New Atlanta church dares to embrace big Mission:1 goals
Written by Gregg Brekke November 3, 2011
Kirkwood UCC kids from the James family gather around the 30+ food items they are donating to Mission:1 efforts. (Photo provided)
Atlanta's Kirkwood UCC has taken on the Mission:1
challenge with passion, outreach, education and a dare.
Recently received as a new United Church of Christ
congregation with full standing in the Southeast Conference, Kirkwood UCC isn't
resting on this recent milestone of the church.
"We decided to add an extra Soup Saturday meal
during Mission:1," says Kirkwood member Amy Rush of the church's twice
monthly community meal. "It's a chance for us to meet people from our
neighborhood –– around 25 each week."
In addition to the meal, Kirkwood also offers
guests the opportunity to "shop" for warm and new clothes, and receive
supplies from the church's food pantry, on Soup Saturdays.
Rush says that six additional volunteers have begun
working at Soup Saturdays. This is over half way toward the congregation's goal
of having 11 new workers in the outreach ministry.
With Mission:1 as the backdrop to many outreach and giving opportunities, Rush says that Kirkwood members caught the spirit and began daring one another to up their donation ante.
"One person posted on our Facebook page that she could
bring 30 items and challenged others to do the same," says Rush. "Someone
then posted that she'd bring 30+1 and I posted that I'd bring 30+2. I believe
the latest pledge was 45 items. We're well on our way to our goal of 1,111
healthy food items for our own Community Table Food Pantry."
The church's goal of $211 toward the Neighbors in
Need offering has already been exceeded by an anonymous donation of $1,111. "Isn't
that fantastic?" exclaims Rush.
But Kirkwood members have also embraced advocacy
and education as key elements of their Mission:1 goals.
On Nov. 8, Kirkwood UCC will join Praxis UCC of
Atlanta to host an Oxfam Hunger Banquet. Attendees will bring 11 food
items or donate $11 toward the churches' shared Mission:1 goals in addition to
working toward completing 51 pledged letters to Congress.
"It has become
clearer and clearer that, at least for our community, food is a HUGE issue ––
having enough food to sustain a person and having healthy food to eat,"
says the Rev. Susannah Davis, pastor of Kirkwood UCC. "We are so thankful
to be a part of the UCC. Dreams and visions like Mission:1 gather us all in and
give us opportunity to share the best of who we are and who God is calling us
1-11, 2011 (11-1-11—11-11-11), the UCC’s goals are to collect more than 1
million food and household items for local food banks, as well as $111,111 in
online donations for hunger-related ministries and $111,111 in online donations for East Africa
famine relief. The UCC also is asking its 5,300 congregations to
advocate for hunger-related causes worldwide via 11,111 letters to Congress.