Outreach and Justice Ministries
Outreach and justice ministries have been a fundamental purpose of First United Methodist Church throughout its history. Our ministry of service to those outside of the church continues to be the way we most often identify ourselves. Our care for all people, especially those who are poor and vulnerable, is how we relate to the work and words of Jesus Christ. It is our hope that if you are not already involved in an outreach ministry, you will be inspired to join us by lending your gifts, talents, energy, and time to make the world a place where more people can experience, share, and celebrate God’s love.
You Are Not Alone (YANA), a ministry for those who are hungry in our community, provides a free home-cooked meal at 5:30 p.m. every Sunday in the lower level Wesley Hall. YANA welcomes helping hands to set-up, prepare food, greet guests, and clean-up. Please contact Ray and Ann Sweany at (269) 350-5977 if you are interested in helping. YANA's mission statement: Acknowledging that all people are created in God's image, we are committed to providing nourishment and a safe haven on Sunday evenings. Together, we hope to build a beloved community as we listen to each other's life stories and encourage each other's gifts. We invite all who value a community without boundaries to collaborate with us in YANA as we engage in the mission of the greater church. Opening our doors to all, we give out of our abundance as we lean on God for direction.
Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) immigrant ministry. Members of Kalamazoo First UMC have met folks who daily live with the fear of deportation, some of whom may have a legal basis for remaining in this country. Often these are people are the primary breadwinner, or much-loved caregiver. The 2010 census showed Kalamazoo County had over 12,000 immigrant residents, many of whom need legal services in order to navigate the arcane rules and regulations of our immigration system. Having had our hearts touched by the lives of these immigrants, Kalamazoo FUMC has established a Justice for Our Neighbors clinic. JFON is a ministry of hospitality that welcomes immigrants into our communities by providing affordable, high-quality immigration legal services, engaging in advocacy for immigrants’ rights and offering education to communities of faith and the public. JFON-Kalamazoo is a self-supporting satellite of JFON-West Michigan, which over a 10-year period has helped more than 1,200 immigrants from 60 countries. Other satellite clinics operate in Holland and Traverse City. Monetary donations, of course, are accepted at any time. More information can be found at www.jfonwestmichigan.org or at www.njfon.org. For legal services, please call (888) 718-7775 (toll free). Messages can be left at any time of day.
Helping Our Neighbors, a ministry at our church to help people in the Kalamazoo community with emergency needs, especially when they are facing eviction or utility shut-offs. Through this ministry, our church pledges up to $50 to help pay a person's bill. On Thursday mornings, from 10 a.m. to noon, volunteers meet with people one-on-one. There are three ways you can participate in this ministry: 1) Donate money to the fund. The money is much needed and truly used to help people stay warm, have running water, and feel more secure in their homes; 2) Volunteer. Could you dedicate a Monday or Thursday morning once or twice a month to help meet with those in our community with a great need? 3) Pray for this ministry. "God, thank you for giving our church the opportunity to sit with our neighbors. Help these encounters transform this church." For more information on how you can be a part of this ministry, please contact Kim Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org.