I was out of state on a short holiday over the Labor Day weekend and someone asked me if there is anything going on in the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. I was glad to tell them there is plenty happening in this place we call home. In the last month alone,
- · The Florida Conference awarded a $2500 grant to the United Church of Gainesville as they prepare to open the Gainesville Peer Respite Center that will serve as a short term housing program for individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis. The grant comes from the Church Redevelopment Fund of the Conference in response to our invitation to local settings to do something fresh and new that might bring new life to the church and community.
- · From the same fund, we’ve just completed the paperwork to accept a grant proposal from Miami Lakes Congregational Church. They will host a comprehensive community health fair for people in the Hialeah/Miami Lakes area. Partnering with the civic and medical communities, the congregation will help connect service to need by bringing together partners in health care ranging from veterinary pet care to hearing services, Alzheimer’s assistance, glucose testing, and a host of other services. The congregation hopes this grant will create the impetus for future events which they pray will benefit from other funding under the axiom that ‘success begets success.’ We are pleased to partner with them in this new venture and join them in their prayers for success. The grant given was $2,000.
- · The Jackson Interfaith Fund exists to fund interfaith workshops. The Union Congregational Church, UCC in West Palm Beach recently received a grant of $750 to plan an Interfaith Peace Concert in the coming year. The concert will highlight religious diversity and kick off a series of lunch and learn programs and listening sessions for the purpose of building a just peace between religious people from a variety of faith perspectives.
These grant awards, and the funds that make them possible, illustrate the partnership that creates the United Church of Christ movement in Florida. Local settings take up the mantle of leadership and the Conference is able to provide resources to make innovation possible.
Today, I invite your participation in this movement. Consider, first, how your faith community can imagine a new ministry that might bring vitality to your neighborhood and church. Apply for matching funds and let’s do ministry together.
Second, make a gift to the Florida Conference through our website www.uccfla.org that will support our efforts to build upon these early successes in doing ministry together in a new way. You may designate your gift to support the work of the Florida Conference and your donation will be gratefully received. If you prefer to give, but not online, you may mail your check to the Florida Conference office at 924 N Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803.
Friends, it’s an exciting time to be the UCC in Florida and I am glad you are part of the movement of God’s people in this place. Be at peace, and be in touch, won’t you.