Our Ministries

Our Ministries

Haiti Scholarship Update

July 2019

Please don’t forget our church’s annual support of needy students at College St. Andre at the National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (C.O.N.A.S.P.E.H.) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We are continuing to raise funds, but will be ending our drive soon, in order to get a check out to the Global Ministries in time for the beginning of the school year. Please consider giving, if you haven’t already! As of July 25th, we have raised $7495.


Please make checks payable to: “First Church of Christ, Longmeadow” with “Haiti Scholarship” in the memo line. Bring or mail your check to the church office. A gift of only $120 will allow a student to attend school for a year! They are counting on us!  …

Haiti Trip 2019

Mark and I (Mary) arrived safely in Haiti yesterday. We went to two different churches this morning that are part of CONASPEH.  We had lunch with Pastor Francoise and some of the bishops and students.
It is great to see some of our friends again here. An added BIG surprise was seeing our former missionaries Kim and Patrick Bentrott and their three children who are here at the guest house with us. It is a children’s first visit to Haiti and Kim‘s first visit since the earthquake in 2010.

Haiti Report Fall 2018

by Mary Friedman

(Thank you to Karen Pohlman for translating Pastor Francoise’ e-mails from the French for us!)

The Haiti Team is happy to share pictures and an annual report for 2017-2018 we have just received from Pastor Francoise Villiers, Executive Director of our mission partner in Haiti: the National Council of Spiritual Churches of Haiti.  Last year our church donated money for roof repairs at the headquarters building in Port-au-Prince:

 

First Church raised almost $16,000 during the Haiti Scholarship Fund Drive last spring.  That money has enabled many more students to attend school this year!

Bishop Fontus with students at his school in Saute which Mark Pohlman and Mary Friedman visited last year with Pastor Francoise.

Girls classes at Bishop Fontus’ School in Saute.

 

Pre-school students at the CONASPEH–supported school in Saute.

Pastor Francoise writes to us that “Education is a luxury in this country, from day to day, things become more difficult for the parents.  If it was not for Longmeadow, we do not know how we could help these children in difficulty. For the families that have 5-8 cchildren in a house, our school cannot help them all, thus every third child in a family has a grant(scholarship) in this program subsidized by the Longmeadow church.”

Following  are some examples of the things that C.O.N.A.S.P.E.H.

Church Without Walls

First Sunday of every month @ 12:00 PM

(December will be the 3rd Sunday-December 15, 2019)

Court Square, Springfield, MA

Come down and join Pastor Marisa with a growing First Church presence at this organic outdoor service, rain or shine! Introduce yourself, meet our friends in the streets who join us in worship!

First Church is now part of Church Without Walls – a ministry to the homeless in Springfield launched and coordinated by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Longmeadow and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts held with different partner clergy of Episcopal and UCC churches to provide weekly worship with free lunch on Sundays, and supplies on Tuesdays for the homeless including blankets, tents, sleeping bags, rides to medical treatment and more.

Each month First Church Longmeadow partners with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church to provide an ecumenical communion worship service with free lunch and snacks to people of the streets in downtown Springfield the first Sunday of every month! 

Join us every month on the first Sunday of the month – Church Without Walls (CWW) 12:00 – 1:00pm in Court Square, Springfield


Next CWW: Sunday December 15, 2019**  

** please note the date change – normally First Church does the first Sunday of the month but for December, Pastor Marisa preaches on the third Sunday:   DECEMBER 15, 2019

Come be with us as we offer a full worship service with communion, followed by lunch for all outdoors – you can help us in distributing communion and serving food, and you will never forget meeting and talking with the folks who come to this amazing street ministry!

Music

Vocal and instrumental music in many genres are integral to the way we worship, hear the scriptures and build Christian community at First Church. The Chancel Choir, a quartet of top-tier soloists, the Handbell Choir, the Children’s Choir and frequent special guests contribute regularly to worship — always pursuing excellence and community — and led by our Director of Music Dan Inglis (dan@firstchurchlongmeadow.org)

Our sanctuary is home to a 1975 Schantz neo-Baroque pipe organ, a Steinway grand piano and a Zuckermann French double harpsichord. Other instruments are often a part of our services as well, played by members of the choir, youth members and special guests. In January 2018, we will launch our Featured Musician Series, highlighting the contributions of one guest musician every month.

Samples of music done by our church choirs can be found on the choir videos page.

Musicians and aspiring musicians interested in getting involved with the vibrant music ministry at First Church are welcome to get in touch with Director of Music Dan Inglis.

 

Haiti

For over 15 years, First Church has been involved with CONASPEH, a non-governmental organization that was formed in 1986 by 50 Protestant Haitian ministers. CONASPEH has 4,000 member churches and plays an important role in the economic, social, religious, and intellectual development of Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Conaspeh logoIn 1995, First Church gave $50,000 for a CONASPEH headquarters that served as a school, medical clinic, and office for economic development until it was destroyed during the earthquake in January, 2010. First Church continues to support CONASPEH by providing tution scholarships to the school. In 2009, over $10,000 was donated to the fifth Haiti Scholarship Fund Drive. The CONASPEH school reopened under tents and among trees in April, 2010. The 2010 fund drive concentrated on donations to help the school rebuild. We continue to support the school by holding an annual Scholarship Fund Drive.  Please consider donating to the Haiti Scholarship Fund Drive.

Many members of First Church have traveled to Haiti to provide hands-on help in the areas of education, communication, computers, and medical services. Members of the Senior YES! youth group have also traveled to Haiti. They have helped out at both the CONASPEH school and at an orphanage.…

Christian Education

Jesus said “Let the children come to me.”  At First Church, we extend this same welcome.  Our Christian Education program begins with our Nursery and Pre-K (ages 0-5 years) program and continues with Church School for grades K-2 and 3-5; Christian Education and Church Services for grades 6-7; and Confirmation classes for grades 8+.  Our children are invited to become members of First Church after completing Confirmation classes.  We also have youth programs for 8-12th grade students.

er Egg Decorating
More egg decorating!

Family Ministries

At First Church of Christ, we extend ministries and education to inspire children and families on their faith journey, treasuring our God who both supports them and calls them to action.  We offer programs for specific age groups as well as regular events for all ages with special focus on our youngest ones.

We also offer monthly inter-generational social opportunities for people of all ages to play, learn, and spend time together, with special design around our youngest members. Typical events include outings, dinner & movie nights,  Halloween double-feature & costume party, and carol sing with cookies and hot cocoa on the first Sunday of Advent.

Photos from some of our recent events: Trash Talk, Movie Night, Egg Decorating, Family Game Night, and Christmas Pageant:

Women’s Benevolent Society

The Women’s Benevolent Society was established in 1803 to promote the missionary activities as well as the social and spiritual life of the women of the First Church of Christ in Longmeadow. The society is thought to be the oldest continuously active women’s group of its kind in the country.

Program meetings that include a potluck lunch are usually held on the first Friday of September through May. Planning meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month at 10:15am.  All these meetings are open to the women of First Church and their friends.  Representatives from the area causes WBS helps support are also invited to the planning meetings.

Please enjoy these photos from recent WBS events:

Women's Benevolent Society Events

The annual “Church on the Green” Christmas Fair, held on the first Saturday in December, is the groups major fundraising project from which all the proceeds are donated to local charitable organizations. Pictures from the most recent Christmas Fair can be viewed on our Flickr album.

The History of the Women’s Benevolent Society was presented as part of our Heritage Sunday program on October 20, 2013 and is available in a two-part video series:

[Watch part 1]   [Watch part 2]