How do we put faith into action? At Umstead
Park UCC we are guided by our Covenant, in
particular the section about our commitment to the wider world:
- With our steps toward a mutual relationship with the wider world, we will:
- Share freely of our wealth and resources;
- Recognize our identity as global citizens, intimately tied to and partnered with all of God's children in every land;
- Demonstrate our concern for neighbor through service and prophetic voice;
- Claim our inescapable connection with the sacred earth and all of creation;
- Live justice as the social expression of love, and peace as the present manifestation of the world to come.
The SARS-COV-2 pandemic has meant that several of the activities we used to do in person have been curtailed if they don’t lend themselves to on-line meetings. So in that spirit, we ask everyone to consider direct donations to worthy causes where in the past they may have made a contribution of time and energy. We are also now exploring how we can more closely partner with Curamericas Global in support of maternal health in rural communities dealing with the pandemic.
Every day we put faith into action through use of our (LEED certified) building, as a sanctuary for Eliseo (while he awaits resolution of his residency status), as offices, storage, and rehearsal space for the Justice Theater Project, and as meeting space for organizations like Healing Transitions and other service and social justice groups. We have hosted a LGBTQ Informational Workshop in our building on a Saturday in November through our Adult Education committee.
At least once a month we make food donations to the Urban Ministries Food Pantry. During the pandemic, we are asking our members to make direct donations here: https://urbanmin.org/donate/. Our Creativity Group meets regularly to craft beautiful greeting cards which are offered for donation and all proceeds fund various charitable needs. The Creativity Group also conducts monthly sessions at Healing Transitions. We actively participate through the course of the year with several organizations, including Rise Against Hunger, Church World Service, the North Carolina Council of Churches, and Curamericas Global, and participate in activities like the Neuse River Cleanup (youth led in 2018), voter registration, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, various advocacy activities on topics like a non-partisan solution to gerrymandering (with Common Cause and DemocracyNC) and the NCAE Rally for Teachers. We also sponsor hurricane assistance workdays, typically in Eastern NC, as the need arises (starting with the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd in 1999), and have partnered on occasion with Habitat for Humanity. Most recently we partnered with the Methodists on Ocracoke Island. For several years we were a sponsor of the Magnificent Mile Race and Fundraiser for PLS research, the inspiration of our own Sarah Roberts-Witt who has PLS, a motor neuron disease related to ALS.
In prior years FIA also coordinated UPUCC’s participation in Out! Raleigh and Pride:Durham, but after twenty years, we recently decided that this activity is now a better fit for the Membership and Publicity Committee (really a statement on the progress we’ve made as a society).
We collect donations for several groups and in the last 12 months they included the following:
- Urban Ministries: Really Souper Sunday (food drive)
- Healing Transitions: Sock It To Me Sunday (clothing drive)
- A Note in the Pocket Sunday (clothing drive)
- Oxford House: Second Chance Sunday (sundries drive)
- Heifer Project
- Healing Transitions Toy Drive
- National Council of Churches
- UCC Southern Conference
- UCC Eastern NC Association
When UPUCC first came into existence in 1999 (then called North Raleigh UCC), we rented space in a middle school, later in a YMCA and did not have a building. As a UCC subsidized new church start, we committed 51% of weekly donations to Faith in Action. Through the years, as the church grew and became self-sufficient, we decided to purchase a building, in partnership with an architectural firm as co-tenants. Staying true to our covenant, the building qualified for LEED gold certification and we immediately looked for ways to apply this significant investment to Faith in Action. Our building is now in use 24/7 for Faith in Action.