Missions & Outreach News
Charlene Fitzwater is the Food Closet’s coordinator and sends along this report.
The Food Closet invites participation and donations as we share Easter dinner baskets with our food closet family. Our wonderful host of volunteers often has new volunteers join us for special distributions, and what could be more special than offering a meal in celebration of Jesus’ love and resurrection? Donations of $20 will cover the cost of a meal including a roaster chicken or ham and side dishes, and over 100 households are already registered to pick up the meals on April 8th.
Ron Miros has wonderfully captured the experience of Easter in the poem which follows this message. It is a joy to be a part of this! Furthermore, we love to welcome new volunteers like Jay and Carol who joined us last November when they saw information about our Food Closet on a 6ABC newscast. They came for a visit and to check us out, and have become regular volunteers and enthusiastic ambassadors. Their newfound knowledge of how many people struggle to get healthy food is a testament to the lack of awareness of people in our community to the challenges faced by so many.
The Food Closet ministry is blessed by generosity that puts kindness into action. In Galatians 5:13-14, Paul writes, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Thank you for joining us as together we share Jesus’ love.
An "Easter Basket"
"Lamb of God" has morphed
Easter basket too.
Lamb of God's now "Ham of God"
bagged in paper for you.
Nestled in bag number two
Are "disciples" surrounding "The Ham"
Pineapple Pete, tasting quite sweet
Bart Brownie to crown the program.
Please do not get us wrong.
The ham is a way to your heart.
It is Christ that we preach
It's on Him we need feed
He arose and is lush a la cart.
So enjoy the vittles in-bag
Close your eyes and imagine the Lamb
Butchered on Friday alive again Sunday
Jesus, the Great I Am.
Ron Miros, March 26, 2016
Jay Powick is the church’s Advocate for the Kensington Ministry and submits a quarterly report for the Free Church of St. John in Kensington:
The Free Church of St. John is an Episcopal Mission Parish of the Diocese of Pennsylvania in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Through the support of Good Samaritan and families such as the Ross and Gibson families, St. John’s has been able to positively move through the transition of the church since the retirement of Fr. Graff in 2011.
Fr. David Franceschi Faccio, has been with the church for one year and is Vicar-in-Charge, living across the street from the church in the row home which also serves as a parish house. He has been working very hard to bring in parishioners and get the church established within the neighborhood community. Recently the main door to the church has also become accessible to wheelchairs and handicapped members, and they are seeking the same access for the parish house and other entrances. Recently, Fr. David has established a vestry to help him with the leadership within the church. They anticipate having their first meeting soon.
St. John’s Sunday services attendance is now surpassing 100, with services at 9:00 a.m. (in English) and 11:00 a.m. (in Spanish). There is also a Wednesday Evening Prayer service in Spanish. Fr David hopes to establish a radio program as another avenue to reach the community.
In January, Bishop Daniel visited St. John and received 47 people into the church, along with 10 baptisms. It was a special and exciting day for everyone! Because of renovations and the need for new equipment, the Food Pantry Program has not yet restarted – it is anticipated to reopen in May. (In the interim, another local food pantry has filled in some of the needs.)
Lauren Gibson has moved into her home in the community. She is helping rebuild some of the Youth programs and activities (including an upcoming event where youth from St. John will join Good Samaritan youth for a weekend retreat). Working with the nearby Willard grade school, Lauren is also working on a pilot homework program to help children with homework. Many struggle keeping up in school, a common reason is the language barrier.
In addition to supporting in prayer, anyone interesting in visiting or assisting with St. John’s mission activities may contact Jay Powick: firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-687-6192. Specific prayer requests include:
- For continued guidance and direction to Fr David and the newly established vestry.
- For Lauren Gibson as she gets established in her new home and works on starting the afterschool homework pilot program.
- For the Food Pantry and the renovations and equipment needed to rebuild its ability to serve food and fight against hunger in the neighborhood.
- For the church’s outreach programs including the AA community and families with incarcerated loved ones.
Note: This is a summary of the full Quarterly Report. For the full report, click here.
Short Term Missionary Trips/Projects
During the year, the Missions Committee provides a modest contribution in support of a short-term missionary project planned by a parishioner. These contributions are made based on the committee’s approval of applications for such grants. We want the congregation to be aware of these people as they plan and go on their trip or conduct their project so they can be surrounded by your prayers as they serve Christ by serving others. Approved and supported efforts on the horizon include:
- Diane Gibson serving on a medical-missionary trip to the Philippines, which will be April 21-29.
- A missionary trip to India, conducted by CCO, which will include Hannah Schmitt and Brandon Fornio. This trip will be May 10 – 31.
- Hannah Johnson who will be working in needy areas of Philadelphia, June through August, on projects organized by the “Center for Student Missions.”
People on such trips always appreciate knowing they are surrounded by the prayers of their church family!