MISSIONS and SOCIAL CONCERNS
One Great Hour of Sharing
On March 3rd we will be beginning the month of preparation for the OGHS special offering that will be collected on Palm Sunday March 24th 2013. UCC churches join with 8 other denominations to work together with Church World Service to provide sources of clean water and food, education and health care, small business microcredit, emergency relief, and advocacy and resettlement for refugees and displaced persons. OGHS also supports domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response in 80 countries including the US. Much more details about OGHS can be found in the March issue of The Evangel.
MISSION 4/1 EARTH
The United Church of Christ is getting ready for an ambitions project.
Beginning Easter Monday, 4/1 through Pentecost Sunday, 5/19, they have set the following 3 goals for the members as One United Christ.
#1- One million hours of engaged earth care, including clean up, advocacy and education
#2- 100,000 trees planted locally and globally
#3- 100,000 letters of environmental advocacy written and sent to elected officials and media
That’s 50 great days to get us recharged and moving to green up, power down, and be the earth stewards God intended us to be. In the meantime you can get daily earth saving inspiration by signing up for the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast at www.macucc.org or find out more about Mission 4/1 Earth at www.ucc.org/earth.
- Karen Hutchinson
- Linda Crawford
- Anita Lawler
- Diana Swets
- Suzanne Arpante
- Marilyn Lyle
Like to help?
You can find more information in the Church Bulletins and Newsletters. If you are interested in volunteering or providing support for a mission event please feel free to contact a member of the Missions Committee.
Our Church and it’s Missions committee are very active and engage in a wide variety of programs and activities from year to year. We support and participate in a mix of local, national, and international missions and relief efforts. The following are some of the main events we are involved with each year. If you are interested in volunteering or providing support for a mission event please contact a member of the Missions Committee.
WORK CAMP (Senior High Youth Group)
Work Camp is one of the most rewarding and inspiring events we do year after year where volunteers from our Senior High Youth Group travel to other states, join up with others, and form teams of laborers to help fix up homes of those in need. Since the 1990′s a total of 312 youth and adults have traveled over 6,300 miles performing over 8,400 hours of community service fixing up homes for the elderly, handicapped and low income in 2 countries and in 9 states
“Every year I go on Work Camp my experience gets better and better. As a high school senior, this was my fourth trip and my best yet… At the end of the [week] Robert couldn’t thank us enough and he told us how much he would miss having us around. I don’t think I had ever received a more powerful or meaningful hug in my lifetime. I could feel Gods love all around me during our embrace … Work Camp is such a great experience and no one will ever truly understand what we do there until they are a part of it. It’s one week of my summer that I feel the closest to God and where I feel I can truly be myself.” Amanda Hutchinson
FOOD PANTRY and CROP WALK
We support our local food pantry in Westborough throughout the year. Did you know that a donation of $1,000 from our Church can provide meat, eggs and bread for 85 families for a week! You can help at any time with a donation of food, personal care items, grocery cards, cash or checks.
Every Fall we do a Crop Walk fundraiser which is a 4 mile walk around town that begins and ends on the front lawn of our church. Crop Walk stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty and it aids hunger relief efforts locally and around the globe.
ASSABET VALLEY PASTORAL COUNSELING CENTER
We are pleased to host this center within our own Church facilities. The AVPCC in Westborough continues to offer new groups such as divorce support, caregivers support, midlife transitions and grief and loss support.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade breads, meats, huge brownies, fresh flowers, and even jewelry, crafts and clothing were available at the series of farmer’s markets on Thursday afternoons during the Summer of 2011. Folk music added to the atmosphere.
This joint endeavor with Dismas House, which has a long-standing relationship with Congregational Churches, has been a huge success. The mission of Dismas House is to “facilitate the reconciliation of former prisoners to society, and society to former prisoners, through development of a supportive community …
INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORK
The Interfaith Hospitality Network is an organization that unites people of faith to serve homeless families by providing shelter, meals, and assistance with securing more permanent housing, and searching for employment. Our Church makes a commitment every summer to help the IHN with hosting responsibilities. Many of our Church members have signed up over the years to prepare meals, serve dinner, and stay overnight with these guests, many of which are families with young children.
What an amazing gift from God it is to be able to help provide a home so that these families are not being displaced every two weeks while they await more permanent housing.
Members and friends of the Missions and Social Justice Committee have participated in climate activist and author Bill McKibben’s 350.org movement by marching in a climate change awareness walk in Worcester, hosting environmental work parties that include a trash-free coffee hour, writing environmental tips in the monthly newsletter, encouraging tree planting, advocating for an annual Lenten carbon fast, and collaborating in sermons devoted to raising awareness on global warming among other individual initiatives. Pictured in front of the church is the Rev. Elaine Gaetani holding the 350 sign along with members of the Social Action Committee (from left Marilyn Lyle, Anita Lawler, Karen Hutchinson, Judy Powell and Sue Cochrane).
ADULT WORK CAMP
It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and devastated the city of New Orleans. Our church has sent members to help rebuild for the past six years. We have worked on 13 homes and one church.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat for Humanity believes that every person should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Whenever possible, Habitat builds sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy housing. The houses are simple, decent, and affordable to low-income families around the world. A nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing ministry, Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build together in partnership.
Our church has been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity’s local affiliate for more than 20 years. Members of the church were instrumental in starting the first local project committee and helped complete a duplex and two single family homes in Westborough as well as two duplexes in Northborough. Our church was a Copper Hammer Sponsor for the recently completed duplex in Boylston. We spent a fine day in November framing the home (see photo). This fall we will help build a home in Worcester on Fales Street. Church members with construction skills or no skills at all are welcomed on the site. It is a great way to put your faith into action. Jesus was a carpenter and his spirit is with us as we work. To get involved, check the Sunday bulletin or Evangel for upcoming work days. If you are interested in volunteering for a committee, you can call the Habitat for Humanity-MetroWest/Greater Worcester office at 508-799-9259 and ask for the volunteer coordinator.
GIVING TREE and SANTA’s ELVES
Each year the Missions Committee partners with St. Luke’s to provide Christmas gifts for local children who would otherwise go without. The Giving Tree and Santa’s Elves are 2 very similar and related programs. The Giving Tree is organized by St. Luke’s Parish and gifts go towards children of Westborough families in need. Santa’s Elves is similar but for foster children from the Framingham Dept. of Social Services. In each case tags with children’s names are hung on a Christmas Tree in the church so that any members or friends of our congregation can volunteer to select a Tag and then provide gifts for that child. Last year we successfully fulfilled the needs of 40 DSS Children ( 5 gifts per child) and 20 Westborough Children ( 4 gifts per child) through the generous support of our Congregation.
Recent Success Stories
Our Church members bought over 280 gifts for 60 children for the 2011 holiday season.
“Due to your kindness and generosity someone in Westboro is enjoying a well rounded array of foods for their weekly selection. With Sincere Thanks, Wendy Michel, Treasurer, Westoboro Food Pantry”
“Thanks so much for your good work, and I’ll look forward much to meeting you–Bill” (March 2012 response from climate activist and author Bill McKibben)
“Dear Friends, All: On behalf of us at Abby’s House, we want to thank you for your generous contribution of assorted clothing and household goods. Thanks so much for your support. Annette Rafferty”
“Dear Rev. Dr. Legerstee. On behalf of The Bridge of Central MA, I would like to thank you for your generous donation of $800.00 towards our Holiday Appeal. Barry Walsh, Executive Director, The Bridge of Central MA”
To the Missions Committee: what a GREAT BLESSING! As you are aware we struggle financially each year to make pastoral counseling available to all folks. With this generous financial gift of the Westborough Congregational Church, as well as the continued prayers and support of the church staff and the congregation, I want to say on behalf of those we minister to, that we all sing praise….
Peace — Dave Russo
“Dear Members: We would like to thank you for your generous donation in the amount of $300 for Cottage Hill Academy. Many thanks and may God bless you all, Maurice J. Boisvert, President & CEO, You, Inc.”
…I would like to share two important statistics with you….75% of the families you sheltered this year secured housing. And of those that secured housing since 2008, 93% remain housed today. With your help IHN does make a difference!
Please keep our program and the families we serve in your prayers; and know that you are
always in ours! ~Joanne
Joanne H. Alley
Director, IHN of Greater Worcester
The Mission Committee is thrilled to report that our One Great Hour of Sharing special offering collected on Palm Sunday (and more in the weeks since) has totaled $3,076.32. This is the largest offering collected in the last decade from our church for Disaster Response and to help developing countries as well as the U.S.A. During the same timeframe there was also a special offering sent to United Church of Christ that would be forwarded to the Japan Disaster Response totaling $275. Marilyn Lyle
On May 1, 2011 eight volunteers (seven from our church) traveled to New Orleans to help with rebuilding efforts and bring hope to those in need. The work was strenuous and messy but extremely rewarding. I’d like to thank each of our volunteers – Doug Wales, Polly Thayer, Lynn Caldwell, Art Sharkey, Kathryn Converse, Pam Faustine, Sally Peterson, and Gary Fix for all of their hard work and help with organizing the trip. This same group was also part of the mission trip to New Orleans in May 2010. Thank you to the Women’s Fellowship for your generous donation and to the entire
congregation for your prayers and support. We are already starting to plan next year’s trip.