MISSIONSFEST 2021

MISSIONSFEST 2021 is a special time at First Pres when we renew our focus on our Mission Partners — and how we can serve them through sharing our time, talent and treasure.

We invite you to learn more about all of our mission partners, and take the next step. During MISSIONSFEST 2021, your financial gifts made to missions will receive a matching gift to make an even greater impact! New this year, we will match dollar-for-dollar all first-time gifts to mission partners up to $500 to double the impact of your gift! Learn more about our partners below, so you can find a place to make a real difference. Discover how offering your God-given time and talent to these worthy partners will change you forever.

Our Engage Partners

What are ENGAGE partners?

First Pres has close, active relationships with three Engage Partners—YMEN of North Lawndale in Chicago, Outreach Community Ministries in DuPage County, and Kids Alive in the Dominican Republic. These organizations are diverse in their missions and locations, but they share at their heart a common goal of fostering Christ’s love in action – and they offer structured, varied ongoing opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, work projects, social interactions or trips. Our history of service together runs deep.

First Pres has also built missional relationships with a broad range of Christian missions locally, nationally and globally that can offer you life-altering service opportunities. We financially and prayerfully support the individuals and families who have made a commitment to serve and share God’s word in some of the most challenging places.

Offering your God-given time and talent to these worthy partners will change you forever.

Outreach Community Ministries

Outreach Community Ministries is based in DuPage County and partners with churches to offer faith-based community service to area residents free of charge. First Pres partners with Outreach through after-school tutoring and through involvement with Jubilee Village, Outreach’s transitional housing program for young mothers. Jubilee Village staff work with young single mothers for up to two years to assist the women in transitioning to stable, independent living. First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Babysitting for Bible Study: As we emerge from lockdown, there are opportunities to assist the young mothers with childcare one evening a week so they can attend Bible Study with their peers.
  • Outreach Community Tutoring: Tutors assist an individual student with homework and academic goals while providing a positive adult role model in their lives. 
  • Donate to Jubilee Furniture: Donate good quality furniture to Outreach’s quality used furniture shop or volunteer in the store. 
  • Offer a Trade Service: First Pres members with a trade skill often help maintain and improve the apartments at Jubilee Village. Painters, plumbers, electricians, and handymen/women can offer valuable services!
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

YMEN of North Lawndale

Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN) prepares young men and women who live in North Lawndale in Chicago for leadership by helping them grow in their faith and character, develop a love for learning, and use their talents to serve the broader community. Beginning in 1999, the partnership between YMEN and First Pres has grown significantly, including joint mission trips to Montana and Uganda, and now with a focus on activities that bring First Pres members together into one-on-one relationships with the youth of YMEN. These young people seek to learn and grow; they need your friendship and encouragement along the way. First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Fun in Faith nights at First Pres – We hope to soon resume our fun, joint gatherings for individuals and families of First Pres and YMEN.
  • Arts Alive – A weekly event at the YMEN Center in North Lawndale that brings First Pres members to work with creative students.
  • Community Garden planting – Each June, First Pres families travel to North Lawndale to prepare garden beds in the community vegetable garden. Join us in the garden at 2205 S. Avers, Chicago on June 13, 2021, 12:30-3pm.
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Kids Alive International in the Dominican Republic

Kids Alive has rescued orphans and other vulnerable children in 14 countries around the world. The Kids Alive Constanza campus in the Dominican Republic has literally “come alive” over the last ten years as God and his people have transformed it from a cornfield to a life-transforming campus for at-risk children. The Ark residential care facility has grown to offer permanent shelter, food and education for 40 abandoned or orphaned children, while the school has grown to give private, Christian education to more than 200 children. Each child has a genuine opportunity to break from the material and spiritual poverty that have been haunting his or her family for generations. First Pres Liaison: Keith Mote

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trips: Throughout the year, First Pres organizes mission trips to Constanza to engage with children at the Ark and school, do local building projects, perform campus maintenance, complete special projects, and experience how God is working in the lives of people there.
  • Sponsor a child: Make a lasting impact in a child’s life. Several First Pres members have met their sponsor children on their mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Our Local Partners

Bridge of Hope Ministry

A First Pres mission for almost 30 years, Bridge of Hope is a transitional housing program for homeless families of DuPage County that is supported by our congregation in conjunction with program partner Bridge Communities, Inc. The typical beneficiaries of the program consist of a female head of household with dependent children, who embark on a journey with us for approximately 2-1/2 years, moving from hopelessness and homelessness to stability and opportunity. First Pres Liaison: Mike Perry

How can I get involved?

  • Be an Encourager: From budgeting to life skills, vital to the program are volunteer mentors from our congregation, who develop caring and supportive relationships with guests, helping them and coaching them in making good choices for their families as they strive to move from homelessness to a new life. Opportunities and time commitments vary.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center (CDPCC)

First Pres founded CDPCC, a faith-based Christian agency that provides affordable, professional pastoral counseling to the public in an ecumenical setting. Pastoral counseling relies on theology and behavioral science working together to provide comprehensive insights into life. First Pres Liaison: Erik Peterson

How can I get involved?

  • Give support: Financial gifts designated “CDPCC” are vital to continuing the work of the counseling center as it provides in-person and hybrid Zoom appointments during COVID.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

DuPage PADS

DuPage Pads offers men, women and children a safe overnight environment. Typically, overnight stays are hosted by various churches throughout the area including First Pres. As a response to COVID, DuPage Pads shifted to house homeless guests in area hotels. First Pres Liaison: Lou Simon

How can I get involved?

  • Support Housing Guests: Currently, Pads’ greatest needs are funds that can be used to house guests in hotel rooms. Please consider a monetary donation and please pray for those struggling in our community. We look forward to hosting Pads at First Pres once again, when appropriate. At that time, we will have many jobs for First Pres members to help facilitate the overnight stay. We will continue to update you on where you can serve! Watch the church website for updates!
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Emmaus Ministries

Emmaus Ministries reaches out to men engaged in survival prostitution on the streets of Chicago, men who through a variety of negative life experiences have come to believe this lifestyle is all that is available to them. Through engagement, Emmaus seeks to give them hope that God has a better plan, a specific redeeming plan for them. Through nightly outreach and a daytime drop-in center, Emmaus staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with these men, working together to help them get off the streets. First Pres Liaison: Jonathan Hancock

How can I get involved?

  • Provide funds that will enable us to find vulnerable men and intercede on their behalf, whether on the streets or where they are targeted on the Dark Web. Emmaus has a variety of volunteer opportunities for First Pres members that are evolving with COVID.
  • Prayers are also needed.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

ESSE Adult Day Services

ESSE stands for Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly. Their purpose is to provide adult day care that promotes the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of older adults and their families. First Pres Liaisons: Cherie and Read Boeckel

How can I get involved?

  • Be present: Read, play games, lead music or play an instrument, sit and talk, listen, tell stories, help serve, or show pictures of your vacation. Simply give your time and attention. Children are encouraged to come and sing, play an instrument or visit.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Exodus World Service

Exodus World Service mobilizes the Christian community to welcome and befriend refugees. They do this by educating churches and individuals about the plight of refugees, connecting volunteers with refugees through practical service projects, and empowering people to be champions for refugees. First Pres Liaison: David Profitt

How can I get involved?

  • Donate Essential Items: When refugees arrive in the U.S., they only have what they can carry. While refugees receive three months of help through a resettlement agency, starting over from scratch is daunting, both financially and emotionally. Volunteers can make a huge difference by providing essential supplies, food, and most especially, a warm welcome.
  • Grocery Care Packs: In response to food insecurity caused by COVID, First Pres volunteers packed Grocery Care Packs that were delivered directly to refugee families’ doorsteps, providing dignity and support to 3,094 refugee neighbors. We continue to need help packaging these at the church.
  • Donate a “Welcome to America!” or “New Baby Care Package” – Provide a warm welcome and turn an empty apartment into a home by collecting and delivering all of the basic household items needed for the bedroom, bath and kitchen, or donate a first-month’s supply of food staples.
  • New Neighbor Citizenship and Conversations – Help improve refugees’ conversational English, teach American history and citizenship, and build lasting relationships in the process.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Glen Ellyn Food Pantry

Incorporated in 1985, and operated out of Grace Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn (soon moving to a new facility next to Faith Lutheran Church), the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry is supported by 14 area churches, including First Pres. The philosophy behind the GEFP is very simple: “Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, told us to feed the hungry” (Matthew 25:31).  In 2020, the pantry distributed 761,164 pounds of food through 14,000 visits by nearly 5,500 individuals including more than 2,000 children. First Pres members are regular, long-standing volunteers, helping to keep operations running. First Pres Liaison: Michelle Mote

How can I get involved?

Volunteer opportunities are changing due to the pandemic. Check the food pantry website for updates. Typical duties include:

  • Food recovery: Pick up and/or sort food donated by local grocery and retail partners or from First Pres food drives.
  • Client relations: Work with other First Pres members in the pantry helping clients make food choices that fit their needs, interest and lifestyle.
  • Donate food: Participate in First Pres-sponsored food drives or drop off food during pantry hours.
  • Visit the food pantry website to learn about their capital campaign and to stay informed about what’s needed most.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry (GEWIM)

Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry is housed at First United Methodist Church and was organized by Glen Ellyn churches in 1994 to provide short-term resources. The assistance provided varies depending on the need. It may include vouchers for gasoline, food, transportation, prescription medication, or utility assistance. First Pres Liaison: Barb Rundell

How can I get involved?

  • The ministry is staffed by volunteers who assist persons referred by the churches of Glen Ellyn. Volunteer hours are 10am-noon, Monday-Friday. In addition to Barb Rundell, other First Pres members who currently volunteer are Glennda Lockard, Charlie Varvaro and Jim Drasal; they welcome your questions.
  • Gifts designated “Walk-In Ministry” are used to fund the program.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

New Name Ministry

New Name is a faith-based ministry of love, hope and presence to women in the adult industry. Through safe relationships and empowerment, NN is passionate about reaching women with the love of Jesus. Each month, NN teams from 16 churches reach out to women in over 60 venues in the Chicago area. A group of First Pres members have embarked on this work, visiting 5-6 spas each month. NN has no paid staff and relies solely on the funds generated by their bridal boutique and donations from churches and ministry partners. Funds are used to assist the women they serve and thus far have been spent on counseling services, transportation, medical bills, junior college tuition, groceries and hotels for women who need safe living situations. First Pres Liaison: Cathy Colten

How can I get involved?

  • Join the First Pres chapter prayer team and/or Spa Outreach team.
  • Consider working one-on-one, via Zoom, teaching financial/budgeting skills or leading a Bible study to some of the women with whom we walk alongside.
  • Donate small gift bag items (soaps, pens, notebooks, lotions, candy, etc.) which are delivered to young women each month when we visit spas; or donate a set of six cards which can be used for a month of outreach. The cards should be blank on the inside so we can add a personal note appropriate for each spa we visit.
  • Volunteer at the Bridal Boutique by New Name in Wheaton. The boutique is run by volunteers so 100% of the money raised by selling donated wedding gowns provides an income stream for NN.
  • Provide transportation for wedding gowns being donated from other parts of the country. Gowns are often donated by out-of-state shops and we can save resources when volunteers pick up the gowns and deliver them to the boutique in Wheaton.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Victory Sports Ministry

Victory Sports has been in the western suburbs of Chicago for over 36 years. They believe that children are developing each day in four main ways: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. It is their goal to use sports as a vehicle for kids to experience and know God’s love. First Pres has partnered with Victory Sports for years, and their young leaders have served as coaches and mentors to First Pres kids. First Pres Liaison: David Profitt

How can I get involved?

  • Get moving: Every Summer, Victory Sports hosts anywhere between 25 – 35 camps for thousands of kids throughout DuPage County and the greater Chicagoland area. First Pres will continue to provide opportunities to connect as we co-host a camp in Glen Ellyn, June 28 – July 2, 2021.
  • Contact David Profitt if you would like to serve on the team of camp hosts in Glen Ellyn, June 28 – July 2, 2021.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Our National Partners

Covenant Pathways/James and Joyce Skeet

James and Joyce Skeet have spent more than 20 years working to improve the lives of Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona, and to share the gospel with them. Many are profoundly impoverished, both economically and spiritually. Helping people to provide for their physical needs allows James and Joyce an opportunity to address their spiritual needs as well, through authentic relationships and prayer meetings.  Working alongside people on the farm and talking with visitors, the Skeets often identify Native American experiences and find parallels in the Bible, and ultimately, they help people move from dependence to independence. 

First Pres provided funding to help the Skeets build an eco-friendly demonstration cabin that serves as a model of eco-friendly living; as housing and a meeting place for Navajo residents and farmers, church mission teams, homesteaders and other visitors who want to learn about the eco-friendly technologies used at the farm; and as a place to hold weekly community prayer services as the Skeets continue to build relationships of trust and find natural opportunities to share the Gospel. First Pres Liaison: Marj Dobleer

How can I get involved?

  • Experience life and work on the farm! The Skeets encourage First Pres members to visit and get actively involved with the farm, whether tending crops alongside local people, cooking for a group, praying with local people, or assisting in the myriad of jobs it takes to operate a working farm.
  • Fund supplies like seeds and COVID sanitation supplies.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Ft. Peck Reservation in Montana

The Montana Mission is a family-friendly, intergenerational trip to the Ft. Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. The Native American culture faces many challenges including socio-economic issues, educational support, employment, and the future of church leadership. Over the years, a mission trip partnership has developed with the Bethel Community Church in Culbertson, Montana, the town outside the reservation. First Pres Liaison: Mary Clauss

How can I get involved?

  • Join First Pres on its annual mission trip, July 10-17, 2021. We host Vacation Bible School, complete construction projects on the churches, and fellowship with our friends on the reservation. This is a great family-friendly (all ages are welcome) mission trip, learning more about life on the reservation as we serve others.
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Our Global Partners

Frontier Fellowship/Dan McNerney

Of the 7.7 billion people alive today, more than two billion have never heard of Jesus. That reality compels Frontier Fellowship to engage the world’s least-reached places, supporting efforts to establish local churches that can proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom to their communities and beyond.

Dan’s calling to Frontier Fellowship led him from working as an agriculture commodities trader after graduating from Yale, to serving as a church planter in Costa Rica during the early 1980s. Following his return from Costa Rica in 1985, Dan pursued his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and became an ordained minister. He went on to serve the same church in which he grew up and led many short-term mission teams in cross-cultural settings such as Mexico and East Africa.

Dan has been on staff with Frontier Fellowship for 24 years and has pioneered work in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. He is equally comfortable mobilizing North American churches and developing frontier mission initiatives overseas. He’s currently engaged in Middle Eastern mission initiatives, counsel and mobilization for American churches’ missional practices, and bridge-building efforts with leaders and Muslim communities in the U.S. First Pres Liaison: Gordon Murphy

How can I get involved?

  • Please pray for mission partners in the Middle East who face ongoing persecution and relentless harassment, and for the population in the region who face ongoing medical and social challenges with COVID.
  • Gifts designated McNerney will be used for his ministry’s most urgent needs.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Juna Amagara in Uganda

Juna Amagara Ministries was born at First Pres in 2004 to raise up and equip vulnerable children in Uganda with the tools they need to become leaders within their community. We empower their growth by providing a loving home environment, quality education, balanced nutrition, medical care and spiritual direction. Today, with more than 700 children in the program in five communities, Juna Amagara operates first-rate quality schools, medical facilities and evangelism outreach programs throughout Uganda. Many of the first kids in the program are graduating university as passionate, godly adults. First Pres Liaison: Jeff Seifert

How can I get involved?

  • Child sponsorship: Many First Pres families faithfully sponsor children in the program, and have helped them grow into happy and fruitful adults.
  • Mission trip: Travel to Uganda to visit your sponsored child, help build, teach classes, share skills and live in community with other people living by faith.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Partners in Mission (PIM) in Uganda

Partners in Mission (PIM) is an indigenous fellowship of brethren based in Uganda with a mission to partner with others to advance the Gospel for Christ. Through PIM-USA, First Pres has a longstanding and fruitful relationship with PIM that has been instrumental in building the Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School (KSVS) and Good Shepherd Primary School in Kamwenge, Uganda.  At KSVS, students receive Christian discipleship, mentorship, and a strong education, and are graduating to become young adults who are building families and businesses, and are advancing and revitalizing the entire Kamwenge community. 

First Pres has helped KSVS build a kitchen, a dining hall on campus, and a three-story STEM Center. These facilities serve as a model of educational excellence not only in Kamwenge, but throughout all of Uganda.  Today, KSVS graduates are attending university, holding vocational jobs, and starting their own businesses. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • The Fox and the Hound Bike Ride on August 7, 2021: During this beloved annual event, join fellow riders (experts and novice alike!) on a 55-mile bicycle ride beginning at First Pres and ending with a party at 2 Hound Red restaurant in Glen Ellyn. Riders will help raise funds for a new apartment building for the dedicated teachers at Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School in Uganda. If biking is not your thing, volunteer along the route or sponsor a rider. Visit the PIM website for more information.
  • Sponsor a child or teacher: Families who send their child to the school are often losing income or help with responsibilities at home. Sponsorship encourages attendance and reinforces the important, lasting benefits of an education. Your gift of $420 sponsors a student for a year; $2500 pays a teacher’s salary for a year.
  • Mission trips: Groups from First Pres visit Kamwenge to meet and learn more about the students attending the school, pray for progress, and lend expertise to major projects.
  • Create your own fundraiser: A group of 20 First Pres women gathered at a shop in Glen Ellyn to make bracelets and raise funds for one very special student at KSVS named Sylvia.  In one night, the First Pres women raised enough funds to pay for Sylvia’s education for a year, and their support continues today. Be creative in using your talent and network to amplify your support.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Pioneers International in central Asia/Carolyn and James

This couple met in east Asia while working with an indigenous Muslim people group that populates the area as well as several central Asian countries. They now work among this group in central Asia. James developed a fruit-farming business (business as mission) which helps the local economy while giving him an opportunity to share the Gospel with employees. Carolyn ministers to the local people in an organic way … by being a friend, getting to know neighbors, offering a listening ear. She looks for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with her neighbors and often prays with them. First Pres contributed to a vital well that helps make the orchard sustainable. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trip: The family welcomes visitors to witness their work.
  • Aside from financial support, the couple appreciates ongoing prayers for their mission.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Reach Global/Tom and Dora Becker

Tom works with ReachGlobal to mobilize mission work among the 12 million marginalized Roma (gypsies) in Europe. Working with national partners, he facilitates the training and resourcing of Roma pastors. His main ministries include: mobilizing prayer, advancing research, creating awareness, facilitating partnerships and coaching nationals. Dora works with ReachGlobal to lessen missionary attrition rate by providing care for missionary kids and their families. Her role includes pre-field training for missionaries, consulting missionary parents, providing resources and encouragement. First Pres Liaison: Gordon Murphy

How can I get involved?

  • Gifts designated for the Beckers will be used for their ministry’s most pressing needs.
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World Outreach Ministries/Susan Eichensehr

Susan Eichensehr is a missionary serving orphaned children, employees and the surrounding community at the Vincente Guerrero Orphanage in Baja, Mexico. Susan works as Group and Public Relations Manager, coordinating mission teams that volunteer weekly at the orphanage. She also provides health and wellness classes for the orphanage employees, and fitness classes for the children. She is presently working on a campaign to raise funds to build a soccer field on the campus. First Pres Liaison: Mary Clauss

How can I get involved?

  • Susan relies on financial support of churches and individuals. Gifts designated Eichensehr will be used for her ministry’s most pressing needs.
  • Consider organizing a team to visit the Vincente Guerrero Orphanage and experience all that they offer at the mission.
GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

Other Ways to Support Missions

Mission Trip Scholarships

First Pres is active in mission work, some local, some nearby, and some at greater distances from home. Trips can be costly when considering travel, meals and lodging expenses. We do not want this financial burden to defer congregants’ participation in mission trips that touch their hearts. 

Scholarship funds are available for these trips. For more details or to apply, contact the church office or one of the Missions Elders.

GIVE NOWCONTACT MISSIONS COUNCIL FOR MORE INFO

ENGAGED Families and Children

We encourage families to serve Christ together. It’s never too young to teach kids to give back. They can work with their families on a variety of projects in the church. For ideas, contact, David Profitt, Director of Children’s Ministries.

How can I get involved?

  • VBS, Mission Trips, Volunteering – Encourage your kids to play together and serve together, whether in Vacation Bible School (doing service projects), Spark, TNT or mission trips to Montana or the Dominican Republic. Children entering 6th grade and older can volunteer with their parent or another adult at VBS, and/or on Sunday morning at Kids’ Church.
  • Exodus – Kids of all ages love to serve and welcome refugee families into our community.

ENGAGED Students

Experiences to serve God and to serve the world in his name are essential to watering and nurturing the seeds of faith we plan in students’ lives. Below are some examples, but we welcome you to contact Blake Riboli, Director of Student Ministries to find the opportunity right for your family.

How can I get involved?

  • July 29-31, 2021, High School students will partner with Habitat for Humanity in Chicago.
  • First Pres students also work on a variety of projects including for the Food Pantry, Outreach Community Ministries, and YMEN, where they help with construction projects on their property in North Lawndale in Chicago.
  • First Pres students have participated in all church mission trips – experiences that shape them forever.

MissionsFest 2021

At First Pres, we set aside time each year to make special investments in the success of our mission partners, near and far. Previously called “53rd Sunday,” we retain the same spirit and goals of the initiative and seek to expand the work to include even more new members, giving not only financially, but through increased volunteerism … time, talent, and treasure.

This year, the Missions Council has a special incentive for first-time givers to Missions work: We will match dollar-for-dollar all first-time gifts to mission partners up to $500 to double the impact of your gift! As in the past, we will continue to proportionally match ALL gifts up to $25,000. 

Many of our mission partners rely on these extra gifts each year to operate. We hope you’ll join us in making Missions Giving 2021 a big success! We invite newcomers and long-time givers to stay the course and keep up this great tradition! 

Questions? Contact Erik Peterson or Keith Mote, Missions Elders