The amount of "mission" work flowing from the hearts and hands of Warren County residents is astounding. The following is a partial sample of the financial, practical and prayerful support offered at:
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Hurricane Sandy Relief in Elizabeth, N.J.
Through the Equal Exchange program, First Presbyterian Church offers coffee to the community for a fair price. This in turn aids farmers in third world countries by paying them a fair price for their product.
First Presbyterian contributed to PCUSA mission co-workers, Becky and Eric Hinderliter, serving at the LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. It was founded in 1991 in the wake of communism's collapse in Eastern Europe. This English language school is a fully-accredited liberal arts school with a Christian emphasis. It prepares students for leadership roles in the post-Soviet region and serves students from several surrounding countries, making it a truly international setting.
First Presbyterian Church has sponsored mission trips to Jose Maria Morelos, Mexico in 2003 and 2004; to Lithuania in 2008; and Tanzania, Africa, to the Majengo Children's Center, in 2012.
"I feel that we are blessed," said Kay Dolan of First Presbyterian. "As Christians we need to give back, not just locally but throughout the world."
Work bees at Camp Lambec and Westminster Highlands - Cindy Knapp and Paul Cree worked at Camp Lambec. Tasks included pressure washing weeds from the cracks in the basketball court and weeding the horseshoe pits. Paul Cree, Greg Huey, and Cindy Knapp went to Westminster Highlands. The roof on Cabin Lark A was replaced. We plan to replace the roof on Cabin Robin A on May 17. A work team will return to Camp Lambec on Sept. 27.
In addition to financial support to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Presbyterian Homes, our church supports the four Presbyterian offerings: Pentecost (money donated to the PACE program), One Great Hour of Sharing, Peacemaking (money donated to A Safe Place) and Christmas Joy Gift.
The highlight of 2013, Dolan explained, was the regional mission trip to Elizabeth, N.J., to help with Hurricane Sandy Relief. Six members of our congregation along with Jamie Bees helped drywall, spackle and sand the walls of a home located in Ocean Beach, N.J. Our church donated $1,875.00 for building materials and supplies for Hurricane Sandy Relief projects.
The mission committee includes Howard Ferguson, Kay Dolan, Kirk Johnston, Ann Ferguson, Tracey Kranak, Paul Cree, Cindy Knapp, Bob Sears, and Susie Spangler.
This year's national mission trip will be to Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center in Little Rock, Ark., Dolan said. Ferncliff is home to the Disaster Assistance Center, the PC (USA) National Volunteer Call Center and Solar School where laypeople come to learn how to install solar energy systems in low income communities. This location provides for a wide variety of opportunities for people of all ages and skill levels to participate in mission service. Participants from First Presbyterian Church will be represented by the following volunteers: Kay Dolan, Jim Eggleston, Vickie Eggleston, Ann Ferguson, Tracey Kranak, Lisa McPherson, Lynn Sears, John Walker and Lisa Walker. It will not be necessary to open this trip to non-church members because we have 15 committed volunteers from our church membership. Church members may continue to sign up for this trip until April 30. The cost of the trip for church members is $100. The first payment of $25 was due on March 1. The second payment of $25 is due on April 1, and the final payment of $50 is due on May 1. Payments may be made at the church office.
The group will leave June 7 and arrive in Arkansas on June 8. Beginning June 9, the group will be at the Disaster Assistance Center to inspect and re-box Church World Service disaster kits and have a solar vehicle tour of Ferncliff. The following day, volunteers will work for the Arkansas Foodbank Network and, on Wednesday they will assist in the food pantry, thrift store or sack lunch program at Jackson House Interfaith Community Crisis Center and "Stop Hunger Now" at the Disaster Assistance Center. Thursday will be spent at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (stocking or clearing shelves, unloading trucks, or painting), and Friday the group will spend at the Little Rock Compassion Center (working in the dining room, doing maintenance, or thrift shop type work), returning home Sunday, June 14.
Mission fund-raisers have included the BonTon Community Day Sale Feb. 28-March 1, which was a great success, Dolan said, with $1,250.10 raised plus a share of the store's sales. Money will go to the mission trip and to Second Harvest Foodbank Warren County BackPack Program. The church will sponsor five children at $128 for one year for a total of $640. This amount will also be matched by an anonymous donor listed with the Second Harvest Foodbank.
A quarter drive also was held March 30 to raise funds for "Stop Hunger Now" meal packaging event to First Presbyterian Church. To date, they have raised $2,421.70 of the necessary $2,900 needed to purchase 10,000 meals. The cost of each meal packet is 29 cents.
First Presbyterian also has sponsored mission trips to D'lberville, Miss., for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2006; Immokalee, Florida, for Hurricane Wilma relief in 2007; West Virginia hurricane relief in 2009; Minc, N.Y., Rural Rehab Ministry of Minc in 2010; and Elizabeth, N.J., for Hurricane Sandy Relief in 2013.
First Presbyterian Church served our community by providing a meeting place for the Boy Scouts, Daisy Girl Scouts, and participants of the 12-step program. We also hosted the American Red Cross during their community blood drives.
According to Dolan, other local giving includes:
Monthly food collection to benefit the Area Agency on Aging.
The Salvation Army Back to School Clothing Drive for Kids - We purchased school clothing for two children in need.
The Salvation Army Children's Treasures - Our congregation provided Christmas gifts for 25 children.
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is supported by Broadway Night, flamingo sales, and fall pie sales. This year we raised $2,409.24 to help find a cure for this dreaded disease that has touched each of us in one way or another.
Marty Goodman represents First Presbyterian on the local Community Concerns Board which operates a home for eight men and women to reenter the community. Each year our church helps with the spring clean-up at the home on East Street. Marty Goodman and Ken Holtz attended the work day on June 1, which included weeding, cleaning the porches, and cleaning out the attic. We are very grateful to Marty for the long-term commitment she has made to this project.
This year we donated some home-made soup to be served at The Crossing (the coffee shop located on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Hickory Street). The Crossing's goal is Christian outreach and welcomes people of all ages and denominations to enjoy Christian fellowship.
Through the Equal Exchange program we offer coffee to the community for a fair price. This in turn aids farmers in third world countries by paying them a fair price for their product.
Recycling programs (cans and inkjet cartridges for printers) - Carole Mayer started this program as a friend to the environment.
The Sharing Place, under the direction of Susie Spangler and Bette McAmbley, has provided fellowship and a hot meal on Thursday evenings to those who are hungry or lonely. Eight local churches provided volunteers and financial support to this much needed program.
Farmer's Market offered baked goods and fresh produce to our community from mid-July through October with 75 percent ($4,346.13) of the proceeds benefiting the Presbyterian Hunger Program and 25 percent ($1,448.71) of the proceeds supporting The Sharing Place. We are thankful for Paul Cree and Kay Dolan who volunteered their time to setup the market on Saturday mornings. Paul is going to nursing school, so he will not be available to work Farmer's Market in the summer of 2014. If this mission is to continue, we desperately need volunteers to contribute a weekend or two to this worthy project.
Mission Committee donated $100 to Ruby Wiles reading project, Free Books for Kids Town.
Mission Committee wrote three grant proposals for the Warren Gives money. The Mission Committee received two $1,000 grants. One grant will be used to fund two Service Sundays - "Faith at Work," one in the spring and one in the fall of 2014. The other grant will be used to help fund a "Stop Hunger Now" program in 2014. A portion of the 2014 Warren Gives money will go to support the five-year plan to educate the community of Warren about the anti-bullying program sponsored by New Light Media and Brent Scarpo, an alumnus of WAHS and a former resident of Warren. Scarpo is considered to be an expert in the field of bullying and violence. Lincoln Sokolski of Whirley Industries and Kathy Lang have the responsibility to raise the money for this much needed programming in our schools.
Service Sunday: The public is invited to hear the Mission Committee sermon, "The Biggest Honor of My Life," at the April 27, Service Sunday, worship. After church, interested persons will gather in fellowship hall for a light lunch and depart at noon for Service Sunday, "Faith at Work" projects. Members of the congregation will serve the community of Warren by helping the elderly and residents in need with yard work, house cleaning, small repairs, small paint jobs (a small room or a hallway), and visiting shut-ins and nursing home residents. Church members should come to church dressed in clothes appropriate for the type of mission project they select. A sign-up sheet was included in the church bulletin. Participants will work from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. then return to the church for dessert and conversation. If you know someone who would benefit from this service, call the church office (723-9200).
Martha Leathers is coordinator of the Flamingo Flocks Project to benefit Relay for Life this year. Order forms will be included in the church bulletin, and deliveries will begin on April 27 and end May 31. Anyone can order a flock for a friend or neighbor.
The Broadway Night fund-raiser will be May 28.
Parishioners will raise money for the Warren County BackPack Program by bagging groceries at Thorne's BiLo June 27-28.
Friends of Mission Projects: Peter Hoffman, Marty Goodman, Bette McAmbley, Abbey Dyke, Curtis Tyler, Priscilla Powley, Vickie Eggleston, Jim Eggleston, and Martha Leathers
The Mission Committee extends their gratitude to the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church for their continued support of local, regional, national and world-wide mission. We thank you for your prayers, financial support, time, and God given talents. Together, we can make a difference in this world, one project at a time. Kay Dolan and Howard Ferguson, co-chairpersons