MISSION, PEACEMAKING AND JUSTICE (MPJ) COMMITTEE
OUR COMMITTEE’S VISION
A community of followers of Jesus Christ who are fully engaged in fulfilling the Mission of the Church as described in the PC(USA) Book of Order and the various creeds and confessions of the PC(USA)
OUR COMMITTEE’S MISSION
- To discern and interpret the Mission of the Church
- To encourage and facilitate all members of our congregation to utilize their spiritual gifts, skills, experience, and interests in the service of God’s kingdom
- To administer our mission budget wisely and in accordance with God’s call to FPC
- To support our mission partners reliably, consistently and prayerfully
- To work and advocate for peacemaking and justice
- To support a broad range of ministry initiatives, both locally and globally
- To encourage a welcoming atmosphere for marginalized and vulnerable persons
WE ARE PART OF A BROADER EFFORT
We recognize and celebrate the fact that other committees of our church conduct their own mission activities, and many members of FPC actively participate in mission ministry activities as a routine component of their everyday lives, outside the formal structure of any committee. Just a few examples are the Knit-Crochet Ministry, the Care & Share food ministry, Safe Harbor meal service, Recycling for Families, the youth mission trip, Crossroads Handcrafts of the World, individual participation in domestic and foreign mission trips, prison ministries, caregiver services, and much more.
OUR MISSION PARTNERS
THESE MINISTRIES ALL RECEIVE FUNDING THROUGH OUR MISSIONS BUDGET. A NUMBER OF THE LOCAL EFFORTS WERE FOUNDED BY FPC MEMBERS, AND HAVE FPC MEMBERS AS PROFESSIONAL STAFF, BOARD MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS, AND INDIVIDUAL DONORS.
GLOBAL MISSION PARTNERS
Bob and Kristi Rice – South Sudan
After serving for several years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bob and Kristi in 2017 accepted a new assignment to South Sudan. Bob serves as an instructor at Nile Theological College and teaches a broad range of courses in theology and biblical studies. Kristi serves as an economic and development advisor for the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. She works to strengthen the identification, development and management of church development projects that support the financial goals of the church and improve the health and well-being of the communities.
Jeff and Christi Boyd – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
As regional liaison for Central Africa, Jeff facilitates support for the relationships, programs, and activities of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. He also resources PC(USA) mission personnel and helps connect partner churches with PC(USA) congregations that want to be involved in ministry in the region. Christi works in four French-speaking African countries — Congo, Madagascar, Niger, and Rwanda — and the non-French-speaking country of South Sudan. She accompanies global partners as they seek to remedy the marginalization of women and children in their communities, and she engages with Presbyterian constituencies in the U.S. that wish to come alongside and promote those efforts.
Build Congo Schools – “We build durable schools and build competent teachers in order to build competent students who will build healthy communities”
The vision of Build Congo Schools is to develop caring competent students. Three teams help implement this vision: one in Kananga representing the Presbyterian Church of the Congo (CPC); one in Kinshasa representing the Presbyterian Church of Kinshasa (CPK) and one in the U.S. representing the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Midwest Food Bank Tender Mercies Program – East Africa
Midwest Food Bank originated in 2003 in McLean County. Its mission is to share the love of Christ by alleviating hunger and malnutrition locally and throughout the world and providing disaster relief; all without discrimination. Tender Mercies is an important initiative at Midwest Food Bank that enables nutritious meals to be produced and distributed to those most in need. The Tender Mercies meal packet consists of high-grade rice, pre-cooked pinto beans, fortified chicken seasoning, and a soy protein. The result is delicious food at the cost of 20¢ per meal. One packet feeds about four people with 13 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of fat per serving. Tender Mercies is an essential component of Midwest Food Bank’s international effort. In East Africa, Tender Mercies is locally sourced and packaged for distribution.
LOCAL MISSION PARTNERS
Boys & Girls Club – “To empower all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens”
Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal is a youth enhancement organization that operates after-school and summer enrichment programs in three locations serving the academic, emotional, cultural, and social needs of youth ages 5-18. Programs include homework help and tutoring, STEM activities focusing on the future of technology, introduction to the arts, leadership, service-learning, and career exploration and development.
Catalyst Ministries – “Making a difference together”
Catalyst Ministries reaches and rescues women who are survivors of human trafficking and exploitation, working in local communities and abroad. Catalyst educates and engages the local community to understand the realities of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and to help strengthen, support, and advocate for the vulnerable. Catalyst partners with individuals, local churches, organizations, and law enforcement to reach and rescue those who have been oppressed. Catalyst works locally to provide a residential community for women in recovering from sex trafficking, exploitation, and extreme abuse. An array of Christ-centered support services are provided to foster healing, recovery, and an opportunity to begin a new life.
Collaborative Solutions Institute – “Innovative building blocks for civility in relationships”
Collaborative Solutions Institute is a Central Illinois, not-for-profit professional practice whose mission is to provide innovative building blocks for civility in relationships through research, counseling/coaching programs, and public education that develop emotional intelligence, respect for self and others, and development of communication and behavior skills for the individual, family, and organization.
Community Healthcare Clinic – “Providing quality healthcare to McLean County’s medically underserved through the operation of a free clinic”
The Community Healthcare Clinic is the primary medical home for McLean County’s low-income and uninsured residents, providing more than 1,100 patients annually with free primary health care, health education and wellness programs.
Community Schools Program - Fairview and Sheridan School Emergency Student Needs and Sheridan School Food Pantry
Through our involvement in the Kids Hope USA mentoring program at Fairview Elementary School in Normal, we became aware of recurring needs for emergency assistance to students. We have partnered with Fairview administration in the Community Schools Program, supported by the Baby Fold, to provide funding to address such needs. We have expanded our participation in this program to include Sheridan School in Bloomington. Most of our funding has been used for items such as shoes and boots, winter coats, hats, and mittens. We also funded some family-sized ready-to-heat-and-eat Thanksgiving meals for homeless families.
We have partnered with other churches and nonprofit agencies to establish and stock a food pantry at Sheridan School. We obtained a grant from Presbytery of Great Rivers to help with the acquisition of a refrigerator and shelving.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we have provided school supplies so that students could obtain what they needed to continue learning at home. We have also provided Walmart and Schnucks gift cards (restricted so that they cannot be used to purchase lottery tickets, firearms, tobacco, and alcohol) to Fairview and Sheridan families.
The Community Schools Program operates at several area schools that score high in free/reduced lunch eligibility, mobility and homelessness. Social workers at the schools assess the physical and social need of the children and their families and reach out to community partners to help fill those needs.
Faith in Action of Bloomington-Normal – “Helping Seniors Remain Independent”
FIA volunteers provide free rides to medical appointments and grocery shopping, friendly visits, reassuring phone calls, and light home maintenance for those age 60 and older living in Bloomington, Normal, Downs, Heyworth, Hudson, or Towanda.
Habitat for Humanity of McLean County – “A world where everyone has a decent place to live”
Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. FPC members were instrumental in founding the McLean County Habitat affiliate in 1985. We have historically provided a one-fourth sponsorship of a home every other year.
Home Sweet Home Ministries, Inc. – “A ministry of refuge and renewal powered by Jesus Christ”
Home Sweet Home has been serving the homeless and hungry in Bloomington since 1917. HSH provides case management and other supportive services to the homeless such as shelter, hot meals, access to clothing and toiletries, and job training. HSH’s goal is to help people find independence, restore their hope and share the love of Jesus Christ with them. Innovative approaches include the Food for Life food co-op and the Rapid Rehousing program.
Illinois People’s Action – “Empowering everyday people and congregations to become full partners in the decision-making process on justice issues”
Illinois People’s Action is downstate Illinois’ largest faith-based community organizing project. IPA’s mission is to organize for justice in local communities and throughout Illinois’ urban and rural communities. IPA works with local grassroots and faith leaders on a wide variety of justice issues.
Immigration Project – “The principal provider of low-cost legal services in central and southern Illinois”
The Immigration Project endeavors to provide access to justice for immigrants and their families through immigration-related legal and educational services to immigrants, refugees, their families and others in downstate Illinois, in a manner and context which recognizes the full dignity of each individual.
Jobs Partnership/Joy Care Center – “Offering a helping hand in a family-type environment”
Joy Care Center was founded in 1993 to assist those released from prison/jail into Bloomington-Normal by strengthening and improving spiritual and practical skills with the goal of seeing them becoming contributing members of their families, churches and communities. The Jobs Partnership provides services that empower participants to improve personal and work place performance, change attitudes, and build a firm foundation for a positive, successful future.
Kemmerer Village – “Making the world better, one child at a time”
The Mission of Kemmerer Village is to help the Presbyterian Church fulfill its responsibility to minister to children and families who face stress and turmoil in their lives. Kemmerer Village carries out this mission through its direct services to individual families, and by assisting individuals to advocate for the needs and rights of children and families in their community. Programs include residential treatment; education; foster care; church; recreational therapy; athletics; equestrian and pet therapy; and residential therapy.
Kids Hope USA – “Building life-changing relationships one at a time”
Kids Hope USA develops one-on-one mentoring relationships through the creation of church-school partnerships that pair church members with at-risk kids. The adult becomes a mentor and friend to the student, not a tutor. We work with Fairview School locally.
Mid Central Community Action – “To educate, equip and empower people to achieve healthy relationships, finances, homes, and neighborhoods”
MCCA envisions healthy and self-sufficient families interacting positively with one another in strong, safe, and diverse neighborhoods to enhance the community while preserving the environment. The healthy relationships program area works to create a place of safety, renewal, and restoration. This area includes the Neville House emergency shelter and domestic violence 24-hour hotline. The healthy finances program area works to create a pathway toward financial security. The healthy homes program area works to create opportunities for people to have a safe and affordable home. The healthy neighborhoods program area works to create relational change to build a strong community.
Midwest Food Bank – “To provide industry-leading food relief to those in need while feeding them spiritually”
Midwest Food Bank originated in 2003 in McLean County. Its mission is to share the love of Christ by alleviating hunger and malnutrition locally and throughout the world and providing disaster relief; all without discrimination. Midwest Food Bank is a volunteer-based national food bank serving non-profit organizations helping their community. MFB also provides disaster relief and emergency food assistance, pre-packaged nutritious meal packs, and help for children struggling with food insecurity.
Mom and Me Camp – “Quality one-on-one time with Mom”
Mom and Me Camp provides structured activities designed to provide a supportive and productive visiting experience for incarcerated mothers and their children aged 7 through 12 years. Mom and Me Camp is Christian based and is held at East Bay Camp, Lake Bloomington. Children ages 7-12 whose mothers are incarcerated spend four days at camp, where they are bussed to Logan Prison in Lincoln or Decatur Correctional Facility and spend the days with their mothers doing camp-like activities. The purpose of the camp is to improve bonding between the children and their mothers. Back at East Bay, the children enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, and games. All staff are volunteers.
PATH – “Providing Access To Help”
PATH answers more than 90,000 calls annually through its 24/7 2-1-1 crisis hotline, which helps people find fast, free and confidential help for health and human service resources, including suicide prevention. PATH also receives, responds to and investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation to people who are 60 years of age and older and those who are 18-59 with a disability in McLean and Livingston counties. PATH also offers interventions for those who are experiencing homelessness.
Project Oz – “Partnering with young people to build a foundation that promotes safety, opportunities, and well-being in their lives”
Project Oz serves 8,000 youth every year, working to reunite families, help kids stay in school, teach young people useful skills, and teach students how to keep their lives drug free. Project Oz also provides shelter and safety for homeless and runaway youth.
Salvation Army – “To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination”
Salvation Army offers a broad array of family support services including emergency assistance, a food pantry, and Safe Harbor shelter to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and bring hope to the dispirited.
Our deacons oversee a volunteer program whereby volunteers from our church prepare and serve dinner the first Thursday of each month at Safe Harbor. See the “Safe Harbor Volunteers” tab under the “Resources” tab of our website to sign up.
Western Avenue Community Center – “Serving individuals and families by opening doors of hope and love through our faith in Jesus Christ”
Western Avenue Community Center serves more than 1,000 families each year through neighborhood social, educational and recreational activities for all age groups, with a particular focus on children and youth, and senior citizens. WACC also provides a Hispanic Outreach program that includes social services, interpretation and translation services, and counseling.
YWCA Labyrinth Outreach Services to Women – “To significantly reduce recidivism”
Labyrinth addresses the needs of women released from the Illinois Department of Corrections and McLean County Jail who are returning to the community. Programs include mentoring, economic/employment services, transitional housing, and case management.
Red Cross Blood Drives
Our church hosts an occasional blood drive, sponsored by the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross. Each unit of whole blood can potentially save three lives by being separated into its specific components of red cells, plasma and platelets. In addition to standard whole blood donations, there are power red donations, platelet donations and plasma donations. The power red donation gives a concentrated dose of red cells while returning plasma and platelets to the donor. This increases the impact of the donation for patients in need of red cells, the part of blood used for those needing transfusions. The platelet donation collects platelets and some plasma, while returning most of the plasma as well as red cells to the donor. Platelets are the cells that form clots and stop bleeding, and are a vital element of cancer treatments, transplant procedures and other surgical procedures. The plasma donation collects plasma while returning red cells and platelets to the donor. Plasma is used in emergency and trauma situations to help stop bleeding.
DENOMINATIONAL MISSION SUPPORT
Per Capita Assessment
Per capita is an annual per member apportionment assessed by the General Assembly and by many synods and presbyteries, to enable Presbyterians mutually and equitably to share the ecclesiastical and administrative costs of sustaining our witness to Christ through the Presbyterian Church (USA). Our Per Capita payment is split 26% to the General Assembly, 11% to the Synod of Lincoln Trails and 63% to the Presbytery of Great Rivers. Our church pays 100% of the assessment and asks members to make individual contributions to offset the assessment.
Unified Mission Budget
We provide financial support for denominational mission efforts other than general and administrative costs supported by the per capita assessment. Of this amount, 42.5% is allocated to Presbyterian Mission Agency, 5.0% is allocated to the Synod of Lincoln Trails, and 52.5% is allocated to the Presbytery of Great Rivers.
Presbyterian Special Offerings
In addition to the per capita and unified mission budget amounts allocated in our church’s annual operating budget, we also participate in the four annual special offerings promoted by the PC(USA). We promote and collect the offerings, and pass through the amounts collected. The four special offerings are:
One Great Hour of Sharing
For over 70 years, One Great Hour of Sharing has provided Presbyterians a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need around the world. The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing - Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People - all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope. Typically received during the season of Lent, each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing supports efforts to relieve hunger through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, promote development through the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, and assist in areas of disaster through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
The Pentecost Offering unites us in a church-wide effort to support young people and inspire them to share their faith, ideas, and unique gifts with the church and the world. Psalm 71 testifies that a foundation of faith established during childhood helps ensure lifelong faith and service. The patterns and lessons established during these formative years continue to bear fruit throughout a person's life. By receiving the Pentecost Offering, you are nurturing the faith of those who are the church to come — children, youth, and young adults. A gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people, and also address the needs of at-risk children. 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The remaining 60% is used to support children-at-risk, youth, and young adults through ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Peace & Global Witness
The Peace & Global Witness Offering encourages the church to cast off anxiety and fear, discord and division, and embrace our reconciling God's mission to those around the corner and around the world. Through the Peace & Global Witness Offering, congregations are encouraged and equipped to find and address the anxiety and discord that is prevalent throughout this broken and sinful world. A gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world. Individual congregations are encouraged to utilize up to 25% of this Offering to connect with the global witness of Christ's peace. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation. The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.
By giving to the Christmas Joy Offering, you honor God's gift of Jesus Christ by providing assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need and developing our future leaders at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. God has blessed the Church with incredible leadership in every time and place, but those leaders often need to be supported by their communities as well. This Offering addresses the support needed by some of our leaders, including supporting leadership development for communities of color and providing support for Presbyterian church workers in their time of need. The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The Offering distributes gifts equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years.