UCC youth strive to make Mission:1 a winner
Written by Jeff Woodard
October 25, 2011
moments and trick-or-treating, to cleaning cars and engaging in exercise, UCC
youth across the country are circling the wagons – literally, in some cases –
on behalf of the church's Mission:1 campaign to fight hunger.
Among those who
have shared their creative plans and ambitious goals are:
Bausman Memorial UCC, Womelsdorf, Pa.
of Bausman Memorial comprises youths and young adults who reside
at Bethany Children's Home, a facility that provides residential services for
children and adolescents unable to live with their own or a substitute family.
"I have a congregation of 75 youth
between the ages of 10 and 19," said the Rev. Lynn Wetzel, the church's
stated supply pastor. "We actually have no members, per se, but the youth
strive to be a part of Mission:1."
Bethany Children's Home was founded in
1863 as a refuge for children whose parents were killed or seriously injured in
the Civil War. The church was built on the campus in 1908 as a Sunday School.
In September, Wetzel's group held a car
wash, raising $111. "I was so proud of them," said Wetzel. "It
was cold and they really worked hard.
"Many of them have no families to
connect with except us," said Wetzel "Many have grown up in family
situations where there are used to receiving all the time. Mission:1 helps get
them on the other end, where they're assisting others so they can be mission-minded.
It really makes them feel good."
The group is painting pumpkins to be
auctioned off to benefit a local food bank, said Wetzel. "We're also
writing letters to Congress and looking into working with other churches that
could provide bags that youth can decorate and use in packaging Mission:1 food
items to be donated."
Center Congregational UCC, Meriden, Conn.
Church school members are among those
being asked to share their time and talent with the community through pledging
to spend 11 minutes a day from Nov. 1-11 doing something for someone else.
Children's messages include: talking about
bringing in items of food they would
like to eat/receive; using the "Starfish Story," about the young man
who throws starfish back into the sea one at a time, making a difference one by
one; and discussing how change can be affected by writing letters to legislators.
First Church of Christ Congregational,
Youth and children are pledging to do fun,
physical activities as part of the church's pledging campaign – everything from
somersaults and shooting hoops to blowing bubbles and walking their height times
the number of items pledged. The activities will be photographed and shown as
part of the celebration at the end of Mission:1.
Saint John's UCC, Jackson, Mich.
At St. John's, Sunday School
youth presented Mission:1 project plans to the congregation during church service.
Weekly updates and lessons are being presented by the youth, who are also
online as part of the national effort. Youth are also leading a project for the
October calendar by adding a scrambled word or phrase to solve and an amount of
money for each day to add to the "bank," which is a plastic storage
First Congregational UCC, Ypsilanti, Mich.
Beginning Sept. 25 and continuing for
11 weeks, the goal is to collect at least 11 canned or packaged food items to
donate to local food banks. The in-gathering of these items will be part of the
children's time each Sunday. The youth will take up the offering each week,
collecting, counting and charting their progress.
at Elmhurst College focused their UCC
Confirmation Day program on Mission:1. Multiple student groups participated in
raising awareness of food injustice and provided myriad opportunities to
contribute. Weekly student worship includes a mission moment to spread the word
throughout campus. Students also produced a Mission:1 video that has been
widely viewed on the internet.
UCC, Appleton, Wis.
Middle schoolers are collecting non-perishable food items
and donating diapers to the Limited Emergency Assistance Valley Ecumenical Network
(LEAVEN), a local mission that works through volunteers to assist people in
crisis by providing housing, utilities, transportation, medication, food and
Christian UCC, New Baltimore, Mich.
During children's moment at the introduction to Mission:1 on
Oct. 16, the children in the congregation took a "noisy offering" to
rally members offering food items for a local food pantry. Members were told in advance when the offering would be
taken. During the offering, the children used large tin coffee cans in
which they collected loose change, paper money and checks. "We took in
around $100 that day," said the Rev. Henry C. Brinker, First
Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Holy Trinity UCC
Retired pastor Marilyn
Washburn preached at the Oct. 9 service in which she used Isaiah 25:1 to
challenge youths and young adults to bring in items they would want to receive
if they were hungry.
Children in Deerfield, Ill., have been using their wagons to
cover local neighborhoods, collecting food pantry items from friends and
Zion UCC, Union, Mo.
More wagons: During children's time in the weekly mission
moment, youth are bringing food forward in a Mission:1 "express wagon."
God Can Ministries,
Ford Heights, Ill.
Youth are donating 11 cents per Sunday throughout October
and offering 11 days of prayer (Nov. 1-11).
Peace UCC, Duluth, Minn.
An overnight for youth Nov. 11 will focus on food justice.
Also in the works: a community-wide event serving a meal Nov. 9 at a local
On Halloween weekend, youth members will be
trick-or-treating for food for the local food shelf.
Mission:1 plays on the UCC motto "That they may all be
1," Nov. 1-11, 2011 (11-1-11—11-11-11). During those 11 days, the UCC aims
to collect more than 1 million food and household items for local food banks
and collect $111,111 in online donations for hunger-related causes, while
marshaling its 5,300 congregations to advocate for hunger-related causes worldwide
via 11,111 letters to Congress.
For more information
please visit <ucc.org/mission1>.