Interested in learning about new opportunities to help others? 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. You can volunteer for an ongoing effort or you can get a taste of trying something new.
Potluck dinner to learn about Colombia, June 2. Church members and friends have the opportunity to meet with and listen to Milton Mejia, general secretary of the Latin American Council of Churches, and Bishop Athaulpa Hernández of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Colombia. They will give an update on the Colombian peace process, which has stalled. The potluck dinner will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at the home of Mary Sue Voth and also is sponsored by the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America. Guests are asked to bring an appetizer or dessert, and a drink to share is welcome as well. RSVP to Lois Thiessen Love (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get the address.
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.
Housing Forward Feast for Good, June 6. Housing Forward, one of First United’s mission partners, is sponsoring a moveable feast fundraiser at several Forest Park restaurants on Madison Street from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6. Guests have a choice of three feasting options. Forward for Family is a feasting path solely for our families! Visit The Junction Diner for dinner then head over to Brown Cow Ice Cream for dessert. Feast Forward is more of a traditional progressive dinner feel. Diners will experience a three-course meal at three different spots. Forward for A Few invites diners to pop into some of Madison Street’s favorite watering holes to enjoy a pint and snacks. Tickets of $65 for adults and $20 for children are available at this link.
BUILD Do-Good-A-Palooza, June 11. The anti-violence group BUILD will raise money to support art, music, and educational programs for the students it serves. The event will be at Lagunitas Brewery, 2607 W. 17th St. in Chicago, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 11. A $25 entry fee covers food. $5.44 of each $6 drink purchased will go to programs run by BUILD. Tickets are available at this link.
Walk for Justice, June 15. The Interfaith Action Group on Peace and Justice in Israel and Palestine will sponsor a Walk for Justice on Saturday, June 15, starting at Euclid Avenue Methodist Church, 405 S. Euclid Ave. in Oak Park. There will be an interfaith service at 11 a.m., a Solidarity Walk to Unity Temple, 875 Lake St., at noon, and a Middle Eastern and Mexican lunch at 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Free advocacy training, June 19. Restore Justice Illinois will offer a session on advocacy training at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, 5114 S. Elizabeth St. in Chicago. Although the group focuses on criminal justice reform, the skills addressed in this training are applicable to all justice work. For more information, contact Jobi Cates (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fourth Sunday Offering, June 23. 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.
Nonviolence training, June 24. “The Courage of Nonviolence” is the theme of a training session from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, June 24, at the Institute of Nonviolence Chicago, 819 N. Leamington Ave. The session is for those who want to learn how to mediate gun violence in your community or even conflicts between your family and friends. Ashley Perkins, director of nonviolence programs at the institute, invites all those who are part of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, of which First United is a member, to participate in the training session as part of building Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beloved Community. There is no admission fee, but donations are appreciated. RSVP to email@example.com.
Free public issues forum on inequality, June 27. The Interfaith Coalition Against Racism is sponsoring a public issues forum featuring Rush University physician and social epidemiologist David Ansell, MD, MPH. He will discuss the nationwide epidemic of health inequality between rich and poor that is analyzed in his book, The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills. The program is at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 27, in the Buchanan Chapel of Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m., and refreshments will be available at 5:30 p.m. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will offer an introduction. No RSVP is necessary, and discount parking is available. For more information, contact Chicagoicar@gmail.com.
Plastic-free July. Faith in Place is asking people to stop using single-use plastic for a month. Go plastic-free/low plastic for the month of July to cut down the amount of plastic waste and to make people more aware of their plastic use. Tips and details are available at this link. Faith in Place is a Chicago-area organization working with churches and other religious communities on environmental issues.
Or pick your own month and take part in the Sally Stovall Memorial Plastic-Free Summer Challenge, through August 30. Go plastic-free/low plastic for at least 30 days this summer, now through August 30. In memory of Sally Stovall, an Oak Park environmental activist who was co-founder of Green Community Connections and who died in May, the group is asking individuals, families, teams, and school groups to choose 30 days out of the summer to go plastic-free/low plastic. Don’t be overwhelmed by how impossible it seems. Habits formed may last long after the challenge is over. There’s more information, including practical tips, at this link. Afterward, you can register for a chance to win zero-waste prizes at this link.
Summer screening: A Plastic Ocean, July 1. Learn more about how to go plastic-free/low plastic by watching the documentary A Plastic Ocean: We Need a Wave of Change at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 1, at Euclid Avenue Methodist Church, 405 S. Euclid Ave. In the film, journalist Craig Leeson discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. He and an international team of scientists and researchers travel to 20 locations around the world over four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect. Discussion will follow the screening. You can make a reservation with Richard Alton of Green Community Connections and the Interfaith Green Network (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Volunteers needed to set up Sojourner House, week of July 22. Housing Forward is looking for help in setting up House-to-Home kits for the five units of Sojourner House in Oak Park. The new project will be the only one of its kind in Cook County that provides immediate temporary housing for families with minor children, people with physical limitations, and those who need care after a hospital stay. Eight to 10 people, available on weekdays, are needed to help set up the kitchen, organize household items, make beds, etc. The date is approximate right now, but volunteers are likely needed the week of July 22. Those interested can contact Lynn Raducha ( ), 262-995-9390. Sojourner House is a partnership of Housing Forward (one of First United’s mission partners), the Oak Park Housing Authority, the Oak Park Residence Corporation, and MacNeal Hospital.
Fourth Sunday Offering, July 28. This month, all undesignated money in the offering plate will go to scholarships for children attending First United Church Nursery School. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.
Wild Ones Native Garden Tour, Aug. 10. Learn firsthand about how to begin or how to add more native plants to your home garden that will benefit the full ecosystem. Native gardens are beautiful islands of biodiversity that meet many conservation goals by preserving clean water, reducing energy consumption, sequestering carbon, eliminating pesticides, and providing essential habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and threatened pollinators. Interfaith Green Network is co-sponsoring a Wild Ones Native Garden Tour from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave. in River Forest. Tickets are available at this link.
Fourth Sunday Offering, Aug. 25. This month, all undesignated money in the offering plate will go Cluster Tutoring, one of First United’s mission partners, which provides one-to-one volunteer tutoring for students from Chicago’s Austin community. Look for the designated Fourth Sunday Offering envelopes in the bulletin the week before the Fourth Sunday Offering.