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Reading Changes Lives

rcl-logoDear Friends,

Our all-church initiative, Reading Changes Lives, is quickly approaching its final phase. This has been an exciting year-long effort. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

What we learned was astounding! In the United States, 1 in 5 –– or 20% of adults –– lack reading skills beyond a fourth grade level. We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 12 that we are all part of one body through Christ. When any member of our community suffers, we all suffer. If any among us is kept from achieving their full God-given potential, it is to the detriment of us all (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV).

Collectively, we are beginning to understand the challenges associated with the injustice of illiteracy. In the fall of 2014, we explored the social challenges illiteracy has on individuals during One Read, as we read the book Hot Dogs & Hamburgers: Unlocking Life’s Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age, written by Rob Shindler. This past March, we shared your literacy initiatives and stories during the March Forth for Literacy social media campaign.

During the final phase of our all-church initiative, we invite congregations to join in a three-part service project to lift literacy, Engage 3 Ways. This local, national and global call to action will help reduce the cycle of illiteracy. More than books and supplies, compassionate and willing volunteers are needed to make an impact on illiteracy. Together, we can support school systems and literacy programs; each are engaged in the life changing work of teaching children and adults how to read. Join us in our efforts to support public school systems, one of the largest providers of reading programs in our communities, through your Local Supply Drive. Without crayons, pencils and pens, educators are unable to teach specified curricula. The learning process is interrupted, especially for students who must develop essential early reading skills in kindergarten through the sixth grade.

If you are coming to General Synod 30, please participate in Stuff the Pack (National Special Service Project). General Synod 30 registrants are invited to come with an open heart to stuff backpacks with needed school supplies. One thousand backpacks will be distributed to children in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District through our community partner, University Settlement. Having the necessary supplies to start the 2015-16 school year is crucial. We ask that you bring a recommended school supply to share. If you won’t be at General Synod, you can initiate a similar activity in your community. Visit ucc.org/literacy to find out how.

During Tutor the Tutor presentation, taking place at General Synod 30, all are welcome to learn the basics of becoming a literacy tutor and foster a desire to commit to the process. Rob Shindler will lead this dynamic presentation.

The School Supplies for Cairo campaign will give you the opportunity to donate to Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), a literacy program in Cairo, Egypt, promoted by Global Ministries. Donations will help to provide school supplies for children in need in Cairo. Visit ucc.org/literacy to participate.

We look forward to completing this journey with you and your congregation. Remember, this effort is not time-limited to the initiative we planned. We ask and pray that you will continue collecting school supplies and tutoring children and adults long in the months and years ahead!

Sincerely,

The Reading Changes Lives Team

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