Category

Mission

February 18, 2019

Are you looking to serve others in the world? Here is our list of global mission trips for 2019-20

  • Cuba/March 7-10: This year’s trip will celebrate the signing of the covenant between First Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba. This ecumenical seminary educates ministers and lay people in Cuba, where a generation of citizens has not experienced open worship opportunities and is not freely sharing its faith in God. Registration is already closed due to the length of time required to get the necessary visas. If you are interested in going in 2020, contact Elizabeth Little.
  • Mexico/Fall 2019: Contact Martha Eubank to learn more about this trip.
  • Russia/Summer 2020: Begin making plans now to go on this mission trip to Russia to continue our support of the ministry of Hope Baptist Church in Ryazan. Mary Elizabeth Coley can give you more information.
  • Intra-National Mission/Fall 2019: Each year our church sends a mission team to an area in the US that is recovering from a natural disaster. Teams have gone to New York City to help with the recovery from Superstorm Sandy and to eastern North Carolina to help rebuild after the hurricanes of recent years. Contact David Burton for more information.
January 31, 2019

Moving Ministry/Feb. 9/Crisis Assistance Furniture Bank/9 a.m.

FPC’s Moving Ministry helps a family move from homelessness or transition into a permanent home. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Crisis Assistance Furniture Bank, 333 Dalton Road. There is work for friends and family, including teenagers and their friends. Sign up online.

January 10, 2019

Plan now to be part of the mission trip to Bayonnais, Haiti. The cost for the trip will be $1300-1400, and  scholarship support is available. Contact Glenna Cook (glennadc@gmail.com, 704.651.8017) or Amy Hockett (hocketta@gmail.com, 704.277.3223) for information.

December 28, 2018

Hear about our mission work in Haiti during worship and during brunch during the Formation hour.

Preaching during worship at 9 and 11 a.m. will be Pastor Actionnel Fleurisima, who works with OFCB (Organization of the Christian  Force of Bayonnais) in Bayonnais, Haiti. During the Global Mission Brunch at 10 a.m., all are invited to meet and hear from Bill Nathan, a Haitian drummer who will tell the story of his connection to OFCB. The brunch is free and your RSVP (online or January 13 and 20 in Wood Fellowship Hall) on will help us plan for food.

OFCB and Actionnel work with a school, medical clinic and a non-denominational church in the mountains of the Bayonnais region of Haiti, where Actionnel grew up and returned to raise his family after receiving his education in Haiti and in the U.S. The area is home to tens of thousands residents, struggling for daily survival, many trying to support families with subsistence farming.

 

Bill was forced into slavery after the death of his mother when he was seven. He has since been able to study drumming in Senegal and Gambia, Africa, and performs at churches and universities around the U.S. He now works with other children who have been enslaved and will tell us about his connection to OFCB’s work in Bayonnais.

Help support the Youth Mission Fund! Stop by the Giving Wall on Sundays, January 27-February 24, and choose an envelope with the amount you would like to donate. You can also donate here beginning January 27.

December 17, 2018

Students at Westerly Hills Academy still need tutors. Currently, 18 students who could benefit from tutoring aren’t being served.

 

Training is available for tutors as part of HELPS, a reading intervention program supported by both Read Charlotte and Augustine Literacy Project. Tutors work with third-grade students for one hour per week, or tutoring “buddies” can sign up together for one shift every other week.  The easy-to-follow curriculum is provided. Progress is graphed at the end of each lesson, and seeing improvement is exciting for both tutor and student. Sign up online   or email Melissa Walker with questions.

June 29, 2018

 

Recently, our high school youth were in Guatemala, helping out in schools, bringing musical instruments to students and more. Here are a few photos from their week away.

“The Guatemala mission trip was such an eye opening experience for us as youth, showing that happiness does not come from substance. We saw people living in a beautiful country surrounded by features that aren’t commonly seen in the US (i.e. volcanoes), and children growing up with things that we would consider worn down or cheap. It was amazing to see how we learned that we could benefit the lives of the people by our presence and assistance instead of our money.” – Riley Williamson

 

“My experience in Guatemala was life changing. I loved traveling throughout the beautiful mountain ranges, meeting the amazing Spanish and Mayan speaking natives.” – Charlie Riddick

You can view all the photos from the trip here.

February 5, 2018

First Presbyterian Church will take a team to Villa Infantil Maya (VIM), a residence that enables Mayan students to attend middle and high school away from home in a spirit-filled, caring environment.

During the mission trip, First Presbyterian team members will stay in the dorm, interact with the VIM students and perform some construction work to improve the facility. Past groups have painted, sanded and installed concrete. A variety of tasks suit all ages and abilities.

If you are interested in being a part of this exciting and long-running mission, contact Martha Eubank for more details.

The approximate cost for the trip will be $1300-$1400, with scholarship help available.

Here is the anticipated itinerary:

  • Monday: Leave around 9:30 a.m.  Arrive in Cancun in time to shop for supplies for the week.
  • Tuesday-Friday: Work at VIM, meet the students and visit the schools VIM students attend.
  • Friday afternoon: Travel to the quaint colonial town of Valladolid for an afternoon/evening of R&R.
  • Saturday: Return to Charlotte

Watch this video to learn more about the work of Accion Ministries, our mission partners in the Yucatan.

August 30, 2017

Make a difference in the life of a child this school year by helping out at Westerly Hills Academy.

Heart Math Tutoring: Heart volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring for 30 minutes or an hour each week from late September to early May. Sign up for slots Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30-9:30 a.m. or 9:30-10:30 a.m. at  www.hearttutoring.org.

Augustine Project Literacy Tutoring: Tutor a struggling reader and become one of more than 130 Augustine tutors in our community who are changing students’ lives, one lesson at a time. Augustine Literacy Project provides free, one-on-one instruction in reading, writing and spelling to struggling low-income students. Training is offered this fall and winter. Sign up online for training.

Success Coaching: Communities In Schools (CIS) volunteers help Westerly Hills Academy students develop skills in goal setting and navigate making decisions. CIS Success Coaches meet with a student weekly (minimum of twice a month) at an established time during the school day. Interested?  Sign up for training online.

Work with one teacher all year: Spend one hour a week getting to know a Westerly Hills teacher and assisting specific students in his or her classroom. You can select the time and day that fits with your schedule.

If you can’t get to Westerly Hills during the school day, there are plenty of other ways to get involved.

Project Backpack: FPC believes no child should worry about where their next meal is coming from over the weekend. Provide a weekly food bag (individually or with a group) for a child at Westerly Hills Academy each week from October May. Four-five bags should be brought at the first of the month and placed in the grocery cart in the hallway behind the sanctuary. Sign up online.

Support a Teacher through the Apple Tree: Contribute to a classroom by purchasing items selected from the PW (Presbyterian Women) apple tree located in the historic lobby. Items are due by September 24.

Community Cleanup Day: Work with staff and parents to make Westerly Hills beautiful from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, October 7. The to-do list includes painting, gardening and a staff lounge makeover. If you can’t make the cleanup day, you can contribute garden soil, Keurig coffee makers (used is okay), K-cups (tea & coffee), curtains, rugs, chairs and paint for bathrooms (bright colors are great and used paint is fine). Items may be dropped off behind the sanctuary through Thursday, October 5. Sign up online.

Serve on a Ministry Team: If you have a passion for our programs but can’t get to Westerly Hills or church during the day, you can contribute by participating on a ministry team! Teams help organize and plan ministries like BELL summer camp, Camp Grier, holiday outreach and Project Backpack.  Contact Heather Herring for additional information.

Contact Heather Herring if you want to know more about any of these ways to support Westerly Hills Academy.

August 7, 2017

Sixty precious scholars left our church campus a few weeks ago, and we are missing them! They brought such joy, energy and light into our church this summer.

I have volunteered with BELL in the past with my children. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the program and how it benefits the families with whom we partner at Westerly Hills. I know now that I didn’t have a clue. What I learned this summer blew my mind and made me so very proud to be a part of this program and our church.

First Presbyterian Church began hosting BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) six years ago. BELL is a national program, headquartered in Boston and started in 1992 by students at Harvard Law School. The program seeks to serve children in under-resourced communities by providing summer instruction and enrichment.

Each class of 20 scholars (rising K-3rd, so 60 total) begins the day with a hot breakfast, then participates in community time, where they learn about the BELL core values (learning, collaboration, respect and excellence.) Each class receives literacy and math instruction from certified teachers for the first half of the day, reinforced by First Presbyterian member tutors and speech therapists from Charlotte Speech and Hearing. After lunch and playground time, the scholars participate in enrichment activities, such as dance, Legos and science, coding, yola (language-based yoga practice), Reading with Rover, music, cooking, recreation, character education, art and swim lessons. Every Friday is reserved for education-based field trips. This year the scholars went to Dan Nicholas park, Carolinas Aviation Museum, the Charlotte Raptor Center, the play James and the Giant Peach, the Nature Museum and a performance by a magician.

Distracted by all the fun, the children seem to forget they are attending a little bit of school when they are at BELL.

Parent involvement in BELL is also a huge part of the program. Attendance is critical for success, so each family pays a $20 goodwill deposit that is refunded if the scholar misses no more than 3 days. Parents are also responsible for attending an open house and participating in a scholar showcase, where they visit the classrooms, attend an active reading workshop and eat lunch with their scholar. This year 37 families attended the scholar showcase. The scholars were SO excited to read with their parents, and the parents were hilarious pretending to be kids during the active reading workshop. We all know how important parent involvement and commitment are for a child’s success at school, and programs such as BELL help build that vital commitment.

Did you know the lack of learning during the summer causes up to 2/3 of the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers? According to statistics published by Read Charlotte (learn more at www.readcharlotte.org) 96% of third graders reading at grade level go on to graduate high school on time; third graders reading below grade level are four times more likely to drop out of school. At the end of 2016, 72.5% of Westerly Hills’s third graders were reading below grade level, the worst reading scores in all of CMS. 

Last year, our BELL scholars gained reading proficiency rather than backsliding during the summer. This year, our scholars gained again. Clearly, literacy is critical to the success of our city’s children, and this program is a way our church is having a direct, positive impact on the children of Westerly Hills.

Periodically, our BELL program receives a visit from the national Quality Assurance team to be observed and evaluated. Our program remains one of the best in the country, if not the best.  The QA team raved about the standards we set for our program and the amazing enrichment and field trips we offer. The wonderful BELL staff sets the same expectations for the scholars, and they rise to the occasion again and again.

This program requires significant time, money and commitment from our church, but it is so absolutely worth it.  If you have contributed to this amazing program, thank you! I hope you know how valuable that contribution is.  If you haven’t yet contributed, please consider doing so. It costs $1,500 per child to run this program, and we still need to raise money to cover the cost for this summer’s program. Any and every contribution helps to change the life of a child.

I saw just how much every little contribution matters this summer.

– Heather Herring, Child & Family Partnership Coordinator