were scheduled to walk our 111 bags of food over to the food pantry (Oct. 30)
after worship, but with the freakish snowstorm, we had to cancel worship,"
said the Rev. John MacIver Gage, senior pastor. "We had to drive the food
over. A far less romantic image, I'm afraid, but at least the people still got
generosity during trying times has brought Gage great joy, he said. "We
worried a bit when we asked our congregation - all 144 of us - to fill 111
bags. But we received 117 back. People were glad to have something concrete
that they could do, individually and as a community, to make the world just
that much better for someone else."
gratitude that Mission:1 connects to his church in many different ways.
"It's about compassion,
as a response to personal need, and it is about justice, because we
know who eats and who doesn't has political ramifications," said Gage. "It's also about building partnerships in the wider
community, with the food pantry and the congregation who sponsor them; and it's
about the environment, since we donated all those great bright-green reusable
The bags were donated
by the local Stop & Shop grocery chain, said Gage, adding that the food
pantry plans to use the bags to encourage clients to bring them back.
Meanwhile, in Wooster, Ohio, even
before the official kickoff to Mission:1, the congregation of Trinity UCC was
generating momentum in the campaign's hunger-ending efforts.
"We've already collected enough
money to buy 11 flocks of chickens, 11 flocks of geese and 11 flocks of duck,"
said Ruth Tisher, co-chairperson of the Mission, Peace and Justice Committee at
Trinity. "We're going to send those to the Heifer International project."
Trinity, which serves hot breakfast five
days a week to community members in need, has had its focus keenly set on the
11 days of Mission:1. Like UCC on the Green, one of its loftier goals has been
filling 111 large, reusable cloth grocery bags with non-perishable food.
"We've been collecting for a food
bank called People to People," said Tisher. "It's an organization of
churches that have gotten together in Wooster since the early 1980s. They
provide clothing and groceries, and they have a list of foods that they really
need for November."
The filled bags were dedicated at
church services Nov. 6 – the same day as Bring-A-Friend to Church Sunday.
Mission:1 plays on
the UCC motto, "That they may all be one." It runs the 11 days from
Nov. 1-11, 2011 (11-1-11—11-11-11). The goal is to collect more than 1 million
food and household items for local food banks, $111,111 in online donations for
hunger-related ministries and $111,111 in online donations for East Africa
famine relief. Its 5,300 congregations advocating for hunger causes worldwide
surpassed on Nov. 6 the goal of 11,111 letters to Congress. As of Nov. 9, over
22,000 letters had been sent.