Serving the local community
Outreach and projects in support of the local community are very important to our mission at Christ Church. Below you will find information about our local mission work as well as local opportunities. To find out more about our global mission work you can visit Cuba Mission Trip webpage. We do hope you help us shape the future of local and global mission at Christ Church.
Seacoast Family Promise
Seacoast Family Promise (SFP) unites congregations of various faiths to assist families experiencing homelessness due to a crisis. These families are no different from you or me; they just had one too many things go wrong. When they enter the SFP program they are given hope and encouragement.
As our primary local outreach ministry, Christ Church supports Seacoast Family Promise mainly by acting as a host church. As a Seacoast Family Promise host church, we strive to create and provide a safe space – a place where those who are wearied by the changes and chances of this world may find food, shelter, safety, respite, warm beds and hearts, and most of all love.
On a rotating schedule with other local faith communities, we turn the lower level of Harris House into a temporary home for 3 to 5 families for one week. Rooms 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 become bedrooms and the MacGillivray Room becomes a dining room. Throughout a host week, many volunteers are present each night from 5pm through the night eating dinner with guests, tending to the kitchen, and just being present. Depending on the role, volunteers have the opportunity to spend time with and get to know the families who come through our doors and it is truly a rewarding experience. There could be toddlers running around and playing in the Toddler Room or teenagers watching movies in Room 16 – every week is different, but every week is full of energy and equally rewarding for both guests and volunteers.
Volunteers are called on to act as Evening Hosts who eat dinner and spend time with guests, to provide and drop off dinner, to spend the night as an Overnight Host, to help set up and clean up guest and host rooms at the beginning and end of each host week, to act as Team Leader and coordinate volunteers for the week, and to do the laundry at the end of each week. It takes around 25 volunteers from Christ Church, if not many more, to create a welcoming, accepting environment for our guests. Christ Church is always looking for more volunteers to serve in any capacity. If you would like to come for a portion of the evening to find out more about any given volunteer role, please email Sally Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are more detailed descriptions of volunteer roles:
- Providing Food: Volunteers provide food by 6:00pm on one evening during a hosting week.
- Evening Host: Volunteers spend the evening (5:30pm-8:00pm) with the guests, eating dinner with them and being the Christ Church presence to answer questions, open doors, and handle any urgent situations that may arise. Please note, Safe Church Training is required for this position.
- Overnight Host: Volunteers spend the night with guests, arriving for duty by 8:00pm and leaving by 7:30am. Volunteers are responsible for locking and unlocking doors, and being a presence in case of an overnight emergency. Please note, Safe Church Training is required for this position.
- Laundry Volunteers: Volunteers collect and clean dirty laundry at the end of each host week and return it clean before next host week.
- Team Leaders: Volunteers help to coordinate volunteers for a given evening during a host week.
Announcing ChIPS for 2017
Christmas comes to Children of Incarcerated Parents every year with your help: you and sponsors like you who donate gifts and funds to make it happen! Both the families and the incarcerated parents themselves are deeply grateful for the opportunity that the ChIPs program affords them. The prisons count the number of gifts needed for each age and gender group. Volunteers collect your gift donations, and use your monetary donations to supplement the gifts provided. Once the presents are sorted, they’re brought to the prisons, and the inmates get the chance to choose one gift for each child on their list.
Children of prison inmates can live lonely lives. It’s easy to believe that a parent you never see just doesn’t care. Inmates also find themselves feeling isolated and abandoned, unable to provide for or to be a part of their families. Being able to offer their children a gift at the Christmas visit gives the inmates an opportunity for connection, for a sliver of normalcy in their family relations
- We group gifts according the following ages: birth to 1; ages 2-4; 5-7; 8-11; and 12-15.
- Gifts should not exceed $25 (original retail value).
- One $25 gift is preferable to multiple smaller gifts as it is difficult to group items.
- If you don’t want to purchase a gift, any monetary donation will be gladly accepted. (check to Diocese of NH, memoed ChIPS, and placed in the offering)
- Books are a separate category and our goal is to provide each child with a gift and a book. Both hardcover and paperback books are appropriate.
- If you purchase a gift that requires batteries, please purchase those and attach them.
- Consider buying a gift appropriate for both boys and girls such as balls or board games.
- Don’t forget the older children. There is always a shortage of gifts for older children.
- No used items, homemade items, or gift cards can be accepted.
- The following items are NOT acceptable: jewelry, balloons, crayons, play dough, glue, bubbles, make up, long sticks, knitting needles, crochet hooks, or paint brushes, glass items, clothing, sharp tools or toy weapons of any kind.
Gifts can be left in the Narthex by Thursday, November 2. For more information, please contact Deacon Charlie at: email@example.com or 603.531.0715 Thank you!
In response to the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC in June of last year, a group consisting of local church and community leaders has begun to come together. The name of the group is called the Racial Unity Team and is planning a number of events for Fall and into the Winter. The mission of the Racial Unity Team (RUT) is to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between the races in our community with a goal to lay a foundation for developing racial understanding and work toward developing a city that promotes racial diversity.
- Growing a generation of Americans Who Are Not Only Not Racist, But Actively Anti-Racist
- Building Bridges – Healing the Racial Divide
- Securing the Safety of our Sanctuaries
- Improving Racial Diversity Education within the Exeter School System
- Sponsoring faith-based Youth Programs that focus on Racial Diversity
The meetings are open to anyone in the community who is passionate about this issue. Please contact Mark Pendleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the meeting schedule.
One Town One Book
In the aftermath of the tragic shootings in Charleston, several individuals came together to talk about race and racism in America. The community book read was proposed as an idea to delve deeper into the challenges at hand, and deepen our understandings. After a successful community read of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ extraordinary book “Between the World and Me”, the Exeter area read “Waking Up White”, by Debby Irving in the fall of 2016 and discussed it each Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Chapel.
Feed My Lambs was started about 24 years ago to help needy families in the Seacoast area. Christ Church works closely with the Exeter Welfare Department, the Exeter school system, and other churches in the SAU 16 School District to provide families with gas vouchers for doctor’s appointments and job interviews, and food vouchers (to help purchase things that food stamps don’t cover such as paper products and toiletries). The “Back to School” program provides back packs, gift certificates for clothing and shoes, and school supplies to children in the program.
The churches involved in the Feed My Lambs Program are Christ Church, Exeter, St. Michael’s Church, Exeter Congregational Church, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and The First Baptist Church of Exeter. This group, in conjunction with the Exeter Welfare Department and the Exeter school system, meet once or twice a month to provide assistance to families in crisis. This year Christ Church helped 50 families for “Back to School”, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Altogether, there were 197 families who receive services from Feed My Lambs.
Feed My Lambs Thanksgiving & Christmas Baskets
As we have every year through Feed My Lambs, the Exeter Welfare Department, and the SAU 16 schools, we will be participating in the Thanksgiving Basket program for local families. Look out for plates in November & December to sign up to make a Thanksgiving or Christmas basket and/or to buy Christmas gifts for area children.
Please email Sally Farrell (email@example.com)or Lee Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping out with drop off & distribution.