Ministries at the Big Red Church
The Big Red Church has five Ministries as follows: Ministry of Worship, Ministry of Resources, Ministry of Church Life, Ministry of Christian Education and Ministry of Community Outreach. Ministries are open and all are encouraged to participate as interest and time allow. Each Ministry has a Leader who is elected by the Congregation at the Annual Meeting. Ministry Leaders are active members of the Church and are elected for a term of one year. Each Ministry will typically have one meeting per month.
Ministry of Christian Education
The Ministry of Christian Education initiates, directs, and supports opportunities for faith formation/religious education for all ages. These opportunities happen at a variety of times throughout the week and year.
Nursery, pre-school, elementary, junior and senior high graded learning environments, 10:00 a.m.
New Bridges – Minister’s Sermon Seminar, 8:30 a.m., examines the preaching scripture text for that Sunday in depth with the day’s preacher.
Learning Circle, 11:30 a.m. (third Sunday of each month) becomes a learning vehicle to explore relevant community concerns/issues/ecumenical or interfaith opportunities.
During the Lenten season, each Wednesday evening the church gathers for a meal followed by study. Each of the Ministry teams host a meal during the sequence. Youth who are being confirmed meet with the Pastor, while other youth and adults join in a multi-generational emphasis.
Confirmation, in the United Church of Christ, serves two purposes: (a) it provides an opportunity for young people to take upon themselves promises made on their behalf at the time of their baptizing; or, if never baptized, to make those promises on their own; (b) receives young people into the congregation as members of full standing. Confirmation is never intended to be a test of faith, but does elicit testimonies of faith as part of a life journey as a Christian.
Wider Church Opportunities
A core principle of the Ministry of Christian Education is that of participating in outdoor ministry settings provided through the Sequoia Association and the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ (NCNCUCC).
Annual Gathering of the NCNCUCC occurs in May of each year, which youth and adults regularly participate. Special youth events are planned, along with youth participation in the discernment and policy discussions of the Conference. We typically have one of the larger contingents present at annual gathering.
Interfaith Scholar Weekend is an annual event (Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday morning) held in Fresno featuring a nationally-recognized scholar who brings relevant critical focus to issues that affect Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities of faith. First Congregational Church is a co-sponsor of this event, and has hosted several of the speakers at our Sunday morning worship.
Taizé Prayer Weekend is an annual Friday evening/Saturday event featuring workshops, singing, and prayer in the Taize fashion.
Ministry of Church Life
The Ministry of Church Life shall be responsible for developing and strengthening the bonds of relationship and covenantal life within the congregation. Activities, events and programs which promote Christian fellowship, unity, and fun shall be within its purview. It shall encourage the integration of new members into the congregation.
Ministry of Outreach
Ministry of Community Outreach seeks to extend the mission of the church near and far. First Congregational Church participates, both through its pastor and its members, in numerous community-based partnerships. Among these are Fresno Metro Ministry, and Faith In Community (PICO).
Additionally, First Congregational Church is an active partner with Poverello House and Naomi’s House, critical providers of shelter and services to men and women. We provide continuing support throughout the year through service projects undertaken by youth and adults, as well as providing a special Christmas season project.
This ministry coordinates an annual yard sale (that coordinates with a general neighborhood yard sale event), from which proceeds are used to underwrite our continuing partnerships and other special projects.
Community Outreach each year develops its “Chip-Away” project, in which the church goes into the immediate neighborhood, identifying a house in need of exterior refurbishing and painting, and undertakes that task in collaboration with the home owner.
As part of its mission, Community Outreach will sponsor Learning Circles in which issues of justice, peace, and the environment are key components of our church’s needful awareness and action. Community Outreach actively participates in Fresno’s annual Gay Pride Parade and Festival, including staffing a booth at which our church’s ministry and mission is shared.
Ministry of ResourcesMinistry of Resources leads and advises in all matters regarding church operation and administration, budget management, record-keeping, and all matters related to the physical plant and equipment. The Ministry of Resources (MOR) also makes recommendations to the Church Council regarding investments, the endowment, memorial gifts, and The Memorial Fund. A final area of oversight is to work with church staff and the Chief Financial Officer to mobilize within the congregation the resources necessary to promote, carry out, and maintain the mission of the church.
Church Columbarium is a ministry of the church organized through MOR in which secured niches have been created within Minturn Chapel for the ash remains of church members and community members. A Book of Memory is maintained, as well as providing an appealing space in which family/friends may come to share quiet time and reflection.
Ministry of Worship
Ministry of Worship undertakes to collaborate with the pastor and other staff the creative resources necessary to foster spiritual formation and growth through worship, and to attend to the sacramental ministries of the church. In particular, this ministry undertakes to enrich Congregational life through music and the arts.
The Chancel Choir and the Hand Bell choir actively participate in the worship, as do numerous solo vocalists and instrumentalists. Special attention is paid to creating an ever-changing visual chancel design that augments, rather than distracts from, the overall worship environment.