Over the last year, Grace Church’s Outreach Committee has been engaged in a lengthy process of learning about Grace’s many outreach activities. Members of the committee also had conversations with other downtown churches, service agencies as it has gathered information about unmet needs and new opportunities. On Sunday May 7, the committee made a presentation to the congregation and solicited input concerning next steps.
The presentation made by the Outreach Committee follows:Outreach Presentation on May 7, 2017
If you would like more information on the committee’s work…
The Outreach Committee’s Working Definition of Outreach.
For Grace Church and its members outreach means coordination of activities that offer members of Grace Church opportunities to experience Christian community and growth through service, ecumenical collaborations, learning, and advocacy. Outreach is an expression of our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to share the love of Christ with our neighbors and the world. Outreach involves commitments by the church through volunteers, funding, and provision of space. Outreach opportunities will respond to the needs of the community and the world and reflect the gifts and commitment of parishioners.
As the committee reflected on what it has learned, it discerned 3 main categories of activity:Direct Services. Grace Church has long supported missions in downtown Madison by providing direct funding, material goods, space, and volunteer time. Our most well-known missions relate to the men’s shelter run by Porchlight, our Food Pantry, our participation in the Madison Meals on Wheels program, and our provision of space for Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. We have recently begun a relationship with the Dane County Jail through a Tutoring Project, a collection of winter wear, and a Christmas card project. We support the Diocese of Milwaukee’s Haiti Project in Jeanette through financial contributions, child sponsorship, and hands-on mission work.Collaboration. Religious organizations serving the downtown area represent one set of partners, old and new. Organizations, such as Catholic Charities, MOSES (Madison Organizing for Strength, Equality and Solidarity) and the Homeless Services Consortium, represent yet another set of partners. Together with interested individuals, we can continue to enhance direct services to and advocacy for those we commonly serve through our collaboration. We can also create new synergies jointly offering new educational programs and public forums on topics such as social justice, racism, homelessness, and immigration and identifying actions and interventions we can embrace together to address the issues confronting our community.Advocacy. In addition to the direct services that Grace Church provides in our community, a second critical element of our outreach effort is that of Advocacy. As advocates, we educate and equip ourselves to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Our advocacy efforts include working with interfaith and ecumenical organizations like MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity) and the statewide WISDOM organizations, the Faithful Citizenship Campaign, and Church Women United. Our efforts confront unjust and discriminatory policies/laws, support equitable and merciful solutions, mobilize civic action to hold elected officials accountable to these goals, and seek to offer hope and dignity to victims of injustice and racism.