Over the last two years, First Lutheran Church has been making an intentional effort to reach out into their surrounding neighborhood by using their parish house, “First House” as a place for community gathering and outreach. Since January, First House has been open to the public every Friday afternoon for a time dubbed “Friday’s with Friends”. “Friday’s with Friends” is a free coffee house that offers youth and adults coffee, cookies, and comfortable-supervised space for conversation, reading and playing board games.
(Janet Wahlberg, Kairie Williams, and Jim Wahlberg)
Every Friday is run with a team of volunteers from the church and community. The summer time hours will be from 1-3pm each Friday or when our open sign is placed outside by the sidewalk to the front and kitchen entrances of the building on 116 Chandler Street.
Earlier this year, First Lutheran Church was awarded the Karl Peterson Field of Interest Fund by theCommunity Region Community Foundation to help the “First House Outreach” meet its goals to offer greater community connection and offer educational opportunities. With this grant, “First House Outreach” will be able to better serve our neighbors and meet our needs.
The Friday outreach has grown to also host a once a month neighborhood dinner and music/art/program night. So far this year we have had chili, soup, and cook-out dinners with entertainment by local and regional musicians/artists: Adam McKillip, Ade Adu, Tara Eastman, Debra Eck as well as naturalist Katie Finch. The next cook out dinner is scheduled for July 24th from 5-8 pm.
It is with much gratitude to our team of church and community volunteers as for the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation that First Lutheran Church and “First House Outreach” can continue to reach out to our neighbors as a place of rest, care and friendship. For more information on “First House Outreach” please call the church office at 716-664-4601.