First Congregational Church Seeks Help to Stay Open

 First Congregational Church Seeks Help to Stay Open

By Katie McFadden

They provide a host of community services, but now they can use some help from the community. Still hurting from the Covid pandemic and with a drop in parishioners, First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach could use some extra help to keep their doors open.

Open since 1886, the church on Beach 94th Street, the oldest House of Worship on the Rockaway peninsula, could face closure in the future if they can’t pay the bills. The community church, led by Rev. Joyce Dugger, never stopped offering services through the Covid pandemic, but attendance dropped and hasn’t improved since. Combine that with necessary repairs to the 137-year-old building last year, First Congregational Church is now struggling to keep up with rent.

Beyond church services, First Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ, has been a place for people to gather for many community services. They host Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings, a wellness ministry and a food pantry, yoga for seniors, a book club, mental health resources, support groups for those who are grieving, a thrift store and more.

The community now risks losing all of those resources, so First Congregational Church is hoping for a little help. They have started a GoFundMe to try to raise donations to continue to pay the bills. “We serve this community with love and compassion! No amount given is too tiny! Thank you in advance for blessing us!” the GoFundMe reads.

As we go to press, the GoFundMe has raised nearly $3,500 of its $60,000 goal. To donate, head to:­-churchs-mission

On Facebook, the church reiterated that they are “not closing anytime soon” and they are not planning on closing, but they do need financial help to keep up with rent so that they don’t find themselves in a position where they do need to close in the future.

First Congregational Church is located at 320 Beach 94th Street. For information, call 718-634-4701.

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