"...'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"
Listed below are many of the ministries we support as a congregation. On the first Sunday of each month (and occasionally on the third Sunday), a special offering is held immediately after the service. As you exit the sanctuary, the ushers will be holding a basket in which you may place a donation. All money donated goes directly to the ministry (the church does not deduct any type of fee).
In addition to raising money for his ministry, we partner with Rev. Charlie Brownawell of No Walls Ministries to minister to the homeless twice a month. One Friday night each month, we walk the dark streets of Pittsburgh offering food and prayer to all the homeless we see. Often we are humbled to hear the heartfelt prayers of the homeless as they pray for us! One Saturday each month, we prepare and serve a hot meal to the homeless who attend a church service led by Rev. Brownawell. Any donations of clothing, blankets and toiletries are taken with us to be distributed.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA)
Sports play a greater role in people's lives nowadays than the church does. FCA uses the powerful platform of sports to challenge coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA serves local communities by equipping, empowering, and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.
Our special offering helps the local 'huddles' (or student-led Bible study groups) provide fellowship activities, purchase Bibles for students, and provide literature and encouragement to students. Locally, Cambria and Somerset counties contain 15 middle and high school 'huddles' and two college 'huddles.'
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light
Our church is a charter member of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, and we work together to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels through conservation, energy efficiency, and education. We feel that we need to do all we can to preserve our natural resources in order to be good stewards of God's green Earth. In addition to replacing our light bulbs, entry door, furnace and water heater with energy-efficient ones, we have also insulated above the new ceiling in our Jenkins Education Building to reduce heat loss. As an added bonus, we have noticed a significant decrease in our energy bills! Periodically we hold classes to educate the public on ways we can 'go green' at home as well. Our web host is iPower in part because they are 100% wind powered, and it's important to us to support other businesses and organizations who are making an effort to maximize our planet's resources.
The 25:40 Fund was created a few years ago to help the area churches fulfill Jesus's words as found in Matthew 25:40. Money from the fund is used to feed the hungry, provide clothing to those in need, comfort the sick, and otherwise spread the love of Jesus to the hurting people of our area.
Prison Outreach Ministry
We support the Prison Outreach Ministry financially and physically, entering local prisons weekly carrying with us the hope of Jesus Christ. Prisoners are engaged in Bible study, singing and fellowship, and we are often confounded by the challenging questions and the thought-provoking discussion. The mission of this ministry "is to empower inmates to grow in discipleship through an interactive Bible study, and to provide the opportunity to build healthy relationships through God's Word as they prepare to re-enter society."
Everybody recognizes the red kettles at Christmastime - the largest annual fundraiser for the Salvation Army. Each year we send teams of four to bear the cold and ring the bells outside Wal*Mart for an hour at a time. The mission of the Salvation Army is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination; all funds raised help them accomplish that mission.
March 2010 marked our first annual "Heat It Up" Chili for Charity Cookoff which was held to raise money for local heating assistance through the Salvation Army.
Money (and food) donated to the Food Pantry helps local families in need of assistance. Families can go to the Food Pantry once per month to receive food and toiletries, the amount of which is determined by the size of the family.
United Church of Christ - Special Offerings
We are proud to support all five of the UCC's Special Mission Offerings:
1. One Great Hour of Sharing - Supports partners in 70+ countries with ministries that fund development projects, feed famine victims, help displaced people, and respond to natural disasters.
2. Strengthen the Church - Supports church growth and leadership development.
3. Neighbors in Need - Supports ministries of justice and compassion.
4. The Christmas Fund - Provides financial aid to retired and active ministers and their surviving spouses and children who face overwhelming financial demands.
5. Our Church's Wider Mission - Monies given to our church designated as "Benevolence Funds" plus ten percent of all the cash placed in the offering plate goes to the Penn West Conference. The Conference keeps a percentage to be used for the needs of churches within the conference and sends the rest to the national office to be distributed as needed.