"For the glory of God and my neighbor's good" was the motto of an early Brethren leader, Christopher Sauer. These words are carved in stone above the front door of our church building.
Brethren participate in the good news of Jesus by caring for the poor and serving those in need.
Northern Illinois Food Bank
Food security is an increasing problem in our community. We serve at the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) the second Monday of each month. Our shift is from 9 a.m. to noon, with a group leaving from Highland Avenue at 8:20 a.m. Please let R. Miner know if you will be joining us.
Food for Greater Elgin
Join us as we volunteer at Food for Greater Elgin on the third Monday of each month. Please contact J. Flores for more information or to let him know you will be joining us.
Kids Hope, USA
Kids Hope, USA is an organization that pairs adult mentors with school children. Highland Avenue partners with our local grade school, Washington Elementary School. If you would like to serve as a mentor and make a difference in the life of a child, please contact K. McKeever.
Highland Avenue hosts the Elgin Soup Kettle every Saturday evening from 5:30-6:30 p.m. A meal is provided for all who are hungry every night of the week. The location of the meal rotates among seven different congregations. To volunteer or to donate, please contact J. Heggen.
Brethren are involved locally and around the world in disaster relief. Learn more about relief efforts and how you can help by visiting the web page of Brethren Disaster Ministries.
Each year in October, we participate in CROP Walk, a Church World Service event that raises funds to end hunger locally and globally. In 2014, we raised $2902.
Global Food Crisis Fund
The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) seeks to help hungry people develop food security. Since 1983, the GFCF has provided over $400,000 in grants annually to community development programs in 32 countries. Each fifth Sunday of the month, we collect a "My 2¢ Worth" offering in support of the GFCF.
Each year Highland Avenue joins three other congregations in the Polo Growing Project, raising soybeans to benefit the Global Food Crisis Fund. Individuals are invited to contribute money to seed 1/2 acre plots. The proceeds from the crop are donated to the GFCF.
Heifer International was begun by Church of the Brethren member Dan West in response to the hunger in Europe following World War II. Rather than give aid, West had a vision of helping people feed themselves. Brethren farmers became "Seagoing Cowboys" and gave pregnant heifers to hungry people, asking that they pass on the gift. Heifer International has since become an indpendent organization that continues to provide sustainable solutions to world hunger and poverty. The Church of the Brethren retains close ties with Heifer and supports their mission.
Youth and Adult Workcamps
Youth and adults serve on short-term mutual mission efforts in this country and abroad. It is not necessary to be Brethren in order to attend a workcamp. These opportunities to serve and to learn can be found on the workcamp page of the denominational website.
Brethren Volunteer Service
Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) offers adults an opportunity to serve for a one or two-year term domestically or abroad. It is not necessary to be Brethren to serve. (The Peace Corps was modelled after this denominational program which was established in 1948 as a part of war-relief efforts.) Many in our congregation are BVS alumni.
Elgin has a BVS house in which young-adult volunteers who serve our denominational offices live in community with one another, as well as in relationship with Highland Avenue. We are blessed by their energetic, insightful presence in our congregation.
Fair Trade Coffee
Believe it or not, coffee is a justice concern. At Highland Avenue, we serve and sell Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate which is fairly traded and enivronmentally sound. Together, we can make a big difference in small ways.
Highland Avenue gives financial support to:
- Pinecrest Community, a retirement community in Mt. Morris, Illinois
- Camp Emmaus, our district camp in Mt. Morris, Illinois
- Manchester University, a Church of the Brethren college in North Manchester, Indiana
- Bethany Theological Seminary, our denominational seminary in Richmond, Indiana
- Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board
- On Earth Peace
- Christian Peacemaker Teams