How "Fill My Cup" brought Christmas to Juvenile Hall
"Fill My Cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!" Because, all good things come from you. Continue to bless Fill My Cup Ministry, Lord, as they continue to let your blessings flow through them to worthy causes.
-Rev. Ra Amen
by Rev. Ra Amen, Chaplain for Juvenile Hall
"Fill My Cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!"
This is the opening line of a gospel song by Rev. Richard Blanchard. It is, as well, the name of a ministry started by one of our outstanding volunteers. Ethel Sturgis (standing, on the left, in photo above) is a former CIC Ministries volunteer who made invaluable contributions to CIC Ministries as a volunteer and now through her ministry. She served with Chaplain Louann at CCW in our women's ministry at Elmwood for more than 20 years teaching Bible studies.
Now, Ethel leads the Fill My Cup Ministry, with the priceless support from her small but powerful team comprised of faithful women from various churches.
Fill My Cup began as a group of church women who met regularly for lunch after Sunday services. They would exchange cups and pray for each other knowing that all good things flow from the Lord. The group once met a missionary at a church retreat who invited them to join her missionary team on a trip to Ghana, West Africa. Although they did not take the missionary up on the offer, they did begin raising funds for the missionary. They continued their support by inviting the missionary to speak to fundraising groups. From there, they began reaching out to the community. Thus, CIC became a regular ministry they helped to support over the last 16 years, through fund raising and the giving of gifts to the women at CCW and youth in the detention facilities.
Fill My Cup is a ministry actively engaged in mission work to the local community and foreign ministries, spreading the gospel and aiding in the work of God. It is out of the abundance of their overflowing cup - with spiritual and material blessings from God - that they came together to "quench this thirsting of their soul" to share some of their blessings with others less fortunate than themselves. Some of the worthy causes they support besides CIC Ministries are: City Team, local Blood Drives, Breast Cancer Awareness, Lighthouse Counseling, Battered Women Centers and Help One Child. They also hold annual visits to a local senior center, bringing Christmas gifts and singing Christmas carols.
A Fill My Cup fundraiser experience is a like a gumbo that has been seasoned with a heaping dose of the Christmas holiday spirit.
Their annual fundraising event for CIC is always held in early December. The 2016 event was held at Crosswalk Community Church in Sunnyvale. A Fill My Cup fundraiser experience is a like a gumbo that has been seasoned with a heaping dose of the Christmas holiday spirit. The program normally consists of a scripture reading, praise music and caroling, a guest singer, a Christmas message from me and intercessory prayer for me and CIC. They strongly believe "where there is much prayer there is much power." Indeed, their power can be witnessed through the many needy people they serve. A tradition that continues from the original Fill My Cup event is the giving-of-the-cup ceremony where members exchanged cups filled with something to pour into each other's lives and pray for that person's needs. Now, they give the speaker a cup to symbolize, "Lord, you have Filled My Cup, so that I can pour out to someone else in need."
I was presented with funds and gifts. The funds raised this year will go to the Heart and Soul, a faith-based rites-of-passage program for Juvenile Hall girls. The event concluded, as always, with table fellowship and a delicious southern down-home, old-fashioned meal like the kind that my grandmother prepared. One thing you can always count on is that Ethel and her team will make every effort to ensure the whole of a Fill My Cup experience is always greater than the sum of its parts.
This year, CIC was blessed with a surprise gift. Not only did they hold their annual fundraiser but they also volunteered to participate in the Juvenile Hall Christmas worship services. They sang Christmas carols, prayed, fellowshipped and visited the youth in the units that did not attend the services passing out gifts (New Believer Bibles and God's Promises), Christmas cards and candy donated by local churches and the Valley Christian football team. Since that service, I have been approached by several youths who sang their praises, showed their appreciation and asked when the Fill My Cup volunteers could come again.
Fill My Cup's plans include continuing as well as expanding their partnership with CIC by focusing on our youth ministry in the detention facilities. Also, they have committed to participate in this year's Easter services and plan to do more special worship events as well. Several members have expressed an interest in joining the girls' Bible study teams and plan to attend out next GISI training.
"Fill My Cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!" Because, all good things come from you. Continue to bless Fill My Cup Ministry, Lord as they continue to let your blessings flow through them to worthy causes.