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“You shall be called repairers of the breach.”—Isaiah 58
The liturgical season of Lent is historically marked with fasting, a traditional practice of giving up food, and devoting ourselves to prayer. However, this isn’t the only type of fasting talked about in the sacred texts. Isaiah 58 describes a new fast, not to give up bread, but to share it. Isaiah calls us to “loose the bonds of injustice,” “let the oppressed go free,” “share bread with the hungry,” and “invite the homeless poor into our homes.” We are called to help those in need and to restore those who have been broken down. More than ever, as God’s people, we are “called to be repairers of the breach” of the brokenness, division, and need in this world by giving of our gifts, time, talent, and treasure.
When we support the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, we join congregations all over the country as we seek to answer God’s call and support the lives of many people through Self-Development of People, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and Presbyterian Hunger Programs. ELPC will receive the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering on Sun., April 2, and Palm Sunday, April 9. Please give generously.
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While you may be familiar with Open Hand Ministries (OHM) for its home rehab workdays on the first Saturday of each month, OHM’s real focus is on working with families so they can move beyond their fragile economic situations, move out of poverty, become financially stable, and qualify to buy a home.
To help families reach these goals, OHM offers a structured family development program, called Circles. Through the Circles program, a family (Leader) that wants to change the outlook of their finances and life goals, is paired with a supportive “Ally” who assists them.
OHM is currently looking for both Leaders and Allies. Training will begin in the spring! If you are interested in becoming an Ally and would like to chat with current Allies from ELPC, contact Allison Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan Spangler at email@example.com.
For more information about the Circles program, please contact Jodi Salant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.361.8061.
Comments Off on Christmas Joy Offering to be Received
The 2016 Christmas Joy Offering celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ, the “wondrous gift” of God with us. Jesus arrived in a humble stable in small and insignificant Bethlehem, to lead and teach in truth and love, and bring about God’s salvation to the world. What a “wondrous gift” indeed! This was a gift so profound that the only response was the bringing of more gifts; the Magi arrived with gold, frankincense, and myrrh to honor the Christ Child.
Since the 1930s, the PC(USA) has provided the opportunity for congregations to join this celebration of God’s wondrous gift by supporting those in need of help and hope through the Christmas Joy Offering. Our gifts offer financial assistance to individuals and families who have dedicated their lives to the church, and also supports racial/ethnic education and leadership development programs for students attending Presbyterian-related schools and colleges.
In gratitude to God for the wondrous gift of Jesus, ELPC will receive the Christmas Joy Offering on Sun., Dec. 18,. Please give generously.
Comments Off on What is Open Hand Ministries’ Family Care Program?
Open Hand Ministries (OHM) partners with like-hearted organizations and individuals, such as churches, community development corporations, lending agencies, expert trade skill professionals, funding organizations, and other local support agencies. Through this collaboration, OHM’s Family Care Program works to equip families for success and homeownership, by:
- Working with local families as they become “wealth builders” through debt reduction, budgeting, saving, investing, and mortgage readiness;
- Rehabilitating vacant or abandoned properties within developing areas, transforming them into safe, sound, energy-efficient, and affordable houses for families to purchase as homes and investments; and
- Maintaining supportive relationships with the families and helping them to thrive in homeownership, wealth-building, and life.
OHM’s Family Care program has adopted the nationally recognized “Circles” model, where OHM families (Circle Leaders) are matched with Family Care volunteers (Circles Allies) to form teams (Circles) that work to accomplish a family’s goals.
OHM’s approach is unique when it comes to addressing systemic racism and generational poverty because the financial struggles of the families are almost always a result of this trauma. OHM’s Family Care program addresses relationship building, racism/genderism/classism, and community issues with our families first, and then addresses financial management within these larger topics.
The Circles community meets weekly, with dinner and childcare provided. For more information or to get involved, contact Allison Freeman at email@example.com or Emily Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments Off on Thanksgiving Food Drive
Share the abundance in your life with others this Thanksgiving. The ELPC Neighbors and Christian Education Committees invite you to donate Thanksgiving meal items to the EECM Food Pantry. Shopping bags with a grocery list will be distributed at worship on Sundays, Oct. 30 and Nov. 6. Bags filled with food donations are due back on Stewardship Sunday, Nov. 13.
For more info, contact Pastor Patrice at 412.441.3800 x30.
Comments Off on Children’s Sabbath Sunday
Ageism in Reverse: Ageism is defined as “discrimination against persons of a certain age group, usually associated with a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.” Often, children also are victims of ageism, not seen as having value or worth by society.
On Sun., Oct. 16, we will celebrate the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths, Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps, as we strive to close opportunity gaps that exist as a result of poverty, and lack of access to high-quality early childhood development and a high-quality education so that every child can reach their God-given potential. As people of faith we stand tall and push our nation to keep our promises of love, justice, equality, and dignity for all—especially our children.
Comments Off on Update on Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization Bill
Last June, many of you wrote letters urging Congress to reauthorize the Childhood Nutrition Act of 2010, which funds school breakfast and lunch programs, summer feeding programs, and WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children). Re-authorization is important to expand access and improve the programs. The following is a progress update from the Neighbors Committee. (more…)
Comments Off on One Great Hour of Sharing
As we move through the Lenten season and prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we are grateful for the transformation made possible through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. In places like Malawi; Bolivia; Point Pleasant, N.J.; and Iona, Mich., those most in need are finding hope through the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, the Self-Development of People program, and their partners in ministry. It is easy to become distracted from the reality faced by our brothers and sisters around the world where poverty, disaster, and war cause displacement and suffering.
This is why we continue to give to One Great Hour of Sharing. Feeding the hungry, helping people build up their livelihoods, responding to disasters—these are all ways that your gifts are changing lives, communities, and the world. On Palm Sunday, March 20, join Christians all across the country as we tangibly witness to the abundant love of God through One Great Hour of Sharing.
Comments Off on Repairing Homes, Hearts, and Minds
ELPC has participated in the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts since it hit the East Coast three years ago. Since then, 21 ELPC members and friends have undertaken four, week-long mission trips to Point Pleasant, N.J.
In October, nine people from the ELPC community joined with others from the Lend a Hand Foundation on a final mission trip to assist with the residential recovery effort. Over the course of the week, the volunteers provided more than 700 hours of work at five residences in need of repair and restoration.
The hours offered are important in that communities are granted FEMA funds for every volunteer hour, but the hours mean even more to homeowners and communities who are grateful that others understand they are still struggling for a sense of normalcy. The repair and restoration is not just to physical structures, however. Hearts and minds are repaired, the love of God is shared, and hope is restored.
While this may have been ELPC’s final trip to Point Pleasant, our work and faith relationship with Lend a Hand Foundation and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will continue.
Comments Off on Take the TRAIL This Friday
Hello friends. I am excited about this Friday! We will spend the evening with some fantastic new friends from a young adult Jewish organization called Repair the World. I have spent time with many of these folks (as they are volunteering at ELPC as mentors with Food 4 Thought) and they are a fun group of folks. So all you need to know is below my signature line in this message. Please let me know if you are coming and what you plan to bring. The only thing to keep in mind is that all dishes should be vegetarian – no other restrictions. It will be a fun night of friends, food and service. This is a TRAIL young adult event.
First Friday @ Repair the World
Friday, November 7 at 7:00pm at Repair the World, 6022 Broad Street, East Liberty, 15206
Come meet new friends at the Repair the World office while we share a potluck dinner (bring a vegetarian dish serving 5-7) and fellowship as we learn about their organization (see www.werepair.org). Then we will serve together as we cook a meal for our neighbors.