Neighbors Committee

The Neighbors Committee of the ELPC Mission Board strives to engage the congregation in service to our local East End community in a manner that responds to God’s command to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” By God’s grace, we endeavor to connect the congregation with the local community in a way that uplifts, informs, and ultimately transforms. Chair is Emily Rosenthal.

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This Neighbors Committee’s primary areas of focus are Housing ministry, which partners with Open Hand Ministries (OHM) and Garfield Community Farms (GCF) in East Liberty and Garfield; East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) Service Teams and the Council of Congregations; Community development group involvement, such as East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI) , and East Liberty Gardens Apartments, and provide grants for special neighborhood partnership activities and initiatives.

Please contact Emily Rosenthal to be come involved in the committee (meets 6 times per year) or participate in any of its activities listed below.

Holy Spirit Breakfast Team

Volunteers on the ELPC Holy Spirit Breakfast Teams cook and serve breakfasts together at the East End Community House on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Want to join a team? New members are always welcome! To join, or for more information on this or other ELPC Volunteer Service Teams, contact Patrice Fowler-Searcy at Patricefs@coh.net or 412.441.3800 x30, or Susan Spangler at sspanglerlcsw@gmail.com.

The Housing Ministry

The Housing Ministry engages in housing rehab work as a partner with Open Hand Ministries (OHM) by coordinating volunteers to participate in workdays on the first Saturday of every month. We prepare houses to be rehabbed for first time homeowners, as well as landscape work in vacant lots and clearing out of abandoned buildings. Volunteers also lend their skills at the Garfield Community Farm, which yields crops for those in the community, while also building relationships and encouraging healthy eating practices. We work alongside members of the community, as well as members of other local churches.

The Neighbors work to build relationships with the families who are becoming homeowners through family support teams. Family support teams provide care during the mortgage and rehab process and once the family is settled in their rehabbed home. We do our best to respond to whatever needs may arise, such as furnace issues and malfunctioning appliances, as well as providing information on health care, refinancing and budgeting issues. We also provide gift cards from Home Depot and Giant Eagle that allow the families to meet their needs.

East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) and the Council of Congregations

We represent ELPC at the Council of Congregations’ monthly meetings and events, serving as the voice of EECM in the congregation. We invite participation in EECM events such as the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, the annual winter coat donation drive, the Taste of the East End fundraising event, the “Back to College” support of students. We also provide information updates to the congregation on EECM’s special needs and projects such as the furnishing of new apartments or the building of Community House.

Community Development

ELPC maintains connections with the development activities in the neighborhood, as well as staying abreast of any issues that may arise. As construction of new retail, commercial, and residential spaces continue to change the face of the neighborhood, ELPC’s active presence and partnership with community businesses, housing organizations, nonprofits, and residential leaders is crucial.

East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI)

We represent ELPC at meetings of East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI) and report back to the committee on the many changes and initiatives occurring in the neighborhood. We serve a vital role in communicating these changes to the ELPC congregation on issues that affect us daily, such as the Penn circle conversion, housing developments, and changes in the neighborhood business district.

East Liberty Gardens Apartments

As representative on East Liberty Gardens Apartments (EL Gardens) board, we support positive growth initiatives for residents at the 127-unit, subsidized housing complex built in the early 1960s. EL Gardens is owned by EL Housing, Inc and its board is made up of members from Eastminster and ELPC churches; the housing complex is managed by staff from ELDI. The goals of the board are: to identify ways to improve the physical setting, to increase services and amenities for the residents (such as physical renovations, creating a community meeting space, etc), and to ensure that the subsidy remains project-based. We support EL Gardens annual Community Day Celebration and Ice Cream Social in the summer.

For more information about ELPC’s mission ministries, contact The Rev. Patrice L. Fowler-Searcy, Director of Mission Ministries, by email or phone, (412) 441-3800 x30; or Kate Carlson, Administrative Assistant, by email or phone, (412) 441-3800 x16.