Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Congregational Priorities

In his State of the Church address on Sunday, Pastor Fritz outlined the following priorities for the congregation in the coming year:

Continue Mission Outreach
To continue the work of the Mission Outreach Team and follow in their lead as they host the Sunday Afternoon Socials and find other ways to serve our neighbors living alone.

Invitation and Engagement
To intentionally invite our neighbors into worship and mission with us both one on one and by increasing our visibility in the community.

Presbyterian Mission Partnership
To identify specific Presbyterian ministries, one on Long Island and one international, where we can partner through prayer, through giving and through involvement.

Priority Teams have been set up to lead our congregation forward in these areas. To join a priority team, sign up in the back of church or talk with Pastor Fritz.

Read Pastor Fritz's State of the Church address

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Disaster Response

All of us have been rocked by the powerful images and stories coming out of Haiti. There are hundreds of aid organizations already at work in Haiti and more are now on their way there, giving us a plethora of opportunities to help. Here are a few that I know to be trust worthy and reliable. Feel free to share this with colleagues and friends who are interested in helping.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
PDA is working through our church partners and our PC(USA) Mission Personnel to assess the situation and channel relief. Initial relief is provided through our One Great Hour of Sharing Easter offering, but they are seeking $1,000,000 in additional funds.

To give: Put a check in the offering plate at church marked "PDA-Haiti" or give online.

Partners in Development
PID is a small, dynamic economic development organization that has specialized in working with Haiti's poorest of the poor for over twenty years. I personally know the Executive Director and many of their Haitian staff. They have some of the lowest administrative overhead costs of any development organization, ensuring that almost every dollar you give will go on the ground in Haiti. PID is also recruiting a team of "medical professionals and experienced travelers" to provide support for their Haitian staff, especially at their medical clinic in the Port-au-Prince suburbs. If you are interested, talk to Pastor Fritz.

To give: Put a check in the offering plate at church marked "PID - Haiti" or give online.

Hygiene Kits
CPC is partnering with Church World Service to collect Hygiene Kits for use in the tent cities that have sprung up all over Haiti. For information on what to put into the kit, click here. Then bring your kits(s) to the church.

Neighbor to Neighbor
We live in a small world where personal connections transcend international boundaries. Donna Flud and her American Airlines colleagues regularly fly into and out of Haiti and have regularly been delivering relief supplies for years. Once commercial flights resume, Donna will be able to personally deliver clothes, shoes, hygene items, etc.

I would suggest that those wishing to partner with Donna make Hygiene Kits for her to distribute through her Haitian contacts. These compact, self contained kits are proven tool for helping in times of extreme need.

To give: Go to the Church World Service Kits Web Page and assemble a Hygine Kit according to the directions provided. Drop it off at church. Or put a check in the offering plate at church marked "Hygine Kits - Haiti."

The Power of Prayer
Please hold the people of Haiti up in prayer as well as all those seeking to bring aid and support. Pray for your Haitian neighbors and co-workers, who may very well be mourning friends and family members lost in the disaster. Please pray especially for PC(USA) Missionary Sharon Babe, who was injured in the quake and is hospitalized. Pray also for our church partner, the Episcopal Diocese in Haiti, which lost almost all their buildings.

A prayer for Haiti
God of compassion
Please watch over the people of Haiti,
And weave out of these terrible happenings
wonders of goodness and grace.
Surround those who have been affected by tragedy
With a sense of your present love,
And hold them in faith.
Though they are lost in grief,
May they find you and be comforted;
Guide us as a church
To find ways of providing assistance
that heals wounds and provides hope
Help us to remember that when one of your children suffer
We all suffer
Through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives
and rules this world with you. Amen.