Our Mission Partners – who we support

These are the Mission Partners we support in hours of volunteer service, donations and within our budget.

Our Church’s Wider Mission
Neighborhood Houses
Isaiah 58 Ministries
Food Outreach
Beyond Housing
Joint Neighborhood Ministries
Emmaus Homes
Grace and Peace Women’s Shelter
Eden Seminary
Evangelical Children’s Home
St. Louis Truancy Initiative
Magdalene STL
Living Well of Bethel
St Louis Association

ocwmOur Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM)

UCC congregations are involved with mission in many ways. In the United Church of Christ, we affirm that, although the congregation is the fundamental unit of mission, mission is not just local. We are connected to one another, across boundaries of neighborhood, class, race, and national border.

Part of the Church’s budget, evaluated in the Mission and Outreach Committee, goes to OCWM to provide the following:

  • Assistance for UCC churches in their search for pastoral leadership
  • Outdoor ministry opportunities for all ages through Camp Mo-Val and T.A.M.B.O.
  • Outreach and outdoor ministry opportunities through Shannondale Community Center
  • Consultations with churches experiencing conflict
  • Youth and Adult programs on conference, regional and national levels
  • Support for the work of Associations, including Association Councils, Committees on Ministry, seminarians, and other committees
  • Communications through the Courier, E-Connections, Website, mailings
  • Connections to the wider church, including delegations to General Synod and representatives on national Covenanted Ministries
  • Grants to local churches and agencies
  • Pastoral support for clergy and families
  • And much more….
  • To learn more, go to http://www.ucc.org/ocwm/

    nhlogo_shadowNeighborhood Houses has been a mission of the St. Louis UCC church since 1913. It is a Community centered faith-based organization to strengthen children, families and communities through literacy programs, after school programs, daycare and educational outreach programs.

    Neighborhood Houses runs 3 Community Centers in at-risk neighborhoods in St. Louis, providing safe places for children and youth to participate in fun, educational, recreational and cultural activities. They have a particularly outstanding Literacy Program in the After School Program. Families receive support through food pantries, thrift shops and the Health NOW Parish Nurse program.

    First Congregational Church supports Neighborhood Houses as one of its targeted missions and outreach effort. We collect food for their Food Pantries on a rotating basis and volunteer with them in outreach efforts. Our church has a deep involvement with Neighborhood Houses with one of our members serving as Ambassador for Neighborhood Houses within our congregation to promote and another member serving on the Neighborhood Houses Board.

    Click here to learn more about this fantastic organization

    isaiah58ministries1“If every man knew what I know about the spirit of giving, he would not let another meal pass without sharing it in some way.” Dalai Lama

    Each month, our Church collects food to donate to 3 Ministries: Food Outreach, Isaiah 58 and Neighborhood Houses.

    Isaiah 58 Ministries serves the South St. Louis area with a food pantry and programs for the youth and the needed. It has been supported by First Congregational Church for a few years now and has become a regular outreach effort for us in a few times throughout the year . Volunteers meet to go work in their Food Pantry – this is an opportunity for families in St. Louis to volunteer and to get involved. The kids as young as 2 can have something to do in this effort and it is a tradition with us now.
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    Food Outreach

    Founded in 1988, Food Outreach is the only St. Louis area-organization focused on providing nutritional support to men, women and children living with cancer or HIV/AIDS. The Board of Directors, staff and volunteers of Food Outreach have made it their mission to enhance clients’ quality of life through proper nutrition. Food Outreach and its volunteers prepare and deliver nutritious meals, provide groceries, and offer nutritional counseling to persons infected with either HIV/AIDS disease or trying to survive cancer. Clients choose meals from a menu developed by a registered dietitian with recipes created specifically for the needs of people living with these life-threatening diseases.   Their food helps clients tolerate treatments and makes certain medications work like they should. First Congregational Church contributes regularly to their food pantry donations and works in their kitchen and grocery. This organization has become one that is a particular passion of certain members in our congregation. Please visit them at http://www.foodoutreach.org
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    Beyond Housing’s mission is to strengthen neighborhoods, one family at a time. They do this by providing affordable housing, helping families achieve and sustain homeownership, fostering the well-being of families, and identifying and addressing neighborhood needs. The principal functions through which they deliver products and services in the core business content areas include Service-Enriched Rental Housing, Homeownership Services, and Community Building.

    For over 30 years, two of the region’s most prominent non-profit organizations, Beyond Housing and Neighborhood Housing Services, have helped low-income families establish economic independence.  Established in 1980 to address the need for affordable rental housing for large, low-income families, Beyond Housing had much in common with Neighborhood Housing Services of St. Louis, which began in 1975 as an organization focused on revitalizing
    St. Louis neighborhoods.  In January 2003 when these separate organizations recognized their similar philosophies, approaches, and target audiences, they merged under the name that encompasses both organizations’ former missions:  Beyond Housing.

    First Congregational participates in adopting families through Beyond Housing at Christmas Time with our “Giving Tree” project and in the Summer in their annual Streetscape project.

    Learn more about their efforts at www.beyondhousing.org

    Joint Neighborhood Ministries - A Ministry of Justice, Compassion and Love

    Their Mission is to promote the transition of families toward greater independence, by providing Christian-based, supplemental and emergency support services and educational programming to an “at risk” population.

    Since 1966, Joint Neighborhood Ministry has delivered help and hope to low-income families. They provide a Food Pantry and Clothing Room for families in the in the South St. Louis area. Over half of their clients are children and families with an average income of $600 per month (or less) for a family of four.

    How can you help? Click here for specific ideas on how you can help them http://www.htc.net/~shanks/jnm/help.htm
    Emmaus Homes

    Emmaus Homes

    Emmaus Homes is a faith-based mission of families, staff and volunteers, working together to
    provide compassionate care to adults with developmental disabilities in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Emmaus provides safe, comfortable homes for 250 residents at its campuses in St. Charles and Marthasville, Mo., as well as in homes in surrounding communities.

    The Grace and Peace Winter Shelter
    The Grace and Peace Winter Shelter
    has been offering temporary, overnight shelter during the colder months to homeless women of St. Louis since 1986.
    The Winter Shelter operates in the basement of Grace and Peace’s building in an urban area on the west side of the city and First Church members serve dinner here and visit with the women on two different dates in December each year.
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    Eden Theological SeminaryEden Seminary
    Eden Theological Seminary is a graduate school preparing women and men for ordained Christian ministry. One of the seven seminaries of the United Church of Christ, Eden is a community that seeks God’s justice and peace in the world.
    For many years, First Congregational UCC has hosted a seminary intern as part of its commitment to fostering leadership in the wider church. First Congregational has had a longstanding relationship with Eden Theological Seminary and is committed to helping those considering ministry learn the finer points of preaching, teaching and working in a community of faith.
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    Evangelical Children’s Home
    In 1858, Reverend Louis Nollau accepted the first child in the German Protestant Orphan’s Home with the goal to offer children a place where they could heal and feel safe. Today, 150 years later and now known as ECH, we are still striving to keep Reverend Nollau’s dream alive.

    For the past 150 years, ECH has remained true to the mission set forth by Rev. Nollau. We have continued to look after the welfare of the children and families who need it the most.

    In the last 10 years, they have continued to expand our services with an entire array of programs that work with children and families in their own communities, while maintaining our residential treatment program on our historic Rock Road campus. The goal of these community support programs is designed to assist families early in their children’s lives to prevent future serious problems.  Their community based services include: The Family Reunification Services, Family Focused Residential Services, Intensive In-Home Services and Foster Care Management.
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    St. Louis Truancy Initiative
    The Truancy Initiative is a voluntary diversion program designed to improve the school attendance of children at risk for excessive truancy and becoming school drop-outs. It is a joint effort by the Family Court – 22nd Circuit, the St. Louis Public Schools, and the St. Louis Police Department. Similar efforts in other cities have demonstrated success in increasing attendance, school performance and graduation rates, as well as reducing daytime juvenile crime rates.

    Back row: Darrell Yates, Deborah Crump, David Vierzba, Jessy Wilkison
    Front: Kelli Eckert, Sandra Thompson, Nikeisha Fortenberry, Bobbie Nunley, Joli Baker
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    Magdalene STL
    Magdalene St. Louis is modeled after the successful Magdalene Nashville program, which was founded in 1997.

    The programs are designed not just to help a subculture of women, but to help change the culture itself.  The organizations stand in solidarity with women who are recovering from sexual abuse, violence, and life on the streets, and who have paid dearly for a culture that buys and sells women like commodities.

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    Living Well of Bethel
    Living Well of Bethel is a virtual (online) faith community.  As we worship and pray, as we care for ourselves and reach out with care to others, the good news of Jesus Christ becomes a beacon of hope and a call to justice and peace.
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    NAMI St. Louis

    NAMI St. Louis’ mission is to improve the quality of life of persons with severe and persistent mental illnesses and their families, and promote and provide community support, education, advocacy and understanding.
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    St Louis Association

    There are over 60 Missouri Mid-South Conference United Church of Christ congregations in the greater St. Louis Metro area. You can find UCC churches in the urban, suburban, small town and even rural settings within this 30 mile radius. Most congregations offer traditional worship services each Sunday, and several have added a contemporary service that may include drama and different types of music such as praise, jazz, and rock. There is also a great range of history among the churches with some congregations proclaiming over 100 years of ministry and others just getting started.

    Even with these many differences, the UCC churches in the St. Louis Association are joined in reaching out to people in need. Some of the UCC missions supported by local churches include Deaconess Foundation, Emmaus Homes, Evangelical Children’s Home, Good Samaritan Home, Lydia’s House, and Neighborhood Houses. Many UCC folk have participated in ecumenical efforts such as Room At the Inn and Habitat for Humanity. Come join us for love, laughter and Christian Ministry.
    Meet First Congregational