“Love is the Spirit of this Church”

The Theme of Heritage Outreach Collections

Part I

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

For more than the past decade, the collections taken during our weekly Sunday services and week-following on-line contributions have been donated to worthy causes that represent Heritage’s theme of “Love is the Spirit of This Church.” The recipients of that love are sometimes suggested by members and sometimes are ones in the forefront of providing assistance in times of disaster, war, and other calamities. As a reminder of how much these contributions mean to the recipients, it seems appropriate to review a few of the recipients who have obtained multiple bequests of Heritage’s love and kindness. 

Among these organizations, we donate one week per month to Inter Parish Ministry (IPM) who provides food to needy families in Eastern Hamilton County and all of Clermont County. Over the past several years, IPM has seen a huge increase in the food needs of families. The Heritage gifts aid IPM in meeting that need.

The Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN, now known as Found House) has been a semi-regular recipient of monetary gifts from Heritage. This organization provides temporary food and shelter for those forced into homelessness. In addition to our monetary donations, a number of Heritage people have volunteered at IHN.

The Barton Center for Diabetes Education, Inc. has received donations from Sunday collections as well as from our Clara Barton Guild. This organization provides support to insulin dependent children through education, recreation, and other support services. Central to this effort is a camping experience for these children.

On at least three occasions, our Sunday outreach collections have been forwarded to Doctors Without Borders. This group provides medical and mental health services to locations around the world that are facing major life and death challenges. Just one example was the Ebola outbreak in the Republic of the Congo.

The Civic Garden Center, an organization that was close to the heart of the late HUUC member Connie Booth, has received multiple donations from Heritage. Located on Reading Road, the center offers families and individuals the opportunity to give back to their community through the love of gardening. Individuals are taught to care for the earth and to grow their own food with the support and knowledge of persons like Connie.

America Cares was a benefactor of our outreach during the years following the horrific earthquake in Haiti. Their response to us was to simply say, “You helped us save lives.” Also in response to the disaster, Heritage sent contributions to the American Red Cross. They responded that our gift “made it possible to help disaster victims with critical needs such as shelter, food, and relief supplies.”

Heritage has had a long involvement with Habitat for Humanity. Many volunteers from the church have participated in builds and we have forwarded several outreach collections to support those efforts. One such effort was in Madisonville where help was afforded for the construction of a new home. Financial support from a collection benefitted this effort.

Another recipient of multiple donations has been Lighthouse Youth and Family Services. These gifts from the Heritage family have enabled Lighthouse to “help a teenager find emergency shelter and for young adults to learn life skills.” Lighthouse deeply believes that young people can make positive changes in their lives.

The most frequent recipients of Heritage outreach collections, other than IPM/Found House, have been the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The UUSC is a human rights organization dedicated to the protection of basic human rights. They have been responsible for the Guest at Your Table Christmas program. They provide support to refugees worldwide. They have given assistance during the Ebola outbreak in East Africa, worked to rebuild communities in the Philippines after a devastating typhoon, and provided permanent water resources to drought stricken areas of the world. Well over a dozen donations have been forwarded to the UUSC from the Heritage family.

The UUA has also received many generous donations from Heritage. This organization provides congregational life support, the development of lifespan religious education, ministry and professional leadership credentialing, ministerial search and settlement services, social justice resources and advocacy, youth and young adult programming, and provides UU publications including UU World. Some of the Heritage donations to the UUA have gone toward Kentucky flood relief, support of the Knoxville congregation after their church shooting, and contributing to the “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign.

All of the organizations listed above have been the recipients of multiple donations from Heritage. However, many worthwhile groups have been the target of that generosity on just one or two occasions. A selection of those groups will be highlighted in the July Heirloom.

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