Working together locally, nationally, and internationally is a priority at Carbondale FCC. We support a variety of projects with our time, talents, and monetary and non-monetary donations. There are always opportunities to get involved with any of these efforts for members and non-members alike.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Our Prayer Shawl Ministry began in 2001 with a few inspired women and grew over the years to include so many more, including some of our children! We have given out more than 150 prayer shawls to friends inside and outside of our congregation, over 250 caps to Carbondale school children and another 134 to tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri, and countless chemo caps to the Cancer Center in Carbondale. We’ve made caps and blankets for the Women’s Center and sweaters for children overseas. The Prayer Shawl Ministry meets every week on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. in the church entryway. Many folks crochet and some knit and all are willing to share knowledge and patterns to those who wish to learn. This is vital and growing ministry that reaches out to touch others with care and warmth. You can support our efforts by purchasing our pretty cotton washcloths available at the Carbondale Neighborhood Co-op or come join us!
For over 40 years, the Carbondale Interfaith Council has worked “to make God’s love visible in our community by fostering interfaith cooperation, sharing religious experiences, engaging in service, discovering unity while respecting our differences, and speaking with courage and strength for justice.”
The Carbondale Interfaith Council started from a Jan. 5, 1971 meeting of First Christian Church members with other Carbondale Christian Churches to study “A Plan of Union for The Church of Christ Uniting,” encouraged by the Council on Christian Unity, a mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As a result of that study, the Carbondale Interchurch Council was formed on May 11, 1971. The Council originally promoted activities among Carbondale’s protestant Christian Churches.
Soon the Council worked together to create new shared missions such as support for the Carbondale Women’s Center, starting the Spirit of Christmas Project (1972), taking over the Transient Aid program from the Carbondale Ministerial Association (1974), Trick or Treat for UNICEF (1975), and participating in joint worship services for Thanksgiving, Good Friday, and World Wide Communion Sunday. The Council established the community Food Bank in 1983 and in 1985 established a homeless shelter for men, Good Samaritan Ministries.
In 1986 the Council held a series of public forums on issues facing churches. In 1987 the Council joined with the Hillel Foundation and St. Andrews Episcopal Church to begin the Jewish-Christian Conversations. The Conversations later invited the Islamic community to the discussions and then invited the Jewish and Islamic faiths to join the Interchurch Council. The Roman Catholic Church had also joined the Interchurch Council. This was soon followed by a name change to the Carbondale Interfaith Council. The Conversations continue and are now known as the Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogues.
The Carbondale Interfaith Council is one of the oldest such faith community organizations in the US. They continue cooperating in missions, sharing faith stories, and joining with each other to embrace and celebrate our diversity.
Church Women United Sale to Fight World Hunger
Held each year in April, this sale and auction supports several local and worldwide agencies that feed hungry people. Since 1975, the sale has been supported by local churches and community, raising more than $200,000. Carbondale FCC is proud to have our own Martha Ellert as a leader of this event currently held at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church.
To learn more, please visit SI Violin.
Reading Reduces Recidivism
The 3R’s (Reading Reduces Recidivism) Project is a statewide effort to build the library resources available to adult prisoners in the 26 prisons in the state of Illinois. The goal is to have prison libraries ‘adopted’ by small groups in nearby population centers. In coordination with the librarian at each prison, these local groups will collect targeted books for donation to the prisons.
The Carbondale chapter is one of six chapters in the state of Illinois. Housed at Carbondale FCC, the chapter services the Vienna Correctional Center, the Big Muddy Correctional Center, the Vandalia Correctional Center and the Harrisburg Youth Center.
The 3R’s Project arose in recognition of how the crisis in Illinois state funding affected crucial programs and libraries in state prisons. In 2002, the budget line item for library materials was removed and many prisons lost their librarians; in addition, circulation materials (distinct from legal materials, which are required by law) stagnated leaving the libraries with few up-to-date books and little recourse for replenishing them.
Other organizations we support
Carbondale FCC is also committed to having its building available for community use. We provide space for Boy and Girl Scouts, GMAMA/KFCI Illinois Division Martial Arts, Snow Monkey Martial Arts, Dance4Grandma Theatricals, and Shawnee Healthy Families.
Disciples Mission Fund
We also support the Disciples Mission Fund and Special Day Offerings on Easter, Pentecost, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Other support goes to:
- Week of Compassion is the Disciples witness in the face of natural or man-made disasters. Floods, hurricanes, fire, civil wars, poverty, disease are only a few of the challenges Week of Compassion responds to on behalf of Disciples.
- Reconciliation Ministry: For more than 40 years Disciples have had a visible ministry to address the racism in society. Gifts support programs and initiatives aimed at dismantling racism.
For more information on the Disciples Mission Fund, visit the Disciples Mission Fund website.