Recently Ken and I completed a class in church management. The text for the class discussed healthy churches and dying churches. Interestingly, those churches that were not vibrant and growing were those that were not reaching into the community. The author suggested that a recipe for beginning to decline as a church was to become or remain inwardly focused serving only the congregation and the needs of the church and not reaching beyond its walls to serve others.
As I thought about Unity Church in Redding, I considered how we serve both our congregation and those in the community who may never step inside our doors. We participate in three community projects: the Hope Van, People of Progress, and One Safe Place.
The Hope Van is operated through Shasta Community Health Center and provides medical and dental services to the most vulnerable population in the community. Currently the program serves approximately 290 patients each month. As well as providing medical services, hot and cold food is available to the people who come for services or who need food. Several women from our congregation cook and serve food at the Hope Van on the first Friday of each month. UCIR partners with First Christian Church in this project. Our women report that those they serve are grateful, and that through serving, they receive far more than they give.
People of Progress assists low income families in Shasta County. The organization serves approximately 11,000 people annually with food, clothing, and with referrals to medical, benefits, and employment providers and educators. Because of food donations, it only costs POP nine cents per meal to provide food. UCIR makes a monthly delivery of food and clothing collected by our congregation.
One Safe Place provides safety, legal services and emotional support for women, children, seniors, and men experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. It provides parenting, relationship, and prevention education. UCIR has a serving team that works at the One Safe Place Annual Crab Feed, its major fund-raiser of the year.
As a sacred spiritual community that has gone through healing to thriving, we do reach beyond the borders of our walls. We know that as our Christ light shines into the community, it touches the hearts and lives of others.
Giving and receiving is reciprocal. To experience the gift of giving service to our congregation or to a community organization, please call us at (530) 246-9544. You will change the lives of others as well as changing your own life.
We look forward to seeing you on Sunday mornings at our 10:30 service where we create the space for building a world that works for all.