Jesus Left the Building and We Followed
Outreach and community service is a very important part of our identity as a Christian congregation. We affirm our United Church of Christ Statement of Faith that we are called to be servants “to the whole human family.” We seek to respond to Jesus’ call to minister to people throughout the world.
Our mission initiatives focus on
- Alleviating food insecurity
- Support good health
- Education and community connections (local, regional, global)
- Safety and freedom from fear
We made a permanent commitment to Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing when we became a founding member. We’ve identified projects we support annually and are open to supporting other projects. For example, in January 2020 and January 2021, we contributed to Daisys Children.
Our primary mission focus of alleviating food insecurity continues in 2022. In January we contributed to Good Shepherd Food Bank and Feeding America. We will continue our support of Raymond Food Pantry and Preble Street. February will see us adopting a child, helping with their food, with Daisy’s Children described below.
Another focus this year is helping people who are living through a natural disaster (fire, tornado) OR through war – Ukraine We have already contributed to UCC Disaster Ministries for people affected by the tornados last year. Once UCC Disaster Ministries knows what is needed, We responded when UCC’s Global H.O.P.E. team issued an emergency request for help of Ukraine. (Humanitarian. Opportunities. Progress. Empowerment.)
In May, we are collecting funds to buy an ADA approved door for the home of a couple struggling with advanced ALS. This is a very special project. The Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing project goal is to build a second exit from the home and to build an attached deck and ramp, We are proud to say we sent a check for $2,000 to help make a difference in their lives.
July, we collected over 200 white socks for Grace Street Ministry then gave them to Pastor Jeff at the end of Judy. In August, we collected over 100 personal care items for Raymond Food Pantry. Throughout the year, RVCC and our congregation has donated to UCC Disaster Ministries for hurricanes and floods. In the 4th quarter of 2022, we collected items and donated 12 ditty bags full of personal items to Seafarers Friend. We are supporting the Thanksgiving and Christmas programs through Raymond Elementary School. As Thanksgiving and December approach, we will be donating items to Seacoast Mission Christmas Wish List, supporting families in Downeast Maine.
Each time we collect money or items to give away, we feel we are helping others – a key part of our mission.
Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center
RVCC is a founding member of this local non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard and unsafe housing. We support Fuller Center with donations and volunteers.
Annual Mission Initiatives
United Church of Christ Mission Offerings
We actively support Our Church’s Wider Mission and the four United Church of Christ Special Offerings, which are Neighbors in Need (traditionally received in October), The Christmas Fund (December), One Great Hour of Sharing (March), and Strengthen the Church (May). Since 2005, the Maine Conference UCC has recognized the Raymond Village Community Church for its continued commitment to these mission offerings.
Health and School Kits and Emergency Buckets
We work with Church World Service each year to provide health items and school supplies for impoverished children and families throughout the world as well as those coping with natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. We typically put together about 40 school and health kits.
During the worship service we talk about mission opportunities. Sunday, Sept 27, 2020 – collected for CWS then socks for Grace Street Ministry and school supplies for Church World Service School kits
Grace Street Ministry
A compassionate outreach ministry to the homeless and marginalized in downtown Portland, Maine offering support through Presence, Prayer and Advocacy. We support this ministry by collecting white socks, particularly diabetic socks, for the pastors to hand to the homeless they visit.
Raymond Food Pantry
The Raymond Food Pantry provides a variety of canned, dry goods and produce to qualifying Raymond residents. The Pantry is open the second and fourth Thursday of every month from 4pm to 6pm. We support the Food Pantry with volunteers and donations and in the second half of 2020, we have provided a hot meal to Food Pantry patrons on the second Thursday.
Heifer Internationl works in 21 countries around the world alongside local farmers and business owners. They support farmers and their communities as they mobilize and envision their futures. They work with farmers to improve productivity, diversify their businesses and increase incomes. With a living income they can provide quality food for themselves and their families.
We donate directly to Heifer Project or support the local Raymond Elementary School Reading Challenge by providing funds to purchase animals for farmers.
Maine Seacoast Mission Christmas Program
Each year at Christmas time, the Mission distributes holiday gifts to children, families, the elderly, and nursing home residents. We support this program by collecting and donating items on their wish list. These items become part of the “Elves’ Workshop” in the Weald Bethel Community Center, where people can choose the gifts they would like to give to their families.
The mission of Daisy’s Children is to provide sustenance, education and medical support to the disadvantaged children of Honduras. Because of the food, water, shelter, regular meals, and other necessities Daisy’s Children provides, many of these children are alive today.
In January 2020, we invited Sharon Beckwith, co-founder of Daisy’s Children, to talk to the congregation about their work and specifically the Day Care Center they needed $10,000 to finish. We were proud to send them a check for $2000.