Our Missions

 

As a church, we have more than one mission. Our first mission, of course, is to be “the church":  a community of  believers whose faith teaches that another world–a world of justice and peace–is possible. Making that world a reality in our individual lives and in the life of the church is our primary mission. To that end, we participate in a number of ministry and mission projects.

CUCC-PG Endowment Fund

The CUCC-PG Endowment Fund is a special trust that provides money from investment growth and earned interest to support selected missions and outreach.  Each year, half of the Fund's earnings are retained to grow the Fund and ensure its longevity.  The other half of the earnings are distributed annually toward projects that fall into one or more of the following categories:  education, community service, UCC mission projects, and capital improvements.  The Fund is administered by the Endowment Team, projects are evaluated by the Team, and all disbursements are approved by the Leadership Team.  To date in 2019, the Fund has supported the Bicycle Ministry in Port Charlotte and the North Fort Myers School for the Performing Arts.  For more information about the Fund, please contact Bill Ringelstein, Endowment Team Chair, through the church office:  (941) 637-8443, office@puntagorda-ucc.org.  Bill can provide information about submitting a project request or making a tax-deductible gift to the Fund.

United Church of Christ Annual Giving Commitments

Our church participates in several of the ongoing ministries of the United Church of Christ.  As a congregation, we give annually to Our Church's Wider Mission, budgeting monies for basic support and per member contributions.  

Throughout the year, there are four special offerings that provide members an opportunity to support specific missions:

One Great Hour of Sharing works with international partners to provide sources of clean water, food, education and health care, small business micro-credit, advocacy and resettlement for refugees and displaced persons, and emergency relief and rehabilitation. OGHS also supports domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response.  This offering is usually given during the fourth Sunday of Lent.    In 2019, CUCC-PG members donated $1,860 toward this mission.

Strengthen the Church is a special mission offering to reimagine and build the future of the UCC. Shared at the conference and national levels, STC largely supports youth ministries and full-time leaders for new churches in parts of the country where the UCC does not have a strong presence. It also provides support for existing churchs' new initiatives.  This offering is received on Pentecost Sunday.  Our 2019 contribution to STC was $940.

Neighbors in Need is a special mission offering of the UCC that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.  Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Funding is provided through donations to the Neighbors in Need offering.  This offering is received the first Sunday of October as part of World Communion Sunday.

The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund is a Special Mission Offering that congregations have been supporting for over 100 years. The offering is administered through the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance, the charitable arm of the Pension Boards. Funds provide direct financial support to those who serve the church and are facing financial difficulties. Active and retired clergy, lay employees, and their surviving spouses may be eligible for the Supplementation of Small Annuities, Supplementation of Health Premiums, Emergency Grants, and/or Christmas "Thank You" Gift Checks. This offering is received on the Sunday before Christmas.

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry

Our members donate food and provide financial support for the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry.  Food is collected in the wheelbarrow at the front of the sanctuary on a weekly basis. Monetary donations are also encouraged and can be placed in the box near located beside the wheelbarrow.  This ministry serves as a regular reminder of our need to help feed the hungry and assist those less fortunate than ourselves.

Christmas Gift Card Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a project that was started a few years ago through a prior book group within the church.  Despite the demise of the book group, the project is ongoing, and each Christmas season, members generously respond and decorate a Christmas tree with gift cards.  School social workers at Charlotte High School allocate the cards to students in need.  We often hear back that many of the students use the cards to buy gifts for their parents and other family members rather than personal wants and needs.  In 2018, CUCC-PG  collected 139 cards for a total of $2,790 which included $500 that came from our Endowment Team.

Short Sets for Baker Street

CUCC-PG annually supports the Punta Gorda Women’s Club children’s clothing drive for the Baker Street Head Start program. Typically, 100 outfits (plus or minus) are provided by our members for toddlers. It is a wonderful tradition and a mission that we are happy to support because it provides clothes for children in need.  In 2019, 121 outfits were donated by the congregation.

​Church Library

Our church library houses approximately 250 non-fiction and 300 fiction books.  Every effort is made to have copies of the Reading for Renewal books available.  There are also a number of books focusing on social justice issues which are currently featured atop the bookcase to the right of the main shelves.  The library also has a small reference section that includes a comprehensive 13-volume interpretative dictionary of the Bible.  

Meeting Place for Community Groups

Because we believe in being a part of and serving the community, we welcome the use of our building by several 12-Step groups throughout the week. We also host the monthly meeting of Indivisible Action Southwest Florida, usually on the first Saturday of each month.  Check our home page for updates.

Special Projects

From time to time, our church feels compelled to step up and donate money, time and/or talents to events that are happening in our community, state, country and the world.  Often times, these opportunities are facilitated through the Florida Conference of the UCC:  in 2018 we donated to the UCC's Keeping Families Together in response to the actions being undertaken at the borders to separate families.  After Hurricane Michael, we donated funds to help hurricane victims in the Florida Panhandle.  In 2017, having largely been spared by Hurricane Irma, we delivered donations, food, and other items to our neighbors in nearby Arcadia, Florida, who were not as fortunate.  

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The Congregational United Church of Christ

1201 Aqui Esta Drive

Punta Gorda, Florida  33950

Telehone: 941-637-8443