Congregational United Church of Christ
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AN OPEN AND AFFIRMING CONGREGATION
Service and Outreach
to Our Wider Community
The Christmas Fund
During our Christmas Eve worship service, we take up a special offering to support the UCC's Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund. The collection gives us the opportunity to recognize and honor those who have retired from serving the UCC as authorized ministers or lay employees.
The funds collected are used in four different ways:
A monthly pension supplementation for lower-income retired UCC clergy/lay employees.
A supplement for quarterly health premiums for lower-income retired UCC clergy/lay employees.
Provide Christmas “Thank You” gift checks for retired UCC clergy/lay employees.
Provide emergency grants for large medical expenses and/or home damage due to natural disasters.
Blankets and Tools Offering
Each year on the Sunday after Labor Day, we take up a special offering to support Blankets and Tools, which is coordinated by Church World Service. Their motto is “Our Work, Fighting Hunger and Poverty. Promoting Peace & Justice.” They are involved with advocacy, help in emergencies, assist in global development, and provide immigration and citizenship assistance. Some of their recent actions include providing blankets and hygiene kits in rugged, rural Colorado and globally they shipped a 20-foot container to Serbia with blankets and kits.
CROP Hunger Walk
The CROP Hunger Walk (also organized by Church World Service) takes place each year on the first Sunday in October with registration at 1:30pm at the Courthouse lawn and the walk starting at 2:00pm. It is a three-mile walk that ends at the Salvation Army for fruit and cookies. Congregation members are encouraged to join in the walking and/or to give a donation to support those who are walking as we work together to end hunger both globally and locally.
One Great Hour of Sharing
Each year on Palm Sunday, we receive our One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering. This special offering of the United Church of Christ enables us to reach people and communities affected by disaster, displacement, or poverty. Through OGHS, we provide assistance to families and communities around the world, helping them to become stronger, healthier, and better equipped to address hardships and catastrophes.
The 2018 theme for the offering was “More Than We Can Imagine.” It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at all the areas of need in God’s world: there is hunger, sickness, and injustice in so many communities. It is easy to feel there is nothing we can do to help. We can feel trapped by hopelessness and fear that what little we can do won’t have an impact.
As the Apostle Paul writes, “by the power at work within us,” God is able to “accomplish abundantly more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). “We are the agents of transformation that God uses to transfigure this world” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu).
Wishing and dreaming of a better world means nothing if we don’t realize that God gives us community to practice love and compassion. We cannot only care for ourselves, but we must also care about those around us, both near and far.
Our gifts become part of a loving legacy in ways we can’t foresee. Our gifts become blessings to people we don’t know and blesses in ways we can’t expect. We can make a difference beyond what we can imagine.
When we give as the United Church of Christ—individuals, groups, and congregations—it means that the church can stand strong, in the midst of need whether it is nearby or far away. When God’s love abides in us, we are moved to respond with our own material goods to the needs of other members of God’s family. All support is appreciated, whether from new or long-time supporters, and every gift matters. Every gift allows us to do “More Than We Can Imagine.”
Neighbors in Need
The Neighbors in Need offering, which we receive on the second Sunday of each October, supports the UCC’s ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects.
Through ucc.org/justice, our national Justice and Witness Ministries office offers resources, news updates, and action alerts on a broad spectrum of justice issues. Working with members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (a network of thousands of UCC justice and peace advocates). Justice and Witness continues its strong policy advocacy work on issues such as the federal budget, voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, civil liberties, and environmental justice.
Neighbors in Need also supports our American Indian neighbors in the UCC. One-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIMl). Historically, forebears of the UCC established churches and worked with Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Hocak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and northern Nebraska. Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These churches and their pastors are supported by CAIM. CAIM is also an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the U.S.