Saturday Collection 2/13/2010

Parishes and missions of the Episcopal Church have been busy this last week doing the sorts of things that are the bread and butter of congregational life. Here’s a brief survey of some of them that were mentioned in the news:

Holy Spirit in Sandpoint Idaho is a restarting congregation being planted in a building that began its life as a Jehovah’s witness Kingdom Hall. They’ve been hard at work making the building more “Episcopalian” primarily by making sure there’s a kitchen for food.

St. James, Millcreek Hundred in Delaware has turned its unused rectory into an office for Tamikah Gowans, the new director of the Family Promise program in that area. (Family Promise, which used to be known as the Interfaith Hospitality Network, is a program that helps to temporarily house families in congregations and provide support and counseling to help get them off the street and into permanent housing.)

There’s this story about the priest and his family at St. Matthews in West Toledo Ohio:

The Rev. Joseph Keblesh, Jr., is praying that 2010 will be a year of grace.

The rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in West Toledo said the first prayer is to find a bone-marrow donor for his wife, Linda.

It also might be helpful to find one for himself too.

The congregation has organized a bone marrow donor registration drive this weekend as a way of putting flesh on their prayers. (If you’re so moved, it’s relatively easy to find a place to register in your community too. The database will let you know if you’re a match.

St. Peter’s in Morristown NJ was featured in a report this week because of its support of a school in rural India. Not only has the parish worked to build and maintain the school and its program, a former member of the congregation’s youth group saved his money, quit his job in the States and is now a teacher at the school:

Last July, Haslett left his Washington, D.C., job at an international development agency to work as a volunteer English teacher at the St. Peter’s English Medium School in the poor, rural village of Kothapallamitta in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

[…]“For me, it’s always been about these children,” Haslett told the Morristown congregation, showing photos of the schoolchildren. “They’re really just special kids that are just kids, like anywhere else in the word. They’re energetic, and they want to learn – and they want to play and to dance.”

And some are doing quite well. Two girls recently placed top in the district and first and second in the state in an essay contest, said Haslett, who filled in as head of school for six weeks before his visit home. A third girl received an honorable mention.

“It was great to show that our kids are learning and our teachers our teaching. We just had three girls told that they’re the smartest in the state.”

And finally, St. Peter’s in Peekskill was noted for their role in opening “Fred’s Pantry” a new site that will allow people in need a chance to find help in a “dignified way” by giving them the opportunity to “shop” for themselves in the three rooms the parish has dedicated for this purpose. It’s expected that as many as 200 families a month will be making use of this service.

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