At Unity, we acknowledge that God’s mission is our mission. God’s plan is our plan. Everything we do begins and ends with (and is sustained by) prayer. In the cycle of action and reflection, we take time to constantly ask, “How does this mission take part in God’s unfolding kingdom in this place and with these people?”
But there’s also room for action. As Christians, we are compelled not just to talk about how great the Kingdom of Heaven would look, but take measured actions to help bring it about. As we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we also discern together with the Body of Christ what part God means for us to do.
And since we cannot do this all on our own, we actively seek to partner with those people God sends our way.
“No Strings Attached”
This successful program is a collaboration of several organizations in the Cedar Valley. The dream is to live into our collective calling to nurture and sustain student leaders in the community through musical instruction. In every class, we remind students that: 1. they are loved, 2. they belong, and 3. they can do great things.
These students are 4th and 5th graders at Kittrell Elementary School, which has been a Partner in Education with Unity Presbyterian Church (and previously Immanuel Presbyterian Church) for decades. NSA is an after-school string education class that meets on Wednesdays in Kittrell’s music room, art room, and media center during the school year. Students learn violin, viola, or cello, taught by Rev. Kaplunas and 2-3 assistant teachers. The instruments are provided free-of-charge by Waterloo Community Schools. The funding for instrument repair and the hiring of assistant teachers was provided through a grant from the North Central Iowa Presbytery and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s DREAM Grant. Instrument repair is completed by House of Violins in Cedar Falls. Thanks to this enormous support, and the dedicated volunteer hours from members of Unity Presbyterian Church, we are able to offer a full year of instruction for only $20 total, making music lessons affordable for many families.
In the spring of 2016, we were thrilled to work with 43 student musicians at Kittrell Elementary School. Enrollment in 2017 has reached a more sustainable level of 32 students. Read more about us in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
There are opportunities to volunteer with this program, either through small-group and individual music instruction, or assistance with logistical work. Contact the mission committee or Rev. Kaplunas at Unity for more information (319-234-4291 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Northeast Iowa Food Bank
Unity partners with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in several ways:
- We regularly donate food items and toiletries based on monthly requests by the food bank.
- We volunteer one Saturday morning per month to volunteer to pack boxes of food for seniors. These boxes are distributed through Meals on Wheels.
- We also volunteer once per month to distribute Meals on Wheels to local seniors.
Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Every year, we participate in the work of the larger Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) through special offerings:
- The Peacemaking Offering is distributed among local congregations (25%), presbyteries and synods (25%), and the General Assembly (50%) for peacemaking efforts. The offering is received on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October.
- One Great Hour of Sharing: Since 1949, the OGHS Offering has helped people in need around the world. The offering supports Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Self-Development of People, and the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
- The Pentecost Offering: Congregations are encouraged to retain 40% of the Pentecost Offering for local work with children at risk (we contribute our 40% to “No Strings Attached”). The remaining 60% is shared among ministries with youth and young adults, young adult mission volunteers, and child advocacy.
- The Christmas Joy Offering has been a Presbyterian tradition for nearly 70 years. It’s proceeds benefit active and retired workers of the church in times of need and also support the work of racial ethnic Presbyterian schools and colleges.
We are also proud to pay our per capita every year to the larger denomination, supporting mission on a local and global scale. If you’d like to learn more, visit the North Central Iowa Presbytery website, Synod of the Lakes and Prairies website, or the Presbyterian Mission Agency website.
Other Local Missions
Every year, we partner with Waterloo Leisure Services in order to provide a financial gift toward the purchase of sports equipment for children who need assistance. In 2015, we donated $420.00 toward the purchase of baseball gloves. In 2016, we donated $285.00 toward the purchase of beginner golf clubs.