Outreach & Partnerships

Through our outreach efforts and partnerships, we put our faith into action through service to others. Our church actively supports a wide variety of outreach activities around the world, across the nation and in our own backyard.  These activities include efforts to provide food and affordable housing to area families in need; refugee-resettlement and immigration-assistance programs; and vibrant spiritual partnerships with nonprofit organizations and other churches.

Food Pantry/Soup Kitchen

We operate one of the largest sites in Southeastern Connecticut for the Shoreline Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens. Every Saturday morning, church volunteers serve hot meals to people in need in our Fellowship Hall and distribute groceries from the Food Pantry located in the basement of our Meetinghouse.  As a result of the pandemic, we have temporarily suspended the operations of our soup kitchen, but we’re still assisting between 60 and 70 families a week through the Food Pantry. Each family receives about 45 pounds of food donated either by congregation and community members, or by local farms and companies, including Smith’s Acres of Niantic, White Gate Farm in East Lyme, Big Y and Stop & Shop.  To volunteer for the Food Pantry, please send an email to fccol@fccol.org.

Affordable Housing

Our church has a long history of supporting efforts to provide affordable housing here in Old Lyme and around the world.  Here are some of the highlights of our work:

  • In 2020, we made a $25,000 donation to the HOPE Partnership to help the nonprofit organization with its mission of building affordable housing along the Connecticut Shoreline. The contribution was made possible through the generosity of two anonymous donors.
  • We worked closely with Old Lyme Affordable Housing – a group which later merged with the HOPE Partnership – to build three houses in Old Lyme.
  • We have worked with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Lyme, East Lyme, Salem and New London.
  • We helped the Homeless Hospitality Center of New London rehab the Major Edward Good House, a home for homeless veterans.
  • We played an instrumental role in the founding of the Lymes’ senior housing complex on Route 1.
  • In partnership with the Jimmy Carter Work Project and more than 2,000 volunteers from around the world, we helped build 100 homes in Durban, South Africa in 2002. Our church raised more than $50,000 for the project and more than two dozen congregation members and friends helped onsite with the build.

Immigration Assistance Committee

Our Immigration Assistance Committee (IAC) helps immigrant families find free or low-cost legal aid before and during deportation proceedings; and helps these individuals understand their rights under federal and state law, particularly when their families include members who are U.S. citizens. At times, we have offered sanctuary to individuals and families in need as a way to help slow the deportation procedure down; give the overburdened appeals process a chance to work; and provide immigration authorities with an opportunity to understand the injustices and flaws of the law as it is being applied. Brief summaries of some of our efforts appear below.  For more information, please contact Lina Tuck at lina.tuck@gmail.com.

Mariano

We offered overnight sanctuary in our church to Mariano Cardoso, Sr., which provided him with the much-needed time to win a stay of deportation. He is currently on a pathway to permanent residency. To read Mariano’s story, click here.

Malik, Zahida and Roniya

We played an instrumental role in helping a beloved New Britain couple, Malik bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf – whose daughter Roniya is a U.S. citizen – win a stay of deportation after initially seeking sanctuary in our church for many months. The family is currently out of sanctuary, awaiting a ruling from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.  To read their story, click here and here.

Glenda

We are presently working hard to reunite the Torres-Caballero family from Waterbury. In 2018, Miguel Torres and his two children – all of whom are U.S. citizens – watched helplessly as their wife and mother, Glenda Cardenas Caballero, was deported to Honduras even though she had complied with all ICE directives and her immigration case was under appeal.  To read their story, click here and here.

Refugee Resettlement Project

The Old Lyme Refugee Resettlement Committee – a group of volunteers sponsored by our church, Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church and Christ the King Church – operates a refugee-resettlement project that helps families fleeing dangerous conditions in their homelands and finds them housing, support services, jobs and schools in Connecticut, as they start life over here in the U.S.  To date, the project has relocated the Kazadi family from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Colon family from Puerto Rico and the Hamou family from Syria. For more information, please send an email to fccol@fccol.org. 

Partnerships

For many years, our church has enjoyed vibrant spiritual partnerships with other organizations and people, including a Native American community in South Dakota, the village of Beit Sahour in Palestine, an educational foundation in Haiti and a congregation in South Africa.  Through these cross-cultural relationships, we share and grow in our respective faith traditions and gain an even clearer understanding of our shared beliefs. Brief summaries of some of our partnerships appear below.

Green Grass Church Partnership

For nearly 40 years, we have partnered with the Green Grass Church on the Cheyene River Reservation in South Dakota. To learn more, click here.

Tree of Life Educational Fund

In the aftermath of 9/11, we reached out and forged a special friendship with Beit Sahour, a small village in the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank; and established the Tree of Life Educational Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers cross-cultural opportunities for members of our congregation and Old Lyme, and the residents of Beit Sahour. To learn more, click here.

Crosby Fund for Haitian Education

More than 15 years ago, Rev. Becky Crosby – currently our minister of Haitian outreach – and her husband Frederick created a nonprofit organization to provide affordable educational opportunities for young people in Haiti.  Since then, the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education has forged lifelong links between members of our congregation and the young people of Haiti. To learn more, click here.

Methodist Church of South Africa

For more than 30 years, we have partnered with the Methodist Church of South Africa – in both Soweto and Johannesburg – resulting in numerous forged friendships and enriching exchanges between our congregations.  To learn more, click here.

Other Mission Work

Including the missions described above, our church supports more than 75 local and international charities every year – including the New London Community Soup Kitchen, FRESH New London, Midnight Run (NYC), the Homeless Hospitality Center of New London, the Covenant Shelter (New London), the Thames River Housing Project (Norwich), Martin House (Norwich), Safe Futures (New London), York Prison Ministry, New Life Ministry (Old Lyme), the United Church of Christ and many others. We also offer the use of our facilities to local Boy and Cub Scout Troops, Red Cross blood drives, Musical Masterworks concerts, Visiting Nurse Association activities, AA meetings and other activities important to the community. Our goal is to cultivate a spirit of fellowship and compassion in every aspect of human life.