Neighbors in Need: Loving Neighbor Through Acts of Compassion. THIS SUNDAY! 

Our Neighbors in Need (NIN) offering provides an opportunity to give along with others in the UCC to ministries of justice and compassion. This Sunday is our annual NIN offering. Here is a spotlight of one of the ways the resources were used in this past year.

 “When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me— you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:37-40 MSG

The 2018 Neighbors In Need offering, in conjunction with UCC’s 3 Great Loves campaign, featured LOVE OF NEIGHBOR. St. Peter’s UCC in Louisville, Kentucky was a recipient of a $5,000 NIN advocacy grant to work for justice in their community. Their project focused on helping women and men who had been incarcerated to reintegrate into society once released.

According to St. Peter’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson, MOLO Village, a nonprofit ministry of the church, “provides a foundation of support for persons as they reestablish and stabilize their lives when entering the Russell Neighborhood following a period of incarceration and/or recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. The reentry and recovery programs will help lead participants to a life of sobriety as well as a reduction in incarceration through education, job preparation, case management and advocacy.”

Dr. Ferguson further states, “Since implementation in January 2018, MOLO has served 138 participants various 12 week/12 month reentry programs, which was comprised of workshops, resource fairs and volunteerism, and over 1,000 participants in 3 weekly recovery programs which included many persons completing court ordered programs and substance abuse programs. Additionally, the programs include conversations with community stakeholders, law enforcement, attorneys and other reentry nonprofits.”

Dr. Ferguson concludes, “Some lessons learned are that the educational and emotional/mental needs of the participants were greater than anticipated. Therefore, the curriculum has been revised multiple times to include more basic educational courses such as reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as mindfulness and art therapy during periods of socialization and group interaction is necessary to build trust and alleviate stress and isolation. With this evidence, we hope to double those served in 2019!”

As the scripture above informs us, people of faith ought to offer compassion to those who have been harmed and/or marginalized by people and institutions. We are proud to have been a partner with St. Peter’s UCC as they journey to make a difference in their community aiding their neighbors in need.

Because of the generosity of UCC members giving to NIN, programs such as this can be supported and communities are strengthened. Please join us in supporting the 2019 Neighbors In Need Special Mission Offering.