Missions

From the Deacons' Bench


 With August closing out, and some cool mornings welcoming our day, the end of yet another summer is being signaled. We pray that your summer has afforded you time that has filled your souls.
This past month, there were no local needs that required the use of Deacons’ Fund monies for support.  As good neighbors, our support is, as often, just being good neighbors, and we continue to help providing transportation, are looking into helping with some home repair, and checking in with neighbors who we know might need assistance.   You are our eyes and ears.  If you know of anyone who could use the support of the D&S Board, please let us know.
As you may have noticed, we are alternating how Communion is being served each month.  Last month, we came forward to receive communion by dipping the bread in the cup and receiving Rev. Dan’s blessing.  This month the elements will be distributed to us in the pews.  Each type of communion has its own special-ness and we hope that by alternating, the whole church family is being well served. 
We have agreed on the new Pew Cards design and they will appear in the very near future.  Our ability to serve relies on being aware of needs or input from our church family.  We hope that the Pew Cards will afford you another way to let us know of the needs and wishes of our church family.
Deacons serving for September will be Jodi along with Patrice.  The September Special Offering will be taken up to support the work of the Deacons’ Fund.


Haiti Orphanage

Update

The final installment of the $15,000 for "Raise a Roof" has been received in Haiti and work is well under way. Father Bourdeau is posting pictures of the work on Facebook. If you're not on FB, ask someone who is to share them with you!

We also sent an extra $1,000 or so this summer. That money was for food and a sewing machine! Mrs. Annie, who is sort of a house mother (teacher, assistant priest, helper in preparing meals, washing clothes and taking care of the children) is going to teach the children to sew and they will begin making their own school uniforms. (In Haiti, you don't go to school without a uniform. We purchased 3 last spring for kids who needed them, and now Father is hoping for 23 more new ones!)

The needs continue. We send $700 every month for salaries for the 4 teachers, the cook, washerwoman and guard. In addition, we usually send about $300 for food when all other sources are depleted. As soon as the roof is finished, they will need $3,800 to put windows in the house, then it will be closed in. Not totally finished, but getting closer!

Volunteers keep coming forward. A man in Orange, NJ heard about our mission on FB and wants to help. He will research how to get a car donated. (And then we'll need to raise a few thousand dollars to transport it to Haiti.  Cars there are 3 times the cost of getting one here.) I met with an old friend and was telling her about our work with the orphanage, and she donated $200, pledged $25 a month going forward, and offered to make some contacts with potential sources of sustainable food donations.

Next week, Don and I are visiting my brother in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and I am scheduled to speak at his church service about this project. He is hopeful that his church will want to be involved in some way, and he continues to be a monthly donor as well.

I am slowly building a team of people like this who are willing to step out and do something besides give money. There's room for lots more like them. What skills and interests do you have that could help? Can you make phone calls, do computer research, write letters? Do you have ideas for fundraising? We have an offer from a Middlebury restaurant to donate a portion food sales on a particular night. We need someone who will spearhead the advertising of that, and maybe even be there that night to sell 50/50 raffle tickets. Are you a social butterfly who likes to talk with people and could share our passion?

Please contact me with any thoughts or ideas you have about how to support these precious children. Together, let's Raise A Child in Haiti!! (Lots of them!)


In His service, 

Karen Wheeler


PUERTO RICO

Roberto Dieppa-Diaz, Interim Executive Minister of ABC Puerto Rico, wants to convey their appreciation for all of the prayers and expressions of support they have received from their ABCUSA family since Hurricane Maria devastated their island. They have asked that visits by volunteers to the island be delayed until an assessment is complete and conditions on the ground are in better shape. Specifically, the government needs to make the island safer for visitors by clearing roads, restoring electricity, opening ports and ensuring the supply of gasoline. When the Convention's damage assessment collection is complete, we will receive their report.

The American Baptist Home Mission Societies is coordinating a comprehensive American Baptist response to these hurricanes.  Rebuilding, Restoring and Renewing Puerto Rico will be a multi-year initiative consisting of a fundraising goal of One Million Dollars through One Great Hour of Sharing to provide multi-pronged support to our American Baptist family and others in Puerto Rico.

Ms. Victoria Goff, Director of Disaster Response and Development, is ABHMS' staff lead in developing the coordinated strategy.  Rev. Salvador Orellana, Director of Latino Ministries, will provide logistic and relational support to this important initiative.  Victoria will convene a Task Force comprised of diverse American Baptist partners to design and implement the multi-year strategy. 

ABHMS has faithfully deployed mission staff, disseminated One Great Hour of Sharing funds, mobilized volunteers, and managed resources in the aftermath of natural disasters.  In the words of Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, "Hurricanes Maria and Irma have presented American Baptists an extreme challenge to be the hands and feet of Jesus in ways that exceed past interventions and responses.  We must develop a comprehensive response that fully engages our ABHMS partners in collaborative, strategic and effective ways in Puerto Rico."

Please know that ABHMS remains committed to addressing needs elsewhere caused by recent and ongoing hurricanes and other disasters




Pennies From Heaven

Pennies From Heaven  took in $14.50 since our last report – totaling $4,118.00 – only $106 to mile 5!

For the period of March through May, donations to Pennies From Heaven total $23.50. This brings us to $4,103.50 overall. There was also an additional donation of $65. If you know of places where we can spread God’s love with devotionals, Christian CDs or other resources, please speak to Lorraine Patterson.

Just a reminder that our class is still collecting can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington. Keep in mind that any kind of tabs are accepted – from soda cans, vegetable cans, pet food. We plan to be taking the tabs we have collected over the winter to the RMcDH next month and will continue our mission so remember us next time you “pop a can open”!


 Lorraine


Graterford Prison Ministry

Greetings from your brothers of the Protestant Church at Graterford:
As “go-betweens” connecting the men of SCI Graterford and our fifteen sister-churches around the northeastern United States, Lenore and I are humbled by your consistent and compassionate sharing of God’s Love in Jesus. The contributions of calendars, devotionals, books and cards (reminder that only white envelopes are allowed in the facility) are steady reminders to our men that they are not forgotten and not without hope and prayerful support. 
The Prayer Requests we send to you from Graterford expand the residents’ confidence as they tread a faithful path while incarcerated. We continue to encourage you to “return the favor” by sending your Prayer Requests to them—it is always important to remember that everyone benefits when others pray for them. You have approximately 250 regular Prayer Partners at the prison ready and willing to pray for you, your families, your churches and beyond. Thank you for each and every slip of paper that bears something for us to put before our Lord in prayer.

UPDATE!:  We will soon be moving to Phoenix! Noooo, not Arizona (but after this winter, I wouldn’t mind)! As many of you are aware, for about 6 years, the state has been constructing a new prison on the Graterford property, just feet beyond its 30-foot wall. After many delays, it now appears we will be moving to the new jail—SCI Phoenix East and Phoenix West—within a month or so. Security issues prevent a “hard date” for this, but it will be coming soon, and will be a major undertaking. The stress that accompanies “the unknown” has been a major factor for our men as there will be many changes, both wanted and unwanted, for them. During this transition, it would be best if we curtailed the calendar donation project—we have a good supply to move over to Phoenix, and more might not be appreciated by the moving crew (!).
What we do need in this uncertain time are your prayers for calm, hope and perseverance. You may have seen in the news that Graterford has suffered 5 suicides since January. These have not been directly due to “the move,” but the unsettled atmosphere in a place that has been uniquely functioning without major incident for almost 90 years, is a factor. In a very short time, SCI Graterford will no longer exist—please pray that SCI Phoenix will indeed “rise from the ashes.”
We will be in touch after we settle “on the other side of the Wall.” Until then, God’s blessings and peace…
- Russ and Lenore  Gates


What are your spiritual, practical gifts?

Service, hospitality, faith, giving, organization, mercy, teaching, prayer, leadership, craftsmanship, evangelism?......We are looking for a few good women and men to serve.

Can you help with our spiritual life, be a witness to Christ and the church, promote missions and assist in our worship? The Board of Deacons and Stewards may ask you to consider how you can join their efforts.

Are you business minded, handy with numbers and a hammer? The Board of Trustees may be a place of service for you.

Are you a teacher, communicator and a person who nurtures – not just children, but all who are growing in their knowledge of God? The Christian Education Board needs a person like you.

Do you know your fellow members well enough to ask them to join our boards and committees as they work to build our church? The Personnel Committee may ask you to serve.

Would you work to support, care for and help our pastors be the best they can be? The Pastoral Relations Committee may offer you the opportunity.

Please consider with prayer and care how you are able to join in service.