With Mission:1 goals toppling like bowling pins across UCC churches nationwide, Trinitarian Congregational UCC in Concord, Mass., is already looking to sustain the war on hunger into the future.
Church officials have announced that Trinitarian is pledging a Christmas offering of $11,111 to be divided evenly between the two donation components of Mission 1: East African Famine Relief and hunger-related ministries through Neighbors in Need (NIN), a special mission offering of the UCC.
"We have made the commitment that it will be $11,111," said Judy Walpole, business manager at Trinitarian. "If the Christmas offering (via individual church members) falls short of that, we will still see that it equals $11,111."
Meanwhile, Trinitarian’s goal of collecting 1,111 food items has been surpassed. Twice. And then some. "Our congregation has responded really enthusiastically," said Walpole. "We’ve been amazed at the food that has come in."
In September, the Rev. John Lombard, senior pastor at Trinitarian, had said the church would spread the work of Mission:1 through 11 weeks, not 11 days. The Trinitarian twist included a campaign kickoff on Sept. 11, and will culminate on Thanksgiving Sunday.
"Hunger has an educational component, an advocacy component, a social-justice component and a worship component," said Lombard. "It has an enriched meaning because it's bathed in our faith. That's why I like all these things being drawn together in one place at one time."
Mission:1 plays on the UCC motto, "That they may all be one," and concludes Nov. 11, 2011. The goals are 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; and 11,111 letters to Congress, a goal that was surpassed Nov. 6 and is still growing. As of Nov. 8, nearly 20,000 letters had been sent.
For further information, go to www.ucc.org/mission1.