Celebrating Leadership:
Meet Outreach Chair Kelly Hanley 

As she completes her term serving as chairperson for the UCC Outreach Committee, Kelly Hanley is pausing to count the blessings of her experience. We asked Kelly to describe her reaction when she was asked to lead. 


Kelly, please share with us some of the highlights of your time as Outreach Chair.

During my first year on the committee, I got to see our church step into action like I had never seen before. It was during the throes of Covid. Our members began taking on so many initiatives—volunteers bought and delivered groceries to hungry neighbors, we dropped off food and lessons for at-risk families served by The Fortress, our Sunday School classes fed various groups of frontline workers, we ran a vaccination clinic, and we prepared 300 sack lunch each week for the Presbyterian Night Shelter. Everyone wanted to help! By the time I took over as committee chair, our world had settled down a bit and we were finally able to devote some time to the changing needs of existing projects and community partners.

What experience in particular was transforming for you?

Getting to know the Mohammadis, a refugee family from Afghanistan. This family made such an impact on all of us. Imagine a family of 11 arriving in Fort Worth to start a new life. We agreed to host them at the church for a week while Texas Refugee Services looked for more permanent housing. Being such a large family, that task became very difficult. One week turned into more than 3 months. But during that time the Mohammadis won over the hearts of so many in our congregation. We found them a home and furnished it, but our relationship did not end there. The bonds that were built in the early days continue to grow stronger and stronger.

Were there any surprising lessons you learned along the way?

If I had any surprises, it would be discovering just how many UCC members are out in the community serving in different capacities. Our members have found where they can make a difference and they do it with ease. Rev. Jessica Vacketta’s leadership and enthusiasm is very contagious. She is great at knowing who she can call to help when an unexpected opportunity comes up. I love the “can do” attitude at UCC when it comes to loving and serving our neighbors.

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