Dear Friends in Christ,
As we go to press, we are in the midst of the hustle and bustle of preparations for our annual “Reach for the Stars” Gala and Outreach Auction. There are count- less items and services and trips and golf outings donated, and thousands of per- son-hours have been dedicated to the preparations. Last year’s auction raised over $18,000 for the various outreach ministries, which we support in the community and throughout the world. Every dollar lovingly raised and sent out into God’s creation gives hope and assistance to someone who benefits from it. All involved are to be commended highly! Your donation, or bid, or ticket purchased really does make a difference.
An email from Stop Hunger Now this week tells of the emergency food shipments they have sent to Sierra Leone, so devastated by the worst of the Ebola outbreak. The most recent shipment included 285,120 meals and 50 boxes of medical sup- plies given by MAP International. Stop Hunger Now’s partner in Sierra Leone, New Harvest Ministries, reports that “Since the outbreak, nearly 50% of the country has come to a standstill – to some extent cut off from the rest of the world… markets have been shut down for 3 months…the poor and the marginalized have had their movements restricted.” Food prices have sky-rocketed, and supplies are meager, they report. Starvation accompanies the virus to take its toll as well.
In the midst of this, Stop Hunger Now has been sending shipments to Sierra Leone and to Liberia, which is suffering severely as well. The generosity and manual labor of folks like us really does make a difference. Our next packaging event will be Saturday, January 17th. We are gathering funds now, of course, in order to be able to maximize our order of supplies. If you want to help ahead of the event, drop your contributions into the jar in Denny Hall or drop off or mail a check marked “Stop Hunger Now” on the memo line. Paul Davis, our intrepid leader in this ministry, will be glad to answer any questions you may have. The website at www.stophungernow.org has a banner at the top with the most recent figures on their food distribution – today is reads “277,128 meals packaged this week. 160,363,602 total meals packaged. 65 countries served.” Each meal – all 160 mil- lion of them – has been a life-saver. And the contributions and the labor you have loving supplied at our packaging events really do make a difference!
As you heard earlier in the year, beginning in October we will offer two new week- day worship opportunities each month. We will continue to have a Healing Service and Eucharist the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 6 PM, and on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays we will experience “The Still Small Voice” of God at 6 PM.
This will a brief time, mostly of silence and reflection, led by lay people. We envision an opening prayer or two, followed by about a quarter hour of silence and concluding with a prayer or two and the Lord’s Prayer. In the busy-ness and noise of our culture, this will be a time to step back and simply experience God. “The Still Small Voice” of literature and hymnody is sometimes translated as “silence,” a commodity in short supply in many of our lives. We hope that this opportunity to experience God in this way really will make a difference.
And, of course, each of the countless other ways we engage in God’s work and in the living out of our Faith together in our ministries and experiences really does make a difference. Praise be to God for all the incredible, rich, gifts with which we have been endowed – and with the responsibilities to utilize them with which we have been entrusted.
In Christ’s Love,