October - November 2008
NIN 2008 — Another World is Possible
The Neighbors in Need offering, which will be received in most congregations on Sun., Oct.5, supports the UCC's ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects.
Through UCCTakeAction.org, the national Justice and Witness Ministries office offers resources, news updates, and action alerts on a broad spectrum of justice issues. Working with members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (a network of thousands of UCC justice and peace advocates), Justice and Witness continues its strong policy advocacy work on the federal budget, voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, civil liberties, and environmental justice.
Neighbors in Need also supports our American Indian neighbors in the UCC. One-third of the offering supports the UCC's Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Historically, forebears of the UCC established churches and worked with Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Hocak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and northern Nebraska.
Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis. These churches and their pastors are supported by CAIM, an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the United States.
A leader's guide, printable poster and bulletin inserts, along with a link to the Neighbors in Need online donation form, can be found at ucc.org/nin/.
UCC makes 2008 hurricane appeal
In the wake of damages caused during the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season the UCC has issued an appeal for $250,000 and 1,001 cleanup buckets to support emergency and long-term relief and rebuilding efforts.
Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, and Ike, as well as tropical storm Hanna have left a trail of death and destruction across the nations of the Caribbean, throughout Florida and across the Gulf Coast of the United States.
Susan Sanders, minister for Global Sharing of Resources, said One Great Hour of Sharing emergency response grants have been rushed to Church World Service and partners in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to support immediate response efforts.
"UCC national and international disaster response staff is in regular contact with impacted Conferences and partners offering prayers, assistance and support in this stressful time," said Sanders.
The appeal includes summaries of each storm's impact, details of the UCC's response and readiness, information on how individuals and congregations can help in the recovery efforts. More information and a link to the secure donation page can be found at ucc.org/disaster/ucc-2008-hurricane-response.html
'Beyond Borders' presents faith in action
While politicians debate immigration reform, one thing is clear to many people of faith living in Arizona's borderlands: letting human beings (documented or otherwise) die in the desert is unacceptable.
"Beyond Borders: Faith and Action in the Arizona Desert" is a 25-minute documentary examining the work of humanitarian groups such as Humane Borders, the Samaritan Patrol, No More Deaths, and Borderlinks in preventing these desert deaths. The organizations also aim to help people north of the border understand the forces and factors behind migration across the U.S./Mexico border, and the impact of public policy on border communities.
The DVD is distributed by DisciplesWorld magazine, a journal of news, opinion, and mission for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) It was directed and produced by the Rev. Rebecca Woods, DisciplesWorld news editor. The Rev. Delle McCormick, UCC minister and former missionary in Chiapas, Mexico, is featured in her role as executive director of Borderlinks.
"Beyond Borders" is available for $12.95 plus shipping from the DisciplesWorld's website, disciplesworld.com, or on amazon.com.
¡Missionworks! to gather in Cleveland
Global Ministries, a joint venture of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), holds its fourth ¡Missionworks! conference Oct. 2-5 in Cleveland.
A capacity crowd of 130 UCC and Disciples of Christ lay and clergy members will join to hear missionary stories, learn about current issues and trends all over the world, receive tools and resources for sharing on specific topics, and leave challenged for action. Nearly every conference and region is represented by an equal number of UCC and Disciples participants.
Thirty members of the Fellowship of Continuing Understanding and Support (FOCUS) unite on Oct. 2 for the first time in eight years. This group of long-term missionaries, national staff and board members are committed to keeping mission at the forefront of congregations.
Following the FOCUS meeting, ¡Missionworks! keynote speaker, the Rev. Jim Moos of Bismark (N.D) UCC, will tell his personal mission story which involved his congregation and the entire community, eventually building a school in East Timor.
Current missionaries and former mission volunteers will describe accompaniment in the Middle East, growing faith in Europe, environmentalism in Hong Kong, refugees in France, and patriotic pride and prejudice in Australia.
Mission projects highlighted during the event include a "tent of hope" for Darfur, letter writing to missionaries, food collection for area food pantries in cooperation with the churches of the UCC's Western Reserve Association, and a global hand-craft sale.
Sixty participants will stay an extra day for Ministries and Mission Interpreters' Training Oct. 4-5 to advance their knowledge of mission advocacy.
A commissioning worship service at the conclusion of the training will consecrate the three year commitment trainees have made to an action plan of their own design. They join the 550 trained Ministries and Mission Interpreters already networked across the US.
Please visit the Global Ministries website globalministries.org for more information.