Mission Endowment Fund
Joan Norris and her husband, Tom, were long-time members of the United Church of Byron. Joan was a homemaker and a loving mother to their three children and also worked as a kindergarten aid. Joan and Tom were married in 1951, having tied the knot shortly after Tom returned from serving in the Navy. Joan is remembered as an impeccably attired, stylish woman who had a passion for family, playing bridge, and enjoying potlucks. Tom established this fund to honor the memory of his wife and to provide opportunities for all ages to participate in local, regional, and international missions.
Every Wednesday evening the United Church of Byron Meal Ministry organizes a dinner to go out to shut-ins in the Byron community. Sign up to bring a main dish, vegetable, or dessert to participate in this way of connecting and re-connecting with people in our community.
St. Vincent DePaul
Our church works closely with the good leadership at the St. Vincent De Paul Society to provide for the local needs of indigent folk in our community. We have participated in the Walk for the Poor with walkers and a rest stop here at the United Church, made regular donations, taken special offerings, and have one of our Mission Committee members sitting on their governing board.
Youth Mission Trips
Each year our Senior High Youth Group (SHYG) takes a mission trip to a national location. The past two years they went to Pipestem, West Virginia. and Memphis, Tennessee.
Adult Mission Trips
Once every two years or so, a group of adults from our church take mission delegations to a national location of need. For three years, adults took missions to places affected by Hurricane Katrina. This past year, Sue Winterton and Meredith Townsend took a delegation to Heifer and Church World Service in Arkansas.
Local Food Pantries
People Helping People is the food pantry in Byron. Our church regularly develops a friendly competition to meet the needs at the food pantry, has youth that help organize the food pantry, and takes offerings to support the work of the food pantry.
Bread of Life Food Pantry in Stillman Valley is headquartered in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Youth and adults work to stock shelves, act as “shoppers” for and with clients, and to help with carry out. This is part of who we are as the United Church of Byron–acting both as leaders and as “team players” with other individuals and faith communities.
Using a historical link through the Illinois Conference, our congregation partnered with Spring Creek UCC in Rockford to take a youth and young delegation to Chiapas, Mexico. There we learned the realities of immigration and trade policies and the effect they have on the people of Chiapas. We learned of the critical UCC presence in Chiapas and how it has helped to midwife peace and reconciliation working with the people of Chiapas. We began the work on a medical clinic, used UCC funds through a Neighbors in Need grant to get things started, and were excited by the advent of a furthering of the relationship by medical personnel from the Rockford area.
Our congregation raised money, brick by brick, to build a school in Jacmel, Haiti. Specific members of our church have taken medical delegations, and we have had visits from the spiritual leadership in Jacmel. Our Sunday School has also supported individual children in the Jacmel community.
Our church is 5 for 5!
We tithe regularly from our annual church budget to give to Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) to support the wider church and we give to the four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ: One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), Strengthen the Church, Neighbors in Need, and the Christmas Fund.