• Putting our faith into action has always been very important to Unitarian Universalists.

Our church has many faith-in-action activities and events, some which happen year around and others that are seasonal. For some FIA projects, we partner with or support the efforts of other organizations. For others, our church members and friends plan and implement the entire project.

Check out the many faith-in-action opportunities below.

 

YEAR AROUND FAITH-IN-ACTION ACTIVITIES

Faith-in-Action meetings  

First Sunday of the month

12:15 p.m. in the Martin House  (the brick building next to our sanctuary)

The Faith-in-Action committee is focusing its efforts on the environment.

Faith-in-Action activities are open to everyone; you don’t need to be on the FIA committee to participate. However, attending FIA meetings allows you to be part of the decision-making and planning.  To share ideas for future FIA activities or for more information, contact FIA chair Dodie Ruskie.

 

Offering in Action

All undesignated cash (and checks with offering in action in the memo line) in the offering basket on the third Sunday of each month will be donated to social justice or other organizations reflecting our UU values and principles.  

The May & June  Offering in Action will be donated to help reopen the Hagerstown Women and Children’s Shelter, which closed in April for financial reasons.  The Salvation Army, which operates the shelter, says the need for emergency assistance to women with children has more than doubled. The hope is to raise funds and reopen in October.

UUs not in the sanctuary on those Sundays are encouraged to mail checks (with offering in action in the memo line) to UUCH, att: treasurer, 13245 Cearfoss Pike, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Selection of the recipient of the Offering in Action donations currently rotates among six church groups to encourage input from a wide range of UUs: the Book Group, the RE students, the Women’s Spirituality Group, the congregation-at-large, the UUCH board; and the Men’s Discussion Group.  If you want to suggest an organization, talk to board trustees-at-large, Marcia Kirby and John Foley, who are responsible for the program.

This outreach project was proposed by board members who also participate in the Men’s Discussion Group, after reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Many UU churches of all sizes are now giving away all or part of their Sunday offerings and report increased donations for both the outreach and support of the church.

 

Since July 2016, our Offering in Action program has raised over $12,339.50 for social justice and other organizations reflecting our UU principles.

Previous recipients have included PEN America (which fights book censorship), Refugee Welcome  Network,  ACLU, UNICEF, Southern Poverty Law Center, Washington County Library, Humane Society, League of Women Voters, Equal Justice Initiative, UUA Disaster Relief Fund, local Literacy Council, Heifer International, UU College of Social Justice, Americans for the Separation of Church and State, CASA (local shelter for people in domestic violence), Planned Parenthood, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Holly Place, the sanctuary program at Cedar Lane UU Church, REACH, Children in Need, Lasting Change,  and local Learning Parties.

 

Micah’s Backpack (feeding hungry children)

Our church has been providing weekend food during the school year for at risk children since 2012. This year we feeding 20 children at Emma K. Doub Elementary School.

Every Friday, participating children receive a bag with two days worth of food (three meals and a snack daily). —with fruits, vegetables, cereal, juice, shelf-stable milk, tuna, peanut butter, crackers, soups, and other nutritious foods in individual serving-size packages. For longer weekends, a three day supply is provided.

After service on the second and fourth Sundays, members and friends pack the bags of food in our pantry in the Martin House basement. Other UUs deliver the bags each week.

MAY 26: Last day to pack food for this school year

Each spring, the Washington County Public Schools conduct a survey with all the Micah’s Backpack recipients, their parents and the teachers involved with the program. The Micah’s Backpack survey always shows that most of  of the children share the food with their families. a majority of the teachers believe that the children are more engaged in learning. and even more parents feel their children are doing better in school.

Your contributions are essential to ensure that these children are not hungry. Give monetary donations, with “Micah’s Backpack” in the memo line of any check, to our church treasurer, Bill Pfoutz or mail to the church, att: treasurer, 13245 Cearfoss Pike, Hagerstown, MD 21740

  • Our UUCH budget includes over $5000 for Micah’s Backpack but this is not enough because the number of children we serve and the cost of food fluctuates.  Some food is available at reduced cost from the local food bank but we rely on the donations to help cover costs.
  •  Additional money is also needed for holiday gifts for the Micah’s Backpack families, which receive Martins grocery store gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you are interested in helping or for more information about the program, contact Elise Weber.

 

CASA shelter for abused women

Abused women and their children often arrive at the CASA shelter with little but the clothes they’re  wearing.

They need personal care items; bath towels, wash cloths, blankets; disposable diapers; children’s clothing and toys; paper products;  laundry supplies; grocery store gift cards; and school supplies.   Most needed now are cleaning supplies (especially laundry detergent and dish soap), toilet paper, towels and wash cloths, large and kitchen trash bags, and gift cards for groceries and gas.

Leave your donations in the CASA basket in the sanctuary foyer.

For more information, talk to Dodie Ruskie.

 

SEASONAL FAITH-IN-ACTION ACTIVITIES

REACH Cold Weather Shelter

Our UU volunteers provide a meal and other help at the Hagerstown homeless shelter at least one evening each winter, usually in December. UUs prepare and serve a meal followed by kitchen clean up. UUs may also help the REACH staff in other areas, including check in at the front desk, security search, laundry coordination, and hospitality (chatting with residents).

Anyone who wants to help must go to the Reach web site (reachofwc.org) to complete an online volunteer application. Volunteers must be at least 16. People under 18 may work only in the kitchen. There are no restrictions on where people 18 and older may volunteer. Those who can not volunteer at the shelter are encouraged to make a donation for the purchase of needed food.

For more information about REACH, visit  http://reachofwc.org/

 

HARC Hike for Hunger & Hope

The Annual Hike is  Saturday,  June 8  on the C&O Canal towpath.  

Our church is a gold sponsor for the HARC Hike for Hunger and Hope, a non-competitive fundraising event open to all ages. Designed for all abilities with 4K, 10K and half marathon, the hikers are supported with snacks and drinks along the way and provided lunch after the event. The hike also includes a nature scavenger hunt for younger children.

The HARC Challenge Hike is Saturday, May  18  on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.

The 20 mile Challenge Hike is for serious hikers.

To register or for  more information, visit http://harccoalition.org/hike/

Area Pride Events

         Our church is a UUA-recognized Welcoming Congregation so of course we participate in area LGBTQ events. UUCH members and friends staff our UUCH tables at Pride events in Hagerstown and in Chambersburg. Our displays  have information about the Standing on the Side of Love movement and Unitarian Universalism’s long history of inclusion. For more information, contact faith-in-action chair Dodie Ruskie.

Hagerstown Hopes Annual Pride Festival

Saturday, July 13, 2024,  11 a.m. – 6 p.m. in Doub’s Woods Park, Hagerstown

Hagerstown Hopes was established in 2012 to bridge the gap between the straight and LGBTQ community. The  annual Pride Festival activities include female impersonators, music, speakers, food, and displays by area vendors, organizations and agencies.

          For more information, visit www.hagerstownhopesmd.org or the Hagerstown Hopes Facebook page.

Pride Franklin County

Sunday, Oct. 13, 2024,  noon to 5 p.m.  at Wilson College), Chambersburg, PA

            Pride Franklin County incorporates traditional Pride elements and activities while maintaining a family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. All entertainment is PG-rated.

          The first annual Pride Franklin County celebration in 2018 was organized by  Franklin County Coalition for Progress and Franklin County Equality Center to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ community and their contributions to Franklin County, to bring the LGBTQ community and straight allies together, and to celebrate diversity, acceptance and respect in Franklin County.

          For more information, visit www.fccforprogress.org.

Eastern Panhandle Pride Festival

October 2024 but date not available yet in downtown Martinsburg, WV

 

Children’s Book Drive

August  through September 

Donate new and gently used books for children, infancy – age 11 in the collection box in the UUCH sanctuary foyer.

If you’ve given all your books in previous years, check out Wonder Books (607 Dual Highway), Booksavers (13625 PA Ave.), and other area sources for used and new books.

Donated books go to the Community Book Warehouse, which distributes them to community organizations, schools and individuals to get books into the hands of vulnerable children.

 The book drive is co-sponsored by the Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC), United Way, Rotary Club, FedEx and the Early Childhood Advisory Council. For more information,  visit www.harccoaltion.org

 

Taste of the Town REACH Fundraiser 

Sunday evening in September (2024 date not available yet.)

 $50 per person. (amount not definite yet)

Reservations required

Taste of the Town is a great opportunity to sample foods from more than 20 restaurants, bakeries and caterers while also supporting REACH, the local, faith-based organization that operates the cold-weather homeless shelter and other programs. Our church usually reserves a 10-person table, which fills up fast.

If you’d like to join our UUCH table,  give your check, payable to UUCH (memo line Taste of the Town) to our church treasurer. For more information, visit www.tasteofthetownwc.com

 

Potter’s Bowl to support free clinic

Sunday in November (no 2024 date yet) at the Elks Club

 $50? per person(amount not definite yet) Limited seating.  

Tickets required

Enjoy a meal, take home a hand-made bowl, and help the Community Free Clinic, which has been providing free medical care and prescriptions to medically uninsured Washington County residents since 1990.

If you’d like to attend, give your check payable to UUCH (memo line Potter’s Bowl), to our church treasurer. For more information, contact Dodie Ruskie.