One of the great strengths of Bridgewater Congregational church is its extensive involvement in the community both in terms of reaching out to communities in charitable work and in inviting community groups into our church to help sustain their own programs and objectives.
While the pastor of the church has a vital role to play in being available for pastoral care, other members of the church, especially the deacons, also provide support to others who are connected with our church. Pastoral care includes:
Visiting the sick and hospitalized
Keeping in touch with those on their own
Providing support for bereaved families
Organizing and conducting funerals
Providing pastoral and spiritual care
Other groups that meet in our church regularly include:
The Greater Litchfield County Jewish Coalition
Our members are also in regular contact with town officials and two of our members serve on the Bridgewater Scholarship Fund Committee that provides funding for residents seeking to further their education.
In addition there are several events (besides church services), such as the Mardi Gras fundraising “party” that draw many residents who are not otherwise associated with the church. The church participates as well in the famous Bridgewater Fair.
The IMAGINATION COMMITTEE temporarily morphed into the COMFORT & JOY COMMITTEE when they decided to host a Live Drive-Through Nativity. This was a gift that our Church gave to the community. The Church involved the community by asking for their assistance with setup, props, traffic control, live animals, publicity and acting roles. On December 19th we were all blessed to offer Comfort & Joy to over 40 volunteers and the 192 cars who drove through the Town of Bethlehem.
Here are some of the community organizations our church supports by providing meeting space, and in the case of the town Food Pantry, management and interaction with clients.
Mission and Outreach
CHURCH WORLD SERVICES (CWS)
The Bridgewater Congregational Church has been devoted to the Church World Services outreach programs for the past several years. When disaster strikes, CWS is the primary agency through which the United Church of Christ gives support for relief and recovery efforts. CWS has one goal: Building a world where there is enough for all.
The congregation and Bridgewater town residents have worked together on all 5 of the CWS annual initiatives:
School kits give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, or other difficult settings some of the basic tools for learning. We gather and fill backpacks with the necessary items (pencils, notebooks, erasers, rulers, etc).
In the face of natural disasters, violence, or grinding poverty, hygiene kits can mean the difference between sickness and health for struggling families. We gather and fill large plastic bags with personal hygiene items (washcloth, bar soap, shampoo, toothbrush, etc).
Emergency Cleanup Buckets
Cleanup Buckets provide assistance to families and communities affected by flooding, tornados and other disasters. We gather and fill 5 gallon buckets with cleaning supplies (ammonia, detergent, scrub brush, masks, etc).
The School Kits, Hygiene Kits and Cleanup Buckets are then delivered to a CWS depot in Meriden, CT for distribution.
Blanket The World With Love
In 2019, donations provided over 118,000 CWS Blankets to families impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and other crises (including homelessness and poverty). Every February, our congregation raises money by selling handmade Valentines cards, and the proceeds are donated to the blanket program.
CROP Hunger Walk
Ending Hunger One Step at a Time….
CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events that are sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations (BCC) to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world. This past year the Walk was held at Fairfield Hills in Newtown.
YOUTH MISSION TRIPS
Since 2005, the Bridgewater Congregational Church has taken our area youth (both church members and their friends) to Philadelphia on a one week summer mission trip. The teens and adult chaperones sleep on the floor at the Old First Reformed United Church of Christ in inner city Philadelphia. Our days begin at 7 am and conclude after 8 pm. The days are filled with handing out food to the homeless, working at soup kitchens, cooking food for the homebound, assisting at city day camps and beautifying the inner city. Our children see first hand a stark contrast to the life they live in Litchfield County. Their experiences and life lessons stay with them long after the trip concludes.
ADULT MISSION TRIPS
BCC adults have traveled to Baton Rouge to help rebuild homes after the 2016 hurricane. We rebuilt kitchens, installed new floors, painted homes and reclaimed yards filled with debris.
LOAVES AND FISHES
On the 4th Tuesday of each month, six members of the Mission & Outreach Board prepare and serve a meal at the New Milford Soup Kitchen (Loaves & Fishes).
The Board also hosts an annual Palm Sunday breakfast to help fund their mission.
The Bridgewater Congregational Church volunteers at the Jericho Partnership (JP) in Danbury. JP is a nonprofit collaboration of ministry organizations and congregations dedicated to serving the at-risk community focusing on issues related to life and health, youth, those in need materially, and neighborhood transformation. We assist at their food pantry, women’s shelter and clothing warehouse.
Pivot Ministries is a faith based residential drug and alcohol recovery program in Bridgeport. Our church is helping with remodeling some of their buildings and supporting their gospel choir.
RAKE N BAKE
The Bridgewater Congregational Church participates in Brookfield’s annual Rake N Bake program by helping with fall cleanup for Bridgewater residents who need assistance.
SANTA FUND….HELPING CHRISTMAS WISHES COME TRUE
Every Christmas our Church participates in the Santa Fund, which is organized by New Milford Social Services. Our congregants sponsor a local child by purchasing an outfit, a book and a toy. Each child’s age and interests are provided. The presents are then gaily wrapped and delivered to New Milford Social Services for distribution.
Every Christmas our church decorates a tree with donated mittens, hats, scarves and gloves. Items are then delivered to a local social service organization.
The Board of Mission & Outreach has the responsibility to determine where the Church expends its charitable giving. The Board is sensitive to the needs of the congregation, residents of the town, and other regional, national and international projects.
The Bridgewater Friendship Hall has a large gathering room, parlor and living room area with fireplace. Its commercial kitchen is large enough for a half dozen cooks and is equipped with two stoves, two sinks and a commercial dishwasher. In addition a very ample supply of cookware and cooking utensils is available for use.
Further, during the hot weather, a new and expansive air conditioning system keeps the Hall at a cool and comfortable temperature. The Hall is perfect for wedding receptions, anniversaries, bridal showers, meetings and parties.
Visit www.bridgewaterfriendshiphall.com for more information.