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Serve Nationally

Standing up and speaking out for all God's children

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) cares for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic events. We support PDA through direct financial gifts from our church as well as sending disaster relief work teams to PDA sites around the country. Our teams travel to communities to help rebuild homes affected by flood, fire and other disasters. What began for our church as biannual mission trips to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina has become a once- or twice-per-year tradition. We have traveled to locations including: Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, and West Virginia.

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Public Policy Advocacy

We believe that God’s vision for the world is one of justice, peace, and freedom for all - and as God’s people we are called to help bring that vision into reality. That means that in the face of injustice, First Pres doesn’t stand on the sidelines. We stand up with, and speak up for, those whom our society leaves behind and leaves out. In alignment with The Presbyterian Church in the USA - PC(USA) - we call this practice Social Justice Advocacy: speaking out as a community of faith about public policy issues at the local, state and national levels. We see this as essential, spiritual work that helps to define us as a church.

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PC(USA) Context

The Presbyterian Church in the USA has a long history of using biblically and theologically-based insights to advocate on issues that affect the public—maintaining a public policy ministry in the nation’s capital since 1946, through its public policy information and advocacy arm, the Office of Public Witness.  PC(USA) is also active at the international level through the UN, and some churches are active on state and local issues.

“Reformed theology teaches that because a sovereign God is at work in all the world, the church and Christian citizens should be concerned about public policy. The political process is where decisions are made that help or harm people —decisions that help to make the kind of world God intends.”

—From the PC(USA) Website
Social Justice Advocacy at First Pres

Our social justice advocacy work is coordinated by our Mission ministry area.  While much of our Mission work focuses on addressing immediate crises and suffering, we also work to address the root causes that prevent people and the planet from flourishing, in alignment with our denomination. We share information on PC(USA)’s positions as well as opportunities for the church and members of the congregation to speak out, consistent with PC(USA) positions and state/federal laws.

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First Pres Actions

All public statements are approved by the Session

  • Statement of Solidarity on the death of George Floyd (June 16, 2020)

  • Open letter denouncing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law (April 2022)

  • Letter to Howard County policymakers, supporting fuller funding for the Cold Weather Shelter (February 2023)

  • A three-part series of Sunday School classes on advocacy (fall 2023), featuring PC(USA)’s Director of the Office of Public Witness and its Associate for Refugees and Asylum. 

  • Forum on Ukraine (November 2023) with PC(USA)’s Associate for Refugees and Asylum and a Kyiv resident, participating on Zoom. They shared actions that congregation members could take to support Ukraine.   

  • Regular educational updates to the congregation on policy issues and opportunities to take action from PC(USA) and other nonprofit partners, through Tidings and First Day.

Guidelines
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