Strengthen the Church Offering - May 23, 2021

Sunday, May 23 is Strengthen the Church Sunday in the United Church of Christ. Strengthen the Church is one of the special United Church of Christ offerings we encourage our local churches to support.  However, this particular offering is a bit different for us at the Conference level.  This offering is split between the National setting and the Conferences of the United Church of Christ which means here in Illinois South Conference we retain 50% of the funds which are collected in the churches of our Conference.

In 2020, at the National level of the United Church of Christ, Strengthen the Church money was used to create programs and services which directly helped churches and local churches’ pastors adapt and thrive under times of great uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.  One program which was supported in part by Strengthen the Church Funds was “Reset for Renewal.” “Reset for Renewal” was designed especially for people working with youth and young adults.  Rev. Lisa Hart, one of ISC’s own, has been quoted on the promotional literature about this event in saying, “This was what so many in our churches and other ministry settings were desperately in need of during this extraordinary time.”

In 2020, at the Conference level, Strengthen the Church money enabled Illinois South Conference to offer countless Conference-wide seminars, gatherings, workshops, trainings, worship services, and even support groups, as we were able to expand and fund our technology, using these funds.  We also used the funds to offer Marcia McFee’s “Reboot Your Worship” series for FREE to pastors and worship leaders and the “Cultivating Generous Congregations” at a reduced price for pastors and church leaders.

For the last couple of years, Strengthen the Church money has been used to underwrite a majority of the costs of offering a retreat for our pastors in Illinois South Conference and to fund the remaining costs not covered by a joint grant we applied for alongside the IKC and Heartland Conferences to employ a part-time communication staff person, Nikki Shaw.

All of these programs and services would not be possible without you giving generously when a Strengthen the Church offering is taken in your church.

Dear Friends as you consider what you will give on Sunday, May 23 to this special offering, please know your donations, no matter what the size, make a BIG difference in the United Church of Christ and here in the Illinois South Conference.  Your offerings expand the possibilities of what we can offer to renew and revitalize our mutual ministries for the rest of this year and in years to come. Thank you for supporting all the ways we seek to strengthen our churches in the Illinois South Conference of the United Church of Christ.

In gratitude, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister