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Ministry for Change

We want to change the world. Join us!

The Ministry for Change is committed to Transformative Community Engagement and Social Justice. We help the congregation live out Jesus’ call to “do justice,” (Micah 6:8) and serve “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). We seek to do this by:

  • Helping members of the congregation understand and address the root causes of social problems such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, and others, by learning about the systems that cause or contribute to human suffering.
  • Using the church’s and its members’ personal and financial power with others to help change the systems that cause or contribute to human suffering.
  • Providing opportunities for members of the congregation to help alleviate human suffering caused by these systems through direct service with and/or financial contributions to individuals and organizations that serve those who are suffering or who otherwise face barriers to wellbeing.

The Ministry for Change oversees and administers several funds the Union Church Endowment Fund, as well as other church funds related to mission and social justice.

Ministry for Change

Local Volunteer Opportunities

Some of our volunteer opportunities may be affected during the COVID crisis. Contact Jane Grimm or Trayce Biancalana for more information on current opportunities to contribute to our partners. You can click through directly to sign-ups for PADS or our other volunteer opportunities, or read more about individual partners below.

A Just Harvest

Founded in 1983, A Just Harvest aims to reduce hunger in Rogers Park and the greater Chicago community by providing nutritious meals daily while building a just society to promote the well-being of the patrons served. Meals are served to the hungry every day of the year.

Volunteer opportunities 

  1. Purchase food to supply a meal. 2-3 hours
    This is a great task for an individual, a couple or a family (even with smaller children). Volunteer(s) will purchase items on the shopping list and then deliver them to AJH on the fourth Saturday of each month.
  2. Meal distribution. Current COVID-19 procedures allow for volunteers to help distribute meals to clients any day of the week from 11:00am to 1:00 pm. Contact AJH directly to sign up to help distribute meals here 
The Boulevard

Founded in 1994, provides residential care for homeless men and women in medical recovery. This 64-bed center on Chicago’s West Side offers interim housing and support to ill and injured homeless adults who would otherwise lack a stable and safe place to heal. It is the only agency of its kind in Chicago. Union Church does supply and clothing drives for The Boulevard each year.

Volunteer Opportunities

4-6 people needed to prepare and serve a meal to The Boulevard residents. Time commitment: 4-5 hours door to door. This is a fabulous opportunity for a few people to participate in The Boulevard’s Share-A-Meal program with the very appreciative residents. Volunteers should be 14 years of age or older. Some standing required. Further details will be provided prior to the Share A Meal. The address is 3456 West Franklin St. Chicago.

DuPage Pads

Founded in 1985, PADS seeks to end homelessness in DuPage County. It provides interim and permanent housing, coupled with support services in order to help individuals work toward becoming self-sufficient. They have just  purchased a 130-unit Interim Housing Center (IHC) using a repurposed hotel in Downers Grove, Ill., where Emergency Housing has been provided since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The significant client successes, improved health and safety features for client families, and enhanced access to supportive services have been undeniable, leading us to take this next important step

Volunteer opportunities

Union church provides a healthy meal delivered to each client on the 4th Tuesday of each month.  We are looking for volunteers to shop for healthy sides for the meals and to pack and deliver meals to the clients in the Interim Housing Center in Downers Grove.

HCS Family Services

Founded in 1937, provides emergency and interim assistance, a food pantry, counseling, and education to help vulnerable families and individuals in the area. Union church does a food drive for HCS, usually in September.

Volunteer Opportunities

Many of the volunteer opportunities with HCS take place at the Hinsdale Memorial Building and are described here. Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older.

The Night Ministry

Founded in 1976, The Night Ministry was created out of diverse religious traditions  to build relationships with vulnerable youth and adults on Chicago’s nighttime streets. They provide meals, self-care supplies, healthcare, housing and supportive services.

Volunteer opportunities

Each month, we prepare and deliver 140 sack suppers.  You can make sandwiches, fill sacks with packaged food or drive the sack suppers to The Night Ministry, located at 1735 N. Ashland Ave, Chicago.


Time commitment: 1 – 3 hours per activity.  Making sandwiches or preparing sacks as an individual will take 3 hours.  The more helpers you have, the quicker it goes.  This can be done at home, and children make great helpers!

San Lucas Church

San Lucas Church, UCC, is a small mission church located in Humboldt Park in Chicago. It provides much needed services to the community including a weekly meal, emergency food and clothing and counseling.

Green Halo Scholars

Green Halo Scholars was founded in 2017 by Sally Guglielmo. Our mission is to support, mentor, and expand opportunities for motivated and committed first-generation and low-income students in the Western Suburbs of Chicago.
Through college counseling, financial guidance, and career resources, we stand with our Scholars as they apply to college, navigate campus, and pursue their postgraduate dreams.
Our scholars are nominated to participate by their school counselor based on their academic achievement. They are required to attend regular meetings with their mentor, in addition to workshops and college visits hosted by Green Halo Scholars.

Union Church Soup Ministry

This is an independent group that meets in the church kitchen each Monday morning to prepare soup for the San Lucas Church soup kitchen. The meal is delivered on Tuesday morning.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:10 
Ministry for Change

DuPage United

Ministry for Change coordinates the Church’s work with DuPage United. DuPage United is an inclusive, non-profit, fiercely non-partisan organization whose members are civil society institutions: churches, mosques, synagogues, non-profit agencies, and associations. This mix of institutions has come together to form public relationships and to act together to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. DuPage United engages in democratic action in the public arena. Union Church has been a member of DuPage United since 2015.

Ministry for Change

Before We Get to Mars + UCECI

The “Before We Get To Mars” project is an endeavor by the congregation at Union Church, created to advocate for quality early childhood education for all. The Ministry for Change works in partnership with the Union Church Early Childhood Initiative (UCECI) on the “Before We Get To Mars” project.

Ministry for Change

How We Serve Abroad


The Illinois Conference of the UCC has a long-time relationship with the Congregational Church in Angola (IECA). We at Union Church have a congregation-to-congregation partnership with the Peregrinos (Pilgrim) Church in Huambo.  We include each other in prayer, have made visits to Angola to further our relationships there, and have hosted visitors from Angola here. We also give ongoing support to the IECA English Language Institute in Huambo and to the hospital at Dondi mission.

We took our first group trip to Huambo, Angola in January 2020. Union Church members, along with Perigrinos Church members, planted trees in a deforested area, arranged for a shipment of corn to be delivered to the drought-stricken south of Angola, and built relationships with each other and within the community. This is an evolving and growing partnership!


One of our partners in Guatemala is Habitat for Humanity We take a biannual week-long trip to Rabinal, a small rural town, where we assist in building homes for families.  We have taken groups to Rabinal for over fourteen years. We have built many relationships with the people of this community along with much needed homes.

We also partner with Dreams & Hopes, which aids four towns along the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, focusing on supporting Mayan youth and children by providing scholarship, tutoring, educational support, career development opportunities, and positive role models for academic and professional success.