First Congregational UCC, Santa Rosa Calif. is Mission:1.

First Congregational UCC, Santa Rosa Calif. is Mission:1.

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Santa Rosa, California had a carefully crafted plan for Mission:1. 

  • a largest ever in-gathering of food for the local Food Pantry.
  • a "Fast Meal" of water, juice or light soup, at which members contributed the money  they would have spent for food.
  • a letter writing campaign at the "Fast Meal", asking political leaders to maintain funding for hunger programs and to address food policy injustices.

The in-gathering of food was estimated to be 2,000 pounds. Twenty four people wrote 67 letters to political representatives.  Contributions from the "Fast Meal" will be divided between the restoration of a local homeless breakfast program, Bread for the World, and Mission:1.


All went according to plan, but sometimes the best things in life are beyond our ability to control.  In August, long-time member of First Congregational UCC, John Thomson, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told he had only a short time to live. He decided to plan his own memorial service and told his pastor, David Parks-Ramage,“We are going to have an offering at my memorial service.” John then told David that the night before he’d had a dream, or perhaps it was a vision. He and God were looking down on his memorial service and John noticed that the offering plates were being passed and were overflowing with money. John asked God what the offering was for.  “To feed hungry people.”  John Thomson died a few weeks later, and his memorial service was held on November 2, during the UCC’s Mission:1 campaign. Thirteen hundred dollars were raised to feed the hungry.

The church that day overflowed with the abundance of God’s blessing for God’s people.  With John Thomson’s help First Congregational UCC is able to carry the vision of a world where everyone has enough to eat. 

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Connie N. Larkman
Managing Editor & News Director
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115