Reaching out to someone in need, advocating on behalf of the oppressed, offering a helping hand- these are not Christian extracurricular activities, but core requirements for faithful living. The outreach opportunities at the First Presbyterian Church are not reserved for members only; all persons desiring to make a difference in the lives of others are welcome to participate.
The prophet Isaiah, in the Old Testament, reminds us of the true worship that God demands, “Is not this the fast that I choose; to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them…?” (Isaiah 58:6). In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus invites his followers to inherit the kingdom, because in treating the least of the community, they do the same for Jesus himself: “I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:31-46).
At the First Presbyterian Church, we strive to offer a variety of opportunities to live out these biblical instructions to serve others. Five nights a week, for six months during the year, First Presbyterian Church brings the homeless into its house. In our case, we provide hospitality and a warm bed to ten men as a part of the Emergency Shelter Network, a consortium of synagogues and churches across the city that have been housing the city’s homeless for over twenty-five years.
Every Sunday morning and throughout the week, people bring canned and nonperishable goods to support the food pantry of a Presbyterian congregation in Brooklyn that serves the families of incarcerated persons. A basket of food sits upon our communion table, reminding us that the communion table is meant for the bread of life, literally and spiritually.
On a daily basis, our Mellin-Macnab Building opens its door to community organizations, 12-step groups, as well as an after-school program.
These are only a few examples of the volunteer opportunities available at the First Presbyterian Church. The outreach ministry of the church is constantly evolving to meet the needs of our community and our world.
We are united in the faith that calls us into service, encouraged with the hope of God’s presence in our midst, and inspired to love our neighbor and the stranger with equal fervor.
Click on the links at left to learn more about programs at First Church and in our community.