First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Live and Share God's Love
FUMC Outreach & Mission
First UMC in the Wausau Community and World
The Church of Jesus Christ has never existed for its own sake, and all the worst abuses of the church have come during times when she forgot that. At First UMC, we take seriously our commitment to serve others and through those acts of love transform the lives of others. Most of this service takes place person to person, neighbor to neighbor, but as a church we also offer specific opportunities for our members (and anyone else) to grow in faith by giving to others.
First Presbyterian Church, half a block away from us, hosts a Sunday evening community meal, open and free to anyone. We have been a partner in this meal from the beginning and currently serve it on every 5th Sunday.
Downtown Memory Café.
In 2014, responding to the needs of our aging population, we opened our “Memory Café.” This is a time of companionship for people who are experiencing the early stages of memory affliction and for the people who care for them. Here, people are safe, among others who understand, and do not have to pretend. Each meeting includes a program, but the main event is conversation around food, in safety and acceptance. The DMC meets from 10:30am to noon on third Thursdays.
Personal Needs Closet.
Since 2010, our church has sponsored a Personal Needs Closet – something like a food pantry, but offering instead the household and hygiene supplies that are not available through most food pantries or with food stamps. Though we are open only two times a month, we have helped thousands of families stretch their budget since we opened. The PNC is supported entirely by donations, and run entirely by volunteers – more than 60 different members have served there. We occasionally get calls in the office from people asking, “Are you the Toilet Paper Church?” Yes, we are. Open second Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00 pm, and fourth Saturdays, 9:00-11:00am.
Project Connect for the Homeless.
Since 2012, First UMC has partnered with the Housing and Homelessness Coalition of the United Way for a semi-annual outreach to people in Wausau and Marathon County without permanent homes. On the final Wednesday night of every January and July, volunteers from the community gather at First then disperse to do an overnight count of the homeless (the “Point-In-Time” count). The next morning, at 7:00am, our church serves breakfast to anyone who has been found during the night as well as to all the volunteers, while representatives from every agency and program that serves the homeless gather in our Fellowship Hall to meet with our guests (“Project Connect”).
Ramp Up Marathon County.
To be honest, this one isn’t even something we started as a church, though one of its founders is a member here and serves on our Missions Team. But so many of our members have gotten involved in this ministry to build wheelchair ramps – making it possible for people to remain longer in their beloved homes – that it feels as if it’s one of ours. At any rate, we can connect you.
Partnerships Around the World.
As rewarding as person-to-person service in the community is, we try to remember the wider world as well, through partnerships with various programs and ministries. Among these are:
Africa Education and Leadership Initiative. A school in South Sudan, founded shortly after that nation first became independent as a girl’s school – because girls have traditionally not had the opportunity for education in that area. The Africa ELI school has proven so effective that they’ve had to open up their classrooms to boys as well. A planned 2014 mission trip to South Sudan had to be postoned because of the civil war there, but we continue to support the work with financial pledges and prayers.
Mission Guatemala. A ministry in the mountains of Guatemala that offers medical care, food, child care, and education to the Mayan people. Members of our church are going on a mission trip there in November of 2015.
Philip & Timothy Staines Memorial Children’s Home. A school and regional education project based in Madurai, South India. Several of our members have gone on mission trips to serve there, and further ways to support this ministry to the tribal people of Tamil Nadu are planned.