Helping others is a big part of what we do as Christians. Read the Gospels and you'll see that Jesus helped others. You'll also see that he invites us to join him in serving those in need.
At FUMC we have a number of missions that reach out to ease the difficulty, pain, and suffering of others. Feel free to ask for more information about a group, to request to join a group in mission, or to suggest starting a new mission.
We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but we're still following Jesus' command to love others as we would love ourselves.
Below you'll see some of the mission in which we are engaged. Other helping ministries will be added, since this page is a work in progress.
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND MISSIONS FOR CHRISTMAS
DIAPER DRIVES FOR THE MAKER'S PLACE
Yes, we collect diapers! We do it to help The Maker’s Place with its mission in Trenton, NJ.
We’ll announce when the next drive will be, although it most like will not happen until the church building reopens. Why is that? Because we get a big pile of diapers and we need a place to put them.
What The Maker’s Place Is and What It Does: “The Maker's Place is a diaper bank and resource center in Trenton, New Jersey. We distribute free disposable diapers for families with children at our "Diaper Depot," and work with families and institutional partners to promote the strengths found in diverse and inclusive community.
“Together, we envision a community where every baby has adequate diapers; every child reaches their first birthday; every parent is connected to a network of mutual support; and every person is a maker in their own life and community.
We have a Prayer Request page on our website now! We are looking for people who can add the requests that we receive through the page to their daily prayers, or who will start a daily prayer time in order to pray for others.
Interested? Please send an email requesting more information and/or asking questions to email@example.com and put "Prayer Team" as your subject. It will get forwarded to our coordinators.
If you know one thing about First UMC, it's probably that we believe food is love. Feeding people who live with food insecurity is crucial ministry, especially during these difficult economic times. Below are the ways that our church feeds the hungry in our community and beyond.
Food Bank Network of Somerset CountyThe Flemington Area Food Pantry
Food and financial donations from First UMC go to the two area agencies above.
Our general donation to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County is macaroni and cheese. They depend on us to help stock their shelves with this particular item.
Other food donations are divided between the two organizations. For the present time we are asking that you bring non-perishable donations to the First UMC parking lot and place them in the large white cooler to the left of the door.
Wonder what to get? Here is a list of food generally needed by food banks & pantries.
Food Items Non-Food Items Spaghetti Sauce (canned, e.g. Hunts) Toilet Paper Shelf Stable Milk (e.g. Parmalat ) Diapers/Wipes Tuna Paper Towels Canned Fruits and Vegetables Deodorant Canned Meats (Spam, Corned Beef, Stew) Hand Soap Canned Spaghetti Toothpaste Cereal (Hot/Cold) Dish Detergent Jelly Laundry Detergent Juice Shampoo Macaroni & Cheese Peanut Butter Soup
If you wish, you also may take food donations directly to the organizations:
Food Bank Network of Somerset County Warehouse, 9 Easy Street, Bound Brook (off Chimney Rock Road, near the UPS facility),Bridgewater; hours: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; please call 732-560-1813 before going over.
The Flemington Area Food Pantry, 154 Route 31 North (across the Walmart parking lot), Flemington The pantry is located across the Walmart parking lot at 154 Route 31 North. Donations are gratefully received at the side rear door during normal hours of operation, Monday through Thursday, 9-11:30 a.m.
Both organizations securely accept online monetary donations
Money donations help the organizations purchase items like fresh meat, vegetables and fruit, as well as toilet paper, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene items, and more.
Another feeding ministry in which First UMC participates is SHIP, or Samaritan Homeless Interim Program.
SHIP normally hosts a soup kitchen at a local church. First UMC volunteers to work the kitchen and serving line on the fourth Wednesday morning of every month.
During the pandemic, however, SHIP has gone mobile and serves the hungry of Somerville from their food truck.
Our group now works, masked, gloved and physically distanced, in the FUMC kitchen on the morning of the fourth Wednesday. At the moment, volunteers at home and volunteers in the church kitchen makes a load of sandwiches. Then our kitchen volunteers bags the lunches to take over to SHIP. They produce around 80 bagged lunches plus extra sandwiches every month.
You can get involved with this hands on ministry. Just email: firstname.lastname@example.org and write "SHIP" in the subject line.
First UMC regularly takes donations of boxed mac’n’cheese to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County on a regular basis. All you need to do is go shopping, pick up some boxes of mac’n’cheese, bring them to First UMC, and put them in the big, plastic white container located to the left of the church entrance in the parking lot.
SIDEWALK FOOD PANTRY
When the coronavirus pandemic began and we closed the church building to keep the public and our congregation safe, we closed up a busy facility. We had a small food pantry in our kitchen so that, when people in need of help arrived at our door, we would be able to give them something to take home.
Once the building was closed, the pastor wanted to find a way to get food into the hands of people who needed food right. So he decided to put a plastic box outside the front of our church by the door to the administration wing. It is now stocked by our parishioners and other folks of good will and serves passersby looking for something to eat.
You are welcome to help keep the Sidewalk Food Pantry stocked. If you want to help, you don't need to contact anyone. Just check the pantry, see what it needs, buy the food, and help us keep it stocked.
What to buy for the Sidewalk Pantry: Anything with a pop-top lid that can be eaten on the street. Vegetables are not popular with our clientele (even though they're good for you), instead meat and tuna get taken most, as do individually packaged foods and snacks. A good thing to keep in mind is that the people who come to our little pantry may be homeless and probably do not have access to things like a can opener or boiling water. So keep it simple, please!
Thank you! Food really is love!
OTHER MISSIONS AND MINISTRIES
Twice a year, First UMC hosts homeless families who are part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County (IHN).
IHN's purpose is to serve "homeless families with children in a three-phase approach to combat homelessness. Religious congregations and volunteers are the backbone of the agency, providing shelter, meals, financial support and advocacy. Throughout the process, families receive expert case management and support services from a dedicated staff of social workers and mental health counselors. A private, nonprofit, IHNSC is part of a national network of homeless shelters providing a community response to homelessness through the involvement of interdenominational religious congregations." (ihnsc.org)
In the past, IHN families would live at First UMC for a week in four rooms over the administration area. We provided our guests with meals, comfortable surroundings, and friendship during their stay.
We were scheduled to host families during the last week of March, which was when the pandemic hit New Jersey hard. Like every other organization and business, our church closed its build for safety's sake. IHN was able to house families at a local motel, so we changed our approach. We provided money to pay for their rooms and had volunteers make meals for the families and bring them to the IHN house (where the food then would be distributed to the families).
We are scheduled to house IHN guests again in October, but it is unclear whether they will be staying with us or will be in a motel. Either way, we still will help IHN with their mission to homeless families. Even before October arrives, donations are welcomed by IHN. If you would like to do this, you may do this through First UMC (mail us a check or send a donation through Zelle - but be sure to specify that it is for IHN). You also can donate directly to IHN. Go to https://www.ihnsc.org/ and click the blue DONATE button at the top of their page. That will take you to a list of ways that you can help, including how to make a monetary donation directly to IHN.
Since we do not know at this time what the fall will look like, we're ready either to house families at our church or provide motel costs and meals. This moment in history is all about the ability to improvise and respond as the situation requires so that we will continue to be in mission to the homeless families of our community.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is the UMC’s humanitarian relief and development arm. Through this agency, you will have an impact on people worldwide.
UMCOR usually is among the first relief agencies on the scene when a disaster occurs. It also is active in helping communities with sanitation and clean water, among other things. Want to know more or donate? Go here: https://umcmission.org/umcor/