Service for Healing and Wholeness
On May 28, we held a special service for healing and wholeness at Lakefront Park. We gathered to sing and pray together for healing and wholeness for ourselves, for our neighbors, for our communities, and for our world. As part of the worship service, we tied prayer ribbons to create a river of prayers for healing and wholeness. Following this special worship service, we placed the river of prayers in front of the church, along the Vine Street sidewalk, so that people from the wider community could add their prayers as well.
In July, twenty-two youth and adults from the community (including a couple from our own congregation) traveled to Bozeman, MT, to serve with Habitat for Humanity, as part of Networks Youth Ministry’s MISHPack service trip. They laid sod, constructed saw horses, and helped with reorganizing and restocking supplies at the ReStore. Following their week of service, they spend 2.5 days hiking and camping in the Spanish Peaks. All enjoyed a week of exploring God’s call on their lives and God’s beautiful creation. Check out this video summarizing their trip!
St. Croix County “Friend of Public Health”
Every year as part of National Public Health Week, St. Croix County Public Health chooses a “Friend of Public Health” who has made a difference in the well-being and health of residents of St. Croix County. In April 2019, St. Croix County Public Health chose First Pres as their 2019 Friend of Public Health and hosted an appreciation luncheon at the St. Croix Services Center in New Richmond.
It is our honor to host monthly Public Health and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics for the community. Over the years, we’ve sought to strengthen this partnership by knitting winter caps for WIC infants and sharing fresh veggies from the Give It Away Garden. This past year, one of our own youth led an effort to collect children’s books to share with the WIC children.
We look forward to this continued partnership as we seek God’s dream of a world where all people have easy and affordable access to nutritious food and timely healthcare.
The first weekend of May 2019, more than twenty women from First Pres gathered for a long weekend retreat in Farmington, Wisconsin. The theme of the weekend was “Women Helping Women.” Activities included worship, songs around the campfire, Bible study, yoga, an introduction to the healing practice of Qigong, games, card making, and a service project—tying blankets to be distributed to children entering foster care by our mission partners at Safe Haven Foster Shoppe. There was also lots of time for fun and fellowship! Most notably the group gathered for a game of human foosball, with the ensuing hilarity inspiring Pastor Kendra’s article on play for the Hudson Star Observer.
Hosting Bridge Summer Day Program
We were honored to host part of Bridge for Community Life’s summer day program again this summer. Sharing our building with our neighbors at Bridge is always a joy for all. It was a blessing to see them building community over games, conversation, and outings into the wider community.
We are thankful for all the ways that we get to partner with Bridge throughout the year as well as they live out their mission to provide community-based life skills training, employment services and social and recreational programs for youth and adults with disabilities in the St. Croix Valley. Throughout the year, it’s a blessing to have our neighbors from the Bridge come and assist with various needs around the church from cleaning to filled backpacks with food for the Hudson Backpack Program. We also love seeing how much our Bridge neighbors enjoy their annual Valentine’s Dance, Come See Santa event and many other special events held at the church.
Youth Resource Committee
The Youth Resource Committee of Hudson began in August 2014 with members of First Pres, the local YMCA, Hudson School District and Youth Action Hudson (YAH) targeting unique, unmet needs to youth under 18 years old that do not have family support. The committee’s mission is to provide support and resources to at-risk and homeless youth throughout the greater Hudson area. They work closely with school social workers to identify the needs of students.
This summer the committee achieved a long-held goal to become their own 501(c)(3) which allow them to apply for various grants and other funds to deepen and expand their work in the greater Hudson area. The committee provides post-secondary education scholarships for at-risk students, collects and distributes handmade winter accessories to all in need (launching this annual effort with a “Knit a Difference” casting on party each September), and regularly provides haircut, clothing, and taxi vouchers to youth in need. The committee looks forward to supporting other needs as they arise.
Summer Backpack Program 2019
During the summer months, the Hudson Backpack Program hosted five separate food distributions, providing grocery carts full of food to more than 60 families in the Hudson area. Grant funds were used to purchase the food through Second Harvest, and members of the congregation and the wider community assisted with the sorting and distribution of the food. New this year, families were able to choose many of the foods that would best meet their families’ needs. Thanks to all who assisted with the program!
Vacation Bible School 2019
In partnership with Mr. Zion Lutheran Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, we were happy to host Vacation Bible School again this year. Mt. Zion hosted as 3 year olds through 6th graders grew in faith (while having lots of fun) exploring what it means to be Transformed Comm-unity! The week of fun included singing, crafts, games and more as children explored what it means to follow Christ’s example in our daily living! Our older youth volunteered, enjoying the energy and enthusiasm of the children learning and growing in Christian faith. And a highlight from our children who participated was learning to sing “Father Abraham” (and the accompanying actions)!
Centering Prayer Workshop Leads to Weekly Centering Prayer Gathering
In March 2019, special guest Tom Eberle, Director of the Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, led an introductory centering prayer workshop at First Pres. The workshop, with 40+ attendees from across the Twin Cities Metro area, introduced the ancient practice of centering prayer and provided time for participants to practice centering prayer. Centering prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to experience God’s presence within us.
Following the introductory workshop, a small group has continued to meet weekly (at 11:00am most Wednesdays) to practice centering prayer and learn more about centering prayer and other contemplative practices which nurture Christian faith and service.
Mental Health First Aid Training
In partnership with the Hudson Y and the United Way of the St. Croix Valley, we were honored to host Mental Health First Aid training in late February 2019 for 28 members of the congregation and wider community. Participants learned the:
- Risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns
- Strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations
- Where to turn for help
- Non-judgmental communication and listening skills
- A 5-step action plan to help someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis
Participants reported using their learnings immediately to help others and work toward the world as God desires—a world in which all people have the resources and support to nurture and stain mental wellness.