|Haiti Relief [from the Rector]|
There are some direct ways the Episcopal Church is in a position to help in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Perhaps the most efficient way is through Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). Formerly the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief, this is a reliable channel provided contributions are clearly stipulated for Haiti relief. That is a practical necessity given the past history of this fund’s operation. Here is their address: Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058
Mark the checks: HAITI FUND. Bishop Chane has endorsed this means of support.
My former diocese, Upper South Carolina, has labored in a thirty-year partnership with the Diocese of Haiti. At Christmas this year, Jennifer and I received notice that a gift had been given in our names to one of their projects. We were touched and honored by this gift, knowing that it would go to the excellent work that partnership has accomplished. Let me quote the report posted on Upper South Carolina’s website:
The diocese [of Upper South Carolina] is also suggesting that those of us who desire specifically to acknowledge the intimate mission partnership we have with the church and people of Haiti make a targeted contribution to our ‘BREAD AND WATER FUND.’ Having been established two years ago, the “Bread and Water Fund” is uniquely positioned to support this Diocese’s historical mission work in Cange, Haiti; and now in this crisis it can focus our aid on some very specific and profound needs. In particular, the ‘Bread and Water Fund-Rescue’ will be designated to support the immediate work of the hospital in Cange (something [the Diocese of Upper South Carolina] helped build and develop) and to insure the ongoing functioning of the Cange water supply.UPDATE: The Women of St Francis held their winter business meeting 14 January having this information in hand. In an act of characteristic generosity they voted to send $3,000 from the outreach money generated by House Tour to the “Bread and Water Fund” described above. I am personally grateful for their kindness, and even though I have no connection to that diocese any longer, I am deeply touched by this act of generosity. It is the kind of thing the New Testament describes and commends.
The diocesan-supported hospital at Cange is (according to news reports) the best hospital left standing in the country at this point, and its proximity to Port au Prince makes it an obvious center for medical relief services. With the damage to the power grid, one of the basic needs the hospital now has is to make sure that its supply of diesel fuel remains so that its generators can provide electricity to the hospital. Funds for medicines and other treatment courses will most certainly be in high demand, as well.
The other fundamental need right now is to insure that the water supply for the Cange community does not fail. Previous to this earthquake crisis, Upper South Carolina inaugurated the “Bread and Water Fund” to rebuild the water supply’s worn, 25-year-old dam and to replace the water pump. How much more tragic would it be, now that the water supply must service many times more than the normal population, if this system failed?” Targeted contributions for Cange Support should be mailed to: Diocese of Upper South Carolina, 1115 Marion Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
Mark the checks: BREAD & WATER – RESCUE, CANGE, Haiti.
Here are two avenues for relief support, both through the Episcopal Church – one by the denomination, the other by one diocese in partnership with the Diocese of Haiti. There are no doubt other excellent relief channels; these two were mentioned because we had direct knowledge of them. Through it all, please hold the people of that stricken land in your prayers.
Loaves and Fishes
The Loaves and Fishes program at St. Stephen's and the Incarnation Church in DC has been serving hot meals to people in need since 1968. Approximately 250 – 300 guests benefit from this important food service ministry. Loaves and Fishes depends on volunteers for help in the kitchen as well as in fundraising.
St. Francis handles the food service in the months that have a fifth Sunday. Additionally, St. Francis has been supplying Loaves and Fishes with paper goods, plasticware, garbage bags and other supplies needed to keep the program operational.
The last weekend of summer brought a dedicated group of volunteers to the kitchen at St. Francis for casserole preparation. On Saturday, August 29, our workers included: Roy Day, Carol Jarvis, Missy Beall, Chris LeClair, Mary Sexton, Terri Vande Sande, Victoria Ellsworth, Norma Young, and Martin Bahar. Sunday, August 30th, the day of food transport and service, the following volunteers assembled at the kitchen to load supplies and food into cars and to travel to DC to serve the meal: George Stosur, Fred Johnsen, Alan Van Egmond, Marjorie Van Egmond, Victoria and Aaron Ellsworth, Claudia Bahar and Travis Lay. Thank you to all for working Loaves and Fishes into your busy lives.
The next opportunity to join us in 2009 is November 28 – 29. In 2010, join us on any of the following dates: January 30 – 31; May 29 – 30; August 28 – 29; October 30 – 31. If you would like to volunteer for this enjoyable and rewarding ministry, please contact Laurel Bahar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partner Arms Adopt-an-Apartment Program
On May 30th, Saint Francis parishioners once again furnished an apartment as we continued our participation in the Transitional Housing Corporation's (THC) Partner Arms Adopt-an-Apartment program. The furniture and household items that the Saint Francis community donated were driven in to the apartment in Northeast on Georgia Avenue. What was in the morning an apartment devoid of any furnishings, fabrics, and appliances was transformed, by the afternoon, into a nicely appointed home ready for a homeless family to make their own while they transition to independent living.
They did it out of love for God and neighbor, not for applause or publicity [thus, no before and after photos were taken!], but as a parish we take pride in the good work done lovingly by the following parishioners: Betsy Harrison, Chris Maier, Anne Wallace, Susan Dolan, Molly Kiniry, Craig Windham, Amy Bachman, Tracey Bachman, Andy Jordan, Janet Wilson, David Sturgeon, and Gabriel Ellsworth.
Here is a partial list of the items donated by Saint Francis parishioners to furnish the apartment:
1 upholstered chair
1 small end table
1 small coffee table
2 lamps for the living room
4 lamps for bedrooms
1 dining table
4 dining chairs
1 double/queen bed frame
1 new double/queen box spring
1 new double/queen mattress
1 twin bed frame
1 new twin mattress
1 new vacuum cleaner
1 toaster or toaster oven
1 electric iron
1 shower rod (adjustable)
1 shower curtain
shower curtain rings
1 bath mat
1 ironing board
2 laundry baskets
2 trash cans (kitchen and bathroom)
1 new double/queen comforter
1 new double/queen blanket
1 new twin sheet set per child
1 new twin blanket per child
1 new twin comforter per child
6 new pillows
8 bath towels
8 hand towels
|Outreach is an essential part of parish life at Saint Francis. In Holy Scripture, Christ repeatedly calls us to minister to those in need. Our outreach programs serve the Lord through stewardship of time and financial resources given in Christ's name.|
Funding for outreach is based on parishioner pledges, proceeds from the annual Potomac Country House Tour, and the many outreach activities of the parish, including the Church Sunday School.
Over 40 organizations receive ongoing financial and in-kind support. These ministries address homelessness, hunger, women's and children's issues, family counseling, medical missions, and evangelical efforts. An abundance of volunteer service opportunities are offered.
Among many direct service opportunities are a week in Lent providing meals at Community Based Shelter gatherings throughout the year to cook and serve food for the St. Stephen and Incarnation's "Loaves and Fishes" program, the annual Student Ministries Mission Trip, contributions of Christmas food baskets through County Volunteer services, and collections from various parish constituencies for clothing, feeding, and back-to-school programs.
Saint Francis commits over ten percent of its annual budget to outreach funding.