Missions & Social Responsibility Commission for the 21st Century (MSRC)

Change The World Sunday A Success!

Change the World
Change the World Sunday

Change the World Sunday May 21, 2017

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

If we had a theme song for our Change the World Sunday event held on May 21 it could have been “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love”.

Approximately one hundred of us worked together with smiles on our faces to bring God’s love out of the sanctuary and into the community. We were led by project coordinators Karen Terwilliger, Heidi Gran, Nick Morrow, Kevin Conley, Floyd Hunt, Aleta Schweigert, Rachel GIso, Jessica Kurimsky, Janet Schmidt, Carrie Larson, Fred Henson, and Lorraine Beals.

This year we cast our nets over a slightly larger area by adding a couple of new projects. St. Paul’s Center in Rensselaer received a thorough kitchen cleaning by Kevin and Cindy Conley and Art Sanderson. Fred Henson and his helpers planted the new Luke Garden (Luke 12:27) located on the northwest corner of our church grounds. When established, this will be a wildflower meadow, designed to be a neighborhood demonstration project to benefit wildlife, particularly native pollinating insects. Other projects included visitations to the VA Center in Albany, local shut-ins, residents of Rosewood Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in East Greenbush and Riverside Nursing Home in Castleton. Planting was done at Goff Garden, cards were made for Veterans, May Baskets and potted plants were assembled and delivered to nursing home residents. Three dozen prayer shawls and afghans were delivered to Veterans. Sixty lunches were prepared for and delivered to the Homeless at Interfaith in Albany. Participants returned to church at Noon for a delicious lunch prepared by Lorraine Beals and her crew.

It was a productive morning as well as a very rewarding one. We appreciate all those who made this event a success including our supportive pastor Sundar Samuel, Bob Reineke, Gail Welkley, Chris Chartrand, Paula Deming and our project coordinators. We thank everyone who participated. Your efforts are helping to make a difference in our world! Please mark your calendars for our fifth anniversary Change the World Sunday on May 20, 2018.

 

children making crafts for Change the World Sunday

Feeding the Homeless

On the last Sunday in June, Kevin and Cindy Conley and John and Janet Schmidt served dinner to 25 residents of Joseph's House shelter for homeless individuals and families. It was a pleasant day in Troy so many shelter residents chose to skip the meal and enjoy the sunshine. Several residents offered thanks and compliments for the meal of southwester barbecued pork loin, baby green beans, potato salad and cantaloupe. We had plenty of food left over, so we prepared meals for three church families who are experiencing some hard times and left enough food to feed some of the Joseph's House graduates who are now in supported housing.  With the shopping assistance of Susie Calyer, we were able to serve a nutritious meal at a cost of less than $1.60 per person!

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Kevin and Cindy Conley and John and  Janet Schmidt preparing pork loin dinner for residents of Joseph's House shelter

Giving Thanks

On July 2, about twenty-five members of our congregation and several friends welcomed a teacher from Qholaqhoe High School, in Lesotho, a small country entirely surrounded by South Africa. Joseph Lengala was anxious to express his thanks for our support of his students. This was Joseph’s first visit to the United States and he also shared some of his impressions and observations. He was joined by frequent visitor Lynn Minderman, board member of Qholaqhoe Mountain Connections. QMC’s mission is to enhance educational opportunities for students who attend Qholaqhoe High School. Our church has been supporting this mission for six years now, and sponsors about ten students with scholarships. For more information and to learn more about QMC, please visit www.qmconnect.org.

Joseph LengalaJoseph Lengala and Lynn MindermanJoseph Lengala giving presentation

Making A Difference

Tracy Pitcher, Executive Director of St. Paul's Center in Rensselaer giving presentation in Fellowship Hall

On April 23rd, Tracy Pitcher, Executive Director of St. Paul's Center in Rensselaer provided an interesting and informative presentation to 25-30 attendees following the 9:30 morning service. St. Paul's Center operates the only Rensselaer County shelter that serves homeless mothers and their children. This eight room shelter can house up to 19 people on a given night. To promote housing stability, it also offers support and services to families transitioning to apartments. Ms. Pitcher described the challenges of homelessness, including the emotional and academic struggles the children face, and the services that St. Paul's offers to assist both mothers and children. Affordable housing is tight and financial assistance has not kept pace with rent increases. Thus, in recent years, the shelter has exceeded capacity and stays for shelter tenants have lengthened. The presentation was followed by a question and answer period. Attendees were quite interested to know how we can assist St. Paul's Center beyond the financial support provided through the Mission Commission budget. The Mission Commission continues to explore this area and is interested to receive input from church membership.

Long-Term Family Assistance

Missions: Gods Heartbeat Our Heartbeat

There are events that happen in life beyond our control that sometimes leave us wondering how we will pay the rent, buy food, purchase medicines and survive until tomorrow. During the past year we have helped one family in their time of need, a family new to the US and a family fighting for survival. Others in our church family may be in crisis, quietly struggling, proud and immensely worried. We can bake, offer spiritual and emotional support, and now we can offer financial help in times of great need. There are two programs (funds) in our church to help those in our church community in crisis. One is the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund (PDF) to which we contribute at the end of each month in the little envelopes, and now, the recently established Long Term Family Assistance Fund (LTFAF). This latest ministry has been designed to meet emergency long-term needs. We are excited about both funds and the opportunity to provide much-needed financial assistance to those in crisis. More information, including copies of the new policy are available. Please contact Pastor Sundar, Art Sanderson, Len Finke, Carrie Larson or John Schmidt.