Interested in learning about new opportunities to help others? These are activities that promote the mission goals of First United. Some are sponsored by outside groups but are open to all who are interested. You can volunteer for an ongoing effort or get a taste of trying something new.
Sing-Along Messiah to benefit Housing Forward, Dec. 1. Join other singers for a great holiday tradition. The First United Methodist Church of Oak Park and Housing Forward will host a Sing-Along Messiah at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. at First United Methodist Church, 324 N. Oak Park Ave. Come and sing or just listen to the music from the beloved seasonal classic by the German Baroque composer George Frederic Handel. Scores will be available for purchase, or you can bring your own score. A goodwill offering will go to benefit Housing Forward, one of First United’s mission partners.
Alternative Christmas Store, Advent Sundays. Rethink gift giving by shopping to help others on Advent Sundays at First United’s Alternative Christmas Store. Find beautiful items from around the world, from small ornaments to scarves. Consumable favorites include dry ingredients for soup, fair trade chocolate and coffee, and Palestinian olive oil. Among the groups that benefit are Church World Service, SERVV International, and the church’s Mission Partners. The store will have items available in the church Lounge on Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22 before and after worship.
Indoor Winter Farmers Market, Dec. 7. Support local farmers and eat healthy this winter! Enjoy a wide range of seasonal, sustainably produced produce and other goods from local farmers and vendors at this indoor market. Available items may include winter produce, honey, meat, eggs, baked goods, breads, salsa, and more. The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Grace Lutheran Church and School, 7300 Division St., River Forest. All Link/SNAP customers can double their purchases of fruits and vegetables up to $25. More information is available from the Interfaith Green Network and Faith in Place.
Interfaith Green Network meeting, Dec. 10. Join with 15 other local congregations as they plan and implement campaigns that deal with the climate emergency, food waste, single-use plastic, and other environmental sustainability issues. The monthly meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest.
Candlelight Vigil to End Gun Violence and Celebrate Hope, Dec. 15. The victims, survivors, and families impacted by gun violence are often forgotten. Local Congregations for Peace, including First United Church of Oak Park, will join the annual national vigil service of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America. The vigil is sponsored by St Catherine-St. Lucy Parish, Moms Demand Action Oak Park-Austin, Waging Peace of First United Church of Oak Park, Congregations Committed to Peace, Gun Responsibility Advocates, and the Ascension Peace and Justice Committee. The children’s choir of St. Catherine-St. Lucy School will lead the group in songs of hope and peace. Join us at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Catherine-St. Lucy Parish at the corner of Washington and Austin boulevards in Oak Park.
Songs of Remembrance and Reflection, Dec. 21. The Notes for Peace Project and the Negaunee Music Institute will sponsor a free concert featuring original songs written by parents who have lost a loved one to gun violence. The concert, featuring musicians from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, guest vocalists, and teaching artists, will be 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Austin Town Hall Park and Cultural Center, 5610 W. Lake St., Chicago. To find out more about these groups, visit their websites: Notes for Peace Project, Negaunee Music Institute.
Fourth Sunday Offering, Dec. 22. This month, all undesignated money in the offering plate will go to the benefit of Syrians who are displaced from their homes inside Syria, and to the schools provided by the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon for Syria refugee children living in camps inside Lebanon. Both are administered by NESSL. Displaced families need help with heating fuel for their homes, food, and housing costs during cold winter months. Without the help from NESSL global partners from Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, they suffer greatly and many begin the difficult and dangerous process of trying to emigrate to another country. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.