ECHO, Community Meal, Meals on Wheels, Grocery Bag Program, Prayer Shawl Project, Parish Care Committee, CROP Walk, Little Free Library, Radical Hospitality Grant, GIFTS, Others
Mission is vital to our identity as followers of Jesus Christ.
Our church reaches out with the love of God through several opportunities throughout the year. Our church has a long history of helping in our community and around the world. We were a founding member of ECHO and Habitat for Humanity. The very first breakfast club started in our church’s fellowship hall before moving into the school. In the 1950’s when many congregations moved from the downtown area to growing residential, the members of First Congregational UCC made a conscious decision to remain downtown near those members of the community most in need. Today, we remain a service oriented church.
If you are seeking opportunities to be of service to others, First Congregational UCC offers many opportunities through our current programs. We also remain constantly open to identifying additional opportunities to explore and develop new mission outreach efforts.
Opportunities to be of service to others are readily available.
ECHO (Everyone Cooperating to Help Others)
ECHO, Inc., is a non-profit, church-sponsored charity organization, serving low-income individuals and families in the Janesville area. It exists through the generosity of others in the community. ECHO stands for Everyone Cooperating to Help Others. ECHO is a charity organization called upon to help meet temporary housing, food, clothing, health, transportation and other emergency needs for low-income families. ECHO seeks to help people help themselves through its programs and services, not readily available through other sources, and to assist them in utilizing other existing services and programs in the community.
How Is First Congregational UCC Involved With ECHO?
First Congregational UCC has been an ECHO member congregation since the very early years of the organization’s startup. Two members of our congregation serve on the ECHO Board. Many of our members serve as ECHO volunteers. Periodic special offerings are received for ECHO during Sunday worship. From 1975 through 2002 First Congregational UCC provided ECHO with free office space. The ECHO building at 65 High Street was erected in 2003 on land adjacent to our church on a long term lease of $1 per year.
ECHO Board Members from First Congregational UCC
Gary Teubert, Larry Barton, and Dave Schollmeier
We extend a warm welcome to you to join us on the first Saturday of the month for our FREE Community Meal. Everyone is welcome.
Meals are served in the church basement between 4 pm and 4:30 pm, seconds are served after 4:30 pm. Enter through the doors from the parking lot, the steps are ahead on the right. There is also an elevator.
About fifty meals are served each month. Volunteer possibilities include: Menu Planning; Food Purchasing; Meal Preparation; Servers; Facility Set-up; Greeting Guests; and Clean-up.
Upcoming Dates for Community Meal 2020:
June 6 July 4 August 1 September 5 October 3 November 7 December 5
Meals on Wheels
Members of our congregation participate in the Meals on Wheels program several times each year. This is a program which delivers nutritious hot meals to men and women who are elderly, homebound, disabled and frail living in their own homes.
Grocery Bag Program
On the first Sunday of each month members are provided the opportunity to fill a grocery bag with groceries needed by one of several Janesville area programs supplying food assistance to persons in need. Grocery bags are placed in the pews on selected Sundays. Each bag contains a list of groceries needed by the listed organization. Members are asked to take a bag home, purchase the listed items and returned the filled grocery bag to the church for distribution to the local programs. Programs currently benefiting from this program include ECHO and Salvation Army.
Prayer Shawl Project
Members of our congregation knit or crochet shawls for distribution to comfort others in our church who are in need of our love and prayers. The shawls are made of exceptionally soft yarn in pretty colors. They are very popular with those who have received them. Yarn and patterns are available for those interested. If you want to participate in this project contact Janet Hay at (608) 752-3373.
Parish Care Committee
The Parish Care Committee actively reaches out to homebound members of the church offering friendship and God’s love. To be involved with the Care Committee contact the chair, Pat Scott, (608) 752-8716
We participate in the CROP Walk in April. The 2020 walk was April 26.
Check out this website: http://hunger.cwsglobal.org/site/PageServer?pagename=crop_main
and this video on youtube with Carolyn Brandeen from our church:
Little Free Library:
We have library books and toiletries in 2 Little Free Library boxes. One is on the south side of our church on Court Street. The other one is in front of Jeffris Flats apartments on Dodge Street (across from north side of church).
Radical Hospitality Grant:
Applications available in the church office. Funds are available for education expenses and child care. Completed forms are returned to Pastor Tanya then reviewed by a committee.
GIFTS Men’s Shelter:
Our church volunteers to serve meals at the GIFTS Men’s Shelter at 1025 N. Washington St in Janesville. We signed up for 3 nights in 2019: May 1, August 7, and November 6. Volunteers are needed to make and serve food, and men are needed to stay over night.
There are many more ways we seek to reach out with Christ’s love. Several of our members volunteer time reading to children in school; volunteering at HealthNet; volunteering at ECHO; and sharing the love of Christ through our words and actions. Our Outreach Ministry provides opportunities for financial contributions to members and friends once a month. Here is a listing of offerings for 2016:
January: OCWM (Our Church’s Wider Mission)
February: GIFTS (men’s homeless shelter)
March: One Great Hour of Sharing
April: CROP Walk
May: Community Meal (first Saturday of every month)
June: Neighbors in Need
July: Radical Hospitality
August: School Supplies for Wilson Elementary
September: Teacher’s Wishlist
October: Strengthen the Church
December: Christmas Fund