First Presbyterian Church and its Missions and Outreach ministry is embarking on a two-year journey to build a bridge of support to an incarcerated individual through a partnership with Underground Ministries. While the individual is still behind bars, the church begins building the supports needed to prepare this person to return to his or her community upon release from prison.
This work is being guided by a steering subcommittee of the Missions and Outreach ministry.
"The steering committee is unanimous in its belief that this work will not only contribute to our own faith development, but also be a means of positive change for the person we will work with."
To learn more about Underground Ministries see their website here: https://undergroundministries.org/local.
Underground Ministries' Mission
UNDERGROUND MINISTRIES OPENS NEW RELATIONSHIPS OF EMBRACE AND TRUST BETWEEN THE INCARCERATED AND THE COMMUNITIES TO WHICH THEY RETURN—FOR OUR MUTUAL TRANSFORMATION AND RESURRECTION
Buildings and Grounds
A church is its people, and it’s also its physical space. We are blessed to have a beautiful building with a sanctuary, fellowship hall, classrooms, and more. The buildings and grounds committee ensures that the resources of our physical spaces are well cared for and repaired and updated when needed. For example, our church office is being remodeled into a welcoming and inviting space, making it a pleasant place to go to do church business or to meet with the pastor.
The members of the community life team help bring us into communion with each other and the church. Our mission was especially challenging during the pandemic because we were not able to gather in person as we usually do. Instead, we devised other ways of connecting. We drove by members’ homes, brought care packages or baked goodies, took lots of photos of people’s smiles and waves, and created anniversary and new baby celebrations outdoors. The photos became part of our Sunday worship in slide shows that made everyone feel a part of things. New ways and a return to some old ways of connecting are on the horizon. We look forward to connecting with you!
Missions and Outreach
Both locally and around the world, people’s needs are great. We support efforts to help Clallam County residents get food, clothing, and housing. Recently, thanks to the initiative of a whole crew of people from First Presbyterian and throughout the community, a local family has just moved into their brand new home, a Habitat for Humanity collaboration. We support mission partners in Pakistan, Africa and South America. Through those mission partners we support the training of pastors, assist vulnerable children and support peace and reconciliation efforts. Using our resources to send God’s love out into our community and the world gives us joy.
Collaborative work requires people, and the personnel committee ensures that the church has the staff and volunteers it needs to make it run. Many hands keep worship services going smoothly, from those who greet you at the door to the people running the technology upstairs. When a new staff person is needed, we announce the opening and interview candidates. All staff and volunteers have background screening before they can work in the church.
The people engaged in stewardship are like shepherds, guiding resources into the areas where they will be of most benefit. Tirelessly, our treasurer, financial secretary, counters and stewardship committee record and process donations, tithes, and offerings and ensure that they are responsibly used to the benefit of all. Stewardship’s work is like being the headwaters of a stream, from which all church ministries draw life-giving water.
Christian formation or education is important for all Christians, regardless of age. First Presbyterian Church offers opportunities for youth and adults to continue building the tools of their faith by participating in online and in-person Bible studies, book discussion groups, themed conversations, and movie nights. Pastor Matt Paul and church members develop interesting study topics with readings and questions to spur ideas and thoughts. Sessions are conducted in a welcoming and friendly way, no prior knowledge necessary! Won’t you consider joining in?
The church deacons prepare us each month for our celebration of communion, which during the pandemic has meant baking and packaging rolls for people to pick up for in-home, online worship. Now that worship is both at-home and in-person, they ensure that the elements are prepared for both types of worship. The deacons’ service of care extends to each person in the congregation. Deacons are given a “flock,” a list of people whom they call and get to know, extending Christ’s love beyond the sanctuary and out into the world.
The Rev. Dr. Matt Paul is the pastor at First Presbyterian, and his leadership and direction guide all of us more fully into the life of Christ. His sermons help us to discern God’s call and the Spirit’s movement in our lives, his leadership in Christian formation brings fresh perspectives to scripture and the role of faith in society, and his care for people who come seeking solace in times of grief or illness comforts them and reminds them that God’s immense love always surrounds them.
What comfort a soft, warm shawl can give you in times of need! The prayer shawl creators at First Presbyterian weave prayers into each garment as they work on it. Finished shawls receive a blessing in worship and are given to people who could use some comfort, whether times are good or trying. Knowing you are wrapped in prayer each time you put on your shawl heals the soul.
Worship and Music
How do we know which hymns to sing, scripture verses to read, or prayers to recite? These tasks and more are the work of the worship and music teams. The words and songs of worship selected each Sunday are intended to lead us deeper into relationship with God and are modeled on the events in the life of Christ. For example, when the season of Jesus’ birth approaches, Bible readings include the stories of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter and the magi trekking through the desert. The hymns we sing reflect our own desire to be in Jesus’ presence with titles like “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” The words and songs of worship come together to form a liturgy that deepens our faith as we come to know Jesus ever more clearly.