Church World Service Celebrates Bethlehem United Church of Christ for its Lasting Commitment to Humanitarian Efforts

November 3, 2023

Ann Arbor, MI—Earlier this month, Church World Service as part of its effort to celebrate legacy congregations across the nation for their commitment to humanitarian causes, honored Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor. For nearly fifty years, Bethlehem UCC and its congregants have dedicated themselves to aiding CWS in providing sustainable responses to poverty and life-saving disaster response kits to those in need. The congregation is a founding member of the CROP Hunger Walk and has been a leading participant in the fight against hunger since 1975.

“The support of congregations like Bethlehem UCC is the backbone of our work to provide just and sustainable responses to poverty around the world, “ said Andrew Gifford, Community Engagement Manager with Church World Service. “Through organizing community CROP Hunger Walks, coming together to provide emergency response kits to those impacted by disaster, or building a surplus of blankets to those in need, our faith communities sustain our work in a variety of ways. We are thankful for their devotion to our mission.”

Bethlehem UCC has been a beacon of justice to the Ann Arbor community for 190 years. CWS’ legacy designation comes at a time when the church has been celebrating its own impact, from its role as the oldest German heritage church in Michigan, to the diverse and inclusive congregation it is today. 

“By partnering with CWS for ministries like [the annual] CROP Walk,” said Reverend Dawn Christensen, of Bethlehem UCC, “We greatly expand the positive impact to assist the “least of these”, who are our brothers and sisters.”

This year, CWS has been visiting its Top 75 Lifetime Giving Congregations. During these visits, congregants are presented with a Legacy Plaque in a ceremony honoring their dedication to supporting the mission of CWS.  Legacy Congregations have supported a variety of funding programs including the CROP Hunger Walks, CWS Blankets, CWS Kits and CWS Tools. This financial support is vital in supporting in-need populations as they build a sustainable future.

For more information on CWS’ effort to honor Lifetime Giving Congregations, contact