Individual members of the congregation who share a strong concern about a specific issue of justice or means of service may apply to the Ministry of Justice & Service (J&S) to organize what is known as a Ministry Team. Such efforts are in keeping with a long tradition of social action in the United Church of Christ. The group may plan to pursue a specific activity, to advocate for a position, or to address a particular need; the focus may be local or global, the circumstance temporary or longer term. Whatever the case, once approved, J&S offers continuing institutional support and guidance.
Cellar Thrift Shop
Contact: Barbara Addicott or Jerri Ricca
The Cellar Thrift Shop opened its doors in the Fall of 1987. It is staffed by dedicated volunteers from First Church and the community. Hours are Wednesdays from 10-4, Saturdays from 10-2, and Sundays before and after church. Every Tuesday is pricing day, when new items are displayed. The proceeds from the Cellar in 2013 were more than $40,000, of which $20,000 was distributed by the Ministry of Justice & Service to various local agencies, $16,000 went into in-church projects, and the remaining $4,000 into the church's operating budget. A few of the agencies receiving funds this past year are: Save the Bay, Suitcase Clinic, Urban Releaf, UCC Funds for Philippines Relief, Berkeley Food Pantry. A complete list of recipients is available within the church's Annual Report.
Children at the Border/Sanctuary Ministry Team
Contact: Victoria Purcell-Gates
The Children at the Border/Sanctuary Ministry Team was organized in 2014 in response to members? reactions to the treatment of refugees from Central America who were crossing the U.S. Border, fleeing increasing criminal activity and threats to their lives in their home countries. Faced with arrest, detention, and rapid deportation hearings in the U.S., thousands of unaccompanied youth and entire families were, and continue to be, in dire need of material, emotional, and educational support. Faith communities, including UCC, have stepped up to fill these needs. FCCB members are actively involved in supporting the refugees through Accompaniment Teams, as mentors/tutors, and in creating emergency and transitional housing.
Diversity Ministry Team
Contact: Nancy McKay
The Diversity Ministry Team gathers monthly to discuss issues of diversity, inclusivity and hospitality. It seeks to discern how to respond to the pronouncement calling the UCC to become ?multicultural and multiracial?. Offering speakers, resources, and space for open conversation, it seeks to promote congregational awareness that, progress notwithstanding, prejudice and discrimination remain acknowledged realities in the church and the wider world.
Contact: Anne Rowe or Mary Fujii
Since the beginning of the Farmers' Market ministry in 1977, homegrown food and flowers have been donated by members to the Farmers' Market and then offered to the congregation during Fellowship Hour. The money raised through donations was passed along to the Berkeley Food Pantry. In this time of drought in California, and limited yields from the gardens of members, the Farmers' Market Team supported the Berkeley Food Pantry by encouraging weekly contributions of peanut butter and cereal (and/or other nutritious items). The Pantry expressed great appreciation for First Church's donations of approximately 400 jars of peanut butter, 500 boxes of cereal and 300 other items during the first ten months of 2015.
Global Community Ministry Team
Contact: Alice Clark
The Global Community Ministry Team is devoted both to learning from members of First Church who travel abroad, and to traveling abroad together in groups, with the overarching goal of broadening our cross-cultural understanding and our interfaith spiritual awareness. We seek to put on programs that reflect this kind of learning about other lands, other cultures, and other faiths.
Green Ministry Team
Contact: Emma Fujii
The mission of the team is to promote environmental stewardship so that we may respect, enjoy and preserve God's gift of life on earth. The Church Council greeted the group's emergence with excitement, endorsing its mission and prospective work, and voting to embrace a "green theme" for the 2012?2013 church year. Members plan a broad program of action to make First Church a "green church".
Kitchen Community Ministry Team
Contact: Wilson Hoffman
Beginning our tenth year of continuous service, the KCMT prepares a monthly dinner for YEAH (Youth Empowerment Advocacy Housing), the only overnight shelter in Berkeley for youth [18-25] who do not have homes. Many, at 18, have recently been discharged from foster care. The team also provides occasional meals and afternoon refreshments to the Women's Shelter, an arm of Berkeley Food and Housing Project.
Mental Health Ministry Team
Contact: Robin Kempster
The Mental Health Ministry Team seeks to include all our members and friends in the life of the church including those who are affected by mental illness, to provide opportunities to reduce stigma for those with mental health challenges, to share our stories, to educate ourselves around these issues and to remind us that we are loved as children of God, just as we are.