St. John's Outreach / Mission / Benevolence
Our Mission (adopted March 12, 2000): We are a family of many hearts and voices faithfully worshiping God. We encourage one another in our living, learning and growing as God’s people. Led by the Holy Spirit, we joyfully promise to serve others as we share the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
St. John's UCC has a longstanding reputation in Vincennes of community outreach and service. We are also part of many local, regional, nationwide and global efforts through the UCC's OCWM program.
Our church is in the top 100 UCC churches donating to the One Great Hour of Sharing program.
Our outreach, benevolence and mission programs are overseen by the Christian Outreach and Benevolence Committee. We believe these missions enable us to fulfill our mission of serving others in the spirit of our Lord. It's a great way to get involved, enjoy fellowship with others, and serve the Lord. Please click on the "Mission Moment" link above and read about how your Benevolent Fund and donations are spent to do God's work in our world.
There are some local missions that our congregation supports with a little extra effort. These projects require contributions of time, talent and treasure from the congregation. For other local and OCWM missions, please scroll down.
B.A.B.E. (Beds And Britches, Etc.)
Mission: Through collaboration among agencies and networks, B.A.B.E.'s mission is to meet the basic material needs of pregnant women and families with children ages newborn through 3 years, with a voucher system that promotes preventive health care (physical and emotional) in a safe and nurturing environment.
The B.A.B.E. store is open to Knox County residents only (Mondays, 12 - 4 PM), and all donations come from Knox County people and churches.
St. John's UCC has donated the space for the store and commits benevolence monies throughout the year. B.A.B.E. has no paid staff; St. John's provides 97% of the volunteer staff in the store at this time.
For more information about the store, or to volunteer in some way, write PO Box 608, Vincennes, IN 47591, or call the church office (812-882-2720) and leave a message for B.A.B.E.
KIDS HOPE USA
Mission: To build caring relationships via one child, one hour, one church, one school
Adult mentors from our St. John's congregation have committed to spending one hour each week with one child at Riley Elementary School doing tutoring and self esteem building. Each mentor and child team is supported by a prayer partner from the church.
For more information about how you can help St. John's make a difference in the life of a child, contact the church office (812-882-2720). We would be happy to share our enthusiasm with you.
The success of St. John's UCC's KIDS HOPE partnership with Riley has inspired other local churches to sponsor the following Vincennes schools.
Tecumseh-Harrison: First Baptist Church
Franklin: Franklin Heights Christian Church
Vigo: Community United Methodist Church
Please ask your child's teacher or the school social worker for a referral.
Loaves and Fishes
St. John's UCC is one of several area churches that provide nutritious, hot meals to local residents. Volunteers from our congregation prepare and serve a Thursday evening meal on a regular rotation (every six weeks).
Whether it's food preparation, set-up, serving, or clean-up, this is a great way to get involved and make a real difference. If you cannot commit for the entire event, perhaps you could come to help prepare or help clean up. Your service is very much appreciated!
Backpacks of Love
There are many children in Knox County who do not get anything to eat from the time they finish their Friday lunch at school until they have breakfast at school on Monday. This is especially true of some of our KIDS HOPE USA children. Backpacks of Love will provide a child with food every weekend so they don't have to be hungry. Right now, it has been determined by the Riley Elementary staff that there are 18 children who really need this help.
Keep in mind can openers are usually not available. A box will be in the vestibule for your donations of love. If you don't want to do the shopping but want to help in this project, monetary donations are welcome. Just mark your check to the church that it is for Backpacks of Love.
Items needed: Individual tubs of cereal, cereal bars, individual containers of mac & cheese, cans of soup, stew or dumplings, canned vegetables, juice drink boxes, spaghetti-O's, canned fruit.
For more information, please contact Kathy Clinkenbeard.
Phoebe's Mission is a disbursement of necessary household items to low income Knox County residents the 1st Friday of each month from 4:30-6 PM. These household items are necessary for everyone, but they cannot be purchased with food stamps.
EXAMPLES OF ITEMS NEEDED/GIVEN OUT
Toilet paper * Laundry Soap *Shampoo * Bar Soap * Dishwashing Detergent * Deodorant * Cleaning supplies
Other Local Organizations/Programs
Knox County Food Pantry
Vincennes Pet Port / Animal Shelter
Disciples Mart (school supplies)
Mitten Tree (Riley School)
Generations AngelWorx (Christmas)
Relay for Life
Sandy's Pantry (VU Student Food Assistence)
Friends Who Care & Count (VU Student Group)
Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM) - Local, National and Worldwide Supported Programs
Knox County Food Pantry, Relay for Life, Merom Conference Center, Disaster Relief, Missionary Support, Heifer Project International, One Great Hour of Sharing, Women's Shelters, School Nurse Programs, Blankets & Tools Sundays, Hoyleton, CUE (UCC Mid-America Seminaries), Back Bay Mission, United Care Shelters, Brooklawn, Veterans of the Cross, Headstart, Altenheim Community, Crossroads, Emmaus Home, Good Samaritan Home.
(Outreach to VU Students in honor of Sandy Kitchell) (founded August 2015)
Spring Semester 2016 Dates: Jan. 26 & 28, Feb. 23 & 25, Mar. 22 & 24, Apr 19 & 21
Food Insecurity Affects Physical and Mental Health (article): Food insecurity leaves many students struggling to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat protein sources, such as beans and lean meats. Poor diet can affect both physical and mental health. Previous studies have found a connection between food insecurity and academic problems, which also showed up in this study. The College and University Food Bank Alliance lists almost 40 schools as members. One pantry at Virginia Commonwealth University was set up by students, faculty, staff, and members of the faith community—known as the Rampantry—in 2013 to address food insecurity at the university by providing students with healthy food options. “Rampantry offers VCU students basic staple items (rice, canned fruit and vegetables, beans, pasta, canned meats, cereal, breakfast bars, etc.) and a list of menu options to create meals with the food,” said Terrence Walker, the pantry’s student affairs staff sponsor, in an email to Healthline. “Healthy snack foods are offered as well, like raisins, nuts, popcorn, and protein bars.”
This epidemic is not a faraway issue, but one that affects us locally. After meeting with the Dean of Students at VU, John Livers, who echoed that, “this is an on-going crisis that many Vincennes University students deal with on a weekly basis,” the Evangelism & Membership Committee in conjunction with the Outreach & Mission Committee has moved ahead with establishing a student food pantry for beginning in Fall Semester 2015.
Thanks to a generous donation in honor of Sandy Kitchell which will be used as seed money to kick this new outreach off. St. John’s UCC has been given the chance to address this community need, and has stepped up to reach out, as Christ commanded by feeding the ‘poor’ among us and serving the people where God has placed this church!
Eight interested members of our congregation attended the organizational meeting for SANDY'S PANTRY, an outreach mission in conjunction with Vincennes University for students without food. We ask for donations of non-perishable items that need no refrigeration and minimal prep time. Examples: cereal, pop tarts, English muffins, bagels, microwavable non refrigeration breakfast meals, boxed mac & cheese with cheese sauce already in the box, canned stew, soups, chill, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned ham, microwave rice, individual oatmeal packets, grits, bread, peanut butter, Nutella, nuts, jelly in square restaurant sizes, butter in round restaurant sizes, granola, snack bars, chocolate individually wrapped, snack cakes, “helpers” ramen noodles, canned spaghetti, powdered milk, canned fruits, canned veggies, etc. There is a list of these items and more on the Bulletin Board. If you wish to donate cash, that is acceptable as well because we can buy in bulk and save!
THANK YOU for supporting our newest outreach mission: SANDY'S PANTRY! If you would like to be involved in this new ministry at St. John’s, please contact Brenda Fillingim or the church office. Food and monetary donations are currently being accepted.
Update (January 2016)
Sandy's Pantry – Great Start!
After beginning our newest outreach, SANDY'S PANTRY, in September, we have been privileged to have served a total of 58 VU students. Those of us who volunteer to serve in this Outreach each month are excited. The students are very appreciative, and we are blessed for the opportunity to show them the Love of Christ. THANK YOU so much for your continued donations to this worthwhile Mission to our community of students. 58 students means 1,160 food items! We are preparing to order more items to restock our shelves! THANK YOU to the volunteers: Bailey & Casey Harner, Marge, Beamon, Ruth Witsman, Carole Culp, Jerri Johanningsmeier, Kristi Cook, Jill Cooper, Lynne Simmons, Bill Lathrop, Rev. Kate, Brian & Brenda Fillingim. If you wish to donate, items needed are non-perishable, individual serving, food items.