First United Missions
The word Missions has a bit of a checkered history. Often it has been primarily about converting people to Christianity. While we believe that Christianity is a rich tradition and teaches a trustworthy path to God, we do not believe that Christianity itself, or our particular version of it is the only true path. So for us, missions are activities or projects that allow us to live out the values that Jesus taught, namely justice for all, healing, peace and equality.
Where missions in the past often assumed we possessed a certain superiority (we up here are helping you down there), now we seek projects that involve a partnership. However, that does not mean that we do not feel called to give to those who have less than we do.
There certainly are projects that we take on as a congregation or as a group within the congregation. It is also true that many of our members are active in the community and act out their faith by being involved with charitable activities or social or political change outside the walls of the church. We encourage this and see it as part of our mission as a congregation.
This page lists some of the activities and projects that we feel called to offer to our community and the world.
The Mission and Service Fund
The Mission and Service Fund is the arm of our national church which provides the structure and programs to provide mission opportunities on behalf of all of our congregations. All those who contribute regularly to our church are encouraged to earmark a portion of their givings for the Mission and Service Fund.
Besides supporting programs in Canada and with overseas partners, the fund also provides the services needed to support a large denomination such as ours. It provides personnel services, financial help to small congregations unable to fully support themselves, and theological training, support and standards for those called to serve as ministry personnel.
Read more about the Mission and Service Fund.
Community School Project in Ghana
Nuobok-Nkenzesi Village, Northern Ghana
Since 2007, First United has been developing a relationship with the people of this small village in Ghana. Our work has made possible a new school where there was none, and the education of many young girls who would otherwise not be able to afford to get an education. Read more.
The Second Harvest program was initiated by one of our own members but is supported by people from many churches and no church. It collects unused food from a variety of sources and offers it for free to those who need it. There are no quotas or limits imposed on those who come to seek help.
There is a collection box in the foyer of the church and individuals are encouraged to bring food items and leave them in the box. Cash donations are also welcome and allow Second Harvest to buy food to fill the gaps in what has been donated.
Inn from the Cold
During the winter of 2008-09, the people of First United opened their doors to those who would otherwise be sleeping outside in the cold of winter. We did it again from November until mid January, 2009-2010 at which time the program moved to the Salvation Army’s New Hope Community Church. Many volunteers from a number churches (or from no church) were involved in coordination, shift work, bringing food, doing laundry and offering prayers. We provided a warm and safe place to sleep for approximately thirty different people during this period.
In 2011 a new program was launched. The Lighthouse Seasonal Shelter is a Salvation Army facilitated program and as such, will follow the guidelines and policies in place for these types of programs across Canada. The Salvation Army still requires volunteers from the community to help with operations.