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Outreach & Mission

Welcome to the home of the Outreach & Mission ministry at First Pres. We actively engage with the needs of our local neighborhood, city, and global community, applying our faith in action to serve others and work for peace and justice.

Outreach and Mission Committee

The Outreach and Mission Committee at First Pres is dedicated to serving others by offering care and compassion to alleviate suffering, inspired by Jesus’ command to love one another. This includes advocating for systemic changes and providing direct assistance to those in need, locally, nationally, and globally.

Local Efforts

As part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), First Pres belongs to Albany Presbytery, which supports local churches in their community missions and funds Troy Area United Ministries, Sycamore Collaborative, and college campus ministries. Learn more about our service at the local community level.

For over 50 years, the FOCUS Ministry has proven that there are several ministries that churches can do better together than alone. First Pres is part of this consortium of several churches of different denominations. Together, they operate a food pantry, a feeding program, and various initiatives focused on advocacy, antiracism, immigrants/refugees, and more. This partnership provides numerous opportunities to extend a helping hand to those in need. These include:

  • The Breakfast Club at Westminster Pres, located at 262 State Street in Albany. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday mornings from 7 to 9:00am, October through April. Then from April to October, there is a Breakfast Express program on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30. Volunteers are always needed. Find out more about how you can help here.
  • The Interfaith Food Pantry at Emmanuel Baptist Church, located at 275 State Street in Albany. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1 pm and the last Saturday of every month. Guests receive a six-day supply of groceries, toiletries, and other necessities. Find out more about how you can help here.

The FOCUS churches worship together four times a year, demonstrating that what unites us is stronger than what divides us. Other FOCUS Ministries include School Supply Drive, Albany Community Harvest Garden, Gardening in a Bucket, and various advocacy initiatives.

For over 50 years, the FOCUS Ministry has proven that there are several ministries that churches can do better together than alone. First Pres is part of this consortium of several churches of different denominations. Together, they operate a food pantry, a feeding program, and various initiatives focused on advocacy, antiracism, immigrants/refugees, and more. This partnership provides numerous opportunities to extend a helping hand to those in need. These include:

  • The Breakfast Club at Westminster Pres, located at 262 State Street in Albany. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday mornings from 7 to 9:00am, October through April. Then from April to October, there is a Breakfast Express program on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30. Volunteers are always needed. Find out more about how you can help here.
  • The Interfaith Food Pantry at Emmanuel Baptist Church, located at 275 State Street in Albany. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1 pm and the last Saturday of every month. Guests receive a six-day supply of groceries, toiletries, and other necessities. Find out more about how you can help here.

The FOCUS churches worship together four times a year, demonstrating that what unites us is stronger than what divides us. Other FOCUS Ministries include School Supply Drive, Albany Community Harvest Garden, Gardening in a Bucket, and various advocacy initiatives.

The Wizard’s Wardrobe began at First Pres in 2014 and is now located at 20 Rensselaer Street in Albany. This program, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, is a free, high-quality, one-on-one after-school tutoring program that helps elementary-age students read proficiently on grade level. The program starts working with first and second graders and works with them through their elementary school years. Visit their website for a schedule and more information.

Loving someone means being their advocate. At First Pres, we engage in various advocacy activities to promote peace and justice in our society. Our proximity to the State Capitol gives us a unique opportunity to speak truth in the halls of power, advocate for those in need, and encourage responsible action from our elected officials. Often partnering with our friends in the FOCUS ministry, our members have attended rallies to advocate for raising the minimum wage, increasing state funding for hunger programs, supporting marriage equality, passing GENDA, and speaking out for victims of racially based violence. We also encourage members to send postcards to their elected officials on various issues. Additionally, we participate in the local Pride Parade with a “float” to promote inclusivity in our society.

Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) is a respected provider of services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Albany. First Pres, as one of the founding congregations that established IPH decades ago, has continuously supported their efforts. IPH treats its guests with dignity, respect, and kindness. They asked First Pres to help meet a significant need by producing 50 “Health & Hygiene Kits.” In addition, we’ve hosted other initiatives such as a “Sundae Sunday” event to help gather items for their clothing pantry. Learn more about IPH and how you can help here.

Each May, First Pres members and friends enthusiastically support the local CROP Walk by gathering sponsors and participating in the walk or sponsoring other walkers. This event raises money for hunger programs, with 25% going to local food pantries and 75% to Church World Service, which distributes food and supplies to over 80 countries. The Capital Area Council of Churches organizes the walk, offering participants a choice between a 2.5-mile loop with rest stops and a shorter “Golden Mile” loop. Albany’s CROP Walk often ranks in the nation’s top ten for funds raised, with First Pres frequently finishing in the top five among local organizations. We often gather for lunch at First Pres, just before the walk begins.

First Pres supports the Emergency Homeless Overflow Shelter, operated by the Capital Area Council of Churches (CACC), with both funding and meals. For the last several years, First Pres has signed on to provide meals to feed approximately 20 people from November through April. To get involved, you just have to sign up for a meal date prepare a simple meal, and deliver it to the shelter.

Through our mission giving to the Presbyterian Church (USA), First Pres contributes to countless acts of compassion and care across the country. Additionally, we participate in four of our denomination’s national offerings. Learn more about each of them below.

The Peacemaking and Global Witness offering, a national initiative of the Presbyterian Church (USA), supports our commitment to peacemaking as an expression of faithfulness to God. First Pres allocates 25% of the collected funds for local peacemaking efforts, with the rest used nationally. This offering enables us to address global injustices and promote the peace of Christ. Across the nation, funds are used for various peace-building programs. Locally, First Pres uses its share of the offering to help people who come to the church with extraordinary needs, for peace-themed adult education, to help agencies doing peace work in the Capital District, for advocacy work, for hunger programs and more.

The Christmas Joy offering supports retired missionaries and church leaders as well as Presbyterian Racial/Ethnic Schools. At First Pres, this offering is received in worship on the fourth Sunday in Advent. At Christmas, God gave the Christ child to the world. In gratitude, we also give to help those who have served our church globally.

This Lent-promoted offering, collected during Easter worship, supports three key mission programs:

  1. 36% aids the Presbyterian Hunger Fund, backing worldwide anti-hunger efforts, including seed provision, food cultivation education, and anti-obesity initiatives.
  2. 32% is allocated to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), aiding disaster victims globally, including those in New York, such as those in Schoharie County in 2014.
  3. The remaining 32% supports Self Development of People (SDOP), which provides micro-grants to groups combating poverty, pursuing community justice, or addressing systemic oppression, like A Village, Inc., an Albany non-profit, in 2015.

Pentecost signifies the birth of the church, ignited by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for global expansion. As our children and youth set forth into the world, many require our support. Pentecost is an opportune moment to extend a helping hand. The Pentecost Offering directs its proceeds towards programs benefiting at-risk children, youth, and young adults. Nationally, 60% of the funds facilitate leadership development, sponsor spiritual growth events like the Youth Triennium, and support the Young Adult Volunteer program. Locally, our congregation allocates 40% towards ongoing outreach initiatives, such as tutoring and youth mission trips. This offering stands as an investment in our shared future.

Global Efforts

Albany Presbytery has partnered with Mam Presbytery in Guatemala for many years. We are creating a true partnership, where mutually beneficial friendships, church relationships, and a two-way flow of ideas and prayers are central. First Pres has been very active over the years in supporting the partnership. Several members have visited our sister presbytery. Mam Presbytery (Presbiterio) consists mostly of Guatemalans who speak Mam, a native dialect. Learn more about this partnership here.

Albany Presbytery has partnered with Mam Presbytery in Guatemala for many years. We are creating a true partnership, where mutually beneficial friendships, church relationships, and a two-way flow of ideas and prayers are central. First Pres has been very active over the years in supporting the partnership. Several members have visited our sister presbytery. Mam Presbytery (Presbiterio) consists mostly of Guatemalans who speak Mam, a native dialect. Learn more about this partnership here.

For more information, please contact Pastor Glenn via phone or email.