Twenty For Twenty

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 organization,

“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).


1. Lifesource Blood Drive – (Sept. 2017)

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. 2017)

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. 2017)

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 2018)

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 Marino.

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 bee garden.

8. Wright College Study Break – (May 2018)

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 week.

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 apartment.

12. Lydia Home Hope Fest Volunteers - (June 2018)

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 - (June 2018)

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 gifts.

14. NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY - hand out free individual ice creams at Portage Park on July 15. Lead person: Katie Jewell

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 person: Nancy

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 residents.

16. Portage Park Satellite Senior Center – September 17, 1:45 - 3:45 PM for their End of Summer Social event

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 23

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 in Maywood.

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.


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.

Scriptures By Heart