SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2019
These holiday months are busy ones for our missions. The generosity of our church community brings joy to people we don’t know, in ways we can’t measure. The Missions Committee brings you these opportunities to contribute so you can choose those that are most meaningful to you.
Church World Service (CWS) CROP Hunger Walk — Congratulations to Kim Molar who walked this year again to support CROP Hunger Walk on our behalf. She raised $855. The total included a very generous donation from Rich Brazeau (Deb Brazeau embraced the importance of teaching her Sunday Schoolers about world hunger and taking them on the CROP Walk was one part of their experience).
Community Network for Children (CNC) support at the Harvest Festival — Thank you to everyone who donated jewelry, ornaments, books, crafts, knitted items, and baked goods that Rich Connelly and Claudia Gere sold, raising $174 for the Community Network for Children (CNC). More than the money, we spread a great deal of joy, raised awareness for the CNC clothing swap and signed up several families for the CNC newsletter. The Red Sox World Series hat raffle was won by a youngster from the Leverett Elementary School, who screamed with joy upon learning of his good luck. The Harvest Festival was October 5, 2019.
Clothing Swap — The October 19 clothing swap was held outside; it was a beautiful afternoon. Even more families attended than the previous swap this summer. Mary Hankinson and Tracey Field provided refreshments while Rich Connelly and Tom Hankinson helped with setup and other logistics. As the word is spreading, even more people are stopping by the CNC Store in the Dixon House on Thursday mornings. The CNC continues to provide much-needed services in our community in many different ways.
Gift Cards for Thanksgiving — We are also collecting donations in the form of Big Y gift cards so the CNC can provide turkeys and fixings to spread the joy of Thanksgiving to those who are less fortunate. You can leave cards in the basket located in the church vestibule or give them to Rich Connelly, Claudia Gere or Mary Hankinson of the Missions Committee. We need your contributions by Sunday, November 3.
Neighbors in Need (NIN) — Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work
ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
We will receive your offerings on these three Sundays: November 10, 17, and 24.
Make checks payable to the Leverett Congregational Church and write NIN in the memo line. You can also make your donation online at
Last year Lucio Perez, now in his second year of church sanctuary, was an NIN grant recipient through requests on his behalf.
Meals for Lucio — Our church family continues to support Lucio Perez in sanctuary at First Church Amherst. Tom Hankinson, Elsje Sturtevant, and Rich Connelly provided meals the week of September 30.
We will again offer meals the week of December 9. Anyone who would like to be on the list of servers and isn’t already, please send email to Rich Connelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County — We will again adopt a family for
Christmas through the Adopt-a-Family program. So stay tuned for details and
how you can participate.
JULY - AUGUST 2019
Leverett Harvest Festival - With the success of last year’s participation in the Leverett Harvest Festival, our church plans to set up there again this fall. The event usually takes place on an early Saturday in October so we have plenty of time to plan. The Missions Committee welcomes any ideas, calendar of community events, LCC promotional materials, or co-presentations for our tables at the event. We will, of course, be calling on our incredibly creative, talented baking community to participate, as well as any volunteers to represent us at the table. Please email or call 413-3590003 with your ideas or to volunteer.
Community Network for Children (CNC) – Clothing Swap The CNC will be hosting a kids clothing swap on the lawns in front of (or in case of rain, in) the Dixon House on Saturday, August 3, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Spread the word! Psst — The Special Events Committee expects to set up a treats table alongside.
Our Ongoing Missions Work in the World — When news highlights of extreme weather events here and abroad feel so depressing, it’s good to know that your past contributions are making a difference in ways you cannot imagine. Our missions collections help families in need of spiritual, physical, financial, and psychological support. The United Church of Church Disaster Ministries provides assistance with acute and long-term disaster effects, which can last years following an event. We are there in service.
And here is another use of our contributions that seems particularly uplifting and forward looking. Over the past four years some 367 students have benefitted from Education Congo’s scholarship grants. Your gifts through the One Great Hour of Sharing collection enables aspiring young adults to choose a career path that will lead to transformation of themselves and their local communities. Among the scholarship recipients transforming their communities are many medical students.
Take a moment to appreciate how your generosity provides assistance to our neighbors in the U.S. and throughout the world.
— Claudia Gere, Chair, Missions Committee Rich Connelly and Mary Hankinson
APRIL- JUNE 2019
Greenfield Family Inn Shelter
The Greenfield Family Inn shelter serves an important role in our community. They offer temporary, get-back-on-your-feet support to families who have an immediate need for shelter and have nowhere else to turn. This is an opportunity for our small numbers to have a significant impact on local needs.
Our drive for newborn and size 6 diapers, wipes, and CVS gift cards ended Sunday, May 12. When giving charitably, we sometimes find it difficult to give money. It’s natural to want to see how our giving has a specific impact. Through your generosity, we collected over $900 in cash and gift card donations. For the Greenfield Family Inn, these donations are especially welcome, giving them flexibility to respond to unpredictable needs quickly for families in transition. Those families whose lives are in turmoil thus have a way to fill basic needs and feel a semblance of control.
One Great Hour of Sharing
The tally is in for the One Great Hour of Sharing collection taken earlier this year with a sum of $513. Thank you to everyone who donated! When we join with the other million -plus United Church of Christ congregants, we can accomplish much and quickly bring help and hope to those displaced by conflict, floods, famine, and other disasters both in the U.S. and 21 countries worldwide.
Meals on Wheels Walkathon 2019
On Saturday, April 27, two stalwart walkers, Frankie Hankinson and Betty Wilson, despite physical challenges, represented our church and raised over $400. Meals on Wheels provides meals in Franklin County to those who are homebound. As important as delivering meals is their contact with the outside world and daily safety check the program provides.
The Greenfield Recorder’s Life Path section recently ran pictures from the April 27 Meals on Wheels Walkathon. There for all to see were Betty Wilson and Frankie Hankinson decked out in rain gear, with Betty honored as the oldest walker, and Frankie alongside with a hiking pole some few weeks after knee replacement surgery.
Meals for Lucio Perez
Rich Connelly coordinated provisions for Lucio the week of April 22. Our providers received a thank you from the program coordinator noting particularly how much the children enjoyed the meals. Leverett Congregational Church will be on the schedule again in mid-July. Contact Rich Connelly if you can help with meals, email@example.com. Help, especially overnight help, is also needed to keep Lucio company at the church. Training provided. Contact Lydia at 413-335-2990.
Lucio Perez entered sanctuary at First Church Amherst over a year and a half ago, avoiding deportation by remaining inside the church. Many local churches coordinate delivering meals to support Lucio while he pursues legal recourse to remain here.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS)
OGHS is an ongoing program of the United Church of Christ.
Since March 14, Tropical Cyclone Idai and resulting flooding have claimed more than 500 lives in Mozambique, 259 in Zimbabwe, and 56 in Malawi, with many more stranded, missing or displaced. Nearly two million people are affected. Hundreds of thousands are in camps in need of food, clean water, and sanitation as well as inoculations for the cholera outbreak. The UCC, along with partners, has begun its early response and planning for recovery.
Your contributions are also helping to replenish food pantries in the areas of the devastating floods in the Midwest.
UCC support groups will remain in these areas long after other agencies have gone. It is comforting to know that we can help in times like these that affect so many in such dire circumstances.
Community Network for Children (CNC) Closet
The CNC Closet is now open on Thursdays, 8:30 to 11 a.m., at the Dixon House, offering free children's clothes (sizes newborn to 5 years of age...some larger) and diapers (as available). The program also offers information about resources and support referrals from Community Network for Children Program staff.
JANUARY - MARCH 2019
Support for the Community Network for Children
We continue our support for the Community Network for Children (CNC). Through the extraordinary perseverance and diligence of Richard Connelly, of the Missions Committee, and Gillian Budine, CNC Coordinator, with support from our Council, we have signed an agreement with the CNC so we can turn what was formerly our church nursery in the Dixon House room into a storage facility. The agreement supports an initiative of Gillian’s for distributing much needed supplies privately to families with children preparing for school entry. Many of you will remember Gillian speaking with us during a January service last year about her service and the needs of preschool children and their families. We will be letting you know more about this exciting new opportunity to serve our community soon. Also, please note, there is still plenty of room for a nursery to welcome young children when there is a need. The rollout has involved furniture-moving, carpet shampooing, shelf installation and other preparation, all for the storage of needed materials.
Meals for Lucio Perez
Many thanks to our volunteers, Tom and Judy Hankinson, Barbara Tiner and Rich Connelly who contributed to suppling meals to Lucio the week of January 28. These efforts continue to be his lifeline while he fights for a stay of removal petition from his sanctuary in the Amherst Congregational Church. You, too, can help with this effort when our church takes its turn again, likely at the end of April.
The Christmas Fund
December is the final United Church of Christ collection of the 2018 year and the one that helps us express our gratitude for those who support and serve as UCC clergy. With your generosity, our church has contributed $281 to that fund to provide direct financial assistance for pension and health premium supplementation and emergency assistance.
Meals on Wheels
Again, this year we held a collection for Meals on Wheels following the Candlelight Service. This fund is one of the important ways we support our local community. Meals on Wheels delivers meals to the homebound in our communities. Beyond providing for the daily need of nourishment, the committed volunteers are often the sole visitor these people receive, a much-needed connection to the outside world as well as a daily safety check. Your $512 in contributions, including from many of those Candlelight Service visitors, will go a long way to help those in need.
December was a very busy for Missions as it is traditionally a time when we share our bounty with those who have less. Most notable was the drive through Adopt-a-Family of Franklin County to provide a very Merry Christmas for a family of three children ages 5, 8, and 12 who are being raised by their grandparents. Each received two gifts as requested (one practical, one for fun). We also provided the nonperishables for three meals for Christmas day and gift certificates for the perishables. Our congregation not only fulfilled our commitment but exceeded the request by filling eight boxes with nonperishable food and providing $270 in gift cards to Big Y and Stop & Shop. A Merry Christmas, indeed!
Neighbors in Need special offerings received in November — This year NIN offerings will focus particularly on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities. NIN, a mission of the United Church of Christ, supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering supports a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. These grants support projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Envelopes will be included in the bulletin on Sunday, November 4, and available throughout November in church. Donations will be received on November 11 and 18.
Thanksgiving turkeys to spread the joy — While most of us enjoy the bounty of a Thanksgiving meal, many in our community are less fortunate. We can help by providing supermarket gift cards to buy turkeys. We will offer them in support of families identified by the Community Network for Children. Any surplus will be donated to the Amherst Survival Center. You can put the gift cards in the Missions mailbox in the church vestibule or hand to Claudia Gere (or Rich Connelly in her absence).
CROP Hunger Walk — Our church community generously supported Betty Wilson and Kim Molar, raising $305 for the CROP Hunger Walk, October 14. The proceeds will help international projects to relieve hunger and provide safe drinking water for refugee camps, areas of drought and famine. In addition, 25 percent of the proceeds will support local Franklin County food banks. Thank you Kim for walking for us!
Leverett Harvest Festival — Mary Hankinson, Richard Connelly, Sue Alward, Mary Raboin and Barbara Tiner braved inclement weather to represent our church at the Leverett Harvest Festival, October 13. For the second year, we sold baked goods to support the Community Network for Children (CNC). Through the generosity of our church family we offered an amazing variety of treats, raising $177. We also raised awareness of upcoming programs provided by the CNC to prepare preschool children for school, as well as the CROP Hunger Walk. At the same time, people who stopped by saw the services side of the Leverett Congregational Church.