Significant annual giving is an important part of our mission. The congregation has committed itself to setting aside a substantial percentage of its income for use beyond the local church.
Sojourners gives away an amount equal to 10% of the church’s operating expenses to the United Church of Christ regionally and nationally to support the work of the denomination.
We also budget several thousand dollars each year to enable our Service & Missions Ministry (SAM) to work with our Justice & Advocacy Ministry (JAM) in providing financial support to a variety of endeavors; local, national, and international.
Recipients in 2019 include the Ojola Children’s Project, African American Teaching Fellows (a group that assists in recruiting and retaining African American teachers in Charlottesville and Albemarle), The Haven (a day shelter for the homeless that also provides housing assistance), the Urban Agriculture Association of Charlottesville (which fosters community gardens at local housing projects), the Charlottesville Coalition for Gun Violence Prevention, the Blue Ridge Are Food Bank, Virginia Organizing, and the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.
https://ccgvp.wordpress.com/ (gun violence prevention)
https://www.brafb.org/ (blue ridge area food bank)
Special Church Offerings
We collect for two special offerings sponsored by the United Church of Christ. Neighbors in Need is received in the fall and is devoted to advocacy and social justice work in the United States. One Great Hour of Sharing is received in the spring for disaster relief and development work throughout the world.
- During the worship service, the children collect food donations from the congregation which volunteers later take to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and to Clark Elementary School for its after-school program.
- There is always a box on hand for the donation of books which the Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library uses for the “Books Behind Bars” program. This program provides reading materials for those who are incarcerated across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- During the latter part of the year, the congregation collects stamps, greeting cards and stationery as well as personal care items for those incarcerated at Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Center as part of an area-wide faith community effort organized by GraceInside, Virginia’s prison chaplain service. We typically reach, or exceed, our goal of 200 toiletry kits and contribute many boxes of writing supplies for the women as well. Often some of our renters and friends of church members join us in supporting the women by bringing their contributions to the church too.
- The church provides space for Virginia Organizing to keep a box for the collection of cell phones, printer cartridges and accessories which are later recycled — it’s one of V.O.’s fundraising initiatives.
Habitat for Humanity
Over time our connections to the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville have expanded. Our involvement includes having a church family who has personally benefited from the program, a church member who works for the agency, and work crews for local Habitat projects.
One of our “traditions” at Sojourners is the annual Advent Fair. Available products vary from year to year. Examples of handmade items sold in the past include: soap, Christmas cards, pottery and knitted goods. Organic foods provided by farmers in the congregation prove quite popular. These might include locally raised organic meats or produce as well as breads and chutney. Loofahs grown at Sojourners were popular in 2013 and 2014. In addition to supporting these artisans and farmers, the Advent Fair generates income through craft sales for the Ojola Children’s Project in Kenya, Innisfree Village and GraceInside, Virginia’s prison chaplain service.