For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
Matthew 25:35-40 (NRSV)
Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church (RCLPC) has served the community for more than 180 years. Our time, talents, and financial gifts support our neighbors, near and far, through local charitable agencies, RCLPC congregational events, Blackhawk Presbytery, and our national denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Here you will find an overview of our current missions and mission partners, areas of social witness, and mission-centered fellowship and fundraising. The information in this directory came from partners’ websites, RCLPC publications, and the congregation. Please contact the Mission Outreach Ministry Team through the church office for further information.
RCLPC’s mission statement closes with these words:
We go in grace, challenged and strengthened by the Spirit to do God’s work and show God’s love in the world. We seek to look beyond our walls and beyond ourselves – to see God’s image in every face, and to serve God’s people in every place life leads us.
May this directory help to guide our steps. ~ Mission Outreach Ministry
Living Waters for the World
LWW has been a mission project of our congregation since 2015. RCLPC has partnered with Belén Presbyterian Church in Jerez, Ciudad de Refugio Presbyterian Church in La Felicidad, Monte Los Olivos Presbyterian Church in El Chico, and Padre Apla's Catholic School in Santiago, all located in Guatemala, to bring pure water and health education to their communities
(Designated Mission Funds) Living Waters for the World mission teams empower their partners to provide clean, sustainable water and health education for their communities. Living Waters for the World (LWW), a mission project of the PC(USA) for more than 20 years, serves communities that have only contaminated water available.
LWW has developed a simple, clean water filtration system that is easy to install and maintain. The systems are usually installed in public buildings, such as a church or school, and are supervised by a committee from the community. LWW also teaches people to become trainers of good health practices, without which the clean water would not be effective. LWW partners have installed and operate over 1000 clean-water systems in developing areas of the world. Over 85% of these installations continue to operate.
We are about to begin a new partnership with Familia Horizonte in La Fragua, Zacapa, Guatemala. Our partner houses an orphanage of court referred children, a school, and a mission outreach to three communities nearby. They intend the water distribution and educational outreach to assist families in building their own safety and independence, while inviting them to educate their children within their school.
You can support the LWW project by keeping team members and partners in your prayers, supporting the project's fundraisers, donating items or providing funds towards the purchase of materials, preparing teaching materials, or driving the team to and from the airport. You are invited to consider traveling to Guatemala to work with our partners to install the water system or to provide health training to those who will teach others in the community. We need new educators, hands-on installers, and planners to join our team. We look forward to this journey together to improve the lives of many, especially the children.
Learn more, volunteer for, donate to Living Waters for the World Mission Project here.
Bread for the World
God's grace in Jesus Christ moves us to help our neighbors, whether they live next door, in the next state, or on another continent. Confronting the problem of hunger can seem overwhelming. But by changing the policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live. As we write to members of Congress, we help to make our nation's laws more fair and compassionate to people in need. We can end hunger in our time.
Through Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad, we act to end hunger in our time. Each year Bread for the World invites churches across the country to take up a nationwide Offering of Letters to Congress on an issue that is important to hungry and poor people. Since 2007 the people of RCLPC have been invited to learn about hunger needs and then act by writing to their Representative and Senators. Writing materials and background information are provided in Fellowship Hall, with time available before and after services for composing hand-written letters. We mail an average of 75 letters each year. This offering typically takes place in the spring when Congress is considering legislation that will affect hungry people.
Bread for the World website.
Casa of McHenry County
(Designated Mission Funds) CASA supports and promotes court-appointed advocacy to provide abused and neglected children a voice. Every day abused and neglected children in our communities are placed in temporary foster care because their parents cannot - or will not - take care of them.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of McHenry County gives these children a voice in court so they can grow up in safe, permanent homes where they can thrive. CASA volunteers make a life-long difference for children, one child at a time. CASA of McHenry County was founded in 2005. Since then CASA has provided a voice for more than 450 children with the dedication of nearly 200 trained volunteer advocates.
With the support of local businesses, individuals, and foundations, CASA continues to grow so that every child in McHenry County's Juvenile Abuse court has a CASA.
Since CASA of McHenry County was founded, several RCLPC members have served as volunteers and as staff.
CASA of McHenry County website.
Covenant Network of Presbyterians
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians was formed in 1997 to support and encourage networking among like-minded clergy and congregations. Its mission is to strengthen the church of Jesus Christ, with the help of God's grace. The Network is called to achieve this goal by furthering the inclusion of LGBTQ persons, and by working for the unity of the PC(USA).
In 2009 RCLPC's Session approved joining the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. With this action RCLPC united with other Presbyterians in a commitment to a church as generous and just as God's grace. RCLPC also agreed to the Network's Call to Covenant Community, which includes bearing witness to Christ's love with kindness and compassion as we seek to live together with differences in perspectives, beliefs, and practices, and welcoming all whom God calls into community and leadership in God's church.
Denominational action was taken in March 2015 when a majority of the 171 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved an amendment to the church's Book of Order that describes marriage as "a unique relationship between two people, traditionally a man and a woman."
CROP Hunger Walk
CROP Hunger Walks are annual nationwide, interfaith, fundraising events that started in 1969. The McHenry County CROP Hunger Walk builds community while raising funds to end hunger in our county and around the world. 25% of the funds raised go to our local food pantries in McHenry County. The remaining 75% is distributed by Church World Service to areas of the world with the greatest hunger needs.
RCLPC members are needed to plan the annual fall walk, attend leadership meetings, participate in the walk, raise funds, and promote the walk in the community. This is a mission in which family members, young and old, can be involved.
Crop Hunger Walk website.
Crystal Lake Food Pantry
The mission of the pantry is to provide quality food to individuals and families in need.
In 1982 RCLPC and seven other churches joined together to form the Crystal Lake Food Pantry, which now numbers 22 churches. The pantry serves eligible residents who live within the boundaries of School Districts 47 and 155. It supports Northern Illinois Food Bank's "backpack" program for school children and addresses hunger throughout the County with mobile food trucks and by sharing food with 11 other area food pantries. Food is purchased from the Northern Illinois Food Bank, donated by markets, and given by churches and individuals.
RCLPC, as a board member of the Crystal Lake Food Pantry, is expected to provide, as it is able, volunteers, and food and/or monetary donations, as well as advocate for programs to end hunger. On one Wednesday each month about 20 volunteers from RCLPC and the community contribute their time to the pantry, serving approximately 50 shoppers. Volunteers have shifts between 8:30 am and 3:00 pm, assisting the clients as they make food selections, filling orders, sorting incoming donations of fresh food, and being there to provide a caring and friendly presence.
Crystal Lake Food Pantry website.
Church World Service (CWS)
Church World Service (CWS) works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world.
CWS kits are small packages of supplies assembled by volunteers and shipped to people in need both in the United States and around the world. CWS provides school kits, hygiene kits, and emergency clean-up buckets. The contents of each kit have been selected with care based on years of experience to make them as useful as possible, wherever and whenever they are sent. Toothbrushes and washcloths, notebooks and pencils, scrub brushes and laundry detergent - all provide critical help in times of emergency.
CWS School KitsFor the past several years the Mission Team has coordinated the creation of the kits. Congregation members sew the sturdy bags that hold school supplies. Both adults and children work together to collect items that are donated to create the kits, along with money to send the kits where they are needed. The completed kits are dedicated at a Blackhawk Presbytery meeting in November. The Presbytery sends them to a CWS warehouse, and the kits are shipped to those in need..
CWS Church World Service (CWS) website.
Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois
(Designated Mission Funds)
The Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois (DBNI) provides diapers for infants and children of low-income families, children and adults with disabilities, the elderly, and the sick, in an effort to improve the daily health, safety, and conditions of their lives.
DBNI is a not-for-profit organization that distributes diapers, free of charge, to people in need throughout McHenry County. The Diaper Bank was the first to be created in Illinois and is the only diaper bank in the County. DBNI currently distributes no less than 250,000 diapers a year, through direct service and through 14 McHenry County partner not-for-profit organizations. It is currently focusing on the growth of the "New Mothers Program," which offers education, support, diapers, and needed supplies to new and expectant mothers and their babies.
The RCLPC Mission Outreach Ministry conducts a diaper collection and fundraising event. Donations are always welcome at the church or can be sent to the Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois, P.O. Box 2014, McHenry, IL 60051.
Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois website.
Earth Care Congregation
In 1990 the 202nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a "Call to Restore the Creation." Congregations were invited to participate in a certification program to become an Earth Care Congregation. These congregations agree to answer the call to the human vocation of "tilling and keeping" the garden from Genesis 2:15.
Our church as been certified as an Earth Care Congregation since 2011. This certification requires the church to commit to the PC(USA) Earth Care Pledge and to care for God's earth in four categories: worship, education, facilities, and outreach.
At RCLPC we maintain and add earth-friendly practices: an energy-efficient bottle-filling station, insulating shades in the library, an energy-saving coffeemaker remote control, set-back thermostats, on-demand water heaters, motion-operated room lights, recycling, and green cleaning products. We hold an annual Green Living Fair. Adult education classes are offered during the year.
The Earth Care Team is always glad to add new members and their fresh ideas. We meet four times per year, and with the support of this church's people and its teams, we continue to be good stewards of God's world.
Earth Care Team page
Fair Trade for a Just World
RCLPC members help provide artisans and farmers around the world with the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and support their families and communities. Fair trade allows them to earn a fair price for their product, get paid in advance to ensure an ongoing source of income, have access to affordable credit, and gain a long-term trading partner. RCLPC supports fair trade through ongoing sales from the coffee, tea, and chocolate cabinet located in Fellowship Hall.
Through the Presbyterian Coffee Project, Equal Exchange is our partner and supplier of those products, as well as the coffee for the brewed pots. In 2018 Equal Exchange made a $10,023 donation to PC(USA) in return for the products PC(USA) congregations across the country purchase. Your purchases support the donation to the Presbyterian Hunger Program's relief and development work around the world. We are always glad to order your favorite products; just leave a note on the cart with your request. The products are self-serve, with directions provided.
Zatoun olive oil is also available in Fellowship Hall. Its purchase supports the farmers of Palestine in the struggle for their livelihood and land. A share of the proceeds helps support Project Hope, an arts and education program for young people in Palestine, and an additional amount goes to replant olive trees in Palestine that have been destroyed by the occupation.
Each fall since 2006 we have hosted an annual Global Gift Shop. Products are crafted responsibly, using sustainable natural resources and often recycled materials. Artisans and farmers work in safe environments, send their children to school, and save for the future with the reliable income earned through fair trade. When we purchase fair trade products, we give people a fair chance at opportunity.
Equal Exchange website.
Good Samaritan Ministry
(Designated Mission Funds)
Good Samaritan's mission is to aid those who are less fortunate by offering services and financial support to help those in need get back on their feet and start more productive, more joyful lives.
The ministry, located in Crystal Lake, is dedicated to helping those who need assistance to pay for rent, utilities, or medical supplies. Money is also available for gas or car insurance to enable clients to get to medical appointments or to search for employment. Applications can be made three mornings a week at Bethany Lutheran Church. Volunteers are trained to process the applications, then payments are made to the landlord or the utility company. Of the total Good Samaritan budget, 98% goes directly to fulfilling clients' needs.
Approximately 30 percent of Good Samaritan Ministry's funding comes from member churches. RCLPC is one of the founding churches of this ministry and continues to have a liaison on the Good Samaritan Ministry Board.
Good Samaritan Ministry website.
Independence Health & Therapy
(Designated Mission Funds)
Family Alliance and Adult & Child Therapy Services both have long histories of helping others achieve independence. They have merged together as one organization to continue and expand that mission, serving many ages and needs within the community.
Family Alliance provides comprehensive healthcare services to the adult population in McHenry County and surrounding areas. The organization offers a wide program of services aimed at enhancing the quality of life for not only their clients, but for the families as well through their adult day health and primary care services, behavioral health and counseling, memory care and respite program, and support groups.
Adult & Child Therapy Services (ACTS) offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services to children and seniors. ACTS is one of the few clinics in the area that provides free developmental screenings for children ages 0-3 and fall risk assessments and individual exercise programs for seniors. Their goal is to develop independence and promote well-being in patients and their families through one-on-one therapy.
Both providers in Independence Health and Therapy welcome volunteers.
Independence Health & Therapy website.
Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants
(Designated Mission Funds)
Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI) is a non-profit, faith-based organization of staff and volunteers called to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of all individuals and communities affected by immigration detention, deportation, and post-detention through pastoral care, advocacy, public witness and other activities.
ICDI leads programs related to jail and detention, immigration court, deportation, post-detention, and children. Locally, the McHenry County Jail houses Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainees. Teams of pastoral care volunteers from the Chicago area visit with detained people weekly. For approximately ten years, 4-6 members of RCLPC have been part of the pastoral care team. Additional volunteers are always needed.
Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants website.
PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter)
The focus of PADS is to meet people's most basic needs for food, shelter, and support.
In 2006 the PADS organization merged with Pioneer Center for Human Services. RCLPC currently serves two church shelter sites by purchasing and assembling lunches from October through April and delivering them to those churches that provide the overnight shelter. When the new fixed-site shelter opens, volunteers will still be needed to serve meals, do laundry, and help in other ways. Funding is provided by individual donations and RCLPC fundraisers, which may include Scrip cards, Share the Bounty, and the Cookie Walk. RCLPC members have supported the lunch program for many years.
PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) - Pioneer Center website.
(Designated Mission Funds)
Outreach to homeless people offers help so that all may live a dignified life of well-being, independence, and inclusion.
Services to assist homeless people are in a time of transition in McHenry County. The former 34-bed shelter is being replaced with a 70-bed shelter, with Pioneer Center the lead agency, that will offer emergency shelter, case management, and linkage to community resources.
An outreach program led by the McHenry County Housing Authority provides assistance, resources, guidance, and advocacy for eligible individuals and families who are homeless to ensure that their basic needs are met. The Housing Authority administers Community Services Block Grant funding for programs for those who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. These grants may provide assistance toward a security deposit, first month's rent, or past-due rent.
RCLPC has supported efforts to assist homeless people in several ways. Church members prepare lunches for PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) guests. They staff a summer cook-out and provide items that make campers more comfortable. Throughout the year the church collects and offers such items as socks, hats, flashlights, hand- and foot-warmers, and gloves. RCLPC mission funds support Turning Point and Family Health Partnership as they serve people in need. Additional funds have been donated to help establish the permanent, fixed site.
Pioneer Center- Homeless Outreach website.
PC(USA) Special Offerings
The four church-wide Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Church (USA) play an important role in the life of the church as a collective witness to the love of Jesus Christ.
One Great Hour of Sharing enables the church to share God's love with our neighbors-in-need around the world by providing relief to those affected by natural disasters, providing food to the hungry, and helping to empower the poor and oppressed. The offering is received on Palm Sunday each year.
The Pentecost Offering invests in the church's greatest resource, our youth. It assists children at risk and provides faith-building opportunities for youth and young adults. RCLPC designates 40% of this offering to local efforts that focus on children at risk and development of youth. The Pentecost Offering is traditionally received on the day of Pentecost.
The Peace and Global Witness Offering funds programs devoted to education, conflict resolution, and advocacy for justice in communities at home and abroad. It is received during the Season of Peace, which ends on World Communion Sunday. Recent recipients of RCLPC's 25% were the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The Christmas Joy Offering provides much-needed assistance to PC(USA) church workers and their families. It supports leadership development and education at Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges. RCLPC receives this offering every year during the Christmas season.
PC(USA) Special Offerings website.
Presbyterian Compassion, Peace and Justice
The Compassion, Peace, and Justice ministry area helps Presbyterians respond to the needs of the world's most vulnerable people, address injustice in all areas of life, and advocate for peaceful solutions to conflict.
Whenever a member of the church becomes aware of an action opportunity that supports one of the Compassion, Peace, and Justice Team's focus areas, a designated member of the team sends an action alert to church members who have indicated a desire to receive the alerts.
About 35 members of RCLPC have signed up to receive the alerts. If you wish to be added to the list, let the church office know.
Presbyterian Compassion, Peace and Justice website.
RCLPC Dinner Theater
Since 2015, the 501(c)3 nonprofit Right-Center-Left Production Company, also known as RCLPC Theater, has produced live theater in our Fellowship Hall. Previous performances have included "Hello, Dolly!", "On Golden Pond", and "Once Upon a Mattress".
The production company is committed to supporting worthy missions through their "Eat, Play, Give!" Summer Dinner Theater performances during late July and early August. RCLPC Theater is dedicated to providing professional-quality entertainment while serving a delicious dinner or dessert to raise funds for missions such as Living Waters for the World, Pioneer Center, and PADS, among many others.
RCLPC Dinner Theater website.
RCLPC Youth Mission Activities
The RCLPC mission statement applies to the young as well as the older: " ... seek to look beyond our walls and beyond ourselves - to see God's image in every face, and to serve God's people in every place life leads us."
RCLPC clean-up daysThe youth of RCLPC share in mission events with the adults of the church. Together we help with the Crystal Lake Food Pantry, the Cookie Walk, the Giving Tree, the community CROP Walk, and Souper Bowl of Caring.
The children and youth also take part in other events with their teachers and leaders. The children fill Easter baskets for Home of the Sparrow families and have made pillows for CASA kids. They collect school supplies for Church World Service kits and have helped with PADS lunches. Our middle school and high school youth groups participate in one mission opportunity per month throughout the year.
Activities range from church clean up, to making and distributing care packages for the homeless, to Operation Christmas Child, to blankets for the those in nursing homes, and more. The high school youth also participate in a mission trip each year. Recent trips include the Appalachian area of Kentucky; Pawhuska, OK; and West Bend, WI.
The children and youth of RCLPC welcome new friends to join them in showing God's love.
View the RCLPC Youth Ministries here.
Senior Care Volunteer Network
(Designated Mission Funds)
Senior Care Volunteer Network (SCVN) helps seniors maintain their independence, dignity, and quality of life by staying in their own homes or the home of a loved one for as long as possible.
Senior Care Volunteer NetworkVolunteers help achieve this mission by providing services such as transportation to life-sustaining as well as life-enriching destinations, friendly visits, minor home repairs, yard work, and short-term respite care - all at absolutely no charge to the senior. In the last fiscal year, volunteers drove more than 220,000 miles and dedicated 24,000 volunteer hours to assist 1,000 local seniors. These services saved seniors and their families over $540,000. McHenry County has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the state, and research indicates our county's senior population will increase 157% by 2030.
Members of our congregation assist seniors, work in the scheduling center, or sit on the Board of Directors. Please consider volunteering with SCVN. An hour of your time is all it takes to make a real difference in the life of a senior who needs you!
Senior Care Volunteer Network website.