From the founding of Poage Landing, Lot 1, Post Office Box 1 to 1600 Winchester Avenue, First Presbyterian Church has a rich history of being mission focused and mission led. It was a place of rest and comfort for the families of young recruits and weary soldiers going off to war or traveling from battle to battle during the Civil War. Today the church continues to provide financial support and volunteers for numerous agencies proving help and support for children, youth, and families across the region. First Presbyterian Church, circa 1819-2019 and beyond, is indeed the Heart of Ashland.
Members and friends of the church are engaged in several mission activities in Ashland and around the world. If you are interested in helping with any of these mission efforts, be it through prayer, time, talent and treasures, please contact the church office at (606) 324-4122 or at the website:email@example.com.
First Presbyterian Church was one of the covenant partners in the establishment of, The Neighborhood (Neighbors Helping Neighbors). From the early days to now, church members serve on the Board of Directors providing leadership and guidance. The generosity of the church is evident in the financial support of CAReS (Community Assistance & Referral Services, Inc.) and Clean Start. The congregation has many members who volunteer at The Neighborhood with Andrew Potter recently being named Volunteer of the Year at the Community Kitchen, to others working in the CAReS office, hemming prom dresses and sorting clothes for the Dressing Room and providing toiletries for Clean Start.
But, before The Neighborhood, there was AAPM - Ashland Area Presbyterian Ministries, with a dedicated office at the church. For many, many years AAPM was one of the few sources for food, personal care items, cleaning supplies and assistance with rent and utility payments in an effort to keep individuals and families housed. As more and more community agencies began providing these services, AAPM eventually became, Clean Start, currently located in The Neighborhood. First Presbyterian Church continues to support this mission effort with financial support, volunteers, and regular donations of personal care items and cleaning supplies, Clean Start provides access to showers, haircuts, a temporary mailbox for the homeless and assistance in securing personal identification in the form of birth certificates and social security cards.
These two local mission efforts are supported through not only the church’s budget, but with special monthly offerings and volunteer hours.
In addition to supporting CAReS and Clean Start, First Presbyterian Church also has several opportunities for members and friends of the church to participate in mission efforts and projects, locally and globally.
Reading Buddies: Once known as “One Church-One School”, this mission project pairs church volunteers and friends of the church with children struggling to read. Participating schools identify students in need and Reading Buddies are assigned to students, reading to and with them on a regular basis, usually once a week during the regular school year. The volunteers work with the Reading Specialist at the designated schools, learning about reading strategies and the individual needs of identified students. Volunteers must have a criminal records background check. Parents/guardians are made aware of the availability of the mission project. More volunteers are needed. Charlie Holbrook, retired lawyer and member of the church, speaks passionately about the Reading Buddies mission project, saying, “I love it! I think I get much more out of it than the kids. There is such a need to help kids learn to develop a love for reading.” Readers make leaders. While the Reading Specialist have literature ready for the volunteers to use, the volunteers may also share their childhood favorites. Want to read with a child, contact Bonnie Pettijohn, Charlie Holbrook, Mary Patterson and Trish Hall for more information and how to get started,
Weekend Snack – Backpack Program: First Presbyterian Church in collaboration with Cornerstone Church and Holy Family provides nearly 150 bags of nutritious snacks and food items on a weekly basis for elementary and middle school students and their preschool siblings in the Ashland Independent School District. Church volunteers meet weekly to pack and deliver the bags to four elementary schools and the middle school. Special offerings are collected once a month during Communion Sunday worship to support the Weekend snack – Backpack Program. The church also receives a grant from Transylvania Presbytery to support this growing mission project. More students are in need and could be served with increased financial support and volunteers. Contact Cathy and Larry Wilson and Mary Patterson for more information on how to contribute or volunteer for this mission project. Designate cash and /or check contributions to the church in the memo section for the Weekend snack-Backpack mission project.
Mitten Tree – This mission project began under the leadership of Ann Wiseman and other women of the church. During the Advent season, mittens, gloves, hats and scarves are collected and placed on a Christmas Tree for children and youth in the area. The items are disbursed to local school resource and youth service centers. Don’t forget the preteen and teens – they need to stay warm as well. This year, 2022, Mary Patterson, member of the Mission Ministry Team, suggested adding socks to the tree! Please participate by brining your contributions to the church during Advent. Don’t want to shop, designate a check or cash gift to this mission project. Contact Ann Wiseman, Bettie George Frye for Mary Patterson for more information on how to participate in this warm and fuzzy Mitten Tree mission project!
Ashland Youth Services Center Ministry – This is one of the church’s newest mission efforts. Begun by Kelly and Kate Hanni, members of the church. While Kate was in high school, she became alarmingly aware of the needs of students living in poverty. Many local programs are aimed at assisting young children and oftentimes do not offer help for teens . As a result of the Hanni's voiced concerns and compassion, First Presbyterian Church began collecting food and personal care items on a regular basis to stock the pantry at the Ashland Youth Services Center at Blazer High School . Items are distributed to students as needed and requested. You may contribute items from the available list of ongoing needs at any time, or feel free to make a cash or check contribution to the church designated in the memo for the Ashland Youth Services Center mission project. Contact Kelly Hanni for more information about this mission project.
Samaritans Purse - Operation Christmas Child: Once a year in November, shoeboxes are made available to members and friends of churches across the world to fill for needy children. First Presbyterian Church fills 50-60 shoeboxes per year. The filled boxes are delivered to a locally designated church responsible for mailing the boxes to Samaritan’s Purse for distribution around the world. Members may pick up as many boxes as they can fill and return to the church during the identified time period. Each box has a list of suggested items. For girls or boys. What a wonderful way to help children who may never experience the excitement and joy of opening a gift under the tree on Christmas morning. Contact the church office for information on how to participate in this mission project. Don’t want to shop for items to fill the shoebox, make a cash or check contribution to the church designated for Operation Christmas child and we’ll do the shopping!
Sew Blessed – There’s a group of 12 women currently (no men – yet, but they are welcomed) who meet once a month on the third Monday of the month from 6-8 pm in the Bethesda Community Hall to fellowship, have fun and to sew. New skills are learned, show and tell is shared, snacks and special treats are offered on occasion and of course, sewing and quilting are what’s happening. The group consist of members of the congregation and friends. You don’t have to know how to sew to be involved with this fun group. There’s plenty of task to go around – cutting, ironing, organizing, socializing. Sew Blessed members make lap sized quilts which are distributed to Community Hospice by Sew Blessed and church members and Hospice volunteers, Cathy Wilson and Ellen Sharp. Travel pillows and crayon bags are sewn and made available for children admitted to Cabell Huntington Hospital /Hoops Children’s Hospital and are distributed along with prayers from Rev. Jennifer Johnson, church member and pastoral care staff at the hospital. Nanette Pollack, pastor Bill’s wife and our church Office Assistant, introduced Sew Blessed to the Women International’s Dress a Girl Around the World global mission project in 2022. In the first year of participating in this mission project, the Sew Blessed members made 37 dresses (no zippers, no buttons, only ties because of the possibility of harsh laundering conditions). A goal of 50 dresses has been set for next year. A Peace grant for Transylvania Presbytery helped fund the cost of fabrics and such for the construction of the dresses and Sew Blessed member, Kay Ferguson, provided funds for the mailing.. We also assist in the provision of Prayer Shawls (quilted, knitted, or crocheted) for those who are sick or experiencing difficult situations. Oftentimes the prayer shawls are presented (when possible) during a ‘Laying on of Hands” and prayer gathering. Don’t know anything about sewing, but want to help? Donate 100% cotton fabrics for the projects, donate a machine you are not using any longer (Cathy Wilson donated a longarm quilting machine for use in quilting the Hospice quilts) and/or assist with machine repairs as needed. Consider sponsoring a dress for a little girl, a quilt for someone in Hospice, a travel pillow and crayon bag for a child in the hospital or a shawl for a church member . Don’t want to shop for fabrics, yarns and notions, make a cash or check contribution to the church designated for Sew Blessed. Each dress averages about $12-15, a quilt about $50-60, a shawl about $25 and the travel pillows and crayon bags are about $10-12. Whether its sewing for others or sewing for yourself, join this group and share your talents! Contact Geri Willis for more information about Sew Blessed.
Faith and Finances: The Membership Ministry Team offers a 12-week faith-based financial literacy program for those needing more knowledge and skills in managing money. The sessions are offered at the Neighborhood and are open to anyone. Contact Breck Tarr for more information about this valuable mission effort.