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Mission

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The United Church of Christ affirms that mission is both local and global. All people are connected, regardless of socio-economic class, race, or nationality. It is our duty as Christians to share Christ’s love and compassion.

 

Supporting Our Community

Southwood UCC members and friends donate time, talent, and treasure to a variety of area organizations serving those in need.

Located within a few miles of our church, the Raytown Emergency Assistance Program (REAP) provides financial management education, utility and rent assistance, school supplies, and a food pantry for local residents. Southwood collects food and personal care items for distribution by REAP on a continuing basis. In addition, Southwood children, under the guidance of an experienced gardener, created two “square-foot gardens” to benefit REAP in 2010. Fresh tomatoes, green beans, basil and other produce were planted, cultivated and picked when ripe for delivery to REAP and subsequent distribution.

reStart Inc. is an interfaith ministry, headquartered in Kansas City, that provides shelter and supportive services to homeless people, helping them move toward independence and self-sufficiency. Southwood supports reStart through donations of school uniforms, food and personal care items. For instance, in 2010 our congregation collected $870 to help purchase school uniforms for reStart clients. Our generosity helps ensure that homeless children served by reStart are properly outfitted to begin the school year.

Steppingstone is a program designed for homeless or at-risk teenagers and young adults. Composed of group homes and apartments within the Raytown School District, Steppingstone offers a safe place to live, educational assistance, life skills training, job placement coaching assistance, medical care, individual therapy and case management affiliated with Every Child’s Hope, formerly known as the Evangelical Children’s Home. Southwood UCC provides annual financial support to Steppingstone and shares volunteer and fundraising opportunities with our members. In 2010, volunteers helped clean, paint and decorate two apartments for Steppingstone clients.

Several members of our congregation volunteer their time and talent to assist students in the Raytown community English as a Second Language program. St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church hosts the all-volunteer program, which offers free English classes twice a week to individuals from many countries.

Southwood also joins with other area churches to support the Raytown Summer Lunch Ministry. Created in 2008, this program provides sack lunches and milk to local children during the two-month break between summer school and the new school year. Southwood members of all ages assist with making and delivering lunches, and the congregation provides financial support for the program. In 2010, our congregation delivered an average of fifty lunches each day to area children.

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Supporting Our Denomination

The United Church of Christ supports a variety of local, national and global causes. Southwood contributes to several denominational funds and initiatives:

    • Our Church’s Wider Mission supports the denomination’s work through our conferences, national ministries, and UCC-related institutions.
    • Strengthen the Church funds new church starts, supports pastoral leaders, builds youth ministries, and is vital to the success of the denomination’s national Stillspeaking Ministry.
    • Neighbors in Need is a special mission offering for the Council for American Indian Ministry and the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries, which supports a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects.
    • One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is a seasonal Lenten offering that supports the UCC’s relief, refugee and development programs. Through OGHS funding, the UCC is able to provide domestic and international resources to assist families and communities in the wake of war, famine and other disasters.
    • The Christmas Fund Offering is an expression of joy and gratitude to – and for – those who serve the church. Gifts to the Christmas Fund help provide pension and health premium sup-plementation to low-income retirees, emergency assistance to the families of clergy and lay employees, and Christmas gift checks to hundreds of annuitants.

Southwood also provides financial support for the UCC’s three theological seminaries (Chicago, United, and Eden) as well as for Blue Springs Terrace, a residence for retired UCC clergy, located in Blue Springs, Missouri.

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Supporting Our World

Joining with about 8,000 other congregations and organizations across the country, Southwood participates in Church World Service’s Blankets+ program. Blankets+ provides blankets, tents, food, and other emergency supplies in the wake of a disaster; tools and seeds for refugees returning home to replant their fields; wells for families living in drought-prone areas to provide clean, safe water to drink and to irrigate crops and gardens; and literacy training and microcredit for women struggling to realize their potential.

Southwood members and friends can enjoy fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, and nuts while improving the quality of life for farmers in developing nations through the United Church of Christ Coffee Project. A partnership of the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and the fair trade co-op Equal Exchange, the UCC Coffee Project Shop is open during the fellowship time that follows Sunday service in the Southwood fellowship hall.

In the interest of being good stewards of our earth, Southwood encourages recycling. Members and friends are asked to deposit paper in the two large outdoor bins beside the church parking lot. The church receives payments for paper collected, and those payments are added to the mission fund. Aluminum cans are collected in an indoor bin located in the hallway leading to the fellowship hall. Funds obtained from aluminum can recycling are donated to REAP.

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Learn More At Our Mission Display

Our recently redesigned and updated mission display in the narthex provides information about current mission projects and priorities. Baskets are provided for food pantry donations, along with a recycling bin for cell phones and printer cartridges. A special memory album contains the many notes of thanks we receive from organizations that benefit from the generous spirit of the Southwood congregation. Stop by and learn more about the missions of Southwood United Church of Christ!

 

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