Mission:1 reach of Connecticut UCC church takes board chairperson by surprise
Written by Jeff Woodard November 9, 2011
Board of Christian Outreach (pictured: Tracey Berry, Donna Rajczewski, Bob McGee and Annette Madden-Kline)
Rarely has Judith Sinche been so
overjoyed by under-confidence.
"I am ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic,"
said Sinche, chairperson of the Board of Christian Outreach at First Church UCC
in Darien, Conn., about her church's Mission:1 outpouring. "I wasn't sure we
were going to make it, but boy, did they prove me wrong –– and I'm just thrilled
to be proved wrong."
As of Nov. 8, First Church had
collected 1,574 pounds of non-perishable food, blowing past its goal of 1,111, and
placing its own exclamation point on the UCC's aggressive campaign against
"We have a very generous church, but
they are very, very busy people," said Sinche, a 10-year First Church member. "It's
not that they don't want to do things to help people, it's that they forget. So
we have to keep reminding them. We have two services every Sunday, and we
remind them at every one."
First Church received a running start
toward its goal from a member who recently had a milestone birthday. "One of
our members turned 60 and had a big birthday party," said Sinche. "Instead of
gifts, she wanted guests to bring food items. This was kind of the kickoff for
the whole project. She collected three hundred
pounds of food."
Well-known in the area for its active
support of local food pantries and outreach to the homeless, First Church
conducts a program called Food First, whereby members bring in non-perishable
food items on the first Sunday of each month, said Sinche. The program enables
the church to provide two pantries with regular support.
In addition, said Sinche, First Church
has become a staunch supporter of Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit
Christian organization committed to feeding God's children hungry in body and
spirit. "It's supported community-wide by several area churches," said Sinche.
"We've taken a very active role in it, both monetarily and in doing packing
with many, many members of our church."
Sinche noted that the annual Neighbors
in Need (NIN) offering was taken Nov. 6, a little later in the season "because
so much has been going on lately."
In addition to food collection, church
members gathered after services Nov. 6 to write and send letters to Congress,
urging legislators not to cut programs that aid the hungry.
"Most legislators want things in email these
days, so we provided sample letters with email address of the legislators and
to President Obama," said Sinche. "We had hard-copy letters available for those
members who do not use the computer."
Taking on good-spirited flak about
having doubts that First Church would reach its goal has been worth it, says
"I'm getting the, ‘O, ye of little
faith,' " she says, "but that's OK."