This month we lift up the ministries of First Christian Church, giving thanks for their impact and praying for our faithfulness in them. During worship each Sunday we have invited a member to share what First Christian means to them. Ann Nichols shared her story with us last Sunday. We are glad to share it here today (see below). We hope you will also take time to consider: Why does First Christian matter to you? What does it mean to be a part of this community? For which ministries do you have passion and hopes? How will you engage in them?
- worship and education,
- a resource for faith formation,
- a place of celebration, and
- a community of mutual support.
It is especially important to me that First Christian is known for our radical hospitality and collaborative outreach. Studying the scriptures together, we have looked at the difference between the teachings of Jesus and the condition of our world. Then we have done more than pray about it. Here are a few examples:
We have used our location as a resource–hosting demonstrations at the corner of Speedway and Euclid opposing executions, supporting migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, and calling for peace (Women in Black.) We have shared our commitment to service by joining with others to establish programs, services, and even institutions. Way back in 1912, the Women’s Missionary Society of FCC recognized the need for an agency to care for orphans and neglected children. They created a structure, mobilized support, and established the Arizona Children’s Home. We voted in a congregational meeting to join and engage with the Sanctuary movement in the 1980’s. We founded and housed the first Free Clinic in Tucson. The Peace Center was born here and still hosts its annual fundraising spaghetti dinner in our Fellowship Hall. Most recently we have housed asylum-seekers and helped them connect with and travel to their sponsors or relatives. We have reached out to the community with ministries and observances—offering support groups for people affected by mental health challenges and workshops to help other congregations become more welcoming. We have planned and hosted interfaith Thanksgiving services and joined in other interfaith activities such as helping a Jewish peace group construct a sukkah outdoors in front of the church and celebrate Sukkot together. For the past few years we have offered “ashes to go” all day on Ash Wednesday, with a blessing and prayer for those who come through our parking lot for this observance. We collect food and donations for the U of A Campus Pantry.
As we re-enter in-person worship, we have new opportunities for study and action. I trust that our traditions and history will inform and inspire us as we join together to seek God, love like Jesus, and serve the world.