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First Reformed Church supports a number of local, national, and overseas agencies through our annual benevolence budget, Christmas and Easter offerings, the Missioner and Covenanter programs (funded by the Covenant Fund), volunteer support, and other special offerings. The agencies we support include:
Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) - An ecumenical partnership of 58 congregations in 15 denominations who work together in ministries of social service and justice, including emergency food services, a hospitality center for those infected/affected by HIV/AIDS, a summer free lunch program for children, and community wellness initiatives.
SICM - Emergency Food Program - A food pantry providing emergency supplies as well as additional services such as tax preparation, nutritionists, lead testing, and flu shots.
Home Furnishings Program - Provides furniture and household supplies in excellent usable condition to people in need in Schenectady County.
Ellis Hospital Weekend Chaplaincy - Pastoral care for patients at Ellis Hospital.
Samaritan Counseling Center - Interfaith, non-profit counseling and mental health service offering therapy regardless of the ability to pay.
Haven Grief Counseling - Counseling service specifically for those working through the grief process, offered on a sliding fee scale.
City Mission - Multi-service agency offering transitional housing, food services, vocational training, a thrift store, a men's discipleship program, and various community outreach ministries.
Interfaith Community of Schenectady - Increasing understanding and urging cooperation between members of varying religions.
Bethesda House - Interfaith ministry to the homeless, disabled, and economically disadvantaged citizens of Schenectady County, offering daily community meals, housing assistance, case management, and a drop-in center.
Damien Center - Community drop-in center for those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Community Crisis Network - Collaborative effort between several local agencies, providing citizens of Schenectady County with immediate crisis assistance, assessment, and referrals.
Salvation Army Soup Kitchen - Serves free breakfast and lunch every weekday.
Roots and Wisdom - Youth agricultural and community service program that brings together urban, suburban, and rural youth to grow organic vegetables for donation to local food pantries and for sale within the county.
A Different Way In - A free literacy program for students with dyslexia and other severe reading difficulties.
Habitat for Humanity - Builds single family homes with gifts-in-kind materials and volunteer labor to keep costs low, and holds a 30 year/0% mortgage for qualified families. Habitat helps break the cycle of low income renting of substandard housing by helping these families become home owners, vesting them in the community, creating clean, secure environments for their children, and building Schenectady's tax base. Habitat also runs the ReStore, which sells donated furniture, appliances, and building materials to help finance building projects.
SAFE, Inc. - provides outreach, counseling, referrals, and shelter for runaway, homeless, and sexually exploited youth.
Carver Community Center - responds to the varied needs of individuals and families in Schenectady and develops new initiatives to meet those ever-changing needs. Some programs include child care, after school programming, and suicide prevention initiatives.
Kairos Prison Ministry - Addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated persons and their families.
Hamilton Hill Arts Center - Cultural arts center serving at-risk youth in the urban neighborhood of Hamilton Hill in Schenectady.
Reformed Church World Service - Works with worldwide partners to alleviate hunger and poverty, work for justice, and meet needs in crisis.
South African Diaconal Ministry - Helps South African congregations become economically self-reliant, support health care programs for the chronically ill, and train church leaders.
Topologo Hospice - In-patient and out-patient health and hospice services in Rustenberg, South Africa, particularly for those infected with HIV/AIDS.
Dick and Carolyn Otterness - Missionaries in Hungary serving the Roma population.
Missionary working with Muslim-Christian Relations in the Middle East - For security reasons, we do not publish this missionary's name or location. Contact Stacey Midge for more information.
Interfaith Impact - A statewide coalition of Protestant, Reform Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, and other faith traditions working together for the common good through progressive religious advocacy.
NY State Council of Churches - An ecumenical organization through which Christian denominations can work effectively toward common goals that are better achieved through cooperation.
National Council of Churches - An ecumenical consortium of Christian churches.
World Council of Churches - A fellowship of 349 denominations worldwide, seeking unity, a common witness, and Christian service.
Bread for the World - Engages in political advocacy to urge national leaders to take steps to end hunger.
Hunger Action Network - Statewide anti-hunger coalition that combines grassroots organizing with statewide research, education, and advocacy to address the root causes of hunger.
Room for All - Supports, educates, and advocates toward the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in all aspects of the life and ministry of the Reformed Church in America.
New Brunswick Theological Seminary - One of two RCA seminaries, educating ministers and other church leaders for effective ministry.
Campus Protestant Ministry at Union College - Offers opportunities for service, guidance, care, fellowship, and fun for students of Union College.
Internships - We provide two internships every summer for high school and college students to work with local non-profits, such as SICM and Bethesda House.
Regional Synod of Albany - Serves in partnership with classes and congregations to promote healing through revitalization and to help nurture through discipleship.
Camp Fowler - A Christian camp and retreat center that seeks to be a place of hospitality where all are called to live more intentionally in community, more graciously in simplicity, and more consciously as caregivers to creation.
Joan Nicole Prince Home - Provides safe, comfortable, and caring residence for terminally ill patients in need of a home during their final days.
We also participate in a number of volunteer service opportunities and mission projects. Some recent service opportunities have included:
Flood recovery - After the area was devastated by floods following Hurricane Irene, FRC partnered with people in the Stockade district of Schenectady, Schoharie, Rotterdam Junction, Prattsville, and other surrounding communities to provide supplies and help rebuild. These efforts continue through organizations like Schoharie Recovery and the Flood Recovery Coalition of Schenectady County. We also assisted with relief and recovery supplies and volunteers following Hurricane Sandy.
Midnight Run - A group of volunteers takes a van to New York City to distribute clothing, blankets, hygiene items, a hot meal, and bagged lunches to homeless persons on the streets of Manhattan.
Mission trips - Our senior high youth, along with adult chaperones, travels annually to engage in service and mission and to learn about another culture. Recent locations have included Toronto, Brooklyn, Louisiana, Mexico, Kentucky, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Dominican Republic. We also send occasional groups of adults, most recently to South Africa to serve in the Topologo Hospice. In February 2016, our youth group will travel to Palermo, Italy, to partner with the Waldensian Church in their work with immigrant and refugee populations.
Local missions - We serve our community through volunteering both individually and in groups from FRC. Some of the ministries in which we are engaged include: serving meals at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, City Mission, and Bethesda House; participating in the SICM Day of Service; hosting the Different Way In reading program; and more. We invite you to join us in seeking ways to help better our city and our world!
Mission dormitory - We can accommodate visiting mission groups in our dormitories, with access to cots/air mattresses, showers, and kitchen facilities. Contact Rev. Stacey Midge at email@example.com to inquire about available dates.