John Wesley believed in the symbiotic relation between body and spirit. The Congregational Care Team embraces this concept by promoting the physical, emotional and spiritual health of our First Church family through a variety of ministries. Our team encourages mindfulness to the well being of both the self and others by offering compassionate care, opportunities to form valuable relationships, and physical wellness information and activities.
If you are interested in learning more about our ministries, please view our ministries list. We have many ongoing volunteer opportunities as well as participating in a specific event. If you’re interested in participating in one of our ministries or volunteering at one of our events, please contact Laurie Kallenbach.
Congregational Care Ministries
When a new baby arrives into the First Church family, a team member contacts the family to offer a visit. A gift bag is delivered containing items such as a knit cap, book, a First Church onesie, and Baptism information.
Big Community Garden
The Big Garden began in the Omaha, NE area in 2005 with the mission of improving nutritional health and fostering a sense of local community. This is achieved through faith congregations and schools encouraging the act of gardening. The Big Garden was initially funded by the USDA’s Community Food Project. Their original goal was to create twelve community gardens in three years. Five years later the Big Garden included 26 gardens in the metro-Omaha area. Today, there is a network of 100+ community gardens in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas.
First Church’s Big Garden at our West Campus consists of six 4’ x 8’ raised beds that families & individuals use for gardening plus a large “on ground” garden that provides produce for the Just Food pantry. We also have a handicapped accessible raised bed garden available.
Our goal is to have 20 raised beds available for anyone in the Lawrence community that is interested in gardening. We enjoy good fellowship during our weekly gardening evenings. Gardeners in the Lawrence area are invited to share in this opportunity to feed their bodies and nourish their souls.
Blood Pressure Clinics
A health care professional is available to take your pressure downtown on the 3rd Sunday of each month.
Twice a year, First Church hosts an American Red Cross Blood Drive.
These small booklets offer strength, help and healing for those that are hurting. A variety of topics are available including Coping with Chronic Pain, Dealing with Anger, Loss of a Loved One and Climbing Out of Depression. These pamphlets are located in the Gathering Areas at both campuses and through the Pastors and the Director of Congregational Care. There are additional themes available that can be ordered for you.
Caregivers Support Group
We are dedicated to educating and empowering caregivers whose work is vital for the welfare of a chronically ill and/or disabled family member.
When a First Church member is mentioned on the church Prayer List, a team member sends them a note expressing care and support.
If someone in our First Church family experiences an event such as injury or surgery, we can arrange delivery of meals. Families with new babies can also request meals. Hot meals can be provided as well as casseroles to be enjoyed now or frozen for later. Knowing that a meal is on the way can be a source of relief for those in need.
One Sunday during the fall, a health care professional will visit each campus to administer flu shots. Payment may be made by cash or through your insurance.
In partnership with The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund this program is designed to provide funding, training, & technical support to help Kansas United Methodist churches develop and grow effective, high quality health ministry programs. This is includes Healthy Cooking classes and the Big Garden Project.
Each Saturday during Lent, we offer a small group study focusing on spiritual preparation for Easter. As we journey through Lent, this group reads a book and shares their thoughts and experiences with one another. This study group meets for breakfast and a lively discussion at West Campus. In addition, participants are welcome to take advantage of the opportunity to meet beforehand to walk the West Campus trails in fellowship.
Medical Equipment Closet
The Medical Equipment Loan Closet is located at our downtown campus. We have a variety of items available for checkout including wheelchairs, shower chairs, walkers, canes, crutches, and smaller adaptive aids. All of these are available for loan at no cost, and they may be borrowed by church members or anyone in the community. We also have a limited number of lift chairs that need a good home. Items may be checked out through the office during regular business hours.
Spend some time in prayer and meditation at our West Campus. This quiet area has benches of Cottonwood Limestone that encircle the cross located west of the Celebration Center near the fire pit. The Congregational Care Team received support from the United Methodist Healthy Congregations Initiative to create this space.
Military Family Outreach
The Military Families Outreach ministry sends letters of support and encouragement to church members in the military as well as friends of our church family. The occasional care package may be sent to those military member posted overseas. Military members are also included in our monthly First in Prayer list.
In addition the ministry supports the loved ones of military members by offering support when needed and by keeping both the military member and their family in their prayers.
Operation Christmas Basket
Each December festive baskets are delivered to those in our First Church family that are over 80 and home-bound. Additionally, baskets are taken to those in the hospital or are in need of special care over the holidays.
Are you or a loved one experiencing ongoing life challenges? Would it be a comfort to know immediately when someone in our church family is praying for you? Check out a Prayer Pager which vibrates with our supportive thoughts and prayers. Your may remain anonymous if you wish and the number will only be shared with those you select.
People are always in need of prayer; therefore we need people to pray for them. When you join this team, you will receive a weekly email sharing the concerns of our church family.
Stephen Ministers provide confidential one-on-one Christian caregiving to those in our congregation experiencing challenges such as job loss, divorce, or grief due to the death of a loved one.
Stephen Ministers are carefully selected, extensively trained and participate in monthly supervision meetings.
Members of Walking Rainbows visit and call home-bound membersof our congregation to help maintain a connection with our church family. Walking Rainbows commit to making an occasional phone call and a monthly visit which builds friendship and reassures home-bound members they are a valuable part of our congregation.
This annual fitness and wellness opportunity is in conjunction with the Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Participants receive wellness tips and healthy recipes. Join other walkers for fun and fellowship at our West Campus or track your exercise independently.
Friendship and fellowship go hand in hand with those that walk the trails of West Campus on Saturday mornings. Walkers of all ages and capabilities are welcome. During the summer Wednesday evening walks are scheduled. Walking opportunities beyond our community are occasionally scheduled.
Wrapped in Love – Prayer Shawls
The Wrapped in Love mission was started at FUMC in September of 2005. Initially only prayer shawls were knitted or crocheted by a group of about 5 women. Handmade baby blankets were soon added to be given to newly baptized babies. Now fleece blankets are also made to be given to members of the youth confirmation class each spring, to older children for baptism, and to adults who would be better served with a blanket than a shawl. Leftover yarn has been made into a large number of hats that have been donated to the hat and mitten tree at Christmas.
Through the years a number of women have participated in this mission and more than 1000 shawls and blankets have been given to people. You are welcome to request a shawl for yourself or for someone else who would benefit from a tangible reminder that God wraps us in love. New people are always welcome to share in this mission. You and the recipient do not have to be a member of FUMC.