Back to South Carolina! First Presbyterian’s annual mission trip is booking now. South Carolinawas hit by massive flooding. We will be doing disaster recovery work in Sumter, SC. Travel with us to work on homes, making them warm, safe and dry. Minimum age 16 for youth new to mission trips. Cost: $150 and participation in fundraisers. Application and interview process. One trip this year; approximately 30 spots. Request an application packet from Pauline Albrecht or Jolene Foley.
As we have one trip with 30 spots, we are dating applications on a stepwise basis. Past participants can sign up starting Jan. 1; new participants who are church members can sign upstarting Feb. 1; new participants who are outside of our church can sign up starting March 1. Any interested participant may turn in an application at any time, but it will be dated Jan 1, Feb 1 or March 1 as appropriate.
First Presbyterian Mission Teams have been working to build up communities locally and around the United States for almost 10 years. Our focus has been on helping individuals and families who are recovering from natural and human-caused disasters and the disaster of poverty. The mission teams are supported by the First Presbyterian Church, Washington, NJ in rural Warren County.
Interested in learning more about us? Contact Pauline Albrecht at or call the church office at 908-689-2547.
How We Started
After Hurricane Katrina hit the southern part of the United States in August 2005, a church member traveled to Mississippi to serve those left in the wake of one of the costliest natural disasters in United States history. Upon seeing accounts and photos of the devastation, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church organized their first mission team and prepared to respond to the hurricane devastation in Gulfport, Mississippi. The following summer, June 2006, 19 people traveled from NJ to Mississippi with the goal of cleaning up and repairing homes and running a Vacation Bible School for children in the area. The trip was life-changing for each member. No one had any idea just how impactful the trip would be or what this mission effort would turn into during the following years.
Our Expanding Mission, “Sent To Serve”
Every year since, not only has the size of the main mission team grown, but now multiple teams head out not only to rebuild homes, repaint a room, or install flooring, but also to share a message of hope and love with those people we encounter. We go because we are “Sent To Serve”. While we work with a variety of community-based organizations and disaster response groups, we are a Christian-based mission outreach who feel called to love and serve others, basing our response on Matthew 22: 36-39 from the Bible. It says, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Our Current Mission Teams
Adult & High School Mission Trips: Our longest running trip, a team of 20-30 people between the ages of 14 and 80+ travel outside of the local area to serve those in need. Typically, this team completes light and moderate home restoration tasks such as muck outs, mold removal, roofing, flooring, painting, and installing wheelchair ramps. These teams serve for 7-10 days and typically travel out of state.
Youth Mission Trip: After a time, our younger youth showed great enthusiasm to attend mission trips and to serve. Specialized trips were designed for youth ages 10 and up. While some experiences were local, such as spreading mulch or painting for a senior citizen in our own county, several trips included serving in urban areas of poverty in a soup kitchen or cleaning up homes devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Hope in the Hills of Warren: HHW began as an ecumenical response to improve the living conditions of the elderly and low-income and disabled persons in the local community. In 2010, HHW sponsored two weekend-long mission experiences. Currently, HHW sponsor two Weekends of Hope per year, where volunteers perform yard clean-up, room painting, or small construction projects in the immediate community. Both labor and materials are free to qualifying households. Work is done by teams of teenagers and adults, representing many Christian denominations and different community organizations; our own mission teams and individual mission team members have participated in every HHW event since its inception. Over time, HHW has become a community extension of Warren County Habitat for Humanity and has garnered several local and state awards. First Presbyterian mission teams currently support our own team members as well as provide leadership through participation on the Steering Committee and in specialized roles as HHW Coordinator, HHW Materials Coordinator, HHW photographer, and HHW Site Advisor Coordinator.
Special Operations Task Force: While most of our trips are planned well in advance in response to a need, at times, needs in the community arise quickly and a rapid response is desperately required. When a community member is in need of help, this task force takes action to assist with yard clean-
up, painting, porch repairs, barn roof renovation and more. We seek to meet the immediate needs of someone who cannot complete the repair himself/herself. Our labor is free and we often donate the cost of materials when necessary. This team membership varies based on the timing and the need; it is the most fluid of our mission teams and enables those volunteers to participate who can donate short periods of time while serving close to home. Special Operations work can last a day, a weekend or multiple weekends. One of our most meaningful task force activities was to respond to Hurricane Sandy and to make multiple trips to the Toms River/South Jersey area to muck out and renovate homes.
A Timeline of FPC Mission Teams
2006: Mission Mississippi to rebuild homes and run Vacation Bible School after Hurricane Katrina. 19 adult and teen volunteers on a ten day trip.
2007: Mission Appalachia to repair homes and perform small construction projects in a poverty-stricken coal-mining community in Kentucky. 25 adult and teen volunteers on an eight day trip.
2008: Mission Rochester to repair and paint homes in an urban community. 25 adult and teen volunteers.
2009: Mission York to assist local residents with small cleanup and light construction projects in an urban community. 12 youth and adult volunteers on a week-long trip.
Mission Iowa to assist in rebuilding the Cedar Rapids area after devastating flooding. 26 adult and teen volunteers on a nine day trip.
2010: Hope in the Hills of Warren, working in our own community for a week, repairing and painting homes for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. 29 adults and teens served for a week.
Hope in the Hills of Warren 2, a second team of youth and adults served as well. They painted and landscaped for senior citizens. 20 youth and adults served for a week.
Mission DC served those who live in shelters and are homeless. 16 youth & adults served for a week.
2011: Hope in the Hills of Warren, Two Weekends of Hope, completing home repairs for those in need in our community. 23 adults and teens served for one or both weekends.
Mission Nashville to assist in rebuilding the Nashville area after devastaing flooding. 24 adult and teen volunteers on an eight day trip.
2012: Hope in the Hills of Warren, Two Weekends of Hope, completing home repairs for those in need in our community. 16 adults and teens served for one or both weekends.
Mission Irene to assist in rebuilding the Endicott, NY area after devastating flooding from Hurricane Irene. 26 adult and teen volunteers served for a week.
Mission Washington to assist local Eagle Scout project in cleaning up a historic cemetary which was overrun with weeds and debris from neglect and hurricane damage. 19 youth and adult volunteers
Special Operations Task Force, Washington, NJ location. Rebuilt a barn roof, installed fencing and cleaned yard for a local family. 18 adult and teen volunteers served for a weekend.
Special Operations Task Force, Toms River/South Jersey. Home clean out and repairs following Hurricane Sandy. 20 adult and teen volunteers served over the course of many weekends.
2013: Hope in the Hills of Warren, Two Weekends of Hope, completing home repairs for those in need in our community. 20 adults and teens served for one or both weekends.
Mission Sandy to assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy with cleaning out and restoring homes in Toms River/South Jersey. 17youth and adults served for a week.
Mission Sandy to assist in rebuilding the Jamaica Queens, NY area after Hurricane Sandy. 21 adult and teen volunteers served for a week.
Special Operations Task Force serving in Washington, NJ to repair a porch. 9 adult volunteers served over two weekends.
2014: Hope in the Hills of Warren, Two Weekends of Hope, completing home repairs for those in need in our community. 36 adults, youth, and teens served for one or both weekends.
Mission West Virginia to serve those affected by poverty in Colcord, WV, a coal-mining region. 27 adult and teen volunteers served for eight days.
Special Operations Task Force serving in the Dover area, repairing a garage for a senior citizen. 2 adult volunteers for a day.
Special Operations Task Force serving in Colonia, NJ, painting a home interior. 6 adult volunteers over several weekends.