311 Third Avenue NE, Hickory NC, 28601 (828) 322-6058

In Our Community


From the ALFA website:  ALFA provides supportive services to those infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.  ALFA currently provides supportive and medical case management, prevention education, and outreach to an eight county service area.  ALFA’s service area consists of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Watauga, and Wilkes counties.  ALFA is able to continue providing quality services to communities of need through generous funding from entities such as the United Way, Ryan White CARE Act, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.


Artisan Community

The Artisan Community at First Church is made up of men and women who are creative and who are willing to share that gift with God and their church.  Some of them are painters, others are sculptors, and others have a great design sense.  Together they create warm and inviting spaces for big events, they illustrate passages of scripture for services of worship, and they even create opportunities for displaying works of art in church and community art shows.  For more information contact the church office.


Camp Carolwood

“The purpose and mission of Camp Carolwood is to complement the Christian Education programs of the local Methodist Churches and organizations as space is available by providing, facilities for retreats for children, youth, adults, and families, an Outdoor Christian environment for summer camping programs, a place for retreat and spiritual renewal through association with the Yokefellow Retreat Mission Group, and affordable prices for the use of the Camp.”  First Church has a long history of sending young people to summer camps as well as sending work teams to help maintain their facility.


Exodus Homes

From the Exodus Homes website:  “Exodus Homes is a faith-based United Way agency, offering transitional and permanent supportive housing for homeless recovering addicts, alcoholics, and formerly incarcerated people returning to our community from treatment programs and prison. Exodus Homes has a comprehensive array of services to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our residents.  Exodus Homes currently has 62 beds with 8 program locations. We have four major programs:  Supervised Independent Living; Prison Ministry and Post Incarceration Aftercare; Family Preservation and Family Reunification; and Exodus Works Social Enterprises.


Family Care Center

From the Family Care website:  “The Family Care Center of Catawba Valley, Inc. serves homeless families with dependent children through an emergency and transitional residential program. The program offers physical, emotional, social and educational services to assist families to become self-sufficient. Family Care Center is founded on Judeo-Christian principles and ministers to all persons without discrimination.”  First Church provides financial assistance to the Family Care Center as well as assistance with maintaining the grounds at the Highland Avenue campus.  We also assist with a once a month worship service at the Highland Avenue Campus.

Grace House

Grace House is a multi-service homeless day center.  It is funded by Grace Church and other churches and through donations. Grace House offers a safe place for the homeless to come to during the day when other area shelters are closed.  There are computers for to be used to search for jobs, and to type out resumes. It also offers the homeless a place to shower, wash their clothes and a place to relax and receive water and snacks.    There is a worship service every Sunday Morning.  Grace House also offers GED classes.  Grace House is located at 102 1st Ave NE. Hickory NC 28601.


Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry

From the GHCCM website:  “Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry assists Catawba County’s unemployed, underemployed and indigent residents by providing crisis relief, support, and education, as well as health care and food.  GHCCM offers health care and pharmacy support to all Catawba County adults who meet our eligibility guidelines. Financial assistance and food is distributed to citizens of the Greater Hickory area who are eligible. Individuals seeking assistance will need a photo ID, Social Security card (or equivalent), proof of address, Medicaid denial letter, and proof of income for everyone in the home.”  First Church provides financial assistance to GHCCM and also provides volunteers in many of their service areas and we have church members who serve on their Board of Directors.


Habitat for Humanity

From the Habitat for Humanity website:  “Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. We build and repair houses all over the world using volunteer labor and donations. Our partner families purchase these houses through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans or innovative financing methods.”  First Church is participating in a multi-church Faith Build this spring and we regularly contribute financially from our mission budget.


Hickory Soup Kitchen

From the Hickory Soup Kitchen website:  “The Hickory Soup Kitchen serves well-balanced, nutritional, hot meals from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on week days. The building is open from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm.   The dining area can seat 132. An average of over 273 meals is served each day and almost over 70,818 meals are served each year.”  In addition to providing volunteers for serving the weekly meals, First Church provides material assistance in the form of monetary donations and vegetables from our Parable Garden.  We are also participants in the annual Souper Bowl Sunday collection.


Palliative Care Center and Hospice of Catawba County

From the Palliative Care Center website:  “We strive to help people find value in the quality of life and live each day with meaning and purpose. Whether patients reside at home, in a nursing facility, retirement village, assisted living center, or in either of our Hospice Houses, our dedicated team of professionals addresses the needs of both patients and families. Emphasis is placed on the individual’s quality of life and the relief from pain, be it physical, spiritual, or emotional.  Hospice Care has been the foundation of Palliative CareCenter & Hospice since 1979. The same dedication to providing the highest quality care is now available in an array of programs and services to benefit Catawba Valley residents.


House of Hope

From the House of Hope website:  “Foothills House of Hope is a non-denominational, non-discriminatory, Christ-centered non-profit organization for hurting and troubled teens ages 12 through 18. We are located in Hickory, North Carolina.  We are a Christian-based home offering Biblical counseling, training, mentoring, and life skills for teens in a residential program, and counseling for their non- residential parents and families.  Each resident attends our on-campus Foothills School of Hope, which features the Accelerated Christian Educational (ACE) program. The ACE program offers a high school diploma with transferable credits. Our school is accredited through ACSI.”


Local and Regional Missions

First Church is very active in Hickory, Catawba County and western North Carolina.  We provide home repair services, ramp construction and yard work through participation in Carolina Cross Connection as well as our own initiatives with COOL, our junior high mission camp, and other weekend ventures.  For more information please contact Troy Howard, our minister of youth and missions.


Music Ministry

Several of our music groups go out into our community.  They take God’s love into nursing homes, retirement communities and the living rooms of our homebound members with great music and warm smiles. If you would like to be part of this ministry please contact our minister of music, Rhonda Smith.


Parable Garden

First Church has a very active group who manage two garden plots.  One plot is a single-crop “truck garden.”  The other plot, located in a vacant lot behind our main parking lot is used to grow three crops a year.  Most of the produce is donated to the Hickory Soup Kitchen but some of the food is also given to homebound members in our congregation.  If you are interested in volunteering in the garden, please contact the church office.


Pastor’s Discretionary Fund

The Pastor’s Discretionary Funds are given out of the generosity of church and community members, to support the ongoing ministry for those in need of some financial help. The PDF is for the use of FUMC members who are in need. They can receive financial assistance up to 3 times in a year’s time. Since the funding is for church members, we also support the local ministries who serve the needy though our missions budget. The PDF gives 20% to CCM and 10% to Salvation Army whenever a gift is received.


Pregnancy Care Center

The Pregnancy Care Center of Catawba Valley offers free and confidential services to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. Our trained volunteers and staff provide compassionate care, options counseling, including factual information on  parenting, adoption and abortion. In addition, we offer a free pregnancy test, limited ultrasound, parenting classes, material assistance and peer counseling.  We are here to help you, and we are just a phone call away.


Prison Ministry

In keeping with Jesus’ call to “visit the imprisoned,” First Church participates in area prison ministries in two ways.  We have a group of men who lead a weekly Disciple Bible study at the Catawba Valley Correctional Facility  The church supports their effort by providing snacks for the weekly meetings and by providing the funds that cover the costs of Bibles and the Disciple study manual.  Members of our church also participate in the Kairos Prison Ministry which is held twice a year at the Alexander County Correctional Institute.  Participants go into the prison for four days to share God’s Word and message of grace and hope.  Church members support this ministry through prayer, donations of money to offset the cost of food, and by baking cookies which are distributed to inmates throughout the prison.  For more information about these ministries, please contact the church office.


Safe Harbor Rescue Mission

From the Safe Harbor Rescue Mission website:  “The heartbeat of Safe Harbor is meeting women where they are in their need, helping them experience the great love that Christ has for them through His people, walking with them on their journey to a whole and productive life.  he beauty of this ministry is that we often have the opportunity to develop deep relationships with our guests, gaining the trust that is essential for us to have a credible voice in their troubled lives. Life change most effectively takes place in relationships like these.”

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army offers a wide range of services and opportunities to serve in our community.  From Sunday and Wednesday worship services, to various emergence assistance programs, the Boys and Girls Club and homeless shelters for men, women and children there are a wide variety of ways to help.  First Church provides financial assistance and many volunteers to the Salvation Army.


School Backpack Program

From the DSS website:  “To provide weekend nourishment to students in Catawba County who are hungry on the weekends. The Program provides each child with dinners, lunches, breakfasts, and snacks each weekend throughout the school year.  The Backpack Program works with schools throughout the county to provide children with a backpack filled with food every Friday throughout the school year. The program seeks to assist children who participate in the Federal Free and Reduced Meal Program or families who are in a situation that their finances force them to choose between food and other expenses and therefore struggle with hunger.” The program is 100% funded by donations received by individuals, churches, and businesses.”

Southwest Elementary School

First Church has adopted Southwest Elementary School.  Throughout the school year we provide tutors, lunch buddies, and other forms of assistance to teachers and students.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact the church office.


Table of Grace

First Church serves a hot meal on the third Saturday of every month in our Christian Life Center.  The meal is available to anyone who is hungry.  If you would like to volunteer to help, please contact the church office.


Wednesday Morning Breakfasts for high school students

First Church partners with three other area churches to provide a hot, free breakfast to high school students.  The breakfasts are available on any Wednesday during the school year when school is scheduled.  Hickory High students may eat at Viewmont Baptist Church (1246 2nd St., NE).  Fred T. Foard students may eat at Sardis Lutheran Church (6103 NC Highway 10 W).  St. Stephens High students may eat at St. John’s UMC (2805 Kool Park Rd., NE).


Women’s Resource Center

From the Women’s Resource Center website:  “The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers assistance to women in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties. Women turn to us for many reasons:

  • Women2Work Workforce Development Programs and Support 
  • Transitions4Women and Goal Planning Services
  • Challenges Due to Separation or Divorce
  • Support Groups for Fibromyalgia, Bi-Polar Disorder,  Adult Children of Alcoholics, Alcoholism & Substance Abuse
  • Personal Growth through Educational and Enrichment Programs 
  • Opportunities to Meet and Share with Other Women

Women’s Resource Center assists countless women and families in this region, offering help to those in need; affirmation to those in transition; encouragement to those seeking growth; hope to those who are searching; and empowerment to all who desire whole, healthy and vibrant lives.”