Mission:1, the United Church of Christ's nationwide 11-day campaign in early November to feed the hungry and confront food-related injustice, is being expanded to include a church-wide appeal to raise more than $111,111 to aid famine-stricken Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
"The devastating reports of drought and famine in East Africa have caused many of our congregations to urge that a new goal be added to Mission:1, one that specifically addresses the crisis that is taking place in Somalia," said the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, the UCC's general minister and president. "This is why we have decided to double our financial goals, something that is both ambitious and do-able given the enthusiasm that is building across the church for Mission:1."
The new goal comes as an addition to earlier stated goals, which include raising $111,111 for Neighbors in Need hunger-related ministries, writing 11,111 letters to Congress in support of a more-effective U.S. foreign aid program, and collecting more than 1 million items of healthy food for local pantries across the United States. During the Nov. 1-11 timeframe, the UCC's homepage at ucc.org will be converted into an online tote board where individuals and churches can make donations, report their progress, and track the denomination's collective successes in real time.
Under the new plan, all monetary gifts made to "Mission:1" during the 11-day push will be divided equally between the UCC's East Africa famine appeal and Neighbors in Need hunger-related ministries. The new goal is to raise more than $111,111 for each.
The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries and a member of the denomination's five-person Collegium of Officers, said the crisis in East Africa demands a strong UCC response.
"It would be irresponsible for our justice-minded, global-mission church to ignore the famine crisis in Africa as an essential component of what we are trying to achieve together through Mission:1," Jaramillo said. "We also want to ensure that the Neighbors in Need advocacy dollars collected during Mission:1 will address globalization policy issues as they relate to hunger everywhere."
The campaign manual for Mission:1 and other promotional materials are being updated to reflect the new fundraising initiative for East Africa, said Barb Powell, interim director of the UCC's publishing, identity and communication ministry.
Learn more about Mission:1 at www.ucc.org/mission1