Dear Friends in Christ ~
It was my great joy to attend the recent PSEC Stewardship Dinner, along with Mike Bibic, Jim Chrastina, Chris Fosbenner, and Heather Ward. In addition to an excellent meal, we were treated to a wonderful presentation by Jan Resseger, from the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries, as well as an update on the great work that our gifts to OCWM is doing, As I listened, I couldn’t help but think that the true meaning of OCWM is a far cry from our humorous definition: “Our Church Wants Money”!
OCWM stands for “Our Church’s Wider Mission.” St. Paul’s is a strong contributor each year to the work and mission of the wider church. But do you know the depth and breadth of the work that IS accomplished by OCWM?
Through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, OCWM supports global mission ministries with partner churches in 85 countries as well as missionaries, mission associates and volunteers; promotes advocacy for human rights, child sponsorship, health and wholeness; and provides disaster preparedness and response in the United States and abroad as well as coordinating volunteer opportunities and services. For 2 years, members of St. Paul’s have participated in these volunteer opportunities through our mission work with F.A.S.T. and Volunteers in Mission.
Through the Neighbors in Need offering, OCWM works hard to ensure that equal justice will be primary in issues concerning poverty, higher education, peace, and human rights.
Through the Strengthen the Church offering, OCWM helps provide spiritual and liturgical resources for congregations; partnerships and inistries with UCC-related colleges and seminaries; and leadership training for laity and clergy.
Through the Christmas Fund offering, OCWM provides supplemental benefits for retired UCC clergy and families.
And through the OCWM Basic Support, the national office of our denomination provides the much-needed strong connection between local church and conferences, as well as a link between the UCC and other denominations.
This is just a small portion of the work that our OCWM dollars can, and DO, provide to the work of the church. This year, with our participation in the Christmas Fund, St. Paul’s will become a “5 for 5” church; that is, we will be actively participating in all of the wider ministries of the Body of Christ through OCWM.
Our faithful financial commitment to Our Churche’s Wider Mission each year helps us, as a local member of the wider Body of Christ, to share in the important work and ministry that Christ, filled with the Spirit, proclaimed to the crowd in the synagogue: to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
With our partners in PSEC, we pray: “Touch us, O God, with Your peace that we may become less fearful and more open to a larger life when we live, and give, more freely in the Spirit of Christ.”
In Christ’s love, Pastor Patti