Interested in mission? These are all activities that promote the mission goals of First United. Some are sponsored by outside groups but are open to all who are interested.
Community of Congregations Neighborhood Gathering, April 4. The group of congregations from Oak Park, River Forest, and Chicago’s Austin neighborhood will join for a simple meal and a program to further build unity in our community. The event is Thursday, April 4, at the Priory Campus Auditorium at Dominican University, 7200 W. Division St., River Forest. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m., and the program will start at 7:15 p.m. Religious leaders from Oak Park and Chicago’s West Side will be the hosts and guides. A $15 donation to cover the cost of the meal is suggested. RSVP to email@example.com.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days, April 4-8. Members of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship will gather with other people of faith at the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference in Washington, D.C., from Thursday-Monday, April 4-8. The theme is “Troubling the Waters for the Healing of the World.” The group’s goal is to strengthen the Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues. More information and registration instructions are available at the group’s website.
New Moms Open House, April 6. Come view the latest facilities of New Moms: The Oak Park Center and Clare Place at 206 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park. The open house will be 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 6. The center will provide program and office space, while Clare Place will offer 18 units of affordable housing. New Moms provides housing stability and a path to employment for impoverished teen mothers. Learn more at the program’s website.
Good Life Race, April 7. The Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry is among the recipients of money raised by the 38th annual Good Life Race, scheduled for the morning of Sunday, April 7. The race starts and ends at Oak Park-River Forest High School and is organized by the Oak Park Runners Club. There are 5K races for men and women, a 5K walk, a one-mile race for kids 5-12, and even a junior dash for those 5 years old and under. Beginning times for races are staggered. You can sign up to enter the race, donate, or volunteer at the group’s website.
New Moms Flower Power Project. People can make donations to sponsor gifts of flowers to young, formerly homeless mothers at New Moms. Donations will be accepted on April 7, 14, and 28 before and after church. Church School classes will plant flowers on May 5 and assemble a welcome basket for the New Moms.
Good Friday Peace Vigil, April 19. Join church members and friends to stand for peace. We will sing songs of peace and remember those who lost their lives to gun violence. Meet in front of the church at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 19.
Earth Day Week Mini Film Festival, April 22-27. If you missed the One Earth Film Festival in March, or if you want to see some films you missed, check out what’s showing at multiple locations in Chicago. Local venues are Euclid Avenue United Church of Christ, 405 S. Euclid in Oak Park, and River Forest Public Library, 735 Lathrop, which will feature films by young filmmakers, including two from River Forest schools. Films will be shown Monday through Saturday, April 22-27. You can see the whole lineup, including instructions on how to get free tickets, at the group’s website.
Community Conversation About Climate Change, April 23. The Interfaith Green Network invites the community to hear a talk from Jamie Ponce of the Chicago Climate Partnership at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at the Oak Park Public Library. The event is free, but participants are asked to register online.
Talk by journalist reporting from Palestine, April 28. Amira Haas, a Jewish author and prizewinning journalist for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, has been its correspondent in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1993. She has lived in Gaza and currently lives in Ramallah. Haas will give a talk at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the Oak Park Public Library, “Born in Israel, Living in Palestine: Dilemmas of a Jewish Journalist Covering the Apartheid State.” Her speaking tour is sponsored by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.
Fourth Sunday Offering, April 28. This month, all undesignated money in the offering plate will go to One Great Hour of Sharing, which helps with disaster relief, development programs, and hunger relief with provisions of food and clean water. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.
CROP Hunger Walk, May 5. The annual walk to raise money to fight hunger both locally and globally is the first Sunday in May, May 5. As always, walkers will convene at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St. in Oak Park. Sign-in time starts at 1 p.m., and the walk itself starts at 2 p.m. It’s the 36th annual walk run by Hunger Walkathon West and will cover 4.2 miles, with an optional shorter distance of 2.6 miles. CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by religious groups, businesses, schools, and others to raise funds to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world. Look for the CROP Hunger Walk sign in the church lounge in March and April. You can volunteer, sponsor a walker, or sign up to walk yourself. It’s also not too early to make a donation online. Find out more at the Hunger Walkathon West website or on their Facebook page. For more information, contact Joanne Despotes (firstname.lastname@example.org), (708) 209-1377. Last year Hunger Walkathon West raised $82,500. Can we beat that this year?
Environmental Advocacy Day, May 9. Illinois activists who care about saving the Earth will descend on the State Capitol Building in Springfield to talk to elected officials about ways to combat climate change through legislative action. Goals include putting Illinois on a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and cutting carbon from the power sector by 2030. There also will be an afternoon rally. Free bus transportation from around the state is sponsored by Faith in Place. A bus will leave at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, May 9, from First United to travel to Springfield. To register for the event, including bus transportation, visit the Faith in Place website about Advocacy Day 2019.
Fourth Sunday Offering, May 26. This month, all undesignated money in the offering plate will go to New Moms to support housing stability. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.
2019 Race Against Gun Violence, June 6. Strides for Peace is sponsoring a race to raise awareness of gun violence and to raise funds for groups working to save lives. The event offers an 8k race, a 5k race, a 2-mile walk, and a Tots for Peace Sprint for ages 2-10. It will start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6, in Grant Park. All contributions will be distributed to nonprofit organizations dedicated to reducing gun violence. To register for the race, visit this Strides for Peace website.
Fourth Sunday Offering, June 24. This month, all undesignated money in the offering plate will go to the anti-violence group BUILD, one of First United’s mission partners. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.