First Church Local Missions
Contact us for information on current volunteer opportunities.
JUMP – the Joint Urban Ministry Project, Inc.
First Church provides significant financial, volunteer and staff support, and donate outreach center, office, storage space and parking to the Joint Urban Ministry Project, Inc., an interfaith ministry supported by more than 25 area faith communities. Founded in 1988, and housed at First Church since 1990, JUMP provides much needed direct services, hospitality, referrals, advocacy and spiritual care to families and individuals in need in our community. Throughout the pandemic JUMP has provided services online through JUMP’s FLEX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM and is currently open for “in-person” services on Thursday mornings at 9am.
We partner with the Burlington Friends Meeting to provide an every Saturday 8am community breakfast and bag lunch at First Church. First Church provides space, parking, and key volunteer and staff support to this vital community service. Volunteers are needed monthly to make sandwiches. To learn more about helping to make sandwiches, contact our Small Potatoes Coordinator, Reid Willis
Dismas of Vermont
With several locations in Vermont, Dismas House provides transitional housing for recently incarcerated persons. For more than 30 years, groups (including youth) and individual volunteers from First Church have prepared, donated and shared home cooked meals on the third Thursday monthly with the residents of Burlington’s Buell Street Dismas House. To learn more about providing a meal contact our Dismas Volunteer Coordinator, Donal Dugan.
Meals on Wheels
Church members serve as volunteer drivers and deliverers for many routes each month. To Learn more about Age Well’s Meals on Wheels program CLICK HERE. To contact Meals on Wheels directly use this LINK.
VIA – Vermont Interfaith Action
Vermont Interfaith Action – VIA‘s mission is to create solutions to systemic issues that prevent our most vulnerable citizens from enjoying the quality of life God intends for us all. First Church is currently involved in several local and statewide organizing efforts directed at ending systemic racism.
First Church Outreach Team Programs & Offerings
Our First Church Outreach Team organizes a variety of special offerings and outreach programs:
- Silent Vigil for Racial Justice – Along with other Burlington area congregations, since June 2020, we have gathered in solidarity for racial justice on the first Sunday monthly from 1:00 to 1:30pm on the front lawn of First Church. All are invited to bring a sign and join in.
- Share Christmas – and the annual Christmas Wrap – provide gifts and food to families in need at Christmas.
- We participate in the United Church of Christ‘s – Neighbors In Need and One Great Hour of Sharing special offerings.
- The Outreach Team selects recipients for specials offerings at Easter and Christmas. Recent recipients have included: The New Alpha Missionary Church (following the tragic and unexpected passing of their minister, the Rev. Christopher Von Cockrell); the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, and Vermont Interfaith Action.
- Free Legal Clinics – our Outreach Team and Legal Clinic volunteers coordinate monthly, Sunday afternoon Pro-Bono Legal Clinics available to anyone in the community – September through November and January through May. Currently a phone-in service, information about our next Legal Clinic is available by contacting the Church Office.
COTS-Committee on Temporary Shelter
First Church volunteers have long supported the mission of Burlington’s Committee On Temporary Shelter. Many of our members have participated in the annual COTS Walkathon in May and volunteered during the COTS Phonathon in November. We hosted the very first COTS Walkathon in 1990! Several church members are long-time volunteers at COTS and for many years we have donated space for the COTS Annual Meeting and Breakfast.
The Church Building and Property
We see the use of the building as a strong aspect of our mission and ministry to the wider community. Church programs and partnerships that reflect our mission and ministry that are housed at First Congregational Church include:
- The Possibility Shop: Church volunteers manage our thrift shop benefiting both the church and the wider community.
- New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church: Since 1990, our church has rented space to the New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church of Burlington, Vermont’s first African American Congregation.
- AA, Al-Anon: For many decades First Congregational Church has made space available at a modest rate to AA and Al-Anon meetings.
- JUMP (Joint Urban Ministry Project): JUMP is an interfaith emergency assistance program housed at First Congregational Church, assisting many Vermont households (families and single adults) each week. First Church supports JUMP with significant financial, volunteer and staff support, and donates space for the JUMP outreach center, the JUMP staff office, some storage space and parking for JUMP staff and volunteers.
- Ronald McDonald House: Burlington’s Ronald McDonald House is housed (next door to the church) in our former parsonage. The renovated building was leased to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Burlington for $1.00 per year for more than 30 years. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Burlington Church began the process of purchasing the building and property in 2021. Many church members have served as volunteers at the house.