Tag Archives: Mission

PCUSA Special Offerings

Pentecost offering

Bobbi Updegraff from the Lycoming Presbyterian Church in Williamsport is an an ambassador for our PCUSA Special Offerings program or Presbyterian Disaster Assistance since 2000—She would love to come to your churches to interpret mission for these Special Offerings. Please contact Bobbi ( robertaupdegraff@me.com )if you are interested in scheduling.

The Pentecost Offering, is awesome in its scope for the future.

The Pentecost Offering includes a local component For those of us passionate about equipping the next generation for service this is win-win. The Pentecost Offering provides opportunities for our local youth groups, and supports national youth ministries as well. Let’s promote the Pentecost Offering and utilize the funds that flow back to our local churches.
A gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people, and also address the needs of at-risk children. 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The remaining 60% is used to support ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency:
• Young Adult Volunteers
• Ministries for Youth
• Children-at-Risk

For more information on the Pentecost Offering click here –  http://specialofferings.pcusa.org/pentecost

Bald Eagle United Presbyterian Church

Knitting ministry has Bald Eagle United PC in stitches

American troops are involved. So are women recovering from breast cancer and newborn children. Guys in their leather jackets on Harley-Davidson motorcycles are pitching in, too. What was originally taken as a leap of faith seven years ago has quickly grown into something very special at Bald Eagle United Presbyterian Church in Mill Hall, PA.Prayer Shawls Bald Eagle UPC

The church’s Prayer Shawl Ministry is in its seventh year and has grown immensely from its humble beginnings. Originally created to knit shawls to give comfort to those facing surgery or other hardships, the ministry now includes everything from prosthesis to “Pocket Prayer Shawls for Troops” to “Pretty Pockets,” which are given to people who are coming home from the hospital with post-surgical drains like a colostomy bag.

The brainchild of Pastor Susan Champion, the ministry has grown from just a couple of worshipers from Bald Eagle United PC to 30 people from the Mill Hall community who are eager to knit and crochet. One knitter is over 104 years old, and the volunteers are supplying their own yarn to keep the program running cost-free, adding to the powerful ministry this has become.

“When I started it, I did it on a wing and a prayer,” Susan said. “I did not know if anyone would come through that door or not but they did. They came and those who came wanted to give back because they had either been healed of cancer or someone in their family had been healed of cancer and they wanted to do something for a ministry.”

The gatherings occur at noon on the first Wednesday of the month and consist of lunch and a couple hours of knitting and sharing. For most, the bulk of the knitting occurs in their homes prior to the monthly gathering where much of the conversation includes the reading of “thank you” notes from people who have received the handmade items, enabling the volunteers to feel the joy for the items they have created.

“It’s only through the grace of God that I have not had to ask the church for one single penny,” Susan said. “We provide all of the yarn. We provide lunches for everyone. We provide the needles and the patterns, the fellowship and the fun.”

While knitting prayer shawls as a type of comfort blanket distributed to those facing illness was the original intent, the Prayer Shawl Ministry has developed into much more. Knitters have come in requesting to make things like children’s clothes, which are now being given to every Mill Hall couple with a newborn. And thus the “Infant Sweater Ministry” was born. Another person came up with the idea of creating “Pretty Pockets” as a fashionable holder for post-surgical drains, and this outreach was organized.

Among its most popular items being created through the so-called “Wednesday Weavers” group is prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies. Susan came up with the idea after reading about such a thing in Reader’s Digest, and it has taken off by leaps and bounds.

“I found out there is no place where people who had mastectomies – and 40 percent of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have to have mastectomies – there was no place where they could go to get a free kit for prosthesis,” she said. “If you have insurance you can get prosthesis but they are made of silicone and very heavy. These are hand-knitted and made out of special yarn that’s skin sensitive. We make them in sizes and we weight them.”

Many times women who go through this procedure can’t wear the prosthesis until they are healed from the surgery, but the knitted ones from Bald Eagle United PC can be worn immediately.

“Oftentimes women cannot get their prosthesis because they have to heal, so they have to go around with socks in their bra, but ours you can put in right away,” Susan said. “We have had calls from all over the United States. … We have one lady who stepped up to the plate and she said ‘My mom died from breast cancer. I want this part of the ministry.’

“We’re the only organization in the state of Pennsylvania that does this. I find it very interesting that it’s a church, and it should be.”Prayer-Shawls3 Bald Eagle UPC

Another outreach that is fairly new to the Wednesday group is “Pocket Prayer Shawls for Troops.” These 2.5-inch squares are sent to American military for them to wear in their helmets. They are knitted or crocheted from either cotton or wool – other materials will melt to a soldier’s head if they are under fire — and come with a tag explaining their purpose.

“We’re starting with 1,000. We have people already asking us when they are going to be ready,” Susan said. “But we’re not just going to stop there. We’re taking these Pocket Prayer Shawls to emergency rooms, to hospital waiting rooms, to nursing homes and putting them in baskets for anyone who is walking by and needs to hold something in their hand — something tangible so they know that God is working in their lives.”

Other items that are being made include celebration shawls, lap robes, comfort dolls for infants, mittens, scarves, booties and neo-nic sweaters and hats. One way of getting these items to the people who need and request them is through the Susquehanna Valley Big Twins Motorcycle Club. The club does a yearly “Knit N Run” on their cycles, delivering the knitted goods to places like hospitals and nursing homes.

The Bald Eagle United knitters don’t take orders, they just make what they can make and send them out to those in need.

Praye ShawlsKnit-N-Run-Bald Eagle UPC“We pray over these items,” Susan said. “We don’t know where they’re going to end up, but we just know whoever receives these, our prayer is that God’s peace and his presence just surrounds them. We pray that they are able to feel the presence of God working in their lives. These items are tangible evidence that other people care.”

Susan, who admits she has never made a prayer shawl in the seven years of the ministry, is quick to credit the volunteers for what this ministry has turned into.

“I give all of the glory and all of the credit to our Lord and also these wonderful ladies,” she said. “I’m in awe. We’re non-denominational. When we come together, we are all knitters, and we’re doing something to advance God’s kingdom.”

Note: Anyone interested in learning more about the knitting ministry at Bald Eagle United Presbyterian Church or who would like to request an item should contact the church at (570) 726-4112 or email Pastor Susan Champion at ms_champion@comcast.net. The prosthesis kits are free to anyone and there are no mailing restrictions. When ordering a kit, a size for the prosthesis will be needed.

by Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity

Presbyterian Mission Agency

Missions
Meet mission co-workers Michael and Rachel Ludwig

Michael Rachel Ludwig
About 70 percent of the people in Niger cannot read or write and have no easily accessible way to learn how. Michael and Rachel and their Nigerien partners want to change that. They are starting a literacy ministry in this deeply impoverished country. Their efforts will make Nigeriens’ day-to-day lives better and boost their chances for a brighter economic future. It will also help our partners present a respectful Christian witness in this predominantly Muslim, and typically peaceful, country. Though Niger has experienced riots and church burnings recently, our partners and the Ludwigs remain hopeful. Thanks to the prayers and financial support of people like you, numerous Nigeriens stand to gain the gift of literacy.

Please make a gift to support Michael and Rachel Ludwig and other Presbyterian mission co-workers.

One Great Hour Of Sharing

OGHSOne Great Hour of Sharing
The second Special Offering on the Liturgical calendar.

Gracie was the Lenten centerpiece of our supper table when our children were growing up. She was the reminder of what Jesus could do with small fish. My husband remembers the ½ pint milk cartons that preceded Gracie. Together they demonstrated for children the power of pennies, nickels and dimes, combined with the willingness of tiny hearts to serve God.

One Great Hour of Sharing began as a response to the devastation of World World II in Europe. It was started in 1946 as a radio plea that raised $3.8 million for relief and reconstruction. This nationwide ecumenical offering has evolved into in to an international witness to the glory of God when Christians work together for a common cause. The purpose of OGHS has remained the same for almost 70 years—to collect offerings to assist those in need. Today projects are underway in more than 100 countries, including the United States and Canada.

Follow Gracie: http://www.pcusa.org/resource/gracie-and-food-desert-2015/

Follow Special Offerings at: https://www.facebook.com/specialofferings

Contact Special Offerings Ambassador Bobbi Updegraff @ Robertaupdegraff@me.com to schedule a mission interpretation opportunity for your congregation

Human Trafficking Awareness

An important message from
Grace Marable
Social Action Coordinator (Philadelphia Presbyterian Women)

 2f77c80a7cbbc2bcd61dfc5a40526c3fJanuary 11, 2015 was Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  You can find many resources to share with your congregations at http://www.traffickfree.org

The hotline number is 888-3737888

There is a film available at http://www.polarisproject.org

There is literature available on the Presbyterian Mission website (bulletin inserts)

There are organizations around that are working hard to put a stop to this crime

SOAP (start a) Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution campaign www.trafficfree.com

Work with ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking)

www.thecode.org      www.ecpatusa.org

You can support organizations working with-at-risk women and girls to prevent trafficking

Eagles Wings –   Lifeboat Project – Ecumenical Women’s Coalition against Human Trafficking- Restore Hope www.facebook.com/ewcahumantrafficking

www.presbyterianwomen.org/justice

 

Pray For Our Missionaries – December

burkhard_petzold_001-2_medium250Burkhard Paetzold ~ Mission co-worker in Germany  since 1998
Serving as regional liaison for Central and Eastern Europe
and facilitator of work with the Roma people.

As regional liaison Burkhard Paetzold helps connect Presbyterians in the United States with partner churches and programs in Eastern and Central Europe. He also implements regional strategies and provides support for mission personnel. Much of his ministry is with the Roma people of Central and Eastern Europe. Formerly referred to as “Gypsies,” a term now considered pejorative, they have encountered discrimination and oppression for centuries. Burkhard works with partners to promote the participation of Roma in congregational and church life, develop Roma leadership, and improve the economic development and education for Roma.

Burkhard Paetzold is helping PC(USA) partner churches to get a fresh vision of the Christian faith that transcends old divisions and builds on new opportunities. “Christians and non-Christians need to be enabled to see Christianity in a new light,” Burkhard says. “The challenge for Christians is to work for peace, justice and the integrity of creation and to communicate expressions of faith, hope and solidarity within a seemingly overwhelming “new world‟ of greed, selfishness and material temptations.”  {you can read more on Burkhard by clicking here ~ presbyterianmission.org mission connections – paetzold-burkhard/

You can also download a prayer card here ~ Prayer Card

 

Presbyterian Women Synod Mission Project

FREE WHEELCHAIR MISSION
2014/2015 PW Synod Mission Project
 

FWM_Logo

Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, FWM has sent more than 781,000 wheelchairs to people in 91 countries, providing dignity,  independence and hope through the gift of mobility.

Our Mission is to provide the transforming gift of mobility to the physically disabled poor in developing countries as motivated by Jesus Christ.

Our Vision is to be a world-class provider of mobility, transforming the lives of 100,000 people with disabilities in 2014.

With an estimated 100 million people around the world today in need of a wheelchair without the means to get one, FWM strives to distribute over 100,000 chairs annually, and continues to pursue our goal to distribute 1 million chairs by the year 2016. Free Wheelchair Mission continues its focus and commitment on becoming a leading provider of mobility in developing nations, but beyond placing recipients in a chair, FWM is bringing transformation that opens doors to education, employment opportunities and community that these individuals only dreamed of before receiving the gift of mobility.

more information

Presbyterian World Mission

becca_young_medium250Support our Missionaries from Presbyterian World Mission through prayer and financial support.

Our August Missionary is Rev. Dr. Rebecca Young who serves in Indonesia.  Rebecca teaches at Jakarta Theological Seminary. In the classroom, she strives to help students be faithful and respectful witnesses as they go out to serve in a country of many religious traditions, among which Christianity is a small but strong minority. 

Home Presbytery:  Western North Carolina; E200300, D507529

For more information on the Presbyterian World Mission in Indonesia click on this link: World Mission Indonesia