Mission Dash 5K raises more than $25K for climate justice

Hundreds of people committed to climate justice decided to “Do the Dash” in August. 

Global Ministries/DOC staff members in Indianapolis:
Kahala Cannon, Jasmine Sanchez and Joani Adorno-Diaz

In fact, 418 donors raised more than $25,500 in Global Ministries’ inaugural Mission Dash 5K

Global Ministries – the common overseas ministry of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – hosted the virtual event during the month of August to support creation-care efforts of international partners in each of the five regions of the world it serves. Details of those projects can be found here.

People were invited to run, walk, roll or stroll, as they were able, for neighbors and friends around the world. Three-hundred, twenty-seven registrants answered that call, 96 of which held their own personal fundraisers. Some participants even formed teams — 45 of them in all.

‘Easy to do in shorter chunks’

Karen Choate, in Auburn, Maine, organized a group of walkers at High Street Congregational Church, UCC.

“I would not have known about this opportunity but for my Global Ministries emails,” she said. “I thought that $25 sounded like a reasonable fee and a 5K a reasonable distance to support climate justice.”

Choate and other Mission Dash coordinators measured out some routes inside the High Street facility so participants could come to the church and do laps around the sanctuary or throughout the building and chart their distance. Others walked in their neighborhoods, “but having a month made it easy to do in shorter chunks.”

Some, like Choate, came together after church to walk along the river.

“We had a beautiful day and a small but enthusiastic group of walkers,” she said. “I would do it again.”

Karen Choate (back left in baseball cap) and some of the Mission Dashers from High Street Congregational UCC, Auburn, Maine.

‘Got me off my chair’

So would Violet Gerber, another member of High Street UCC. “I am inactive and by being able to do it in segments, it got me off my chair and out in the air.”

Choate, the mother of Rebekah Choate, a Global Ministries global advocacy and education associate, said she wanted to support her daughter and the environment at the same time. 

“It felt like a fun way to have a ‘fun-raiser’ for a good cause,” she said. “We were fortunate to have great weather and wonderful company. A Sunday after worship worked out well.

Members of the High Street UCC team walk along the river in Auburn, Maine, on Aug. 14.

“I chose to do it to support Beka’s work but also because Maine is not the same cool place — temperatures at least — as it was when I was growing up over half a century ago.”

Global neighbors

Advocacy and education, along with assisting global partners in financially meeting the challenges of climate change were the goals of the 5K. Organizers are pretty happy with this first virtual 5K fundraiser.

“The Mission Dash was a fun and engaging way to raise financial resources for environmental justice across the world and to provide educational resources for donors and participants,” said UCC Director of Philanthropy Kent Siladi. “There were several teams that included members of the national staff who participated to show their support for this new initiative of Global Ministries.”

“One the most rewarding aspects of the Mission Dash was the positive feedback and excitement that we received from individuals and church groups,” said India Bobadilla, an executive in the Global Ministries resource development office in Indianapolis.

Global Ministries Director of Communications Bethany Guy “was happily surprised to see in my church’s newsletter that a group was organizing to do the 5K together — without any prompting or encouragement from me. I loved that this was an easy way for my church to engage with Global Ministries. 

Global Ministries/UCC staffer Marcy Gansler is ready to walk for climate justice.

“Since there is already a lot of passion and energy around climate justice and care for global neighbors at Allisonville Christian Church,” she said, referring to her congregation in Indianapolis, “it was a natural fit for a group to do the Mission Dash together.”

Top fundraisers

Organizers recognized the top fundraisers. In the group category, the top three, interestingly, all were from in and around Illinois. They are:

  1. Community UCC, Champaign, Ill.
  2. The Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin, a Disciples region.
  3. The Disciples’ Illinois Valley Cluster, in and around Peoria.

Here are the top three individual fundraisers:

  1. Danielle Murry-Knowles, a Global Ministries mission co-worker who lives in Red Wing, Minn. She and her husband, Mark Knowles, concluded their term in Lesotho earlier this year.
  2. Phyllis Byrd, a Global Ministries mission co-worker in Nairobi, Kenya.
  3. The Rev. James Moos, a former UCC and Global Ministries executive, now with The Pension Boards and living in Streeter, N.D.
Palestinian olive tree farmer Imad Sarras pauses with a sign of thanks in his newly planted field.

Where proceeds go

Proceeds from Mission Dash will be divided equally between Global Ministries’ five area offices — Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and Europe, and Southern Asia. The offices will send requested funds to partners and programs who are working to address climate justice. 

And next year, with the UCC General Synod and Disciples’ General Assembly both meeting in the summer, don’t be surprised if there’s a little friendly competition around the next virtual 5K.


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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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