FCC members have a history of starting up new charitable organizations, being founders or leaders of Houston Habitat for Humanity, Westside Homeless Partnership, The Woods Project, the Third Saturday Meal (aka Poimaino) and Settegast Heights Village.
Below are examples of how FCC members are investing their time, talent and treasure. If you would like to offer your services in support of any of these mission opportunities, you can speak with one of the church staff or a member of the FCC Board of Missions.
On the first Friday of each month, our congregation engages in a service opportunity. If you would like more information about getting involved in the next opportunity, contact us below.
Avenue Community Development Corporation
This local non-profit Avenue seeks to improve the lives of Houstonians by investing in their neighborhoods. An FCC member is a director at Avenue CDC and members have volunteered with local projects, such as cleaning and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey.
Back Bay Mission
Back Bay Mission is a UCC sponsored organization which meets the urgent needs of those suffering from poverty and its effects while building pathways to social justice. They lead the way in delivering services, creating collaborative solutions, and transforming lives through mission immersion experiences. Supported by FCC since the ‘60s, FCC currently provides an annual donation to the organization and we have sent our Youth Group there a mission trip.
Be a Good Samaritan (BAGS)
Launched at FCC in 2013, this program provides empty gallon sized bags, and literature, which gives information about homeless support organizations. Church members then fill the bags with bottled water and easy to open food. They can then have the food and information ready and easily available when they encounter people in need.
Fair Haven Food Pantry
The Fair Haven Food Pantry mission is to provide emergency food assistance to persons in the Spring Branch/ Memorial Area until other food assistance is available, or until food assistance is no longer needed. FCC volunteers gather at FCC to make homemade soup once a month for this longtime Soup Kitchen Project. The soup is prepared, frozen and taken to Fair Haven for distribution.
The members of FCC have provided an Endowment Fund, which provides monetary grants to support non-profit organizations and community programs. Examples of grants include: Slumber Falls facility improvements, FCC Arts With a Mission program, FCC Music in the Community program, Westside Homeless Partnership, The Woods Project and many others.
FCC Special Benevolences
FCC members contribute the FCC Benevolence Fund, which is used to help support individuals in times of crisis. During Hurricane Harvey, significant funds were disbursed to assist those severely impacted by the floods.
Houston Habitat for Humanity
In the 1970’s, FCC’s Carl Umland was instrumental in helping this volunteer organization gain momentum in Houston. Through Habitat for Humanity, groups sign-up to assist in the construction or repair of a home. As a congregation we have been active as board and committee members. And we have volunteered our time and donated resources for several projects over the years.
Houston Pride Festival
FCC joins with other area Open and Affirming UCC Houston area churches to reach out to the GLBT community at Houston’s Pride Festival with an information tent and parade float. Extending a welcome to our church family in this way is coordinated by FCC’s Board of Church in Society.
Literacy Advance transforms lives through their free adult literacy programs. Volunteers are trained to teach ESL in a classroom setting, or tutor non-reading adults individually. FCC members are among those volunteers that gave 18,808 hours to their classes in 2017. But much more important than statistics about hours is the fact that volunteers do what they do with such heart!
Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM)
The purpose of MAM is to help families and individuals who find themselves in temporary crisis and in need of assistance to maintain self-sufficiency and avoid homelessness. MAM provides emergency and financial assistance and other educational programs designed to put families back on their feet. FCC members volunteer their time working at the thrift shop and we conduct annual fund drives to purchase school uniforms and school supplies for local students.
Outreach to Houston Homeless
Traditionally each Christmas Eve FCC donates the offering taken at the worship services to Houston homeless. Different charities have been chosen including SEARCH and Star of Hope Mission.
SEARCH provides food, showers, shelter, job training, assists with job applications, and provides an address for those homeless who are seeking employment. Associated with SEARCH is the HOUSE OF TINY TREASURES, a quality children’s day care facility for those participating in the SEARCH program. At one time, this was the only day care center in Houston for homeless children.
Star of Hope
Star of Hope also provides food, shelter, and counseling for Houston homeless men, women and children. Star of Hope encourages positive life changes through programs in spiritual growth, education, employment, life management and substance abuse recovery.
Refugee Assistance Project
FCC has organized a group of member volunteers to support refugee families. This is usually done through working with organizations in charge of refugee assimilation into the community, such as Interfaith Ministries. Volunteer opportunities included donating goods and furniture to the families, donating time to assist families in the assimilation process, such as learning English, better understanding the American culture, learning about Houston, and finding jobs.
Settegast Heights Village (SHV)
Settegast Heights Village, a low-income housing project in east Houston, is owned by the Houston Association UCC and run with HUD monies. FCC members have served on the SHV board for many years, and our volunteers have helped to provide turkeys at Thanksgiving and gifts at Christmas for the 400 children and their families at this low-income housing development. The idea of building Settegast Heights began at FCC and is supported by other UCC churches.
Spring Branch ISD Mentoring Program
Mentors in Spring Branch ISD assist students in grades 3 – 12 by offering guidance, encouragement and support. They provide young people with the skills needed to address personal, school and home issues that may discourage them from reaching their potential. In just 30-60 minutes weekly, mentors supply the gift of hope to those they touch and give young people a vision of success. Some mentors are very experienced, having worked with students for years. While experience is not a prerequisite, enthusiasm and dedication are! For over 7 years, multiple members of FCC have mentored low income students through this program.
The Woods Project
Founded in 2008 by an FCC member, The Woods Project’s mission is to create wilderness education and exploration experiences that develop critical behaviors needed for disadvantaged students to achieve success in school and life. FCC members donate their time and resources to this organization, including preparing for and going on wilderness trips with the students.
Global Ministries Child Sponsorship Program
Global Ministries is the shared global mission outreach arm of the UCC/Disciples of Christ. Supported by FCC since 2011, this global children’s ministry works closely with private centers that have long-established links with a UCC or Disciples global partner. Through partners, they work in collaboration with their agencies to provide food, basic health care, clothing and in some cases housing, school fees, uniform, books and training and livelihood opportunities to many poor and destitute children in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe. Currently, they have 15 centers participating with approximately 900 children in the program.
UCC Designated Programs
As a congregation, FCC members contribute financially to the following UCC missions and special funds: Neighbors in Need (supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the U.S.), One Great Hour of Sharing (overseas missions and disaster relief), Strengthen the Church (expansion of ministry and growth of UCC local congregations), and Veterans of the Cross (pension fund for retired clergy).
United Campus Ministries of Greater Houston (UCM)
This UCC-sponsored ministry partners with the Presbyterian Church USA and Disciples of Christ aims to provide multi-faceted opportunities for students, staff and faculty to explore progressive Christianity and examine their faith in a safe, non-judgmental environment at colleges and universities in Houston. Based at the University of Houston, UCM provides opportunities for spiritual nurture, worship, fellowship and service. FCC participates by contributing financially and providing volunteers to serve on the Board of Directors, provide lunches and dinners, and serve as mentors and auxiliary campus ministers.
Westside Homeless Prevention (WHP)
This program was originally launched by members of FCC. Westside Homeless Partnership exists to empower homeless families in Houston’s Spring Branch area to achieve self-sufficiency and a stable home environment, one in which their children have a better chance at academic success and brighter prospects for the future. WHP’s assistance includes intensive case management, resources, and supporting services that, together with the families’ own personal efforts, education, and growth, make lasting changes that transform their lives. FCC continue to provide board members, financial support and promote volunteer opportunities such as support of case workers, lunches when school is out or meetings are planned, stuffing backpacks for school, aiding in summer camps, fund raising projects and others.
Youth Mission Projects
Each year FCC youth undertake various mission projects. Many of the projects are local, but often they go on mission trips to serve people in different parts of Texas and other states. The youth take part in fund-raisers and planning for their mission projects, and travel in chaperoned groups. There are also inter-generational projects where parents and other adults join the youth in their projects. Adult volunteers are often needed.