Outreach

HOW WE GIVE OF OUR TIME AND TALENT

Channel One – On the third Saturday of the month we work in the repack room of Channel One, the local food bank.  We have fun while helping to fight hunger.  All are welcome to participate.  There’s a signup sheet to indicate your intention to participate for the current month located on the Narthex bulletin board.

Partner Kids – Our church provides the opportunity for adults to have a mentoring relationship with kids at Elton Hills Elementary School who need a caring adult as well as some academic help.  Volunteers meet weekly one-to-one with the student and whenever possible, the same volunteer meets with the student beginning in 2nd grade through 5th grade.  It’s a rewarding experience for the mentors and as well as valuable assistance for the kids, and the teachers are most appreciative.   New volunteers are recruited at the beginning of the school year, but are welcome to join the program mid-year.

Christmas Concert to benefit Channel One – Bells and Brass will get you into the spirit on December 6, 2017 at 7:00 pm.  Bring your food gifts and/or monetary gifts to help stock the shelves of Channel One so everyone can have a wonderful Christmas!  There will be a reception afterward so again, come and enjoy!

Christmas Caroling – Members and friends enjoy sharing their musical talents by singing carols to shut-ins and at senior centers in Rochester.  All are welcome and it is a fun afternoon of sharing.  We’ve rented the local trolley the last couple of years, which has added to the fun.  Plan to participate.

Care Team – A team of trained volunteers serve as friendly church visitors to one or two people who would benefit from a little extra care and attention, e.g. homebound seniors or those suffering with health concerns. Many needs are addressed informally by our love and concern for one another, a hallmark of our Christian Church family.  The team meets monthly for training and support.

Worship and Communion At Senior Centers – Once a month a worship service is held at three senior centers in Rochester.  Members and friends are invited to participate in the services with monthly Communion at Charter House, Shorewood, and Homestead.  Check the church calendar for dates and times.

Christmas Salvation Army Bell Ringers – Volunteers sign up to ring bells in support of  the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.

CROP Walk – We participate each year in the CROP Walk.  Making a difference both locally and globally, this interfaith effort is neighbors walking together to take a stand against hunger in our world.

Relay for Life – Each year a team from the church participates in Relay for Life an organized, overnight community fundraising walk benefiting the American Cancer Society.

HOW WE TURN MONEY INTO MEANING

The Congregational Church provides money locally, nationally and globally to make a difference in the lives of our many brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Our Church’s Wider Mission – OCWM provides funding from the local congregation for the ministries of the Minnesota Conference and the national setting of the United Church of Christ.  At the Congregational Church, OCWM is typically supported by an allocation in the annual operational budget and is sometimes augmented by a locally designated special offering.

Local Benevolence – Recognizing we are limited in our ability to meet the needs of justice and compassion for all of God’s creatures, we at the Congregational Church have taken a proactive approach to support local, non-profit organizations that meet those direct needs in Rochester and the surrounding area.   Recipients of past allocations include:
-Child Care Resource and Referral
-Channel One
-Family Service: Meals on Wheels
-Elder Network
-LINK: helping homeless youth
-Women’s Shelter

One Great Hour of Sharing – A UCC-based special offering, typically collected in March, which works with international partners to provide sources of clean water and food, education and health care, small business micro-credit, emergency relief, and advocacy/resettlement for refugees and displaced persons. One Great Hour of Sharing also supports both domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response.

Strengthen the Church – This special offering of the UCC’s national setting supports leadership for new and revitalizing congregations, programs for youth and young adults, and leadership development.  The MN Conference retains 50% of the all gifts to the Strengthen the Church offering for their own church and leadership development efforts. The offering is collected each May.

Neighbors in Need – A UCC-based special offering collected each October supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The offering also helps support the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM) as well as justice advocacy and direct service projects supported by Justice and Witness Ministries.

The Christmas Fund – Administered by the Pension Boards of the UCC on behalf of the wider church, this special offering helps provide pension and health premium supplementation to low-income retirees, emergency assistance to clergy families in need and Christmas gift checks to hundreds of annuitants.  As the name implies, the offering is collected at Christmas time.

Easter Offering – A special offering, taken at Easter time, whose beneficiary is determined each year by the church’s Stewardship and Benevolence Ministry Team.  In recent years, monies received at this offering have augmented the budgeted funds for the church’s local benevolence ministry.

Thanksgiving Offering – A special offering, received near the end of November whose beneficiary is determined each year by the Stewardship and Benevolence Ministry Team.  In recent years, it has been used to support disaster relief, hunger relief and work of local non-profits.

Squalor to Scholar (S2S)– In 2014 the church raised sufficient funds to support five S2S children who live in the slums of Delhi, India, to become leaders who empower the world.  A 501(c)(3) non-profit, S2S believes children have the ability to spread hope, create opportunity, and alleviate suffering in even the most unexpected places.  Plans are in place to continue the support in 2015 through the Thanksgiving Offering described above.   Read more about this program with pictures on our Facebook page.

Disaster Response – In recent years we’ve made financial gifts beyond our support of the American Red Cross local disaster program and the UCC’s Neighbors in Need offering to Hurricane Sandy Relief and Typhoon Haiyan Response.

Care Fund – Collected monthly on Communion Sundays, this fund is used for emergency relief for church members.  We’ve provided assistance with utility bills, rent, and home appliances.

Pastor Discretionary Fund – Monies are collected year-round to assist non-members at the discretion of our pastor. Examples of the uses for this fund include gift cards for food or gas, or a delinquent utility bill payment directly to the utility.

Our General Budget- We support our building, staff and multiple programs with our yearly fall pledge drive. We encourage all members and regular attenders to make a financial commitment and to give regularly as is best for their financial situation.   We accept electronic transfer of funds.  At the Congregational Church we promote proportional giving (giving according to your means) and consider gifts of 5-10% of an individual’s or family’s income to be a tithe.