During 11 days in November 2011, the United Church of Christ’s Mission: 1 initiative focused the whole church on feeding the hungry and confronting food-related injustice. CHHSM member ministries across the country embraced Mission: 1 with open hearts and generous commitment.
CHHSM Vice President Bill Johnson, who coordinated member’s Mission: 1 efforts, expressed satisfaction with the results. “Things began slowly, but interest and momentum grew and in the end, 87 CHHSM-related communities participated," Johnson says. "Along the way, progress was marked with wonderful stories in Diakonie and in the news section of the UCC website. The whole church knew that the CHHSM family was doing its share to meet the national goals. In the process, relations between CHHSM members and UCC conferences and congregations were strengthened.”
The UCC’s first church-wide mission effort was considered a resounding success by all those involved. All of the church’s Mission: 1 goals were surpassed. The set goals were: 1 million food items, $111,111 for local food banks and the UCC’s Neighbors In Need special offering, 11,111 letters to Congress advocating humane international food policies, and $111,111 for famine relief in East Africa.
With creative and inspiring Mission: 1 campaigns, CHHSM member ministries, employees and residents collectively contributed:
21,392 food items donated to local food banks
300 personal care kits donated to a local free clinic in Ohio
281 letters to Congress
$39,019.11 in cash for local food banks
$1,409.02 in cash for Neighbors In Need
$60 in cash for famine relief in East Africa.
As of February 2012, the all-church totals, which are still being tallied, were:
1,462,949 food items donated to local food banks
37,731 letters written to Congress
$187,013 in cash for local food banks and Neighbors In Need
$183,262 in cash for famine relief in East Africa
CHHSM President Bryan Sickbert reflected on Mission: 1 in light of the recent CHHSM annual meeting.
"The theme of this year’s annual meeting was, “The Church We Live In; UCC Values and Diakonic Ministry,” Sickbert says. "Through Mission: 1, CHHSM clearly expressed solidarity with the UCC values of continuing testament, extravagant welcome and changing lives, all of which were resonant in this church-wide experience."