OUR CHURCH'SWIDER MISSION
Our Church’s Wider Mission is the name we use to describe the work we do as the United Church of Christ beyond the local church, through our Conferences, national ministries, and UCC-related institutions.
Our Church’s Wider Mission is also the name we give to the financial support given by UCC members and congregations that makes this broader mission possible.
Congregations are central to the ability of The United Church of Christ to do mission in local communities, within the United States and internationally. As a congregation works in its own community, it is a representative of the entire denomination and embodies the UCC in that place. Every local congregation has a responsibility to be aware of opportunities for local mission and to be knowledgeable about the work underway by its own Conference and by the national ministries.
Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support provides funding for the work of UCC Conferences and for the work of the UCC’s national ministries. Each congregation decides how much of its individual members’ financial support it will contribute to Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support. Congregations send their OCWM gifts to the Conference. Each Conference decides what percentage of those gifts to keep for the work of that particular Conference, and what percentage it will send to the national setting of the UCC. Some of the National Basic Support money is returned to Conferences, Association, and local church ministries. It also supports ecumenical, prophetic and missionary ministries on behalf of the UCC.
Of every $100 your congregation gives to OCWM Basic Support, $40 goes to the Western Reserve Association to provide assistance to the congregations of the Western Reserve Association, $30 to the Ohio Conference and $30 to the UCC for national and international ministry. This support come from a portion of your annual pledge, as designated by you.
- Disaster relief at home and abroad e.g. Katrina and the Tsunami
- Youth programming
- Youth and Adult resources
- Guidance for churches seeking new pastors
- Ohio Conference camps
- Support for Churches in conflict
- Support new and re-visioning congregations
- Workshops on evangelism, church growth and stewardship
- Forums for addressing the pressing social and justice issues of our time
- Christian education curriculum
- Missionary work around the world
- Lay Ministries training
- Block Grants for mission priorities
In addition to Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM), we also support:
Giving Help, Hope and Life – Supports partners in more than 70 countries with ministries that fund development projects, feed the victims of famine, provide services for displaced people, and respond to natural disasters.
These ministries are the responsibility of Wider Church Ministries, Global Sharing of Resources.
We support this special appeal annually on the fourth Sunday in Lent.
Supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, including ministry carried out by the Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM) and by the national offices of Justice and Witness Ministries.
We support this appeal annually on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday of October.
Since its founding in 1922, Back Bay Mission has continually grown its services and ministries, always keeping the impoverished and marginalized at the center of its concern. Although there were no longer any UCC congregations in Biloxi or in the state of Mississippi by the early 1970s, Back Bay Mission offers a witness of the United Church of Christ. Its commitment is to be faithfully responsive to the emerging and critical needs of God’s people, ever seeking a day of greater justice and peace.
We support Back Bay Mission through shrimp sales and shrimp boils. Back Bay Mission was severely damaged when Katrina hit Biloxi. Along with the people of Biloxi, the Mission is struggling to recover. The shrimp beds and fishing fleets were also destroyed.
The small staff of six full time and four part time persons provide direct services to poor families while creating new independent service agencies. Because of past and current UCC investment in Back Bay Mission’s work, over $10 million in vital services are delivered annually to South Mississippians in such diverse areas as education, legal aid, health care, feeding programs, early childhood development, family counseling, housing, and domestic violence.
Church World Service (CWS)
Church World Service assists communities in responding to disasters, resettles refugees, promotes fair national and international policies, provides educational resources, and offers opportunities to join a people-to-people network of local and global caring through participation in CROP HUNGER WALK and Tools of Hope. Church World Service stands with impoverished people as they envision and fashion a better future. Through their hard work and our long-term commitment of support, people who once had no hope are discovering the means of transforming their lives and their communities. Since 1946, when six Protestant denominations joined their resources to respond to the humanitarian crisis in post-war Europe, CWS has operated on the principle that churches working in partnership can accomplish more than anyone can alone. Today CWS is the development and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations — comprising 50 million U.S. Christians — and have partnerships in more than 90 countries. Our mission puts faith into action by serving those in immediate need and by addressing the root causes of their suffering — poverty and injustice.
The most effective way to provide aid is to empower individuals and communities to help themselves. CWS works with and through local agencies to minimize overhead, shorten response time, and make the most efficient use of resources. With more than 400 partner agencies around the world, we respond to natural and human-made disasters, provide assistance to refugees, promote improved nutrition and sanitation, and help educate some of the one billion adults in the world who cannot read.
Crop Walks are symbolic. They are a way of showing solidarity with people in developing countries around the world. In addition, local groups receive 25% of the funds raised to support hunger-related agencies and groups in their own communities.
- Cropwalkers help support local Hunger Ministries which provide food to people in Lorain County
- Cropwalkers help provide relief and development assistance in more than 90 countries including the United States
- Church World Service was able to respond to the Tsunami disaster because of your past support to CROP. Long standing programs inn Indonesia, Pakistan and Laos with staff trained in emergency response had been established. Thanks to CROP emergency medical supplies, blankets, kits and other resources were pre-positioned in Asia ready for use.
Some examples of the way CROP WALK makes a difference include:
- $4,000,000+ The amount shared by CROP WALKS each year with local food banks, pantries and community gardens.
- $2,000 Approximate number of communities around the country who will hold a CROP WALK this year, involving people of all faiths.
- $1,600 Cost of a building kit — wooden beams, window frames, lintels, doors, nails, plastic cement and other materials — for an Afghan family rebuilding their home in the wake of war.
- $100 Cost of field and garden seed for six families.
- $30 Cost of three pairs of rabbits to increase families incomes.
Elyria-Lorain churches hold their crop walk annually on the fourth Saturday in April. During the first 29 years our CROP WALK raised $444,069. Ours is one of the largest CROP WALKS in Ohio.
Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) is a graduate school committed to preparing students for transformative leadership and ministry within the context of the religious and secular issues that influence the daily lives of individuals and communities. Founded in 1855 and the oldest institution of higher learning in Chicago, CTS seeks to be an international force for greater justice and mercy. Academic degree programs (M.A., M.Div., S.T.M., D.Min., and Ph.D.) encourage academic excellence, free inquiry, and focus on leadership issues that foster cooperation between communities of faith and other community-based organizations working to transform lives and neighborhoods. CTS currently enrolls 235 students from twenty-two religious traditions and offers dual degrees linked to the M.S.W. and to licensing for counseling. Courses can be taken at any of the twelve schools of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. Approximate enrollment: 235.
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities Believing that the seminary is called by God to be a transforming and renewing presence, United educates women and men for religious and ethical leadership. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Religion and Theology, Theology and the Arts, Women’s Studies, and Religious Leadership. The seminary is recognized for work in ethics, gender studies, religion and the arts, and for the quality of leadership our graduates provide in the church and community. Committed to lifelong spiritual growth and learning, United offers a broad range of topics and events for community members, clergy, and laity. It is an open, inclusive community with multicultural and global commitments. Established in 1960 through the merger of Mission House Seminary in Wisconsin, and Yankton School of Theology in South Dakota, the Seminary was chartered by the United Church of Christ to be an ecumenical multi-denominational center of theological studies in the Twin Cities. Approximate enrollment: 250.
Eden Theological Seminary is a graduate school preparing women and men for ordained Christian ministry. A seminary of the United Church of Christ with ecumenical commitments, Eden has approximately two hundred students enrolled in both degree and non-degree programs. Students represent a wide range of ethnic and social backgrounds and eighteen denominations including the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Methodist, American Baptist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Roman Catholic, and the African Episcopal Zion Church. Its student body is made up of an equal number of women and men. Now in its 150th year, Eden remains committed to the church and the community. Eden Theological Seminary welcomes graduate students from a wide range of settings and denominations and is home to internationally-known scholars who serve on the faculty. Eden offers four degree programs: Masters of Divinity (M.Div.), Masters of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies (M.A.P.S.), and Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.). Eden provides Heritage Scholarships to UCC students enrolled in the M.Div. program that covers seventy-five percent of tuition, and Seminary Scholarships to UCC students enrolled in the M.T.S.program cover fifty percent of tuition. Approximate enrollment: 200.
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