Throughout our history, we have been sharing the compassion of Jesus Christ with Central Oregon. Loving our neighbors is the core of who we are. There is something for you whether your passion is education, healthcare, feeding our hungry or community organizing. Look for a contact and reach out to them, they would love to hear from you.
Peace and Justice Team responds energetically to local issues by working with other faith groups and agencies to promote and support a community where all are treated fairly and compassionately.
Members engage in a variety of issues, including tenant advocacy, immigration., human trafficking, restorative justice in the schools, and, most recently, gun safety. Individual members often represent First Presbyterian at the school board, city council, and at other events which require a voice for justice.
Current projects include partnering with Mountain View Neighborhood Association on a tenant education forum and joining with Immigrant Solidarity Network and Central Oregon Neighborlove to provide friendship and support to the immigrant community. We welcome all who want to learn more. Contact Amy Spernak at [email protected] for more information.
Kits For Kids: providing the basics for homeless youth.
Beginning in 2006 the Kits for Kids project, operating May-August of each year, provides hygiene kits for homeless and needy students in Deschutes County.Cloth drawstring bags are sewn by volunteers from donated fabric and filled with 9 hygiene items donated or purchased with donated funds. This project involves multiple churches, civic and service groups and interested people in our community. Through a partnership with Family Access Network (FAN) approximately 1000 kits of basic health and cleanliness supplies are distributed each August to kids and youth in crisis situations.
“I had a mom come to my office, she was so distraught. She had just fled an abusive husband and was not able to get any of her belongings out of the house. After a very emotional hour of sharing and resource gathering, I had her pick out a hygiene bag on her way out of my office. She took her time, thoughtfully choosing a beautiful patchwork bag and was so grateful for the contents within. I explained that the bag was handmade with love by members of a local church. She asked what so many do, “You mean I can keep the bag?!” I hear so often how wonderful the bags themselves are for hauling laundry to a laundromat or for storing items–people hold on to them! The hygiene bags always truly brighten the spirits of those that receive them. I call them “bags of hope”. Just knowing that someone cares about your basic needs brings lightness to a difficult time.” ~McKayla Rickards, Family Access Network Advocate
“They expressed gratitude for these items and were excited to be able to do laundry for the first time in weeks. Because of these kits the children were able to attend their first day of school with clean clothes.”
~Mara Stephens, Bend-LaPine School District Homeless Liason
Friends Of Jesus: A ministry mentoring program for children.
Founded in 1992, Friends of Jesus is a ministry mentoring program for children. Saturday mornings 15 to 25 kids primarily from the low income Thurston neighborhood come to First Presbyterian for snacks, Bible stories, crafts and games and go on outings when possible like ice skating, swimming at Juniper pool, attending the Christmas parade and going to the Deschutes Public Library book sale. Contact Valerie Dal Soglio at [email protected].
Tutoring: Bear Creek Elementary School
Since 2007 First Presbyterian has provided tutors to Bear Creek Elementary. Each year 25 to 30 children each year are served in the program receiving help with reading, math and homework after school on Tuesdays. The majority of the tutors come from First Presbyterian, but friends and high school students have participated as well. In the words of Robert Currie, a now retired Family Access Network Advocate who initiated the progrm: “It’s great for students to have help with school work, but the most important thing is the relationship between the child and the tutor”. Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00pm, October – May, Bear Creek Elementary School Library, 51 SE 13th Street. Contact Maggie Hanson at [email protected].
Family Kitchen: Feeding those in need.
First Presbyterian volunteers donate, cook and serve meals every fourth Thursday of each month. Contact Karen Bates at [email protected] or the Family Kitchen Program Coordinator at 541.610.6511.
Bethlehem Inn: First Friday Dinner
Food collection is an ongoing ministry at First Presbyterian Church. Non-perishable food is collected in grocery carts found inside the church commons. Each week the food is taken to the St. Vincent de Paul outreach food bank for distribution. You can help by filling reusable bags located on the carts and returning the food to the baskets. You can also join the group of folks who take the food to the food bank and stock the shelves. Contact Jan Tetzlaff at [email protected].
The first Sunday of each month change is collected and half of the donations received are given to the local Hunger Prevention Coalition and the other half is given to Presbytery Hunger Prevention Program. All of the coins given add up; a typical month brings in $400-$500 making our annual collection at approximately $6000 each year. Contact Tom Hall at [email protected].
First Presbyterian Bend has provided volunteers, meals and donations to Bethlehem Inn since 2000. In choosing Bethlehem Inn as a local service agency to serve, First Presbyterian’s Hunger & Homeless Task Force is helping the Inn provide shelter and services to more than 1000 adults and children in crisis and provide breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Also, the first Friday of each month you will find volunteers from First Presbyterian serving dinner that they have purchased and prepared for approximately 75 residents.
In addition to First Presbyterian’s volunteer commitment, Pastor Jenny Warner serves on the Bethlehem Inn board.
“The Loft”, a program of Cascade Youth & Family Services and J Bar J Youth Services, exists to promote innovative options for at-risk children, youth and families working toward self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.
First Presbyterian’s Hunger & Homeless Task Force is in conversation with folks from the Loft working to understand their needs and where we can most effectively make a difference. For more, contact Karen Bates at [email protected].
For nearly 20 years, First Presbyterian has been connected to our local Latino community through friendship, advocacy, hospitality, and support. First Presbyterian is a trusted community and space where we have hosted English classes and immigrant advocacy events. More >>
Quilters: Sharing the warmth of God’s love.
For more than 25 years, the quilting ministry of First Presbyterian has been providing comfort through the gift of a quilt. Each Thursday, from 9:00am-2:30pm several women are making quilts and sharing stories. They make 3 to 4 quilts each week producing more than 100 quilts each year. The quilts are given at baptisms and find homes all around Central Oregon and the world. They are given to agencies like J Bar J, Red Cross, Kids Center and Bend Area Habitat for Humanity for these folks to give when they find someone in need of comfort. Contact Betty Armer at [email protected].
“The knowledge that someone provided this quilt for whoever may be in need, often brings our clients to tears. It also brings solace for them to know that someone cared enough to provide such a thoughtful gift for someone they didn’t even know. We have the fortunate experience to hear from our clients long after their disaster and we learn that they still have their quilts and treasure them.”
~Karen Parmele, Red Cross Readiness Specialist
Prayer Shawls: A physical blessing & prayer
Since approximately 2008 knitters have been making prayer shawls to provide peace and hope to whoever receives them. About 15 knitters make 75 prayer shawls each year giving them to the Chaplains at St. Charles to use at their discretion. A supply is also kept at First Presbyterian and given by Care Coordinator, Elizabeth Stephan when there is a need. Graduatin high school seniors also receive shawls. Several women knit shawls in their homes while half a dozen or more gather every Thursday, 1:30-3:00pm, at First Presbyterian knitting a simple pattern of Knit 3, Purl 3. All are welcome, beginners to advanced. Yarn provided, bring needles in suggested sizes of 11 or 13. Contact Deb Klotz at [email protected].
The ministry of providing firewood began in the ‘90’s and has taken on a new life as of the fall of 2014. First Presbyterian and Nativity Lutheran have partnered and created a thriving wood ministry that serves 20 to 30 families and individuals weekly. Every Saturday between 9:00am and noon, approximately 30 volunteers work at the Nativity Lutheran woodlot cutting, splitting and loading wood for individuals and families in need of wood to heat their homes and camps. Contact Rhonda Chesney @ [email protected].
First Presbyterian is an Earth Care Congregation advocating for creation care and environmental justice. The volunteers behind this work is First Presbyterian’s Green Team. They meet the first Wednesday of each month, 10:00am, in the First Presbyerian Prayer Room. Contact Thiel Larson at [email protected]. Some of what their passionate work has accomplished >>.
“We believe that caring for the earth is the first and holiest of vocations as people of faith. The earth is not a commodity to be consumed for the sake of our pleasure but a sacred community that we all belong to. Earth care and justice is not an extra-curricular activity for a certain few but a core Commitment and activity for us as we seek to live out our faith. The church can be at the forefront inviting people to walk on this holy earth more consciously and more tenderly, to raise awareness how the vulnerable and marginalized are most impacted by the extreme consequences of not caring for the earth, and to make sure there is a viable planet for our great grandchildren to enjoy. We are thrilled to partner with the city of Bend encouraging our congregation and our neighbors to protect and preserve this sacred community we are privileged to share. First Presbyterian has even challenged other churches in Bend in a friendly competition to see which church can sign up the most people in the Bend Energy Challenge.” ~Pastor Steven Koski
At First Presbyterian
Sunday morning hospitality.
Set the tone for community worship by welcoming at the door, at the Welcome Center or through worship assistance. Contact Sherry Smith at [email protected].
Visual art deepens and expands our worship experience. Artists, designers and implementers work with the pastors to visually share our themes in the sanctuary throughout the church year. Help is always welcome and the group meets Mondays as needed. Contact Sherry Smith at [email protected].