20 Down, 0 to Go!
In 2018, United in Faith will be celebrating our twentieth
anniversary as a congregation. The first worship service of
United in Faith was on Easter Sunday 1998. As a way of honoring
our anniversary and continuing to give back to the community
that we have partnered with all along, we have planned to do
twenty different community-related projects throughout the year
surrounding our anniversary date. Because this is an ambitious
undertaking, we have scheduled these 20For20’s from
September 2017 through October 2018.
We seek to partner mostly with local organizations (in
Portage Park, Dunning, Jefferson Park, and the like) to bless
the community and the organization. Because each organization
has a different mission and purpose, each community project
with look a little different. Usually we begin these
conversations by asking a contact at a community
“If we were to have 3-8 members and approximately $100
dedicated to blessing or helping your organization, how could
that best serve you and your mission?”
There are so many opportunities to bless those around us
– sometimes this happens informally in our lives,
sometimes this happens with pre-planning. Our hope is that
members of United in Faith will be inspired to participate in
these 20For20 as a way of ministering to the community around
us. At this point, we have either implemented or scheduled
thirteen of twenty 20For20 projects. Want to keep count of how
we are progressing? You can keep track of this list on the wall
of the Fellowship Hall (these pages will be gathered into an
archives scrapbook at the end of the year).
ALL 20for20 PROJECTS ARE COMPLETED:
1. Lifesource Blood Drive – (Sept.
In September 2017, we hosted a LifeSource blood drive in our
building. LifeSource was thrilled by the opportunity to use our
great fellowship space. Approximately 18 pints of blood were
donated that day. Several United in Faith members donated snack
items to keep the donors nourished, and many stayed around for
moral support for those who donated blood.
2. Reformation 500 Book Fair – (Oct.
In October 2017, United in Faith members staffed an Augsburg
Fortress book fair with Reformation themed books, for two weeks
at United in Faith and for one afternoon at Bethesda Senior
Care, located at 2833 N Nordica Ave, Chicago, IL 60634. After
our book fair was complete at UIF, we donated a large stack of
books to Bethesda Senior Care.
3. Veterans Salute – (Nov. 2017)
In early November 2017, we hosted a Veterans Salute event in
partnership with Billy Caldwell American Legion post, Chicago
Public Library, and Portage Park Chamber of Commerce. Our
Veterans Salute Event expressed our gratitude to those current
and past military members. Refreshments were provided by the
Portage Park Chamber of Commerce. A display of military
memorabilia and a flag ceremony was provided by the Billy
Caldwell American Legion post. The Austin-Irving branch of the
Chicago Public Library hosted the event and provided
neighborhood publicity. United in Faith participated by paying
for a face painter and a musician who played patriotic music
after the flag and honor ceremony.
4. NWSHC Fundraiser volunteers – (Nov.
Toward the end of November 2017, we benefited two
organizations in one 20For20 event with our participation in
the Northwest Side Housing Center Jimmy John’s
fundraiser. NWSHC had a fundraiser during their 15th
anniversary celebration. We bought food through this fundraiser
(part one) and then, we donated these lunches to St.
Cyprian’s Food Pantry volunteers (part two).
5. Winter Farmers Market @ UIF with Faith in
Place – (Feb. 2018)
In February 2018, we hosted our first Indoor Winter Farmers
Market, in partnership with Faith In Place. Even with a
dramatic snow event that morning, we had a pretty good turnout
at United in Faith. The Faith in Place Market had vendors
selling soups, jams, baked goods, salsas, meats, honey, fair
trade coffee and tea, winter-available produce, and more.
Plenty of free samples, including fair trade coffee sponsored
by the UIF Justice Ministry. This event required a large crew
of volunteers, and we had a great turnout of United in Faith
members and friends. Next year’s Indoor Winter Farmers
Market is already scheduled for March 23, 2019.
6. NVAM Spring Ice Breaker – (April
In April 2018, a couple United in Faith members attended an
ice breaker and fundraiser of the National Veterans Art Museum.
We donated funds toward the entry cost, allowing several
community veterans to attend for free as well. National
Veterans Art Museum is the only art museum in North American
dedicated to show veteran art. It is located near Six Corners,
and admission to the museum is free. The NVAM collection
“was built to inspire an understanding of the impact of
combat on the individuals who served, as well as our society at
large.” We were inspired by the many artists who shared
their heart through art.
7. Olive’s Neighborhood Garden –
(April 2018: Part 1 complete, Part 2 On-Going) Lead person: Pam
That same month (April 2018), we made a donation to
Olive’s Neighborhood Garden for the Hungry, which is
dedicated to funding their new bee garden when it is
established. Olive’s Neighborhood Garden is located at
Laramie & Ainslie, Chicago and the future bee garden is at
Laramie and Gunnison, Chicago. Olive’s Neighborhood
Garden for the Hungry is an award-winning garden in the
Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago providing handpicked
produce for local residents in need. Hives are being insulated
for the winter, and NeighborSpace (a nonprofit urban land
trust) plans to purchase the land from IDOT to be used for the
8. Wright College Study Break – (May
In May 2018, a crew of volunteers staffed a Stress Relief
Study Break Table during Wright College’s finals week. We
offered snacks and stress relief toys – silly putty,
bubbles, stress balls, DIY airplanes. We enjoyed talking to
students, staff, faculty, and whoever we could to encourage
them to keep working hard and hang in there through finals
9. Youth Outreach Services – (May 2018).
Lead person: Carolyn D.
A few weeks later, another volunteer crew staffed a Thank
You luncheon for the staff at Youth Outreach Services. YOS has
been in the neighborhood longer than UIF has, though their main
office is downtown. United in Faith members brought lunch and
shared a meal with the staff on a staff in-service day. We
thanked them for all they do for youth and young adults who are
struggling on the Northwest side (and throughout the city and
suburbs). The staff were incredibly grateful and sent a thank
you card the following week.
10. St. Mary of Providence – (June 2018).
Lead person: Mickey B & Samantha C.
In June, a couple United in Faith members presented gift
cards to the residents of St. Mary of Providence apartments so
that they could go on an “outing”. St. Mary of
Providence helps women with developmental disabilities meet
life’s challenges and reach their highest potential in
growth, while promoting their dignity as human beings. We
followed this up by another donation, when the Vacation Bible
School kids decorated pencil cups for the residents.
11. LSSI Refuge Family - June 2018 - On-Going)
Lead person: Jeff Jewell.
In June 2018, we had our first contact with the Kaya family
from the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Lutheran Social
Services of Illinois case manager brought their need to our
attention, and throughout the months since, we have gathered
donations of clothing, household items, furniture, and more.
Mom, Dad, and two daughters now live in a 2-bedroom
12. Lydia Home Hope Fest Volunteers - (June
Also in June, a crew of United in Faith members volunteered
as helpers at Lydia Home’s annual community festival:
Hope Fest. We followed up this 20For20 project by donating bags
of trail mix to their clients and staff that were made by the
kids at United in Faith’s Vacation Bible School.
13. St. Cyprian's Baby Shower/Diaper Drive -
Also in June 2018, St. Cyprian’s Food Pantry hosted a
Diaper Drive Baby Shower to show people how the food pantry
works and highlight a much needed commodity for those facing
food insecurity and poverty. Food stamps cannot pay for diapers
or wipes and most food pantries do not have the extra funding
to offer these items all the time. United in Faith members
donated approximately 8 packages of diapers plus 8 packages of
diaper wipes, along with approximately $500 in financial
14. NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY - hand out free
individual ice creams at Portage Park on July 15. Lead person:
A very intergenerational crew of United in Faith members and
friends handed out free ice cream at Portage Park for National
Ice Cream Day on July 15, 2018.
15. Central Baptist Village – September
16, 2:00 PM – hosting a party for a special event. Lead
On September 16, we provided refreshments for a monthly
resident birthday party for seniors at Central Baptist Village.
We brought and served cupcakes and ice cream to share with the
16. Portage Park Satellite Senior Center
– September 17, 1:45 - 3:45 PM for their End of Summer
On September 17, we provided refreshments for a quarterly
community end of summer social at Portage Park Senior Center.
We brought and served root beer floats, fruit salad, cookies,
cupcakes, cheese, and crackers. By the end, we even tried our
hand at joining the seniors on the dance floor!
17. LOMC Fundraiser bake sale @ UIF -September
On September 23rd, a bake sale was held at United in Faith
to raise funds for Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in
Oregon, IL. LOMC has been raising funds to renovate the Timbers
and Meadows bunkhouses. We sent a total of $415 raised to LOMC
toward the campaign.
18. Our Saviour's Lutheran
Preschool/Kindergarten (Chicago) Walk-A-Thon – October 5,
10:00 AM – providing snacks and a cheering section.
In October 2018, several United in Faith volunteers assisted
at Our Saviour Lutheran School, by bringing snacks and smiles
to the students after their annual Walk-a-thon. The walk was
scheduled to be in Shabbona Park, but was moved indoors to the
school gym due to weather.
19. Portage Park Farmers Market – October
7, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM) – host a table – offer
prayer and free seeds.
Also in October 2018, a number United in Faith members
assisted with the Portage Park Farmers Market. We brought
volunteers to help vendors (and others) set up tables/booths at
the beginning of the day. The day was cold and rainy, but we
brought as much sunshine spirit as we could to the festivities.
We also had volunteers that helped vendors (and others) tear
down, fold up canopies, and carry items to their vehicles. We
gave away free swag and snacks at a United in Faith table,
while we greeted market goers with a smile.
20. Ronald McDonald House Toy Drive; October 7,
14 & 21. These Sundays in October we will have a a Toy
Drive at UiF for the Ronald McDonald House at Loyola Hospital
Our last 20For20 is complete. Later this month, we will
donate a wide variety of toys, games, books, crafts, trucks,
stuffed animals, and more to the Ronald McDonald House near
Loyola Hospital in Maywood. These items will go into the Ronald
McDonald House Toy Closet, which is used by patients and family
members under age 21. Any child (whether patient or sibling)
who stays at Ronald McDonald House gets to pick their own toy
(or gift card) from the toy closet.
--->> AN IDEA CHALLENGE FOR YOU
The Big Questions – Do you know of a local
organization that we can help to support and bless through our
small opportunities for community interaction? What other
organizations do you think we should be involved with in the
next year of 20For20 projects? What organizations serve our
neighbors and support the community every day that we could
partner with intentionally during 2019? What do you hope our
congregation’s Twentieth Anniversary legacy will be as we
look back from the future?
For more information, feel free to contact Pastor Carla,
Nancy Ciecko, Katie Jewell, or Dave Quillin.