“God call us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family…” Grounded in this Statement of Faith from the United Church of Christ, members and youth are encouraged to participate in a variety of mission and service opportunities locally, nationally and internationally. Each year the mission trip planning team explores opportunities for youth and adults to participate in service as well as environmental, cultural and spiritual learning through the mission trip program. High school youth and adults of all ages can make a difference in the lives of “strangers” while learning about themselves and their faith through the mission trip program.
In the past First Church mission trip participants have “made a difference” through work projects and education in Maine, South Carolina, Washington DC, Pine Ridge South Dakota, the Dominican Republic and the Heifer International Learning Center at Overlook Farm in Rutland Massachusetts. The Mission Trip Planning Team guides each trip by identifying support organizations at the location, assessing the values and goals of the mission, coordinating travel, identifying adult leadership, and guide fund-raising for the trip. Check this website throughout the year for information on upcoming trips.
Heifer International’s Learning Center at Overlook Farm
Summer 2014 (Date to be announced)
This trip was developed to give rising sixth to eighth grade youth an opportunity to serve in a mission trip and learn about world-wide cultures as well as the need to care for our planet. The program is open to older youth and adults too. This five-day experience is grounded in Heifer philosophy:
“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self- reliance. We do this by providing them the tools they need to sustain themselves…”
Participants learn about farming and help with daily farm chores such as feeding animals, milking and herding goats, harvesting, cleaning animal corals and more. They will experience living in one of the countries of the global village as a family, in an adult guided role-play, where they will make meals and follow unique cultural norms. They will participate in learning activities that will inform them about the utilization of the earth’s resources and ways to address environmental concerns.
This is an exciting opportunity to learn how each of us, young and old can “make a difference” in ending poverty and caring for our planet. Applications for this trip are now available.
April 26 – May 3, 2014
This spring 18 high school youth and adults will volunteer with Outreach360 in Nicaragua. This week long cultural experience is grounded in the mission and philosophy of Outreach360:
“Outreach360 serves disadvantaged children burdened by the limitations of poverty through our dynamic education programs powered by our compassionate and devoted volunteers. We believe that every child should be free from the shackles of poverty, and ultimately have the opportunity to live a life of choice. By working together and harvesting the power of human potential we believe we can make this vision a reality.”
As Outreach360 volunteers we will have an opportunity to interact with children living in a disadvantaged area of Nicaragua called Jinotega. We will be involved in bringing them educational opportunities, which will enable them to live a life of choice – thereby breaking the cycle of poverty.
A typical volunteer week with Outreach360 is a powerful blend of active volunteer service work teaching in Outreach360 education programs, informative talks by in-country staff regarding local history and culture, free time to relax or explore, and organized cultural activities to build greater understanding of the people you are serving. Mission Trip Information Application begins in early September for spring mission trips. Check this website early, because trips fill quickly.
Mission Trip Information
All applications (Trip Application) must be accompanied by a deposit. Deposits are non-refundable unless another applicant is available to take your place. An application is not considered completed unless it is accompanied by a deposit check – see the form for more details on the deposits.
A limited amount of scholarship aid is available for First Church Members; fill out a Scholarship Application to apply.
Preparing a team for a mission trip requires monthly meetings for team building and planning fundraising events. The fundraising helps to offset the trip expenses, but each individual is responsible for the cost of the trip. Participants are encouraged to do individual fundraising through friends and family.