UCC Neighbors in Need Appeal – Behold!
On October 2, our congregation will gather donations for the Neighbors in Need offering, which supports the UCC’s ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. This year’s theme is Behold!
Two-thirds of the offering is used to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. The UCC Justice and Peace Action Network 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.
One-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). 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.
Behold! With your assistance, we together can help our Neighbors in Need. Please give generously. And remember, contributions to Neighbors in Need can be made online at anytime. You can donate anytime online via our PayPal and be sure to write "NIN" in the "instructions to seller" box.
UCC Strengthen the Church Appeal – All Together!
By Jean Steiner, Mission Board Chair
The UCC special appeal for Strengthen the Church was held during Pentecost. Unfortunately, as chair of the Mission Board, I neglected to organize our congregation’s appeal. The Mission Board wants to correct this omission now.
The vision of the UCC fills an important need in our community, nation, and world. Our commitment to love one another – every single other – is a difficult challenge. The past few years posed special challenges - and extra expenses – to maintain and extend our welcoming community to all.
Conferences in the UCC work to support leaders, connect congregations, engage youth and young adults, and to imagine together a just world for all. And the Strengthen the Church offering makes this revitalizing work possible.
Please join me in making a gift to the Strengthen the Church Offering so that All Together! we can answer God’s call to be the church. You can donate anytime online via our PayPal and be sure to write "Strengthen the Church" in the "instructions to seller" box.
Each fall, our Member Engagement Committee invites members and friends to serve through our congregation by serving on our various boards and committees. A congregation, like any other group of people needs leadership! Our shared ministry here at First Congregational UCC relies heavily on the work of dedicated volunteers and professional staff. As a congregational church, we essentially function like a democracy in many ways. Key decisions are made by the members of our congregation - sometimes in congregational meetings where we all have a voice and vote and sometimes by those we have delegated to work on our behalf (officers, boards, committees, and staff).
You can learn more about our governing structure and our boards and committees here.
In 2023, we are trying an experiment. We know that some folks are very happy to serve but don't necessarily want to attend meetings on a regular basis. Some of our boards are going to try a new model where only 3-4 board members will attend regular meetings. The work of the board will be supported by auxiliary members who will not attend meetings but will, instead, be available to help the board with specific tasks as needed.
Each week in worship we are invited into a time of generosity as we pass the offering plates. We remind ourselves that we share our financial resources AND we are called to share our time and skills. Whether that's volunteering with Second Helping, teaching our children and youth, serving on the tech team, organizing a welcoming dinner for new members, showing up at the state house to advocate for justice, or changing lightbulbs and raking leaves, there are so many ways to support our congregation. We hope you'll prayerfully consider how you are being called to best use your gifts as we live into our church covenant together.
Receiving bread is at the center of Christian community. Jesus shared bread with his disciples, but also with everyone from sinners to huge crowds of complete strangers! Loaves of bread are tangible signs of God’s unconditional love for us and for all. What better way to celebrate our commitment to following God’s example of loving every single other than by sharing bread?!
The Stewardship Committee invites you to stay after worship on Sunday, October 9 for a continued celebration of World Communion Sunday. Those who are able are asked to bring bread to share (homemade or purchased) that has special meaning to you – maybe because it represents something about your ethnic or national heritage, or someplace you have lived in the past, or it calls to mind a special event in your life. Gluten-free options will be available.
Even if you can’t bring bread, everyone is welcome to stay and share the gift of fellowship and informal communion. We hope to see you there!
The Stewardship Committee (Donna Keyser, Julie Appino, and Sarah Kaufman)