Our Church’s Wider Mission is the name we use to describe the work we do as the United Church of Christ beyond the local church – through our Conferences, national ministries, and UCC-related institutions. Our Church’s Wider Mission is also the name we give to the financial support given by UCC members and congregations that makes this broader mission possible.
In the United Church of Christ, we affirm that, although the congregation is the fundamental unit of mission, mission is not just local. We are connected to one another, across boundaries of neighborhood, class, race, and national border.
Our Church’s Wider Mission, often referred to simply as OCWM, has two parts:
* Basic Support
Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support provides funding for the work of UCC Conferences and for the work of the UCC’s national ministries. Each congregation decides how much of its members’ financial support it will contribute to Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support.
Congregations send their OCWM gifts to the Conference. Each Conference decides what percentage of those gifts to keep for the work of that particular Conference, and what percentage it will send to the national setting of the UCC.
Some of the National Basic Support money is used for ministries to Conferences, local churches and members, as well as for ecumenical, prophetic and missionary ministries on behalf of the UCC. Contributions from individuals to their congregations comprise the funds from which OCWM Basic Support is given to the Conferences and national ministries.
Local churches can help individuals understand the mission and work of the denomination.
* OCWM Special Support
Our Church’s Wider Mission Special Support comprises gifts to the four Special Mission Offerings in the United Church of Christ, per capita dues, and gifts that are specially designated for the Conference, national setting or UCC-related institutions.
By mandate of the General Synod, each local church receives promotional material for the four Special Mission Offerings:
One Great Hour of Sharing: Giving Help, Hope and Life
Supports partners in more than 70 countries with ministries that fund development projects, feed the victims of famine, provide services for displaced people, and respond to natural disasters. These ministries are the responsibility of Wider Church Ministries, Global Sharing of Resources. Received annually on the fourth Sunday in Lent.
Strengthen the Church: Faithfully Building the Body of Christ
Supports church growth and leadership development in the conferences and through the national offices of Local Church Ministries. Received annually on Pentecost Sunday
Neighbors in Need: Justice and Compassion Like a Mighty Stream
Supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, including ministry carried out by the Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM) and by the national offices of Justice and Witness Ministries. Received annually on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday of October.
The Christmas Fund: Remembering Those Who Serve Our Church
Provides financial aid to retired and active ministers and their surviving spouses and children who face overwhelming financial demands, a ministry carried out by the Pension Boards. Received annually on the Sunday before Christmas.