The focus of Mission at John’s UCC is to reach beyond the walls of the church, locally and globally. We respond to Christ’s call to “care for my people” by linking gifts of money, time and talents to the needs of God’s world. We strive to balance local and global mission support, placing emphasis on organizations with active church member involvement. A group of our members, St. John’s Outreach Team, also known as the Diakonia Outreach Team, meet monthly (the last Monday of the month at 4:30 pm in the church Library) to coordinate projects. Contact information is listed below on this page.
Bread for the World 2018 Offering of Letters: This year’s title/theme is “For Such a Time as This”. The content is advocating to protect funding for both foreign and domestic aid programs that provide hope & opportunity for people living with hunger. This includes SNAP & Global Food Security Act. The Biblical basis for the campaign is Esther Ch. 4.
Worm Project: There will be a 5 K Fun Run & Walk on May 5. 2018 at Dock Mennonite Academy Stadium at 9:30 AM to benefit the Worm Project. There are registration forms in the Library with the current newsletters. They are also accepting donations if you are unable to run but wish to give.
Recent Events: Plentiful Harvest for Manna: St. John’s members donated fresh vegetables & fruits with a long shelf life for Manna. The Outreach Team collected this produce and delivered it to Manna in late October – early November. We also helped collect coats, mittens, etc. for local organizations before Christmas, 2017.
Feed My Starving Children Our team of volunteers helped to assemble meal packets on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at Delaware Valley University. Photo below by Pat Reiker. Our team of 13 members had a great time filling 612 bags of food for hungry children (3672 meals). We enthusiastically recommend repeating this project & will invite the rest of the congregation to participate in 2018.
Our Outreach Team presented it’s 2nd Outreach Sunday on April 30, 2017 . Photo below: Outreach Team collects change & speaks during the Invitation to Share on Outreach Sunday 2017.
Our Mission Outreach Team bulletin board provides information and letters from those we support in mission outreach – located in the hallway by the Library & Pastor Addie’s office. Volunteerism is a source of our strength and, as such, we encourage hands-on participation by all members of the congregation, so they can experience the joy of helping others in need.
St. John’s Outreach Team
MISSION: To coordinate and communicate opportunities for the congregation to answer God’s call to all to provide service to others
St. John’s Helping Hands– Volunteers provide rides and meals to church members on an “as needs” basis. Contact Karen Filson in the church office 215.855.5489.
Child Sponsorship– The outreach team coordinates and collects funds to sponsor three children in foreign country and one child in the after school program at Urban Promise of Camden, NJ.
WORM Project –The annual Worm Banquet is scheduled to take place at the Franconia Heritage Restaurant on Saturday, September 16. Vendors will present displays from 9 AM-3PM, and dinner and the evening program will begin at 6 PM (tentatively). The Outreach Team would like to fill a table with St. John’s members for the dinner. And, no…worms are NOT on the menu.
Bread for the World– Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s leaders to end hunger at home and abroad. St. John’s Outreach Team annually leads the congregation in an Offering of Letters to elected leaders to advocate for legislation to aid poor and hungry people in the US and throughout the world.
Special Funding – GEM Fund, Good Samaritan Fund, Emergency Fund – The Good Samaritan Fund & Emergency Fund are the same fund. There is usually under $1000 in the fund. The fund is used to help folks with immediate needs, such as payment of an electric bill, oil bill, medical bill, etc. The maximum for any one payment is about $200, and is paid directly to the collector of the bill (such as, the electric company). Payments are made at the discretion of the pastors. The church always verifies the amount due with the collector. Donations from the GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Fund are usually made to organizations, and not to individuals. Occasionally, however, this fund may be used to help a single family. Small amounts may be given at the pastors’ discretion, but larger amounts are submitted for council approval.
Church World Service– The outreach team supports Church World Service in several ways-
- CROP Hunger Walk- recruit walkers and sponsors for the annual walk to stop hunger – see our Mission Partners webpage for details.
- Relief Kits- assemble hygiene kits, school kits, emergency clean-up buckets
- Mission Trip- annual mission trip to work at Church World Service warehouse and SERRV distribution center in New Windsor, MD
- Blanket Sunday- promote annual offering – see our Mission Partners webpage for details.
Manna on Main Street – weekly deliveries of food donations to the local food pantry
All are welcome to attend monthly meetings of St. John’s Outreach Team. The team meets the last Monday of each month (except June and July) in the Library at 4:30 pm. For more information, contact: Pat Rieker [email protected] 215.368.0854 or Nicole Groff [email protected] 215.368.3919. This group is also known as the Diakonia Outreach group, which in contemporary church terms means “to serve to change people’s lives, to contribute to the construction of citizenship of the less fortunate.”
St. John’s has a long history of mission work. For many years in the 1950’s era the Social Services department of our Women’s Guild met each Wednesday to sew for Elm Terrace Hospital, Needlework Guild, Wyncote Home & Bethany Home. Our tradition continues today. Please see our “Mission Partners” page for some of the organizations we support.
Mark 12: 28One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (NRSV)
Goodie Boxes for Our College Students – Fall & Spring Semesters
Part of our mission is to keep our college students in touch with our church and to let them know we are thinking of them and praying for their success in their studies. To remind them they are important to us, each Fall and Spring we send goodie boxes to our college students, with home baked goodies, snack items, and other useful items. Most importantly, each box contains a letter of encouragement and friendship signed by the members of our congregation after worship the week before they are sent. All members are encouraged to participate my making donations – a wish list is posted on a bulletin board and anyone wishing to participate can pick up items for the boxes.
Above: 8 am worshipers signing the goodie box letters for college students
Our St. John’s Mission Statement: “As a community of learners and seekers, created in God’s image and called to follow Christ, we the members of St. John’s United Church of Christ: honor our past while looking to the future with hope and living fully in the present; commit ourselves to proclaiming the Good News of Christ through our words and actions, both within this faith community and beyond; seek to reach out to persons from all walks of life, affirming and celebrating diversity as one of God’s finest gifts. as we journey together, we seek to be responsible stewards of God’s creation, keenly aware of our connections to one another and convinced of the grace, mercy and justice of a gentle loving God.”
Find out more about how our United Church of Christ provides disaster relief around the globe and how you can help: Click to Connect with the UCC Disaster Relief webpage