I came to Rock Spring a year ago, we started having these 'imagine parties,'"
said Dwyer. "The congregation really wanted to have periodic opportunities
to be engaged in hands-on, intergenerational service."
those gatherings evolved the "fifth Sunday" phenomenon during months with
explaining Mission:1 to the members of our congregation, I likened it to 'fifth
Sunday,'" said Dwyer. "It was an opportunity to come together as one,
for a short period of time, to do one important thing. I think it's creative, and
I think it's unifying.
often we're going a zillion different directions, and to have that unifying
experience of all being together on the same page is really great."
says attendance and energy at these events has been "phenomenal." An
invitation by the Rev. Geoffrey Black, UCC general minister and president, for
Rock Spring to serve as a pace-setter church for Mission:1 certainly didn't
Geoffrey sent me a note in the summer asking us to be a pace-setter, the idea
dovetailed," said Dwyer. "We hadn't planned October yet, so we
planned our whole fifth Sunday around hunger-related activities for Mission:1
And that's what resulted in what we had Oct. 30.
resulted" is a series of goal-eclipsing efforts on behalf of Mission:1.
goal of buying, assembling and shipping 11,111 meal kits has been met.
goal of 111 letters written to Congress has been surpassed (120), and letters
were to be hand-delivered to the White House Nov. 4.
goal of 111 pounds of food collected, courtesy of Rock Spring's Christian
Education Initiative, has been dwarfed by the 781 pounds received.
we were packing the meals, we held a silent auction with a goal of raising
$11,111," said Dwyer. "It appears that we're close to $16,000 with
we wanted to raise our Neighbors in Need (NIN) offering by $1,111 over last
year when we raised $7,000-$8,000. We're already at more than 25 percent of an
increase from that," she said.
said she's long been a believer that money follows mission. "I think
people could really see this desire to do something about hunger and not only
rise to the challenge but have a blast doing it."
Over 11,111 "Stop Hunger Now" meals were packaged by Rock Spring UCC members. (Photo Charlie Gilmour)
cents a meal, Dwyer said the church purchased 11,111 meals from Stop Hunger
Now, an international hunger relief organization that
coordinates distribution of food and other life-saving aid. "They
bring the materials onsite as well as all scales, measuring utensils, bags …
everything. Even the pink hair nets," said Dwyer with a laugh.
members then measured and assembled 11,111 mixtures of rice, soy, protein and
dehydrated vegetables, and bagged them. "The kids were just having a
blast," said Dwyer. "Well, we all were. It was an
component is clearly a foundational piece for Dwyer.
lot of parents believe strongly in making the world a better place, but doing
so with more than just writing a check," she said. "They want to be
side by side with their kids in service with others, there's something that …
there are still some values there.
mean, how many times can you have your whole family together wearing pink hair