The Social Concerns Committee of the New Ark United Church of Christ helps our congregation fulfill its mission of outreach to those in need locally, nationally, and internationally.
We attend to national initiatives and resolutions from our denomination and respond as the committee deems appropriate.
We coordinate volunteer groups, donation drives, and financial offerings, always in the spirit of our faith, reaching out with service, advocacy, and prayer.
We are aware of the injustice perpetrated upon some and seek to add our voice to those advocating for peace, justice, inclusion, compassion, and care for all people and for the earth which we share.
- Stimulate consciousness-raising regarding social issues;
- Initiate "Call to Action" programs;
- Identify local needs and plan appropriate responses;
- Identify monetary needs of the community for benevolence giving;
- Interpret and facilitate special denominational offerings;
- Provide an opportunity for service through our Mission Focus Groups and/or seasonal projects; and,
- Partner with other service organizations/churches when such partnerships better enable bringing about justice and peace.
Numerous resolutions have evolved from our mission purpose and goals: Inclusive Language; a Just Peace church; an Open and Affirming Church; Resolution on Energy Stewardship; and an Earthwise Congregation.
The New Ark contributes financial gifts annually to special offerings for denominationally supported local and global mission outreach programs. Included are: Neighbors in Need, Our Churches Wider Mission (OCWM), One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), and Christmas Eve Offering (for needy retired pastors). All can be viewed at: www.ucc.org
In partnership with the Newark Empowerment Center, members of the New Ark
donate items for "Go-Bags." Distributed to NEC clients in need, the one-meal bags include
a protein item, crackers (cheese or peanut butter), fruit cup, granola bar, and a drink.
Each year our church designates a percentage of our income to be used to support local agencies serving the community's needs in ways consistent with our mission. Further, we authorize the expenditure of special reserve funds designated for local needs. General criteria used include (a) mission consistent with New Ark UCC's Mission Statement (b) local group for whom our contribution would be significant (c) relatively balanced contributions to agencies engaged in working in the various areas of concern (housing, hunger, peace & justice, environment) (d) some agencies working on systemic change as well as those addressing immediate needs.
Honoring the congregation's diversity of interests in mission activities, rather than focus on one church-wide mission, the New Ark established Mission Focus Groups. These groups enable our members to engage in missions of their individual interest, passion, and choice that are consistent with our church's mission.We define "group" broadly as being even one individual or a team or even a particular focus within the Social Concerns Committee. The committee supports the groups by facilitating the flow of resources and communication within the whole congregation, and by providing inspiration, financial, and spiritual support. Currently we have the following: