The Roots of MUM: First Cong's Influence

Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM) will be celebrating their 40th anniversary on Saturday, May 18 from 6:00-9:00pm at the Madison Concourse Hotel. It is important for the members of First Congregational UCC to celebrate the forty years of service to the Madison community because FCUCC was a founding influence. I want to share some of the history of MUM, as written by Alice Schacht, an integral part of MUM and a member of FCUCC.

Pilgrim Church, located on the near east side was the starting point. The congregation of Pilgrim UCC saw the need for a “neighborhood center.” Their church was used very little during the week, so it was used to house the WILMAR center. In the neighborhood, the church found needs, including: children from broken homes and their parents, older people, run-down housing, alcoholics, single low income adults, developmentally disabled adults, poverty, “down and outers,” and moderate income to prosperous home owners seeking to preserve the quality of living. As Pilgrim UCC was having increased difficulties with membership, in 1970 they offered the building and small cash reserves to First Congregational, on the condition that FCUCC would join Pilgrim Church members in searching for the nature of the church’s mission that would best serve that area of Madison. 

First Congregational, with Larry Gruman’s enthusiastic endorsement, accepted the offer and named a committee headed by Hub Pinkerton to study the situation and oversee management. The committee became “Servants on Errands” (SOE). In 1972, Hub Pinkerton and Bob Alexander, from the WILMAR area, found that the State Conference of the UCC might be willing to give $1500 to fund a small three-month experimental project. At this point, Lake Edge UCC also came on board for support. SOE now became the supervising and supporting body for the ministry project. At FCUCC, the project was put officially under the Board of Social Concerns for policy and program priorities, and the Board of Trustees as fiscal agent for the funds received and landlord responsibilities. The church office secretary, Nadine Butler, served as fiscal agent. Also at this time, Alice Schacht was elected chairman of SOE to relieve Hub to be stewardship chair at FCUCC.

SOE, later becoming MUM, had put down solid roots and was starting to grow. Dr. David Dahl, a physician and member of FCUCC, was interested in finding ways to meet health needs. Some remarkable cooperation was found within the City Health Department, Community Action Commission, individual members of the medical profession, family planning, VISTA, urban ministry churches and the neighborhood. Discovering a common ground of interest among service professionals, even among people who had been antagonists in the past, often led to surprisingly positive results. 

Until 1973 all the finance had been handled by FCUCC. As other denominations began to give money to the project, it didn’t seem appropriate to continue such an arrangement. On May 8, 1973, Madison Urban Ministry was incorporated. Today, MUM has evolved into an interfaith social justice organization that has spurred social change in and around Dane County. MUM’s staff and board understand the mission to be “a prophetic voice for justice, neighbors working together for social change.”

MUM has always served as an incubator for innovative ideas and new projects. MUM has incubated some of the most creative, significant programs in terms of community building in Dane County. They currently serve as the incubator and fiscal agent for the Street Pulse Newspapers, Allied Partners, and the Allied-Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association. MUM also works closely with our Prison Ministry Project. MUM’s Executive Director is Linda Ketcham, member of FCUCC. 

There is no question that FCUCC should celebrate with MUM for providing forty years of service to the community. MUM is a perfect example of how two or three can gather together, find common ground, and make a difference! 

Please join us to celebrate on May 18, 2013 at Madison Concourse Hotel from 6:00-9:00pm. Seats are $75. Please email or call the office at 233-9751 to make reservations at the FCUCC table. The deadline is May 13th.

~ Eldonna Hazen



Posted on April 30, 2013 at 11:14 am in Featured Content.

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