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.
Indoor Winter Farmers Market, Jan. 11. 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. This European-style market will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Sugar Beet Community Building, 445 S. Oak Park Ave. All Link/SNAP customers can double their purchases of fruits and vegetables up to $25. More information is available from Green Community Connections, the Interfaith Green Network, and Faith in Place.
Waging Peace meeting, Jan. 15. The anti-violence group Waging Peace invites anyone interested in fighting the tragedy of gun violence to a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at First United. The meeting is open to all who want to reduce and prevent gun violence, support common-sense gun laws, and support responsible gun ownership. Come learn about upcoming opportunities for action.
Fourth Sunday Offering, Jan. 19. Each month, all undesignated money in the offering plate goes to a specific beneficiary supported by First United, often one of our mission partners. This month’s Fourth Sunday Offering on Jan. 19 (collected this month on the third Sunday instead) will benefit the PADS Emergency Overnight Shelter housed each Monday night at First United. This is done by volunteers under the direction of Housing Forward, one of First United’s mission partners. The PADS program provides overnight shelter for up to 60 guests. Dinner, breakfast, and sack lunches are provided. Besides making a donation, consider volunteering to help on a Monday evening or Tuesday early morning. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.
Martin Luther King Day Faith in Action assembly, Jan. 20. The Community Renewal Society is sponsoring a “We Are the Ones” assembly and service to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. Registration begins at 8 a.m. The event, featuring a worship service at 8:45 a.m. and community forum, runs until noon at
United Power for Action and Justice meeting, Jan. 21. United Power, a nonpartisan community organization composed of 40 religious congregations, nonprofit groups, hospitals, health centers, and civic organizations from across Cook County, will hold its first meeting of the year at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Agape Chapel, 3827 W. Ogden. Topics will include building new homes on the West and South Sides of the city, reducing incarceration of people with mental illness, and reducing gun violence. To carpool, contact Lois Thiessen Love (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Community of Congregations Annual Dinner and Community Gathering, Jan. 27. The Community of Congregations, an interfaith organization serving the Oak Park and River Forest communities as well as communities in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and other surrounding western suburbs, is holding its annual dinner and meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at First United Methodist Church, 324 N. Oak Park Ave. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., and a suggested donation for the dinner is $15. Those wishing to attend the dinner are invited to RSVP to email@example.com.
Fourth Sunday Offering, Feb. 23. Each month, all undesignated money in the offering plate goes to a specific beneficiary supported by First United, often one of our mission partners. This month’s Fourth Sunday Offering on Jan. 23 will benefit the pastoral services emergency fund. These are discretionary funds given as needed by the church pastoral staff to people facing personal emergencies. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.
Empty Bowls Community Dinner, Feb. 28. Join friends and neighbors in the community at the annual soup dinner to fight hunger, both locally and around the world. Ceramic bowls are handmade by students at Oak Park-River Forest High School, and for the price of admission, each attendee picks a bowl and gets soup donated by several local restaurants. The meal is eaten communally in the high school cafeteria. At the end of the evening, participants take the bowl home as a unique reminder of the issue of worldwide hunger. Among the beneficiaries are Beyond Hunger and Housing Forward, two of First United’s mission partners. The dinner is 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at OPRF High School, 201 N. Scoville Ave., Oak Park. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children and students with ID.
One Earth Film Festival, March 6-15. See films about saving the planet at 48 events in March at the 9th annual One Earth Film Festival. Films about climate change and fighting for the environment will be offered at more than 40 locations throughout Chicago, including venues in Oak Park and River Forest, such as the Oak Park Public Library and the Thatcher Woods Pavilion in River Forest. The theme for this year’s festival is “The Power of We,” reminding everyone of the need for collective action: that the environmental movement needs more people to work together for the greater good. Some of the films shown are winners of the Young Filmmakers Contest. Most films will be shown for free, although an $8 donation is suggested. For more information about the films offered, including information about specific films, where they’ll be shown, and how to order tickets, visit the One Earth Film Festival website.