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Mission & Outreach Programs

 “To Believe is to Care.  To Care is to Do.”

At St. Paul’s UCC, our faith is at the heart of our caring and doing.  Through prayer and action, we seek to follow Jesus’ lead to extend our hands to others through generous acts of service and compassion.  We offer both our financial resources and ourselves, through the volunteering of our time and efforts.  We are all God’s Children, living in the midst of God’s beautiful creation, loved and blessed by God in equal ways, though we recognize that is not the reality for many.  We serve then as God’s hands, ears and eyes in the world.  We reach across economic and cultural divides reconciling ourselves to one another.  In solidarity with those who are most vulnerable and marginalized in our world, we seek justice for those most at risk both locally and globally.  We aim to be better and better stewards of the creation which God entrusted to humanity.  We seek through concrete action and advocacy to make the world a more just and loving place.  We believe God’s dream for the world is not yet fully realized, as well as God’s dream for each one of us.  We serve to bring God’s dream, God’s realm, further into being.

FEEDING THE HUNGRY

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"Come you that are blessed by my Father/Mother...for I was hungry and you gave me food..Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me..."  (Matthew 25: 31-40)

Community Garden to Feed the Hungry - Come, We are "Growing" in Faith

St. Paul’s has started an exciting ministry for the community - a Community Garden.  Our plans are to plant and harvest food for the needy in our community, giving produce to New Hope the 1st year. Three raised beds have been installed. We will be planting potatoes, carrots, beets, green & yellow beans, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini and cucumbers. 

 In the future, hopes are to form partnerships with local food banks, urban faith communities, and scout programs.

Goals of our Community Garden

  • Feed the hungry.  This year, just starting out, we will be giving our produce to New Hope Ministries. In the future we hope to expand and provide food to local food banks, UCC homes, and urban communities that often have very little access to healthy and fresh food products.
  • Build community.  We will encourage partnerships among individuals and families within our congregation to care for the garden.  In the future we may even offer plots to our neighbors.  This is a nice way to introduce people to St. Paul’s UCC.  Sharing faith while working the soil is another way our extended community can get to know us and for us to outreach to our community. 
  • Reconnect with our history.  We will use the CG as a way to learn from our elders (who often have much gardening experience) and share it cross generations.  Our fore mothers and fathers relied on the land for food.  This area has a strong history of people working the land.

 

Other Extended Ministries Missions:

  • Food Bank Food Collection:  Mechanicsburg is served by 3 food distribution centers, New Hope Ministry, Project SHARE, and the food bank in Harrisburg.  Each of these food centers need food on an ongoing basis.  Our liaison's to the food centers, keep us abreast of food related needs in our community and special food drives occurs to meet the hunger in our community. 
  • CROP Walk : Each October people of the Mechanicsburg Area walk approximately 10 miles under the auspices of Church World Service and CROP. The purpose of the walk is to help alleviate world hunger. Walkers secure pledges from sponsors for the number of miles they walk.
  • UNICEF  Also in October, our youth graders spend part of an evening trick or treating for UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund).
  • Ecumenical Food Pantry: This project is located at Messiah Lutheran Church in Harrisburg. Members of our church help to stock shelves, distribute food items and do other tasks needed by the food pantry.
  • Adopted Child Sponsorship: Members of St. Paul’s presently sponsor nine children from the Tibetan Refugee Center in Darjeeling, India, the Philippines and Jerusalem. You need not sign up for a whole year to be a sponsor. One month sponsors are needed and welcomed.
  •  World Day of Prayer Vigil:  In collaboration with churches around the world St. Paul’s parishioners come together to observe a common day of prayer each year.  Through World  Day of Prayer, people affirm that prayer and action are inseparable and both have immeasurable influence in the world. This vigil connects our church to churches around the globe as we all pray together.
  • Thornwald and Todd Homes: Thornwald and Todd Homes are our UCC retirement centers in Carlisle, PA.   Members of St. Paul's are encouraged to participate in the centers in a number of ways: visiting residents, becoming a volunteer at the centers, working on craft projects, supplying transportation for residents, helping with Operation Santa Claus (which makes sure that all residents are remembered at Christmas).

 Special Offerings include:

  • One Great Hour of Sharing (March 6)
  • Neighbors in Need (October 2)

 

Taking a Stand Against Inequality

Open and Affirming:  "The people of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Mechanicsburg, PA, affirm our regard for the worth and dignity of ALL persons as beloved children of God.  We recognize, celebrate, and give thanks for the many diverse gifts of God among us.  We declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming into full membership and participation in the Body of Christ, persons of every race, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, and economic status.  "

rainbowcommawithwords_sm.jpgFrom St. Paul's Covenant of Openness and Affirmation, Congregation Vote, May 20, 2003.

In keeping with these words of covenant, St Paul's continues its faith journey, discovering what it means to be an Open and Affirming congregation.  Activities include:

  • Pride Festival of Central Pennsylvania - parade, booth at the festival, participation and host of the Interfaith Service.
  • Member, ONA Ministry, Penn Central Conference.
  • Fundraising for PRIDE Activities
  • Member, GLBT Interfaith Coalition, a project of the Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania

Support Efforts to Combat Disease

♦  St. Paul's On a Mission

Activities include:

  • Breast Cancer Walk
  • Peanut Butter & Coconut Egg Sale
  • Daffodil Days
  • Soup Sale at Fall Festival
  • Tour de Cure

 

 

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