We at First Congregational Church, Bellevue believe we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load. “To believe is to care; to care is to do.”
We were one of the founding churches in Congregations for the Homeless on the Eastside. Every November, we take a turn offering our church home as a shelter to approximately 35 men. Each evening, we serve them dinner and eat together with them.
Members of our church founded The Sophia Way, a nonprofit that works to help end homelessness for women in King County. We continue to support this organization and offer space to them in our new building.
Poverty, hunger, and injustice
In our new building, we provide space for Catholic Community Services. This ecumenical partner serves individuals, children, families, and communities struggling with poverty and the effects of intolerance and racism. They serve people in need regardless of religious affiliation, race, or economic status.
Each year, we join with other Eastside faith communities to participate in a 3.5-mile Crop Walk through downtown Bellevue to raise money for Church World Service’s hunger relief work and two local agencies (Hopelink and the Emergency Feeding Program).
In the summer, our youth go on a service mission to Yakima. This is the second year where people from our church are joining others from Fauntleroy Church and traveling to San Jose Contreras, Mexico for a service project. We help with building projects in the community and also help women develop products that they can sell at markets to help support their families.
Every year at Christmas, we adopt several people with disabilities through Bridge Disability Ministries and fulfill their wishes.
Just as the United Church of Christ (UCC) has been a thought leader on several issues (see the UCC firsts), we have also taken a stand on several issues. In 2012, we supported Referendum 74 for marriage equality. In 2016, we supported initiative 735 to eliminate the undue influence of concentrated money and political power on elections and governmental policy.
In Stephen Ministry, church members are trained and supported as a specific kind of caregiver, known as a Stephen Minister. Stephen Ministers provide companionship, share in prayer, and lend a sympathetic (and confidential) ear as part of Christ-centered support for people experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, disability, and other life difficulties that no one should have to face alone.
With Stephen Ministry in our church, there will be someone there to care for those who need it, whether the care is big or small, long-term or short.