What’s New at Sojourners


Continuing to Witness for Justice

On June 13th our building was vandalized with graffiti, specifically targeting our Black Lives Matter and Rainbow banners, as well as breaking a window and other graffiti. While we are saddened by the vandalism, we remain firm in our commitment to witnessing for both racial justice and LGBTQ justice. We have been heartened by the support of neighbors and the wider faith community.

This past Sunday, June 25th, we put up our new banners and blessed them during our Sunday worship. We celebrated our annual Pride Sunday celebration and shared in a fellowship picnic following the service. Local LGBTQ activist and storyteller Jason Elliott was our speaker for the morning. His words were an inspiring reminder that one of our callings as a congregation is to be a witness for justice for all. We will continue to live into that calling.


Service & Missions Project

This spring, the United Church of Christ is supporting Church World Service’s project
to provide “period packs” (menstrual hygiene kits) to support cleanliness and health
during the menstrual cycle, for those who have difficulty obtaining such supplies.
Sojourners’ goal is to assemble 40 of these kits.

Church World Service (CWS) will donate the kits to folks who are refugees, who live in
areas or situations where water use is curtailed, or who simply cannot afford or even
locate the necessary supplies. Many persons in these situations are forced to stay home
from work or school when they have their periods.

Over several years, CWS has figured out exactly what items have proven most useful.
CWS gave away 108,390 “period packs” in 2022 alone! We have created a Signup
Genius where you can read about each item that is in the kit, and you can sign up to
provide a designated quantity of the item(s). We need you to sign up so that we don’t
wind up with too many of one item and too few of something else!

Please sign up, purchase your items, and bring them to the church by
Sunday, June 4.

We will then assemble the supplies into 40 individual kits. Pastor Karen will bring our
contribution to the UCC General Synod in late June. Any extra supplies will be donated
to The Haven; any deficiencies will be remediated by SAM (Service and Missions). If
you have any questions, please email Bev Seng. Thanks so much for your support!


PACEM Hosting

We are hosting both the men and women of PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry) for two weeks beginning February 25th. We need your help to make sure our guests are fed and cared for during their stay.

To sign up to provide main dish, side dish, or desert (or all three) for a
specific date, please follow this link to Sojourners’ own meal signup
genius: CLICK HERE

(Please DO NOT use the meal signup generated by PACEM itself, because that may
cause confusion. Service and Missions (SAM) will enter completed meals into the
PACEM-generated sign-up, so that we do not conflict with other churches that may help

To sign up to help in other ways (set up and take down, or helping in the
evenings), please CLICK HERE

Thanks for serving! ~~ SAM (Service and Missions)

While we are hosting PACEM we will not be able to gather in our sanctuary, so our Worship Ministry has come up with some creative ways for us to gather.

On Sunday, February 26th we will meet during our regular 10 AM service time at The Haven in their gorgeous sanctuary. There is street parking as well as a nearby garage for parking. Two-hour parking validation is available for the Water Street garage. Ocean Aiello and Anna Mendez from The Haven will be our speakers that day. We will also livestream this service on Zoom & Facebook.

On March 5th, if weather permits, we will gather in person only at Belmont Park during our regular 10 AM service time. We will decide the Sunday before based on the projected weather forecast. Street parking is available, but you may consider parking at the church and carpooling over to the park. Bring a chair or blanket to sit. If the weather is not conducive, we will be on Zoom and Facebook live only for that day, no in person gathering.


Book Drive

Our Service and Missions Ministry (SAM) is sponsoring a book drive to benefit Abundant Life Ministry, located in the Prospect Street area. They have been tutoring elementary aged students in reading for many years. Over the years, the books have become worn, so they are seeking new or gently used copies of a specific list of books. SAM has placed a box in the Narthex, along with the list of requested books. Books will be collected through February 19.

You can read more about Abundant Life Ministry on their website.

These are the requested books:

Books for younger children
Elephant and Piggie books – Mo Willems
Flat Stanley books – Jeff Brown
Splat the Cat books – Rob Scotton
Zoe and Sassafras series – Asia Citra
I Can Read series, particularly Level 2 books about superheroes
Popular Graphic Novels
Wings of Fire graphic novel series – Tui Sutherland
Magic Tree House graphic novels
Miles Morales series – Justin Reynolds
Bailey School Kids graphic novels
I Survived graphic novels – Laura Tarsis
Simon and Chester detective series -Cale Atkinson
Dragon Kingdom series – Jordan Quinn
Bad Guys series – Aaron Blabey
Cardboard Kingdom series – Chad Sell
The Okay Witch series – Emma Steinkeller
Pizza and Taco series – Stephen Shaskin
Swim Team – Johnnie Christmas
Allergic – Megan Wagner Lloyd
Antihero – Kate Karyus Quinn
Twins – Valerie Johnson
Chapter Books
Ellray Jakes series – Sally Warner
Dyamonde Daniel series – Nikki Grimes
Jada Jones series – Kelly Lyons
Nikki and Deja series – Karen English
The Dragon Thief series – Zetta Elliott
Mia Mayhem series – Kara West
Press Start series – Thomas Flintham


Christmas Project – Toiletry Kits

For many years, Sojourners has provided Christmas gifts–hygiene kits, greeting cards, stationery, stamps and pencils—for incarcerated women at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. This year, the Seeking and Sharing Group sponsored the project. Our goal was to provide 200 hygiene kits. Our final count was 287 kits plus 2 boxes of stationary!

This Christmas gift program started in 1998 when the correctional center opened. It is sponsored through GraceInside and supported entirely by donations.

WHY? Although indigent women are provided basic supplies, they are the size of hotel samples, must last 30 days, and are poor quality. Items that can be purchased on commissary are expensive and often of inferior quality, “bottom of the barrel”, said one chaplain. Many cannot afford to buy commissary items, Those who work are paid about 27 to 80 cents an hour, so most would have to work weeks to buy what our kit provides. So, these Christmas gifts are treasured by the residents, and it is our privilege to “visit those in prison” through this ministry.


RIP Medical Debt

Our congregation recently completed a successful medical debt relief campaign. With the help of the congregations in the Catoctin Association, we raised $24,660, abolishing $2,466,445.45 in medical debt for 2,345 families in West Virginia. You can read more about our campaign and s similar campaign in Texas in this article from the UCC News.