The Mission of historic First Church is to bring diverse people of metropolitan Buffalo together to follow Jesus Christ through worshiping God, fostering spiritual growth and serving the community.
As we live out our mission statement, the CMO Committee attempts to serve the community. There are several ministries the CMO committee supports and begs the congregation to give of their time and talent to support as well.
1. Friends of the Night People is a charitable organization that helps the poor, homeless and destitute in Buffalo. They provide food, clothing, medical care, counseling and hope to those in need. All services are provided free of charge without a sliding income scale. They rely on the generosity of volunteers and contributors. The CMO committee and whatever volunteers we can gather serve food at Friends of the Night People five times a year. Itís a very small commitment, but very fulfilling and very helpful.
2. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population in Western New York is families. We donít like to think of children in our own community being without a home but every night families with kids seek emergency shelter. There is, however, actually an easy way to help.
Family Promise of Western New York is an emergency shelter program for families with children which is supported by several local faith communities, including First Presbyterian Church. Fourteen congregations host the families in their own church buildings, providing sleeping areas and meals for up to three families, four times each year. Each host congregation has others to help them. Our church is a support to Grace Lutheran Church on Cazenovia Street. Each time Grace serves, we are the volunteer hosts on Sunday from about 12:30 until 8:30 PM, including providing a dinner to share with the parents and kids. This is not only a meaningful way to live our faith, it is also an enjoyable way to give a couple of hours four times a year.
Because every volunteer is not available each time we are asked, we need a larger base of hosts. We serve in three shifts when itís our turn, so no one needs to stay more than two to three hours. We need those who will provide part of the dinner and those who will just host, visit with family members who want to talk or play, or just be a supportive presence for families experiencing crisis. Hosts always serve in pairs. Can you help? If we donít find more volunteers, we will have to give up this important ministry. Please consider giving a couple hours just a few times a year.
3. The Lyon Food Pantry ó Every Tuesday we give out 20 bags of groceries to our neighbors in need. We live out our mission statement serving the community by feeding the hungry. This is an ongoing ministry and help is very much needed giving out the food bags every Tuesday at 12:30, making up food bags and shopping.
4. VOICE-Buffalo (VOICE) is an interracial, urban-suburban coalition of 28 faith-based congregations and community, business and labor leaders of Buffalo and Erie County.
VOICE draws together people of many denominations and income levels to act powerfully on local, regional, state and national issues of justice and equity through community-building, negotiation with decision-makers, and direct action. VOICE supports its members through congregational and leadership development, in addition to engagement in direct action within their own neighborhoods.
In cooperation with a wide range of other groups in the region, VOICE brings the power of our shared faith-values into the public arena in order to shape the decisions that affect the quality of life throughout Erie County. Gregg Borland is the representative to VOICE Buffalo from First Presbyterian. At the last general meeting, he carried the FPC banner alone because we donít have enough volunteers.
These are our 4 main ongoing ministries. Of, course there are others. If you could find it in your heart to spend an hour or two of your time helping the less fortunate, please talk to me about what you would like to do. I need your time and talent.
Susan Koeppel, CMO Chair