2019 Year End Review
First… thank you! On behalf of the United Church of Hinesburg, thank you for all that you do to make the United Church of Hinesburg a vital part of the community. Through your hard work and generosity, we had another year of growth and service. Here are a few highlights:
We continue to address the issue of food insecurity by running a monthly community meal, operating the Little Free Pantry and giving out food baskets during Advent. This year, our sixth annual Hearts for Hunger 5k raised another $7,800 for the Vermont Foodbank Backpack program and twenty of us enjoyed a fun day packing food at a Feed My Starving Children Mobile Packing Event in Essex Junction, Vermont. Youth focused on issues of rural poverty and accessibility this year and our young people and adults from our youth program, the Hinesburg Youth Project, offered over 900 hours(!) of volunteer service at the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts, H.O.M.E. Inc. in Orland, Maine and by volunteering at local organizations like the New Community Project in Starksboro, Vermont. In the fall, we raised money for eight tents and tarps for Safe Harbor in Burlington, Vermont to help those that sleep out during the winter, and to date, we’ve given out over $3,000 in direct assistance to community members in temporary need this year.
We celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the federation of three Hinesburg churches into the United Church of Hinesburg in 2019. At a special service in September, we acknowledged the work of many generations that allow us to continue the work of Christ’s church here in Hinesburg today. During this service we blessed a new tree and park benches, which symbolized the beginning of a new project—the creation of a green space behind the Parish Hall. In addition to this, folks from our congregation worked to relaunch the Hinesburg Fall Festival, and designed squares to be made into a centennial quilt.
A great deal of time and energy went into managing property this year. The Church Sanctuary was fitted for interior storm windows and a wheelchair accessible pew was created. Significant work was also done to repair the slate roof and parts of the steeple. We worked throughout the year with a group that will be taking ownership and restoring the old Vestry, hopefully by early 2020. Storm water has been a rising concern in recent years so we’ve also worked with civil engineers to help us incorporate a “re-wilding” concept into our new green space. This project, we believe, will take a few years to complete, but will significantly help with rushing water and flooding on church land and benefit our neighbors too. Finally, the church sold the parsonage in August and the money was reinvested to help cover the pastor’s housing allowance for years to come.
At the beginning of the year, a group of folks gathered to work on a visioning and strategic development project. With input from church members, friends of UCH and folks in the wider community, the group was able to put together a renewed mission statement (who we are):
The United Church of Hinesburg is a welcoming and inclusive community
where all are invited to connect, serve, worship, celebrate, learn and grow
with God’s help.
and a new vision statement (the work we hope to do)
The United Church of Hinesburg seeks to build a more just, loving and
sustainable world through acts of fellowship, community service and
We hope that these statements will remind us why we gather and guide us as we take on new projects moving forward.
This Christmas season, I hope you’ll consider making a year-end gift to support the continued work of the United Church of Hinesburg. We’re headed into 2020 with a lot of energy and many exciting projects that we’d like to accomplish. Your gift today will ensure that we close 2019 in the black and help us provide real and lasting service to Hinesburg and surrounding communities in 2020.
May God bless you this season and keep you close in 2020!
Rev. Jared M. Hamilton
Pastor, United Church of Hinesburg