Written by Michelle May
St. Paul's UCC of Westminster, Md., has given $200,000 to support UCC ministries at the National, Conference and Association settings.
A $100,000 restricted gift to the UCC's national setting will be used to expand the internet outreach of the UCC's "God is still speaking" initiative. The funds also will support a newly established "strategic initiatives fund" that will allow UCC leaders to better respond to emergency needs that foster "innovation and excellence in ministry," according to a letter from consistory president Lloyd Helt.
The generous contribution came as part of the congregation's Visioning and Strategic Plan, adopted on March 25, and was part of a $2 million bequest from Harry Emigh, a longtime member of the church.
In addition to its gift to the UCC's national setting, St. Paul's UCC also gave $75,000 to the Central Atlantic Conference and $25,000 to the CAC's Catoctin Association.
The church also will establish a $500,000 fund to support projects that address systemic justice issues, the Rev. Marty Kuchma, the church's senior pastor, told the Carroll County Times newspaper.
The Rev. John H. Thomas visited the church in early May to thank members for their generosity and to express appreciation for their commitment to social justice.
"Without risk, there never is a blessing," Thomas said, according to the Times newspaper.
The UCC's Central Atlantic Conference has long encouraged its churches to share a percentage of bequests and other gifts with the wider church. Last November, the Conference underscored this practice when it gave an additional $167,000 to Our Church's Wider Mission, the UCC's shared purse for mission and ministry, from the proceeds of a church property sale.