Each year the Massachusetts Conference Church Development Council recognizes ministries that exemplify innovative and impactful ministries. Here are this year’s three recipients.
WOVOS ~ Congregational Church of Brockton
To change lives and create a better world. That is the goal of WOVOS, “World Voices: Raising Voices for a Better World”. WOVOS was birthed out of Christ Congregational Church of Brockton, United Church of Christ. It is an ‘intensive music and art experience, developing leadership skills for a multicultural world.’
Young women in grades 6 - 12 from the Brockton area come together at the church after school or during a school vacation week to form a multicultural choir and participate in activities that develop skillful musicians with a passion for the arts; build skills that create collaborative leadership; cultivate a sense of belonging through inclusion, safety and respect; and empower students to change the world.
The WOVOS program culminates in an outstanding community concert. This is one of many programs at a church which continues to reach out to its community by addressing racism, white privilege, issues of poverty and drug addiction, LGBTQ awareness, and environmental justice. With support from local groups and a grant from our UCC Neighbors in Need offering, the church is able to provide this experience at minimal or no cost. You can learn more about WOVOS at www.wovos.org
. You can learn more about Christ Congregational Church of Brockton and its pastor, the Rev. patricia Hayes, at www.brocktonucc.org
First Congregational Church of Lee
Facing some challenges with finances and attendance, the people of the First Congregational Church of Lee looked beyond their walls. They recognized their church was already seen as “our church” by the people of Lee. They partnered with community groups to preserve and restore local landmarks that express the history and identity of the region, including "our church". With some assistance from the Conference, they became even better at looking beyond their walls. As they did this, they saw and heard about some of the challenges faced by both members and neighbors. They became instrumental in the formation of “Berkshire Interfaith Organizing”. Focusing on transportation and food insecurity they gathered community partners for both advocacy and relief programs. Exemplary of their new vision is the recognition that the name “Fellowship Hall” was most applicable if its use were only for church members and church functions. Now they know it as the “Community Center”. So does their community.
West Concord Union Church
The West Concord Union Church (WCUC) founded the Sunday Fellowship Ministry in 1982 to welcome neighbors with developmental disabilities. Over time, this ministry has evolved and transformed the whole congregation. Today Sunday Fellowship is an ecumenical group of people of all abilities gathering twice a month for interactive worship including music, scripture stories, and crafts.
Sunday Fellowship also offers leadership for the whole congregation each year on Sunday Fellowship Sunday, as part of the Epiphany Pageant, and at special events like dances and talent shows. Some Sunday Fellowship participants join the congregation on Sunday mornings.
Sunday Fellowship has helped WCUC experience the love of God and live as the body of Christ in a fuller way. You can read more about this ministry at http://www.westconcordunionchurch.org/sunday-fellowship
West Concord is looking to help other churches plant similar ministries. Please be in touch if you are interested!
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