LEARN & SERVE : Missions Work & Outreach

At First Baptist, caring for and sharing with others is an essential part of our "mission" for God. American Baptists are called to be the hands and feet of God here on Earth. We know that evangelism takes place at home, at school, at work, and in neighborhoods. It is by giving of our time and love to others as Christ would that people see how God can work in their lives. First Baptist is a leader in American Baptist missions work in the Western Pennsylvania region. We consistently give generously of our time and money to help support local charities and national American Baptist-funded mission programs.

Board of Missions
The Board of Missions organizes the missions efforts in the church. Not only do they manage all of the needs of the committees and groups under their leadership, they also contribute to local missions efforts in the community and financially assist our church's missionaries. The board hosts and collects for the four major offerings that are held throughout the year to help assist national American Baptist programs One Great Hour of Sharing, the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering, America for Christ and the World Mission Offering. They bring in speakers for church from around the regional area to talk about the ongoing outreach efforts and allocate monies to the many area agencies they support. The Missions Board meets regularly once a month to plan and discuss the ongoing missions efforts of the church and to have devotionals.

Circle of Concern
This women's circle is a vibrant missions group within First Baptist Church. Meeting twice a month for lunch and sewing work, they are a constant source of assistance for charitable causes around the area and in the upkeep of the church. The women contribute hundreds of handmade items to the local Medi-Home Hospice organization every year large and small memorial bears, "darn-it" dolls, neck rolls and hand hand exercise "carrots" for the infirm. From the extra money they raise, they also contribute to local organizations and to the American Baptist One Great Hour of Sharing offering. They are constantly helping to keep the church in tip-top shape as well. Recently, they paid for two new sets of liturgical par aments for the pulpit, upgraded the kitchenette off of the backstage in the basement, donated a new freezer for the pantry and raised money for renovating the Fellowship Hall.

Food Drives
First Baptist holds two food drives during the course of the year. One is held every fall leading up to Thanksgiving, and the other is held during the Easter season each spring. Church members donate needed unperishable food items, from peanut butter, canned fruit and veggies to rice, soup, cereal and canned meats. All of the collected supplies are taken to the local Food Pantry, where they are handed out to needy local families.

Our Missionaries
Rev. Tom and Terry Myers are our missionaries to Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a country
still struggling to develop a successful free-market economy. In the capital city of Sofia, where the Myers live and work, they bring the Word of God to people in a real way. They provide micro-enterprise loans that enable individuals and families to start their own businesses or to expand existing businesses. In addition, Tom helps local churches and families by providing animals, seeds, fertilizers, and the necessary training so they can raise some of their own food. Terry works with Roma children to learn English in a Wednesday after-school class held at the Sofia Baptist Church. They also host mission teams from the U.S. who come to do in-country projects and to bring awareness to Bulgaria's dire poverty and issues like human trafficking.To find out more about the Myers family, go here.

The Mitten Tree Project
The Mitten Tree, originally begun as an outreach of the Fidelity Sunday school class, is now a missions effort the entire congregation paticipates in every winter. A Christmas tree located in the Fellowship Hall is an opportunity for the church to provide some winter warmth to local area families. Donations of new hats, gloves, mittens, socks, scarves and other non-food items are collected every December. As Christmas approaches, the collected items are donated to the local Food Pantry, who passes them out each year, along with foodstuffs, so local needy families can have a warm Christmas knowing that their necessities are provided for. You are welcome to join us this year and hang items on the tree or deposit them in the box provided. It's more than just a "mitten tree."

Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child, is an annual project founded by Samaritan's Purse that is co-sponsored between the Boards of Missions and Christian Education and run by the children of the church. In the fall, when our children go out and buy back-to-school supplies for themselves, Children Education buy school supplies too, for needy children in desperate situations around the world. These items, purchased through donations from the congregation and local community, along with simple toys, jewelry, candy and toiletries, are packed into plastic shoe boxes and delievered to children around the world by Christmas. Since 1993, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been packed, shipped, and delivered by Operation Christmas Child. The children of First Baptist love the hands-on involvement in this simple, hands-on missions project, while learning to focus on the true meaning of Christmas Jesus Christ. Our chapter of Operation Christmas Child is named in memory of Rachel Core, a teenager in our church.

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