Engage – Volunteer Opportunities
Bountiful Table – Free Lunch
Our shared ministry hosts free lunches once a month on the third Saturday for those in need in our community. In addition to a nutritious meal, our guests are offered a supply of warm clothes. Volunteers are always welcome.
Little Free Library
What began as a very successful Eagle Scout project, the Little Free Library is now one of our many outreach opportunities. Books are donated so that the two structures, one for adults – one for children, are regularly stocked with free reading material.
Vocalists and instrumentalists are always welcome to join our music program, either on the short- or long-term, whatever works. Under the direction of Michael Miller, the New Way Team leads the worship celebration once a month (generally the fourth Sunday). A seasonal choir, typically at Easter and Christmas, offers more traditional music. All are welcome. Lift every voice and sing.
Bible Study Groups
Two Bible Study groups meet weekly, on Mondays led by Pastor Christy, and on Tuesdays led by Pastor Will.
Women (men are also welcome) meet monthly at local restaurants to share time and deepen friendships. The restaurant venues rotate around East County to allow everyone an opportunity to share in this fellowship.
Both congregations participate in this annual effort to help feed the hungry both locally and globally. This movement is part of the Church World Service committed to ending hunger one step at a time.
Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday.
We offer joint services with Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church on Ash Wednesday and again on Maundy Thursday, usually accompanied with a soup and bread potluck dinner.
We participate with an ecumenical group on Good Friday often hosted by St. Ignatius Church of Antioch.
Easter Flowering of the Cross
Another long-time tradition dating back over 20 years is the annual Flowering of the Cross. On Easter Sunday our children are provided fresh flowers donated by members of the congregation. The children entwine the flowers in a wire-frame cross and the parade the cross through the Sanctuary for all to enjoy.
We love to celebrate Pentecost by wearing bright red (or other flame-colored clothing) and feeling the spirit move among us.
Blessing of the Animals
Annually, usually around the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we hold a service dedicated to the Blessing of the Animals. Members and friends are invited to bring the beloved critters to the celebration, which we hold in the Social Hall (tile floors). All furry, spiky, slimy, feathery and scaly friends, great and small, are welcome. Just make sure they are on a leash or safely secured.
Our combined outreach efforts are quite impressive for our size. We contribute annually in several endeavors including school supplies, food pantries, Shepherd’s Gate Shelter, Pride on the Plaza, Relay for Life, Christmas gifts for the Angel Tree and Turner Elementary School, the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Heifer Project, Winter Nights and the five major UCC denominational programs: One Great Hour of Sharing, Our Church’s Wider Mission, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church and The Christmas Fund.
Several First Congregational members have received training in nurturing our congregations with support and compassion in a UCC entitled Called to Care. This group has merged with Community Presbyterian’s Deacons, and they are collectively called the Care Team. Together, they are committed to expand and enhance the nurturing of our members and friends.
Meals with Friends
Meals with Friends is our way of getting to know one another, thus deepening the connection amongst the members of both congregations. Those who wish to participate are teamed up into groups of 8 to 10 folks. The groups meet at least once a month for three months in various settings of their choosing, from dinner parties in one of their homes or a restaurant to an outing to a concert, play or other excursions. Friendships are strengthened and relationships nurtured as we connect on new levels. Smaller groups often gather informally for hikes, concerts in the park and other local opportunities.
Classic Film Night
Every other month, folks meet to watch a film about timely issues. Sometimes light, sometimes profound, they are all chosen to provide talking points and further exploration, particularly in the area of LGBT issues.
This is another bi-monthly opportunity to meet in an informal setting to raise questions or discuss current events or whatever is on one’s mind. Discussions are always lively and judgment-free.
World Communion Sunday
The first Sunday of October, World Communion Sunday, we celebrate Holy Communion with breads from around the world in an inclusive, progressive celebration of bringing unity to churches around the world.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner
This tradition began in Antioch several years ago. The Sanctuary was leased out on a weekly basis to the First Samoan church, B’nai Torah and other denominations. Once a year, near Thanksgiving, all congregations gathered to share a meal in unity and kinship in a world longing for peace and justice. The tradition continues and those from ALL faiths are invited to participate in this annual ecumenical celebration.
A long-time tradition, our Advent Dinner offers an evening of crafts, decorations, carols, and a “traditional” fried chicken dinner.
Longest Night Service
For those having a difficult time during the holidays, a compassionate service is offered in consolation.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Our Christmas Eve service is a deeply meaningful celebration of the Christ child with scripture, music, candlelight
Cupcakes are served at the Epiphany party during the Fellowship Hour, some of which contain hidden treasures to honor the season.
For two weeks in over the last three years, we hosted 30 participants in the Winter Nights Program, which is a project of the Social Justice Alliance of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. The project provides a warm facility at night and a daytime services center for homeless families with children. Other local congregations participated, and over 130 volunteers worked to provide meals, school transportation, tutoring and access to services for enabling independence. We plan to continue to participate in this worthwhile opportunity to serve.
Weekly eBlast and Monthly Newsletter
Our news and announcements are shared with members and friends both monthly and then weekly with late-breaking updates. In addition, weekly announcements are posted in a wide variety of online publications and social media.
Men’s Breakfast Group
An open breakfast gathering is held once a month on the first Saturday at 8 a.m. at the local Denny’s Restaurant.