Christmas will certainly look different this year and we are all struggling to maintain the traditions that give us meaning while considering the health and safety for those around us. With the absence of in-person Christmas Eve worship services we hope that each of you will also take part in our Special Mission Offering.

This year our offering is designated to United Church Camps, Inc. (UCCI) to support the Keep the Fires Burning campaign with a fundraising goal of $400,000. Make no mistake; our camps will depend on the success of this campaign to sustain themselves through this winter. The pandemic has put unmanageable financial strain on our camps. No camping fees have been collected which results in immeasurable lost revenue. Staff have been furloughed and/or laid off. To ensure their survival, UCCI has placed every option on the table including the sale of land and buildings. The Board, Directors and Executive Committee are working hard to make a way forward in what is probably the most dire financial situation that UCCI has ever encountered.

Many of us participate in one or more camps every year and we are blessed by the opportunities, facilities and staff through Pilgrim Center, Moon Beach and Cedar Valley. Now more than ever, UCCI needs you to contribute generously. First Congregational has a total of $10,000 in funds available to match donations. The donation will then be double-matched by generous donors directly to the camps. This means your donation to our Special Christmas Offering will be quadruple-matched. Please strongly consider a donation so we can ensure the future of our camps.

If you regularly attend camp but did not this year, we challenge you to make a donation at or above your normal camping fee. If you are willing to make a larger donation and would like more information, please visit UCCI’s website ( or reach out to Pastor Nick as he is on the Board of Directors and would love to the chance to speak with you during this critical time.

Thank you for hearing this plea in a season where we are all stretched thin. May God bless your home richly this season, and may God move us to trust in the generosity of the love of the Christ child now and forever.

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