Here are some of the ministries that our church supports:
The Lord's Pantry of Downingtown
Our members regularly support the work of the Lord's Pantry in Downingtown. Food donations are collected throughout the year and especially during our Harvest Home Celebration services. We are also active participants in the annual Downingtown CROP Walk, which raises funds to combat both local and global food insecurity.
W.C. Atkinson Men's Shelter
The Atkinson Shelter is located in Coatesville, PA and provides emergency and transitional shelter to residents of Chester County who are homeless and capable of substantial self-care. For more than 12 years, our congregation has been supplying home cooked meals to residents of the shelter. Volunteers are divided into teams and work together in donating, preparing and serving nutritious meals to the 20-25 men residing at the shelter.
Home of the Sparrow
This local agency provides housing and other supportive services to homeless and low-income women who want to improve their lives and become self-sufficient. St. Paul's has supported Home of the Sparrow by donating Christmas gifts, backpacks for the back-to-school campaign, and sending teams of volunteers to paint rooms for residents.
Bethany Children's Home
Bethany Home, a mission of the UCC, has been serving youth in Pennsylvania since 1863. More than 300 youth who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned are taking back their lives each year at Bethany Children’s Home. On a 385 acre, tree-lined scenic campus in the heart of Womelsdorf, PA these young people heal from their traumas as they live under the nurturing care of house parents in a safe, family environment. St. Paul's supports Bethany with a special offering each year, as well as with special support for programs such as Helping Hands, through which Bethany is providing care for immigrant and refugee children while their families in the U.S. are located.
Habitat for Humanity
In 2009 St. Paul's joined a coalition of local churches to build a home for Habitat for Humanity in West Chester. Affordable housing remains a serious concern in Chester County.
Locally we partner with the churches of the Lionville-Exton Ministerium to maintain an emergency fund for people who need assistance with utility payments, rent or mortgage payments, medical bills, etc. As a member congregation of the United Church of Christ, we regularly respond to international disasters and other vital needs through One Great Hour of Sharing , through which we are able to provide help in more than 138 countries worldwide.
Our Church's Wider Mission
Through Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM) the United Church of Christ works in cooperation with other denominations assisting the poor and suffering at home and abroad. The congregation of St. Paul's joins in partnership with every congregation in the whole UCC in our own country and around the world including churches in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific.
Money given by congregations throughout the United States funds local, nation-wide and global ministries with approximately 50% of offerings from our regional UCC congregations staying in the local area. The funds support the many ministries in Chester County, as well as Montgomery, Berks, Philadelphia, Delaware and Bucks Counties. The remainder of the money is shared within the global community.
We strive to set aside 10% of our annual budgeted income to fund the activities of the OCWM including natural disaster relief, war relief, efforts to stop the spread of epidemics, aid to distressed areas, educational support, as well as peace-making efforts, and initiatives to end racial and economic injustices.