August 3, 2016
Fridays are casual in the church office and I, like many people, cannot wait for Fridays but my reasoning is not solely for the weekend ahead. Friday is also the opportunity to wear my United Church of Christ t-shirt.
Opening the mail one day last week reminded me how proud I am to be on staff with Plymouth Church, United Church of Christ. A plain white envelope enclosed a certificate congratulating Plymouth UCC for being “5 for 5” in their basic support of Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM) and the denomination's four special mission offerings.
Being 5 for 5 is one sign of congregational vitality.
A 5-for-5 congregation is one that gives to OCWM through its church budget, while also providing parishioners the opportunity to participate in each of OCWM's four special mission offerings received during the year. Also, within the Pacific Northwest Conference UCC, there is a sixth offering separate from OCWM called the Insurance Assistance Fund.
OCWM Basic Support funds the operations of our Conference and the national and global church, including the national Office of General Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Wider Church Ministries and Justice & Witness Ministries. OCWM helps provide pastoral placement and education for church leaders; worship materials and theological interpretation; resources and training for stewardship and fundraising; and so much more.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is the special mission offering of the UCC that carries God’s message of love and hope to people in 138 countries. The UCC works with international partners to provide sources of clean water and food, education and health care, small business micro-credit, emergency relief, and advocacy and resettlement for refugees and displaced persons. OGHS also supports domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response.
Strengthen the Church is a special offering that invests in the vision of the UCC. As God calls our congregations to be “church” in new ways, this offering is used to plant new churches, awaken new ideas in existing churches, and develop spiritual life in our youth and young adults. Because of this offering, many more will hear the good news that “God is still speaking.” One-half of this offering stays at the Conference to support local church development and other regional programs; the remainder is used at the national level.
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the UCC that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. NIN grants are awarded to churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice.
The Christmas Fund is a special offering for remembering those who serve our church, known as Veterans of the Cross. It provides financial aid to retired and active ministers and their surviving spouses and children who face overwhelming financial demands, a ministry carried out by the Pension Boards.
Insurance Assistance Fund is similar to the Christmas Fund and supports retired clergy who served within the Pacific Northwest Conference and local churches who have financial need with health premium supplementation.
Hats off to Plymouth’s Community and Social Action Board for calling our attention to these important issues and to you for your generous support!Subscribe