Created in Christ to do good works!
Local mission emphasis has always been important to members at First Presbyterian
Church (FPC). Before the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, FPC held an annual Local Mission Expo (LME)
where local agencies hosted their own table and displayed their services and where LME attendees
could speak to the agencies’ representatives to learn about the agency’s needs and the volunteer
opportunities. Hands-on service opportunities were also available during the LME where LME attendees
participated in work projects at select agencies in the community. During the pandemic, the LME
switched to Local Mission Emphasis, where each month FPC highlights a handful of agencies in its
communications to the congregation to highlight the missions and services of the agencies and their
First Presbyterian Church is an active supporter of our Gainesville and Hall County community and those
in need through a variety of programs and benevolences. Below is a list of those programs and
First Presbyterian Church supports the following Local Missions FINANCIALLY as well as with VOLUNTEER HOURS, where appropriate:
CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate
CASA is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure abused and neglected children have the right to a safe and permanent home. CASA provides trained, screened, and supervised volunteers to advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children requiring court intervention. The CASA volunteer works with the Juvenile Court, the social service system, and community service providers to ensure that the child’s needs are addressed and that these children receive permanency, whether through reunification with family or guardianship or adoption.
Volunteer opportunities: become a CASA volunteer and advocate for abused and neglected children (see website for more information).
Center Point is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The mission of Center Point is to enhance, strengthen, and change lives by promoting the success of students and families through teaching and personal development. In 1967, triggered by a casual conversation between First Presbyterian Church elder and attorney, William B. Gunter, and then Pastor Dr. Bill Markley, the idea to give students the opportunity to voluntarily supplement their public education with classes in Christian Education was born. After studies and research of other successful programs led by elder and attorney Sam Harben, Sr., soon after, First United Methodist, Grace Episcopal, and Saint Paul United Methodist churches joined FPC in this cooperative religious education venture that was modeled on a similar program spearheaded by Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Together these churches purchased land adjacent to the Gainesville Senior/Junior high schools. In 1969, the Christian Education Center opened its doors to the community with Presbyterian Pastor Dr. J.W. “Bill” Stonebreaker as its first Director. Over the last five decades, the Center has expanded its ministries beyond Christian Education and changed its name to Center Point in 2003 to reflect its current broad array of services, which now include mentoring programs, student and family counseling, and prevention programs focusing on substance abuse and teen pregnancy. Many members of FPC have participated as students (both youth and adult), board members, sponsors, and counselors over the years.
Volunteer opportunities: mentoring students one hour per week (see website for more details).
Choices Pregnancy Care Center
Choices Pregnancy Care Center is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The Choices Pregnancy Care Center is a non-profit non-denominational Christian ministry. Choices partners with individuals, churches, businesses, and a variety of community agencies as they minister the love of Christ to hurting people by providing complimentary and highly confidential services. Free services include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, prenatal vitamins, and STI testing. The following are free support services: ‘Earn While You Learn/My Baby Counts’ provides benefits to buy baby supplies; ‘Encourage Me’ is a support group for single moms, and the P.A.S.T. Class is for Post Abortion Support and Treatment. Choices also offers low cost STI testing to men and non-pregnant women.
Volunteer opportunities: patient advocates, church liaisons, Baby Boutique advisors, office volunteers, and operation/facilities maintenance team members.
Family Promise of Hall County
Family Promise of Hall County is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. Family Promise of Hall County has many missions. The main mission is providing homeless families with food, shelter, and support to achieve lasting independence. Family Promise also assists with eviction prevention, provides access to a diaper bank, provides free temporary child care through Little Steps Community Daycare, offers life skills training workshops, and hosts a family food market twice a month where families can choose the foods they need and the Christmas Promise store where parents shop for gifts for their children. First Presbyterian Church rotates with other churches to be responsible for food and other needs approximately 4-5 times a year.
Volunteer opportunities: volunteers for FPC’s rotation; donate food for the food pantry, diapers for the diaper bank, cleaning products, gift cards, toys for the Christmas Promise store.
Gainesville/Hall County Community Food Pantry
The Gainesville/Hall County Community Food Pantry is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The Community Food Pantry is a unique multi-denominational, hands on ministry which serves about 2,400 families a year who are in need of food. The food pantry is located at 615 Oak Street in Gainesville, GA. Five area churches participate in operating the food pantry. Each church contributes volunteers, money for the facility’s rent, and food from church food drives and purchases. Each church is responsible for five to six 2-week rotations annually at the food pantry. During each rotation, volunteers buy food, pack grocery bags with food, and hand out the food to clients.
Volunteer opportunities: contact the Community Outreach Committee to sign up to volunteer.
Gateway Domestic Violence Center
Gateway Domestic Violence Center is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The mission of Gateway Domestic Violence Center is to create an environment for safe, healthy, self-sufficient growth and violence prevention through crisis intervention, comprehensive support services and community collaboration. Gateway offers many services that support its mission: a 24/7 crisis hotline, an emergency shelter for battered women and their children, classes and support groups for women, programs for children, occupational therapy, legal advocacy and protective orders, in addition to presentations and education to schools and community groups.
Volunteer opportunities: helping facilitators with children’s support groups, answering phones and performing clerical tasks in the office, grocery shopping, and facility maintenance.
Good News at Noon
Good News at Noon is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. Good News at Noon’s mission is to create environments for reconciliation and restoration in Jesus Christ. Their goal is a reciprocal flow of resources and to enrich the lives of both givers and receivers. Their primary focus is the Melrose Community and adjoining neighborhoods in Gainesville/Hall County, where, in cooperation with others, they work to bring hope, dignity, and spiritual growth to their neighbors. Good News at Noon provides a transitional home for men who need assistance through their Men’s Shelter Ministry and provides meals to the less advantaged, hosting two meals a day, 365 days a year, through their Meal Ministry.
Volunteer opportunities: preparing or donating meals, mentoring, clerical work, and group service projects. There is also a list of needed supplies on the website. Please contact the Community Outreach Committee if you are interested in preparing or donating meals.
Good News Clinics
Good News Clinics is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. FPC was the first church in the Gainesville area to support the establishment of Good News Clinics (GNC). In 1992, with financial support of $30,000, the property/building that came to house both the clinic and Good News at Noon shelter and feeding ministry was acquired. GNC offers free medical and dental care to indigent, homeless, and low-income people who have no healthcare insurance and cannot afford medical care. Currently, forty-six primary care physicians, 9 mid-level providers and 43 dentists volunteer to treat patients at GNC. Over 200 specialist physicians volunteer to treat GNC patients through their Health Access referral program providing over $11,500,000 in services. In addition to primary medical and dental care, the Clinics also fill prescriptions at no charge to the patients. The total value of all services and medications provided through the volunteer efforts and resources of medical professionals from the Gainesville/Hall County community exceeds $22,000,000 in a one-year period and is funded entirely from private donations and grants.
Volunteer opportunities: Clinical and non-clinical volunteer opportunities are available; non-clinical volunteer opportunities include administrative support and new patient application volunteers. See the website for more details.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. Meals on Wheels is a nutrition meal program for frail elderly persons living in Hall County. It is located at 430 Prior Street in Gainesville. Approximately 500 seniors receive hot lunches delivered by friendly volunteers each Monday through Friday. For some seniors, this daily visit may be the only social interaction they have during the day. The meal route usually takes one hour or less to deliver. Commitment can be for as little as one meal per month.
Volunteer opportunities: see the website to sign up to volunteer.
My Sister’s Place
My Sister’s Place is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. My Sister’s Place provides a nurturing home, transportation assistance, nutritious meals and other basic necessities to the single women and mothers with children whom we serve. While they are with us, we provide the tools and resources to help them to be in a better position when they leave than they were in when they arrived.
Volunteer Opportunities: Office/Admin duties at the shelter, deliver a meal for shelter residents, overnight shelter supervision, join the fundraising or community outreach committee, provide a specialty skill: banking/finance, law, human resources, real estate, etc., or help in the Resale Boutique.
First Presbyterian Church supports the following Local Missions with VOLUNTEER HOURS, where appropriate:
The mission of Action Ministries is to mobilize communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief and housing for children and families across Georgia. Action Ministries envisions communities throughout Georgia where passionate volunteers serve their neighbors in need together, ending hunger, ending homelessness, and bridging achievement gaps.
Volunteer opportunities: See the agency’s website for multiple opportunities to volunteer.
Boy Scout Troop 3
Boy Scout Troop 3 is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The history of Troop 3 goes back to the 70s. FPC sponsors two BSA Scouts troops, Troop 3 and Troop 5003. Troop 5003 is the only BSA Scouts troop for girls in the Gainesville area. FPC supports both troops by being the sponsoring organization and providing a location to meet, the Lake House. Each year the troops hold a Christmas tree sale at the Farmers Market on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville and many FPC members buy their trees there. Despite being chartered as two separate troops, Troop 3 and Troop 5003 really are parallel and do everything together from meetings and outings to summer camp.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier helps kids and teens achieve great futures by providing a fun, safe, and encouraging environment made just for them. Their programs encourage healthy lifestyles, build character, and achieve academic success so that they leave the Club as well-rounded individuals with a plan for their future. The agency provides tutoring, homework help, college or career readiness programs, or skills development to guide the boys and girls towards high school graduation.
Volunteer opportunities: The services that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier provides is not possible without the help of volunteers. Learn about the many volunteer opportunities that are available via the website.
First Presbyterian Church Child Development Center (CDC)
CDC is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The Child Development Center at First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, GA was founded in 1957 and continues as an important part of the church’s ministry and outreach to the community. As such, it is one of the leading child care facilities in Northeast Georgia. The staff at FPC CDC is committed to providing high quality, full-day (6:30 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday), developmental care for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K (5 years old). A program for school-age children is provided during the summer. Within the framework of a Christian atmosphere and in an attractive, safe environment, the Center provides individual and group learning experiences to assure the child’s progress toward the development of a strong Christian character and responsible citizenship.
Volunteer opportunities: answer phones in the office or help in one of the classrooms.
Children’s Center for Hope & Healing
Children’s Center for Hope and Healing is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The Children’s Center for Hope and Healing is dedicated to stopping the cycle of child sexual abuse and to preventing the exploitation of children. The Center provides counseling, advocacy, and education for children and families traumatized by child sexual abuse through these programs: Victim Services, Project Pathfinder, Adult Services, and Prevention Services. The Center aims to restore dignity, trust, and hope to these individuals and families. Located right here in Gainesville, the Center serves 13 counties in Northeast Georgia.
Volunteer opportunities: volunteer opportunities are limited due to client confidentiality and the sensitive nature of counseling services. A list of needed supplies can be found on the website.
Eagle Ranch is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. One of the Southeast’s largest residential children’s programs, Eagle Ranch provides a Christ-centered home, education and counseling for nearly 70 boys and girls. On our 315-acre campus in Flowery Branch, children are given the structure, stability and time needed to work through a crisis situation. Families participate in the program through counseling, support groups and family activities. The goal is for each child to return home to a family that together has learned important relational and coping skills that will help them thrive. We serve children and families in local communities across Georgia, serving children ages 8-15, in over 40 counties in North Georgia and metro Atlanta.
Family TIES is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. Family TIES is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families provide a safe, nurturing and positive environment for their children and teenagers. Our programs seek to educate prenatal parents and parents with children up to age 18. We serve families who are wishing to improve their parenting skills as well as families who are incarcerated or mandated by DFCS or the court system. We also offer programs for teenagers whose parents are enrolled in our Empower Parents class, and for middle school students in the YMCA afterschool program. These classes are aimed at helping teens deal with issues of bullying, drugs, self-esteem, anger management, and character building.
Volunteer Opportunities: Participate in “Pinwheels with a Purpose” Fundraiser; please see agency’s website for other volunteer opportunities.
Georgia Mountain Food Bank
Georgia Mountain Food Bank is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s (GMFB) mission is to address hunger, health and quality of life by serving those in need throughout North Georgia. GMFB provides a vital link between sources of food supplies and hardworking community-based partner agencies who help get the food into the hands of families and individuals who need it. Whether it’s distributing food or serving the community through outreach programs, initiatives and resources, Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s time to serve is now.
Volunteer opportunities: https://www.gamountainfoodbank.org/how-you-can-help/
Habitat for Humanity of Hall County
The mission of Habitat for Humanity of Hall County: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Hall County brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. The vision of Habitat for Humanity of Hall County is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity of Hall County was founded in 1989 by a group of citizens who believed that every person should have a place to live in dignity and in safety. Habitat of Hall County is an independent partner of Habitat for Humanity International and provides training and access to resources to help families improve their living conditions.
Volunteer opportunities: In the ReStore, on the construction site of homes, in the administrative offices, and on special events. See the website for more information.
Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC)
Hospice of NGMC provides palliative home care for persons with life limiting illness. The professional staff of Hospice of NGMC provides palliative medical care that focuses on patient comfort and quality of life at the end of life. Patients and families are empowered to achieve as much control over their lives as possible. Hospice care provides nursing service, management of a patient’s pain and other symptoms, assistance for the patient and family regarding the emotional and psychosocial aspects of dying, medical supplies and equipment, personal care assistance, spiritual care, and so many other services. The team that provides these services includes doctors, nurses, social worker, bereavement counselor, chaplain, the patient, the family or caregiver, community members specially trained as volunteers, and other healthcare workers as needed.
Volunteer opportunities: Before the pandemic, volunteers provided companionship to the patient at their home or nursing home. During the pandemic, volunteers helped in the hospice office preparing medicine boxes, writing cards, preparing newsletters for mailing, making stuffed bears for patients, and many other activities geared towards the talents and skills of the volunteer. For more information, see the website.
The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia
Serving Hall County and northeast Georgia since 1913, the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia is a private, non-profit organization that provides vital services to animals and people alike. The agency does not receive any public or government funding and is supported solely by grants, private donations, bequests, investments, and some fees. The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia is a no-kill facility, meaning the placement rate is greater than 90%. Their services include a Wellness Clinic, Spay/Neuter Center, Community Cat Program, No More Litters Program, owner surrender, and intakes of rescued animals from shelters and rescue organizations. To help families care for their pets, the humane society provides low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter surgery, basic vaccines, and pet prevention products for pets. More information for each of these services is available on the agency’s website.
Volunteer opportunities: Each year more than 300 volunteers donate upwards of 20,000 hours of service giving hands-on care to animals, raising much-needed funds for HSNEGA, educating the community, assisting in the Healthy Pet Clinic, providing administrative and facility support, and more. Group or individual volunteers are welcome. See the website for more information.
The Jericho House for Teens
The Jericho House for Teens is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The Jericho House for Teens (formerly Three Dimensional Life) is a 9–12 month, non-profit residential treatment program for teenage boys struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Their mission is to serve young men by providing a Christian community where they find their purpose and rewrite their stories through the love of Jesus Christ. They do this by providing a program to develop servant leaders, focusing on finding their identity, developing a family, not just a community, offering Christ–centered classes, giving professional counseling, partaking in adventurous activities, and equipping each boy for their future.
Volunteer opportunities: You can support this program with a financial donation, a meal or healthy snacks, service work for the boys and speakers for Wednesday evenings addressing such topics as careers, business, faith or any subject that would benefit teen boys.
Legacy Link is designated by the Georgia Department of Human Services as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for the 13-county Georgia Mountains Region which includes Hall County. The AAA is responsible for advocacy for older adults, planning and administration of programs, and coordination and monitoring of services in the area.
Volunteer opportunities: assist Medicare beneficiaries with information about Original Medicare, Medicare Health and Drug Plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Cost Savings; promote community awareness of Medicare health insurance information, assistance, and referral services; make visits and listen to the concerns of residents at nursing homes and personal care homes; deliver Meals on Wheels; teach an activity at a local senior center or assist with existing programs; phone home-bound seniors to check on their welfare and combat loneliness; assist with administrative office duties; and assist with special projects or occasional events.
North Georgia Works
North Georgia Works is a Christian ministry and transitional workforce development center for men. Their goal is to help men who are on a seemingly hopeless path living on the streets or in shelters or jails to change their lives from the inside out – spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and habitually – in order to become self-sufficient, productive citizens. Referrals come through United Way’s The Compass Center, “The Way” Day Center, shelters, and the court system. North Georgia Works assists the men in obtaining official identification, bank accounts, jobs, and eventual housing. North Georgia Works partners with many area businesses and agencies, including the United Way of Hall County in their One Hall Poverty initiative.
Volunteer opportunities: volunteers to provide evening meals, male drivers to transport the men to and from work, male mentors, skilled craftsmen, artists, and musicians who might share their gifts on weekends.
Rape Response, Inc. is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The mission of Rape Response, Inc. is to serve as a system of support, advocacy, and education, providing services to the community and survivors of sexual assault (ages 13 and older) while safeguarding the dignity of each person served. Rape Response, Inc. serves Dawson, Forsyth, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, and White Counties. The agency provides the following services: 24 hour crisis line, counseling and support groups, medical accompaniment, crisis intervention, judicial accompaniment and support, and educational and community awareness.
Volunteer opportunities: answering the crisis line calls from the privacy of your home (while maintaining your own schedule) and providing emotional support and accompaniment for sexual assault survivors during the forensic medical exam process at NGMC in Gainesville.
The Redbud Project
The Redbud Project promotes awareness of native plants and works to conserve the rich ecosystems of native plants harbored by the glaciers over two million years ago. Redbud Project volunteers have developed Linwood Nature Preserve for Gainesville Parks and Recreation with a nature Trail System and Ecology Center educational complex. The two-mile Trail System is designed for leisure recreation to benefit walkers and workers with physical and mental wellbeing from time. Linwood Ecology Center features the Native Plant Conservatory of educational display beds, Bruce Alan Doll Nature Art Gallery, Conservation Lecture Series, and meeting facilities for community organizations.
Volunteer opportunities: Visit the website to explore opportunities for stewardship.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. The Salvation Army in Georgia provides assistance in the following areas: Adult Rehabilitation, Basic Needs, Emergency Disaster Services, Emergency Financial Assistance, Housing and Homeless Services, Hunger Relief and Youth Services.
Volunteer opportunities through First Presbyterian Church: serve as Bell Ringers for their yearly Christmas Red Kettle Campaign and support The Angel Tree Program through the giving of new clothes and toys as Christmas presents to children in our community.
SISU – Integrated Early Learning
SISU is supported by Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate. SISU (formerly Challenged Child and Friends) offers an integrated learning environment where children from six weeks to six years with special needs learn and interact alongside their typically developing peers. Its mission is to serve children through innovative educational, therapeutic, nursing and family support services in an inclusive environment. SISU serves children from 13 counties across Northeast Georgia. In addition to educational, nursing, and family support services, SISU provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy. SISU has extended its hours to accommodate working parents and a summer program to prevent regression of skills.
Volunteer opportunities: SISU offers more than 18 unique ways to volunteer as a group or an individual – see the website for information.
Still Waters Counseling Center
Still Waters Counseling Center is a 501(C3) non-profit counseling center which was founded in 2000 answering the call to provide Christ-centered counseling to individuals and families in Northeast Georgia. The Center is staffed with clinically trained licensed professionals who are fully committed to fulfilling the agency’s mission. Their primary treatment modality is family systems counseling but they also work with individuals, couples, and groups.
Volunteer opportunities: volunteer opportunities are limited due to client confidentiality and the sensitive nature of counseling services. See website for other opportunities to help.
Wonderful Works is a hands-on women’s mission group at First Presbyterian Church (FPC) that serves the church, community, and world. The group was formed in 1985 when the White Cross encouraged church women to roll bandages for church mission hospitals as part of the Presbyterian Women’s Ecumenical Missions Program. Some FPC women started by rolling bandages, took the name Wonderful Works, and soon broadened their efforts to include sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, etc. Evidence of Wonderful Works’ work can be found throughout FPC – table runners and cloths in fellowship hall, window treatments, baptismal mementos for babies baptized in the church, and Chrismon ornaments. Other works from Wonderful Works include stuffed animals, comfort pillows, lap robes, baby caps, blankets, and facemasks – all of which have been donated to area nursing homes, the medical center, CASA, Family Promise, and other organizations. They also make prayer shawls, baby blankets, pillow case dresses, and T-shirt hospital gowns – some of which are sent with our missionaries to Haiti, Zambia, and the Dominican Republic. Wonderful Works meets twice a month September through May (except during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 when many are working from home).
Volunteer opportunities: sewers and non-sewers are welcome to join the members of Wonderful Works; donations of fabric, yarn, and sewing notions, in addition to monetary donations that are used to purchase supplies are welcomed.
Additional Missions Supported by FPC
Radio/Streaming Broadcast of Worship
The church audiovisual team produces a weekly radio program that includes music and sermon from the 11:00 am traditional worship service. The program airs the following Sunday one week delayed. Jacobs Media carries the radio program each Sunday on AM 1240 at 8:35 am.The church A/V team also produces a live streamed video signal of each Sunday service for viewing via the internet all across the United States and around the world. The link to these services is found under the Live Stream tab/screen on this website’s Home page or under the Worship tab. The church A/V team also produces an archive file of each full service and the sermon from that service. The video file is linked on this website and is available for viewing on the Home page quick links section and under the Sermons tab at the top of the Home page.
Volunteer opportunities: The A/V team at FPC is always looking for more individuals interested in helping FPC share the good news through technology.
Women’s Prison Ministry
The Prison ministry is made up of a group of volunteers from FPC who teach Anger Management at the Lee Arrendale Corrections Facility for Women (LACF) in Alto, GA. This group was started by members of FPC, Bob Abernathy and Bobby Lea Pennington. Volunteers go through a very thorough screening process by LACF in order to teach. The group of volunteers use a series of DVDs and materials approved by LACF. Two team leaders are required per session, and the team leaders are asked to commit to a minimum period of 12 weeks. Each training session onsite at LACF lasts 1-1/2 to 2 hours once a week. Classes are held within the confines of the LACF. Inmates must be recommended by the LACF chaplain in order to attend. Class attendance varies due to life at LACF.
Volunteer opportunities: please contact Debbie Holcombe in the Church office if you would like more information or are interested in becoming a member of the teaching team.