Our Philosophy of Missions

 The purpose of the Outreach Committee is to pursue ways to reach out to the local community and the world to preach Christ to all people and nations. We define missions as any endeavor outside our local congregation to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ by proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, making disciples and relating to the whole need of mankind—spiritual and physical. As stated in Guidelines adopted by the Committee:

Desiring to be faithful to all the commands of Christ, we seek to have a balanced missions program, with respect to location (urban and rural; developed and undeveloped; local, state and national, and world), target population (youth, elderly, minorities, frontier missions, urban and suburban dwellers, etc.) and type of missionary activity (evangelism, including Bible translation and distribution; medical; educational; agricultural; etc.).

To carry out these objectives, currently annual funds are allocated for about 20 overseas missionaries and mission projects and New England area and state projects sponsored by Presbyterian or independent mission boards. Additionally, we support several FPC-sponsored projects involving both youth and adults.

We encourage and support short-term missions, both group and individual. Short-term mission trips have included summer youth missions to The Boston Project Ministries and New Orleans, and adult missions to Alternative Mission’s ministry on the island of Helene, Honduras. We have sponsored summer stays in China under the English Language Institute/China program, whose goal is to place Christians in that country to teach the English language.  The most recent short-term individual ministry we have supported is a three-month internship with Alternative Missions on Helene."

An important focus of the First Presbyterian Church’s outreach program is those in need on Aquidneck Island. This can perhaps be traced back to a stipulation in the gift given the church in 1892 to purchase the land for the church building which required “no section of the church … shall be set aside for the use of the poor, but they shall be provided for anywhere throughout the building.” The building was purposefully designed with no balcony in order to provide equal sitting for all parishioners.

Today we partner with the Newport Corps of the Salvation Army to support their programs that assist those in need. We do so through our mission giving and church members serve as volunteers to assist with the weekly Sunday soup kitchen provided by the Salvation Army and to pick up bread and pastries from local merchants for the Salvation Army’s daily bread pantry.

The Outreach Committee—putting our mission philosophy to work

Every year members of First Presbyterian Church are asked to pledge and donate specifically to the missions program. The Outreach Committee develops a missions budget (reviewed and approved by the Session) to allocate the monies given to support the mission work of the church.

The Committee also promotes a special Palm Sunday offering each year during Lent. This offering is dedicated to a particular mission need, such as the local Salvation Army activity. The Missions Treasurer receives and distributes all missions income, including funds specially designated to missionaries not regularly supported by the Church.
To keep FPC members informed of the work of our missionaries, we provide occasional "Minutes for Mission" during worship services, special presentations to Sunday School classes, bulletin inserts, special speakers and films, and a bulletin board display featuring a “Missionary of the Month,” Occasionally Committee members attend missions conferences to learn how to do their jobs better.
Keeping in touch with our missionaries is a high priority. In addition to correspondence by regular mail and e-mail, the Committee arranges for Christmas cards and gifts to be sent. Committee members "adopt" a missionary or mission family, and they commit themselves to pray for and regularly contact their “adoptees.”
The Outreach Committee hosts visiting missionaries, arranging for transportation, housing and meals. Committee members coordinate the missionaries' schedules while in Newport so they can give presentations and meet FPC congregants. FPC members are directly involved in several local and national missions projects. These include a monthly soup kitchen, an annual International Students Dinner (with Focus of Park Street Congregational Church, Boston), collection of baby clothing and supplies for CareNet RI, Operation Christmas Child, the Angel Tree Prison Fellowship Program and many others.
We're a busy committee! And we could use some help. If you are a part of the FPC family and are interested in missions, join the team! We're part of a great cause for the King of Kings! Anyone interested in joining us should contact Dave Tenney at 683-0192 or Ralph Thomas at 848-2718.

An example: Street Children in Harare, Zimbabwe

Lovemore Home. Experts believe that “Street Children” will be the biggest social concern that the world as a whole must face in the twenty-first century. There are about five million of these children in Zimbabwe and that number is predicted to double in the next three or four years due to governmental caused total economic failure with outrageous inflation that is prompting increasing poverty, starvation and massive emigration. Also contributing to this problem are the HIV-AIDS epidemic, and the general collapse of family structure.

Since 1998, Lovemore Home, assisted by the Outreach Foundation, has housed about 12 young boys at any one time. These are children who had been living on the streets with little or no contact with their families. The program at Lovemore Home is intended to provide the resident boys with a supportive, Christian family-style living environment, enabling them to return to regular schooling and begin the process of rebuilding their lives. Hopefully some Lovemore “graduates” may become future leaders of Zimbabwe to help restore that impoverished country. Before the present tyrannical dictator seized power many years ago, Zimbabwe was a bread basket for all of Africa. Now it cannot feed its own people and must import food.By agreeing to live at Lovemore Home, the boys have made a commitment to leave the streets, attend school and make positive changes in their lives, but they will need the prayers and support of friends around the world.

Good Samaritan Every year we send dozens of shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child. The countries that received the boxes include: South Sudan, Tanzania, Iraq, Malawi, and Democratic Republic of Congo.