In a complex and ever changing world, our mission efforts focus on sharing our gifts and spreading God’s love to our neighbors and to the world God made and loves. The mission statement of First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette reflects what we as a congregation hold dear:
Embraced by God’s sustaining love that is true and constant for every generation, we are called to joyfully —
- Engage in inspiring worship that builds on a rich Presbyterian heritage and is at the center of our life together
- Grow deeper in our daily faith through guided opportunities for education, reflection, discernment, and service
- Create a community of fellowship and mission that shares our gifts and spreads God’s love to our neighbors and to the world God made and loves.
Understanding and gratefully embracing our mission, we share our gifts of time, talent, and resources to create positive change in the world as we work to become a more faithful community in our witness.
“Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear . . .” As described in the words of Isaiah, we follow Christ’s lead as disciples and feed those who come to the table. We carry out His work supporting local efforts. [more...]
Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness
An illness, a merger, a fire: there many reasons why any one of us could suddenly find ourselves out of a home. To help break the cycle of homelessness, we work with a number of nonprofit community agenies that help put families back on their feet with counseling, job-hunting assistance, safe shelter, and transitional housing. [more...]
As a congregation, we support the work of Presbyterian Church USA (PC(USA))and its Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly. Locally, the Presbytery of Chicago supports 300 clergy and 50 candidates in preparation for ministry, the development and redevelopment of churches, and Presbyterian camps at Saugatuck, Michigan, where we reinvigorate our faith on our annual family retreat. The General Assembly supports global service and witness, ecumenical partnerships, and mission recruitment. PC(USA) places 200 mission workers on assignment annually.
We also join fellow Presbyterians in the following special Sunday offerings:
- At Easter, One Great Hour of Sharing supports ministries of disaster response such as Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, refugee assistance and resettlement, and community development efforts that help people find safe refuge, start new lives, and work together to strengthen their families and communities.
- The Peacemaking Offering supports the efforts of the Presbyterian Church to live out a deeper commitment to peacemaking as part of our faithfulness to God. Each congregation is encouraged to retain 25% of the offering to use for local ministries of peacemaking within the church and its community.
- The Pentecost Offering provides a direct way to meet the needs of children at risk, youth, and young adults. Congregations are encouraged to keep 40% of the offering to support ministry with children at risk in their communities.
- Christmas Joy: Half of the proceeds support Presbyterian-related racial and ethnic education, and half are distributed to the Board of Pensions for support to retired and active church workers
Through the Giving Tree, congregation members reach out to fill Christmas wish-lists provided by community organizations such as Association House, Erie Neighborhood House, and Orchard Village. But we also provide year-round support to a variety of organizations that help build self-sufficiency, strengthen low-income families, build important skills, and promote physical and emotional health and wellness. These organizations include Christopher House, Haven Youth, Samaritan Counseling Center, and Family Service Center.
On Sundays, the first thing our Young Disciples do after bounding up to the front of the church is drop their change into the box for the Heifer Project. Their pennies add up quickly, buying goats, chickens, rabbits, hives of honeybees, and heifers that help families around the world build income and sustainable food sources. For several years running, the Heifer Project has been voted the favorite cause of our children, and it’s easy to see why. Just a few cents can buy training, cute animals, and an opportunity to rise above poverty.
We support our global neighbors in other ways as well, with donations to support Gatina United Church in Nairobi, Kenya, and Opportunity International.
Our work with Gatina United Church began in 2002, when we donated $50,000 toward the purchase of property to build a church in the Gatina slum of Nairobi, Kenya. This was done in partnership with Lavington United Church of Nairobi, and later with the support of Winnetka Presbyterian Church. From the initial construction of the church, programs have expanded to include a heath clinic operating 5 days a week, an after-school program with electricity for studying, Sunday school classrooms, and bathroom facilities.
To help alleviate continued suffering in conflict areas, we also sustain the efforts of Hands of Peace in Glenview, Illinois, an interfaith organization dedicated to fostering peace in the Middle East, person by person. They bring together students from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to learn about peaceful coexistence. In dialogue sessions throughout the program, Hands of Peace introduces American teens to the conflict as they meet with their Middle Eastern contemporaries. Friends of Sabeel works in the U.S. and Canada to support the vision of Sabeel, an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states, Palestine and Israel.
Encouraging literacy, helping at-risk high school students graduate with employable skills, and helping students stay in touch with their Christian heritage are the three primary goals of our support to education. Lake View Academy, University Christian Ministry at Northwestern University, the Warming House Youth Center in Wilmette, Agape House at the University of Illinois—Chicago, (UIC), the Rochelle Lee Fund, and Kemmerer Village. We have also supported the Seraj Library in Palestine, and Holy Cross School in Belize.
First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette is entrusted with the stewardship of endowment funds. Every year, our Endowment committee considers requests for benevolences. Examples of organizations we have funded include the Enterprising Kitchen, Housing Opportunity for Women, The Infant Welfare Society, La Casa Norte, and San Miguel Schools.