Christian Education. By definition, the first task of a disciple is to discipline oneself and become a disciple to the teacher, in our case Jesus Christ. This means that we ought to commit ourselves to learning the teachings of Jesus Christ and developing our understanding of what it means to live a life of faith. We offer continual opportunities for people to enrich that relationship with Jesus. Pastor Martin conducts regular classes on religion, the Bible, spiritual disciplines, worship, and prayer.. He has been an organizer of youth events, Vacation Bible School, and Bible Camps, During the month of January and February, we invite you to participate in meeting and learning about the world religions. Since we will be taking some field trips to meet some of our neighboring faiths in person, please call the church office if you would like to join us.
Reaching Out. "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food or thirsty and gave your drink? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' Then the King will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of fthe least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'" (Matthew 25:37-40) Welcoming the stranger and seeing them as a member of God's family and a person in the image of God is a basic challenge of a life of faith. It is a challenge that we take seriously at First Congregational United Church of Christ. In this world that divides itself one against another in terms of ethnicity, ideology, and creed, we say that all are members of God's family and welcome them into fellowship. We practice open communion, allowing all to recieve the bread and wine of Christ's fellowship. We are a multi-cultural church that is "open and affirming" of homosexuals, lesbians, and transgender people. We require no standard of faith or creed, only a willingness to recognize that all are seeking an authentic relationship with God through a commitment to Jesus Christ as the head of the church.
Pastor Martin makes regular visits to people in nursing homes, shut-ins, and in the hospitals. If you would like a visit, please call the office with your name, room number, and hospital including town that you are in. It is important to leave all relevant information, since a visit to Fargo or Bismarck takes three hours driving time and sometimes people are moved back to a nursing home in Jamestown by the time we can get there.
We have many opportunities for you to participate in fellowship with us throughout the year, including a Swiss steak meal, pancake supper, a roleplaying and collectible card Game-a-thon, a Valentine's Day tea, an active women's fellowship and others. If you would like to learn more about how our church can be a place that welcomes you, feel free to contact us.
Justice Ministries. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to tthe blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."" Shocking words! Justice words! Political words! Words that would make you want to take the speaker out and stone him!
They are also words spoken by the prophet Isaiah and Jesus quoted and said were fulfilled in Luke 4:18-19 and yes, the members of his home town immediately tried to throw Jesus off a cliff. Many churches would gladly attempt to throw Jesus off a cliff again today if he read those words again in church, but First Congregational has made it part of their mission statement that we would seek justice as we believe Jesus sought jusitice 2000 years ago.
Gender and GLBTQ issues: We were the first congregation in North Dakota to become "Open and Afirming" to homosexuals, bisexuals and Transgender people and we remain committed to welcoming people of every gender to our congregation. Pastor Martin is a community activist working with the college support group of GLBT students, PRISM, speaking out on behalf of their rights. We agree with the majority of psychological professional that "reparative therapy" for GLBTQ people is not productive and often destructive. We have hosted a support group of HIV positive people and Pastor Martin is available to visit people who have been newly diagnosed with this disease or other illnesses. Our church along with others in the area have been involved with discussions addressing the problem of slave trafficking including sexual exploitation in the area. We are a regular financial contributor to Safe Shelter, an emergency shelter for abused women. We have a regular fellowship for women that meets the first Wednesday of each month at 9:30 am at the Senior Center. We are willing to host and perform marriage ceremonies between gay, lesbian and transgender couples. There are a wide variety of issues involving the treatment of sexual minorities where the grace of Christ can provide healing and help, so do not be afraid to reach out to us if you need our help..
Multicultural concerns: In the predominantly Northern European culture of North Dakota, it is difficult to find friends and support for Native Americans, African Americans, Semitic peoples, Asians, even Eastern Europeans and Southern Europeans find themselves left out in the cold of the North Dakota's icy winds. We would like to extend a warm welcoming hand to anybody who would like to join us in fellowship and declare our solidarity with people of other religious faith in North Dakota. Religious freedom means nothing if it means that you are only allowed to worship our way with our belief systems. We were one of the contact points to help protectors of the environment at Cannonball last year. We are expressing our commitment openly this year by hosting the Martin Luther King Jr. day celebration.
Health Ministries: Christ's ministry, values, and authority was expressed in healing miracles, so we continue that tradition by reaching out to people with health concerns. We place a priority on the care and concern for senior aging members, the outreach to the sick, and compassion for the dying. We have hosted an HIV support group. We have a yearly fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network where young people gather to play collectible card and roleplaying games. Many members including the pastor make regular visits to people in nursing homes and in the hospital. If you would like a visit or to simply be on our prayer list, please contact us. For visitation, please let us know the nursing home, hospital, town and room number that you will be in when we visit. Thank you..
Poverty Issues. First Congregational is dedicated to the idea of eliminating poverty, homelessness, and economic exploitation in our area and the world. Along with other churches in the area, we are participating in discussions dealing with slave trafficking in North Dakota, homelessness, emergency assistance to the poor, domestic violence, mental health and drug abuse. The issues are multi-faceted and interconnected, but we support a variety of mission outreach programs including the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Safe shelter, the Great Plains Food Bank, the Daily Bread Program, and the State Mental Hospital. If you would like to get involved or need assistance, please contact us and we will be happy to connect you to the place that will do the most good.
Environmental Issues. Who needs water and air? Even the land was granted a time of rest in Leviticus 25 and the land was not allowed to be sold in perpetuity but must be returned to its owners in the fiftieth year, "The year of Jubilee." Many are recognizing that justice issues cannot be simply seen from a human perspective anymore, but human survival requires us to see ourselves as interconnected to the land, the water, and the air. This means a return to a Biblical commitment that all of God's creation must be honored and protected. We encourage a sustainable outlook to our use of the earth and a conservative protection of the world's resources that weighs not only the amount of financial profits against monetary costs, but the actual necessity versus damage to the environment and risk to life.