First Presbyterian combines people’s search for meaningful and unique Christmas gifts with a showcase of the church’s missions at its annual Mission Fair and Alternative Gift Market. Over the first two Sundays of Advent, attendees can learn about what the church’s missions do and how they impact the communities, both locally and globally. At the same time, members can buy gifts associated with those missions, such as coffee from Connect Rwanda or woven scarves from Guatemala, or contribute to help missions thrive, such as buying books for the second-graders that volunteers tutor or trees to help reforest Haiti. Attendees also may purchase goods made by entrepreneurs from struggling communities throughout the world.
In 2013, a church volunteer at Georgetown East Elementary School noticed that a teacher had purchased a coat for a student. Concerned there might be other students in need, she approached the Mission Committee, which applied for a $1,000 grant from the Endowment Fund. The church purchased 19 coats that first year for children. Over the years, outreach has expanded to include children at Tyler Heights Elementary and the Robinwood Community Center. Students needing a coat are identified by teachers and guardians. Children receive a NEW coat, eliminating the need for storage and to ensure the correct size is available. This mission is funded by the congregation at the annual Advent Gift Fair. To date, more than 190 coats have warmed a chilly child. VIDEO.
Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR)-Annapolis is a nonprofit organization that serves second graders in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, providing one-on-one literacy tutoring twice a week during the school year. Volunteers meet with students at elementary schools and community centers throughout Anne Arundel County to share books, practice reading skills, and build relationships. STAIR uses a curriculum designed to help children discover the joy of reading, improve academic readiness, and provide training and ongoing support for volunteers. All volunteers are trained. For information, visit homepage, connect on Facebook and Instagram @stairannapolis, or contact Executive Director Laura Iversen. VIDEO.
First Presbyterian supports the Backpack Buddies program at Annapolis Elementary. This program started in November 2011 at the request of Sue Myers, the principal of AES at the time. This is our ninth year! FPC and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church are the core supporters, which could not continue without church members’ generous support each year. The program costs about $11,000 per year. FPC currently raises about $3,000 (raised outside of the budget) and we have several volunteers each week. For 2019, 40 backpacks (53 children) are filled by volunteers each Thursday during the school year for children to take home on Fridays with meals for the weekend. They are given fresh fruit, juices, muffins, breakfast bars, tuna, macaroni and cheese and items that are simple and easy for them to prepare themselves. We are always looking for donations and volunteers. Please contact Kim Chance at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to help.
The Center, a mission project of Baltimore Presbytery, hosts groups for week long and weekend urban mission projects.
Each winter, First Presbyterian houses 25 homeless men during Winter Relief, one of Arundel House of Hope’s programs. During our host week, guests stay in Fellowship Hall where rows of sleeping cots and folding tables are arranged. Delicious meals, hot showers, clean linens, haircuts and even a Bingo night are only part of the experience. Warm and nurturing volunteers dispense a week’s worth of God’s love. In return the volunteers receive back heartfelt appreciation and valuable insights into lives that many times are wrought with difficulties. Read more: Winter Relief Daily Blog.
Over 70 volunteers take part in our hosting week. Night monitors, meal preparers, help desk coordinators, set-up and break-down crews, are just some of the volunteer opportunities available. In many years, we are joined by memberse of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church which helps wtih volunteers and funding. We have been grateful for their help. Planning for each new year begins at the close of the prior year. It takes a full 12 months to be completely prepared for this important service. For more information on this outreach ministry, contact Bonnie Hatchard, Bill Hatchl, or Cathy Starnes.
Church volunteers meet regularly with Food Link volunteers to collect surplus food donated by area grocers, restaurants and caterers, which are given to agencies and clients who assist those in need. FPC members also participate in food donation drives to add to Food Link pantries.
First Presbyterian Church supports Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake and is part of the Anne Arundel County Interfaith Coalition that builds homes for select clients following the founding conviction that every person should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. The coalition began a complete rehab construction in fall 2016 on123 Clay Street in Annapolis. The home was completed in August 2019 and was dedicated in December. The church continues support in between house commitments.
The Light House Shelter provides emergency shelter and transitional housing for area homeless. First Presbyterian volunteers prepare meals, assist in the career counseling, teach GED classes, collect food from members of the congregation and deliver it to the shelter each Sunday in August and participate in fundraisers.
Job-seeking men or women working to overcome the stigma of homelessness, incarceration or substance abuse, are given a second chance and a viable way to get their feet back on the ground through the church’s maintenance intern program.
To apply for the internship, please use this application form.
Sweat Equity & Campus Care have been remarkable traditions at First Presbyterian Church since 1997. Numerous volunteers have worked tirelessly to maintain, restore and enhance our church campus. They have upgraded and refurbished the main building; rebuilt and merged three houses to create the Kinhart Center; created the bricked courtyard and connecting walkways; renovated the Manse; restored the exterior and interior of the historic Zimmerman-Wilson House; and constructed the Winslow Shaw Chapel. This work totals nearly 40,000 square feet of worship, gathering, meeting, office, and living spaces, and was accomplished by volunteers of all ages, skill levels and specialties. The Trustees welcome all members to participate in this on-going maintenance and care of our church campus. Contact John Jamieson, Director of Facilities (firstname.lastname@example.org), for information.