All posts in “Community”

Angel Tree Program: Giving the Gift of God’s Love

First Free Rockford is proudly participating in the Angel Tree program again this year, delivering gifts and the message of God’s love to children in the Rockford area whose parents are in prison during the holiday season.

Our church has participated in this program for more than 25 years in partnership with Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit Christian organization whose mission is to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. There are more than 2.7 million U.S. children who have a mom or dad in prison, according to the organization, and churches and community organizations throughout the country have already committed to serving more than 275,000 kids this year.

Angel Tree Coordinator Susan Schumacher, a Belvidere resident who’s been attending First Free for nearly 30 years, found a personal connection in this project. She had a loved one in prison and saw the devastating effects an experience like that can have on families.

“We do this out of compassion for the children,” she said. “The program gives us an opportunity to share God’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.”

You can help by picking a tag off the Angel Tree in our lobby. This year, we have 17 families with 45 children we’re helping. Each child will receive two gifts – an article of clothing and a toy or other fun gift, as well as an age-appropriate booklet about the gospel provided by Prison Fellowship. The families give us suggestions to help personalize the gifts even more.

Grab a tag, shop for gifts, wrap them and turn them in by Dec. 11. We’ll package the gifts on Dec. 12 and deliver them to families on Dec. 15. Let us know if you’d like to volunteer in any way. It’s a beautiful tradition we are excited to participate in again this year!

No Trunk or Treat 2017

Why we aren’t doing Trunk or Treat this year.

A few people recently asked us if we are doing Trunk or Treat this year, so we wanted to make sure you all know what’s going on. Here at First Free Rockford we are constantly trying to up our involvement in the community, and that always starts with building good relationships. In an effort to be an active and loving part of our community, we are encouraging our congregation to be home and engaged with the families of their neighborhoods this year rather than hosting Trunk or Treat. It’s our hope that the city of Rockford would experience God’s love in their own neighborhoods this year from the people of First Free Rockford. For those of you that have been so faithful to come out to the Trunk or Treat event each year, stay tuned because we will be announcing the details of our Christmas Traditions Event very soon, and we think you’re going to really enjoy it! If you are looking for ideas on how to be a light in your neighborhood during Halloween this year, be sure to check out this great e-book!


Halloween Outreach Ideabook

Girls’ Night Out

First Free Women kick off the Christmas season with a relaxed time of conversation with other women over dessert and coffee at the December Girls’ Night Out. There will also be Christmas ideas for your family and a gospel message by Judi Hayes. Think about inviting a friend, neighbor or co-worker to come with you.

Tickets are available through the month of November at the Events and Registration desk in the main lobby. There will be appetizers and Christmas music in the lobby at 6:15pm, doors open at 6:30pm. Hope you will join us!

First Free of Rockford Named Honorary Congregation of the Slovak Evangelical Free Church


First Free of Rockford Named Honorary Congregation of the Slovak Evangelical Free Church

2015-05-15 by Todd Patterson
Don Oleson visits Slovakia every year as a part of the 15 year partnership between First Evangelical Free Church of Rockford and the Cirkev Bratská in Slovakia. To recognize the help that the CB has received from Rockford they made First Free an honorary congregation in the CB denomination.

Read the complete article by Todd Patterson…


Washington Illinois Crisis Response

Please continue to pray for the families affected by the tornado in Washington, IL. Also pray for our relief teams as they travel to and from Washington to assist where needed. If you would like to volunteer, or would like more information about how you can help please contact Pastor Bertie Holmgren.

Philippines Typhoon Response

Typhoon Haiyan leaves destruction, chaos, loss and death. Respond with ReachGlobal.

ReachGlobal’s crisis response team and Asia division partners are currently buying supplies and driving into destroyed areas to hand out food, assessing opportunities for long-term church planting after an enormous typhoon — one of the largest recorded storms in history — ravaged the city of Tacloban, the Philippines. Officials are estimating death tolls to approach 10,000.
How to Pray

For those grieving to find hope in Christ, for Filipino pastors as they meet many new people
For the island of Bantayan to see God’s provision through the only Christian in their family
For grace and wisdom for the responders
For the daily ministry to children who have been left without schools
For the crews set up with a chain saw, tools and a relational person as they go from home to home to help their communities
For a huge response from all corners of the globe – $250,000 for ReachGlobal’s response

Watch the ReachGlobal Crisis Response blog for updates from crisis response director, Mark Lewis.