St. John United Church of Christ supports several national and local ministries through our benevolence offerings.
The United Church of Christ has five national offerings and St. John is a proud contributor to all of them!
Our Churches Wider Mission (OCWM) is the basic support benevolence of the United Church of Christ. It is through these contributions that we are able to place new churches, support local congregations in the search for new ministers, and offer workshop and educational offerings to our clergy and members. As we support existing churches we also plant new churches as vital places of worship, learning, and justice advocacy. We change lives through our global partnerships, missionaries and advocacy.
Community Outreach Ministry Eastside
Community Outreach Ministry Eastside (COME) began in 1988 as an outgrowth of the food pantry at Cumberland First Baptist Church. Today ten area churches are united to sustain this local outreach ministry, reaching out to the financial needs within our community.
COME is designed to assist with utility bills, rent and mortgage payments, referrals to other agencies and of course, food. The ministry acts as a referral agency, working in tandem with area township trustees, to get clients headed in other directions where they might receive assistance that COME is unable to provide. Average total assistance is in excess of $40,000.00 annually.
St. John participates in the Community Outreach Mission Eastside (COME) by donating non-perishable food items, other household supplies such as detergents, toilet paper, etc. We also purchase Meijer gift cards which COME uses to purchase some of these items for families in need.
The theme for One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is “Sharing brings joy to us, to others, to God.” We share our blessings with special “Gift of Hearts” kits through Church World Service. Disasters may not be preventable, but through OGHS we can assist those affected throughout the United States and the world. Displaced persons receive aid through OGHS, and struggling communities are assisted in locating economic and educational opportunities.
The Strengthen the Church offering proclaims “Invest in the Vision!” This offering gives congregations ideas on how to “church” in new ways, plant new churches, awaken new ideas in existing churches, and develop spiritual life in our youth and young adults. These gifts are used by local conferences and as well as national ministries.
Neighbors in Need (NIN) believes “Imagining Another World Is Possible.” NIN is a special mission offering of the UCC that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.
The Christmas Fund (formerly known as Veterans of the Cross) is an annual giving program to assist retired and current pastors and lay employees of the church. These monies go to retired clergy and lay employees as a special gift at Christmas time, as a small monthly annuity supplement or quarterly health premium supplementation payment for lower-income retirees, and for emergency grants to current or retired clergy or lay personnel. The church has greatly benefited from the spiritual guidance these person have offered us, and we gratefully return the favor.
In addition to these national offerings, St. John UCC also supports Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, and the Altenheim Auxiliary (a local retirement/assisted living facility).