These two questions come up quite often when I visit churches around our Conference. Our Church’s Wider Mission Offering (OCWM) provides funding for the Conference and the national ministries of the United Church of Christ. In our Conference, 40% of the support received is given to our national ministries; 60% stays in the Conference. The following is a brief summary of ministries provided by OCWM:
At the Conference Level:
- Assistance to local churches searching for new pastors.
- Leadership training.
- Celebrate diversity without division.
- Take stands for justice and peace.
- Teach best practices for pastors and congregations.
- Nurture the formation of those discerning a call to ministry
- Provide care for pastors.
- Foster healthy and vital congregations.
- Provide resources for pastoral search committees in local churches.
- Assist congregations in the use of social media and the Internet.
- Provide ministry of reconciliation in times of church conflict.
- Provide resources of all kinds for local churches from church finances to global – ministry opportunities
- Involvement in and support of ecumenical, interfaith, and advocacy – organization in your region.
- And more!
At the Wider Church Level:
- Missionaries, working in partnership with 85 countries around the world.
- Justice and peace ministries, advocacy for human rights.
- Refugee settlement.
- Disaster preparedness and response.
- Interfaith and ecumenical dialogue.
- Creating Christian Education materials for children, youth and adults.
- Starting new churches.
- Provide resources for all aspects of congregational life.
- Care for retired pastors.
- Support educational ministries on campuses and seminaries.
- International social and economic development.
- Internet and social media communication.
- Leadership training in stewardship, evangelism and more.
“Per capita” dues are based on congregational membership and are part of our covenantal relationship. Currently, “per capita” dues are $12 per member. Some of that amount is given to support the work of our four associations while the rest helps provide the needed ‘infrastructure’ for the life of the Conference (office space, technology, programs, etc.)