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Haiti Scholarship Drive

     In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. . . To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely.                                                                                                                                         [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:05-05:00October 8th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments


Syrian relief effort features music, appeals for aid | GazetteNet.com Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette Monday, September 28, 2015 The crowd to benefit medical assistance for Syrian Refugees in the First Churches Sanctuary Syrian relief effort features music, appeals for aid NORTHAMPTON — The dimly lit solemnity of the First Churches of Northampton sanctuary rang with the sounds of oud and drum Sunday afternoon as Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble took the stage. Between Layaali’s sets, Boston’s Dr. Abdulfatah Elshaar, president of the New England Chapter of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and his daughter Ala’a Elshaar spoke about the organization’s efforts to bring medical care to war-ravaged Syria and to Syrian refugees outside the country’s borders. The event, dubbed “Songs for Syria” and produced by the Valley Syrian Relief Committee, saw the First Churches filled to near [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:06-05:00September 30th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, News|0 Comments

Songs for Syria: A Concert for Humanitarian Relief

                    The Valley Syrian Relief Committee presents a Concert for Humanitarian Relief, September 27th 2015 @ 3:00pm, Featuring Jazz, Blues and a special performance by Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble, and guests. Layaali is absolutely exquisite! Their charm, warmth and humanity will leave you breathless and eager for more."- Dr. Calvin Chen, Department of Politics, Mt. Holyoke College Concert Admission is free, donations encouraged. All funday raised will be donated to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a non-political, non-profit organization of medical professionals who provide medicine and medical services to Syrian civilians and refugees in neighboring countries.   If you are unable to attend but would like to support SAMS, visit the Valley Syrian Relief Committee's Facebook page or contribute directly to SAMS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VVoCxdm7T8 Remarks Dr. Abdul Fatah Elshaar, President of [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:06-05:00September 4th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, News, Peace and Justice|0 Comments

Medea Benjamin to Speak at First Churches This Sunday!

        Sunday, August 16th at 4 PM, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, will be speaking at here at First Churches (129 Main St) in Northampton, MA! She will be talking about The Axis of Diplomacy: Cuba, Iran and North Korea with a Q&A to follow. No ticket or registration necessary. We hope to see you there!! Buy your copy of Medea Benjamin's Drone Warfare book  and help CODEPINK ground the drones now! Click the link for more information!

By |2017-01-18T20:15:06-05:00August 12th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, News, Peace and Justice|0 Comments

Ensemble Musica Humana @ First Churches August 20th 8:00pm

We are so happy to host the talented Ensemble Musica Humana, EMH, once again. The poster from EMH's June Concert This Summer's program, titled, of Love / of War is...   A program of Alessandro Scarlatti, Melani, Handel, and Purcell, featuring vocal and instrumental repertoire on themes of “war” and “peace.” The trumpet and flute provide perfect duet partners to the voice, while contrasting with each other in timbre and connotation. These uniquely orchestrated musical selections will illustrate the duality between the two reigning Baroque aesthetics: Love and War. ~ Ensemble Musica Humana   For information or to purchase tickets, click here According to their website, Ensemble Musica Humana describes themselves as a "vibrant ensemble specializing in imaginative and historically informed musical performances. Drawing from primary sources, we seek to creatively engage with history through music, and bring to life [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:06-05:00August 12th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, News|0 Comments

Tiny Dance Project ~ sustainable dance art for small spaces

            First Churches is excited to host The Tiny Dance Project again this year.   The tinydance project uses dance theatre and performance art to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions and events about issues related to sustainability. At the same time, we recognize that it is impractical and undesirable to live in a constant state of crisis, and so we approach the potential end of life as we know it with humor and good cheer. - http://www.tinydanceproject.com/about.html Liv Fauver and Kelly Silliman at Tuesday Market, photo by Cher Lemire-http://www.tinydanceproject.com/performances.html   Kelly Silliman tows a 4' x 8' stage on her bike to performances. Moving in this way is intended to spark conversation about sustainability. What does the world look like when we are without high-tech scenes? What do the Arts look like? These are questions to [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:07-05:00July 13th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, News, Uncategorized|1 Comment


Once again First Churches was able to participate in the Annual Pride Parade celebrating our Open and Affirming Congregations. The First Churches Contingency There were many that came out to support the LGBT community. As Clergry, we support one another   We were not alone                 The Northampton Community can count on seeing the First Churches banner again and again!!     Pastor Todd, Dori and Sandie proudly representing our loving congregation   To find out more about the Northampton Pride Parade, follow the link

By |2017-01-18T20:15:07-05:00June 9th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, Peace and Justice|0 Comments

Understanding and Healing War’s Deepest Wounds

Three authors of recent books who examine war trauma and healing from different perspectives  share their work and join our moderator in a discussion on the challenge that faces us all: to help our veterans come back whole to themselves, their families, and their community. The authors are Mark Nickerson, LICSW, The Wounds Within: A Veteran, a PTSD Therapist, and a Nation Unprepared (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015), by Mark I. Nickerson and Joshua S. Goldstein. This is an inside account of the iconic case of Marine Lance Corporal Jeff Lucey, a Belchertown MA vet whose battle with PTSD ended when he took his life after returning home from the early months of the Iraq War. Nickerson, an internationally recognized expert on trauma treatment who saw Jeff through his private practice, also examines the Lucey family’s decade-long campaign to improve a VA suicide [...]

By |2015-04-09T09:52:53-04:00April 8th, 2015|Mission & Outreach, News, Peace and Justice|0 Comments

Haiti Trip 2015 ~ By Heidi Rademacher

I am still processing my experiences in Haiti. Instead of rehashing each day and activity, I would like to focus on four specific experiences or encounters – two that brought me joy and two that made me cry. Heidi with knitting students First, teaching people to knit makes me happy. I love to knit so why not share my passion with others?  However, what I enjoyed most was not teaching skills but connecting with the students via teaching. In fact, we did not get very far with knitting, partly due to the fact that I had about one hour. The hardest part of knitting for beginners can be casting on and then knitting the first row. I helped students cast on, but since the cast on stitches are so close to the needle, they had trouble practicing. Although [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:08-05:00March 19th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments


This was my fifth trip to Haiti. Every trip to Haiti is different and special and touches your soul. Upon arriving I was again struck by the poverty and the desperation of most people's lives.  The many men standing outside the airport pedestrian exit vying to earn a dollar by carrying your bag drives home their situation. The three hour Sunday morning worship in a crowded and very poor “God’s Faith Church” was one of many examples during the visit of the deep faith of most Haitian people. This church was particularly interesting because of its charismatic worship style. The pastor often preached with his eyes closed and members would shout out phrases such as "praise the Lord." Many had their hands raised high with eyes closed as the Spirit seemed to seize them. The church has a tin roof [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:08-05:00March 17th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments
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