, through silent auctions and special dinners, to supply our congregation with a parish nurse, who calls on homebound members, takes blood pressures, etc., provides flu shot clinics and special training for on-site medical equipment at church.

Each year, deacons fill childrens' Christmas wish lists from the Presbyterian Childrens' Home in Farmington, MO, and "adopt" a family from the local women's shelter at Christmas. They also send Care Boxes to troops in the military on our prayer list, and provide bereavement meals to church members who have lost loved ones.

by the Congregation...

The congregation supports all of the missions above, as well as donates to the Simpson Fund, local food pantry with food items each month and to homeless and women's shelters. Each Advent, the members of First Church provide and share a holiday meal with the community-at-large. Special worship opportunities and activities/field trips are also offered to the community at no cost throughout the year. In August each year, we join efforts with our neighboring churches, St. John Missionary Baptist, St. Paul Episcopal Church, Morningstar Missionary Baptist and Salvation Army to sponsor a Community Block Party. The party, which includes actvities, music, food, hair cuts and health services/screenings, is completely free of charge to attendees.  Members of the various congregations, including deacons and elders, serve as volunteers to help staff different areas. It's a great way to network with our neighboring churches, as well as serve the Greater Alton community. There are always around 1,000 people in attendance.