The Faith United Church bylaws say that the Deacons (aka the Diakonite) are to minister to those who are in need, sick, friendless, or in distress, and to oversee the spiritual and practical needs of the membership.
That’s a pretty broad mandate, and can be interpreted to mean so many things! Fortunately there are eight of us. In practical terms, it means that Deacons strive to make sure all members of Faith United Church are remembered and cared for, both in times of need and times of joy. We serve coffee hour the first Sunday of the month. We host a fundraising bake sale, so that we’ll have dedicated funds available to meet special needs. We check in with each other, paying special attention to folks who find it difficult to get to church, or who have challenging illnesses. In some ways, we do what all the members of this church do for each other anyway, but in an intentional, dedicated way that aims to share the love of God with everyone who needs it.
We are here to serve.
And we pray for each other.
The current Commissioner for Deacons is Colleen Dristle.
The Discipleship Committee typically meets monthly. Our responsibilities to the Church include evangelism and providing fellowship for the Church members and friends. Each Spring we hold an annual yard sale which serves as a fund raising event for us and a needed service to the community. Items for sale include gently used clothing along with baked goods, books and plants. The sale is open to the wider community. Throughout the year the Discipleship committee also hosts seasonal fellowship events such as Chili cook-offs in the winter and Summer salad luncheons.
Annual Church Yard Sale
One of the most successful and fun community outreach projects here at Faith United Church is our Annual Yard Sale. We collect clothing, household items, books and food items for a bake sale. Everyone pitches in the week prior the sale to set up and prepare for the sale, which is held on a Saturday in early June. During that week we sort through all of the donations that have been brought in and display them in an orderly fashion. On Friday, the church “bakers” arrive with homemade goodies to sell at the bake sale. The unique thing about our sale is that nothing is priced. Shoppers are given plastic bags as they enter the building and can take anything they want - as they leave, they give a money donation based on what they feel is appropriate or that they can afford. It is a win-win all around!
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have postponed our annual yard sale until September.
The responsibilities of the Mission Committee include leading the congregation in its commitment to mission outreach on the local, denominational and international levels. Our mission programs include educating, serving and raising monetary offerings. The committee currently has four official members in addition to the pastor who an ex-officio member.
During the calendar year, the Mission Committee coordinates the collection of the following offerings on a regular basis: Pentecost/Strengthen the Church, - Peace and Global Witness/Neighbors in Need, - Christmas Eve Offering, - Christmas Joy/Christmas Fund, - One Great Hour of Sharing. These offering are publicized/facilitated by frequent "Minutes for Mission" read Mission Committee members during Sunday Service. Among the projects carried out on an annual basis are the following: the Helen Kessler Christmas Mitten Tree (as shown in the photo above) filled with donations of hats, scarves and many warm items given to the Salvation Army to give to those in need during the holiday season; collection of food items for the local chapter of Human Concerns; the Offering of Letters in conjunction with Bread for the World (an opportunity for members of the Church family to write their members of Congress in support of anti-hunger programs); the ringing of bells one Saturday in December for the Salvation Army; donations to Unity Acres (a men's residential center located near Pulaski) including such items as coffee, clothes, and videos; Blessings in a Backpack (a program which distributes food staples to needy school students each Friday during the entire 38-week school year)--our church's five member team packs the food items on a rotating schedule.
The most recent financial contribution of the Committee to the non-Oswego mission area budget have gone to the International Rescue committee and Friends Forever. The International Rescue Committee seeks to assist refugees around the globe and to transcend barriers of politics, religion, race, ethnicity, nationalism, and gender to create greater mutual understanding. Amid all these current activities, the Mission committee remains open to sponsoring additional projects to carry out its goal of mission outreach, both in Oswego and the wider community.
Robert S. Salisbury
Commissioner for Mission