Saturday collection 7/04/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.

Arkansas deacon speaks up for health care reform

Church leaders, including Episcopal deacon Joyce Hardy of Little Rock, will speak up for health care reform in ads placed on Christian and mainstream radio stations over the Independence Day congressional recess. The ads target states with fence-sitting senators. Ads here will aim to convince Sen. Blanche Lincoln, also Episcopalian, and Mark Pryor of the “moral imperative” to insure that all Americans have health care.


Hope for the homeless

As people continue to lose their jobs due to a nationwide recession, some people may find them homeless. But now there’s hope for those in Blount County thanks to a group of churches. Family Promise began operations this week in Blount county with their first family. The program bands together churches to give people a roof over their head and a place to serve as an office in finding a new job and get back on their feet…. Reverend Bob Beasley, pastor of St. Andrews Episcopal Church says, “Our goal is to make it home for a week so it doesn’t need to be too institutional. It needs to be hospitable.” Ten area churches have signed up to take the families a week at a time. St. Andrews Episcopal will serve as home for this single family this week.


Diaper bank established

The Rev. Jim Swarthout knows that diapers might not be the first thing people think about when considering charity needs, but that doesn’t meant they aren’t important. That’s why the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church priest plans to start the St. Paul Partnership Diapers Bank of McHenry County, which would supply diapers and disposable undergarments for both infants and the elderly or disabled.


New Orleans housing project.

Gulf Coast Housing Partnership and Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative both nonprofit housing corporations are working together with a for-profit developer called LDG Development, based in Louisville, Ky.

The Muses will include 211 apartments in the first phase, roughly 65 percent of which will rent at market rates, with the remainder set aside as affordable housing. Later phases will include 53 apartments and either condos or townhouses that will be available for sale.

Land for the project was assembled nearly a decade ago for an Albertson’s grocery store, a chain that has since pulled out of the New Orleans market. It was later bought by the developer Elie Khoury, who had planned after Hurricane Katrina to build high-end condominiums there. The property sat vacant as it changed hands.


Latin American cultures that fill church with music and dancing

Port Chester – The Rev. Hilario Albert delights in the dozen or so Latin American cultures that fill his church with music and dancing.

To the Dominican-born priest, “music is life,” a force that breathes vitality into the church community. The parish hall at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is a venue for Guatemalan folkloric dance rehearsals, Peruvian brass band practices and a packed calendar of saint’s day celebrations. Last year, a “Cultural Friday” series gave each nationality a chance to showcase their traditions. But there’s one problem, according to the rector.

Albert believes that cultural exchange is essential because it “gives us the sense of one body in Christ.” And that remains a challenge.

Now comes round two. The church is setting out to celebrate the independence days of Latin America, with the whole congregation joining in.


Career Connection group meets at church

Organizers of a local group that aims to help unemployed people network with one another during their job searches said job seekers have welcomed the group during its first weeks.Career Connection Issaquah, based out of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, brings together job seekers for every-other-Friday meetings to discuss ways to maximize their job hunting.

“I think people are making real connections,” organizer Mark Shaffer said, adding that feedback from attendees has been positive.

At a recent Career Connection gathering, members learned how to get the most out of the Web. Organizers said the event, with the topic Working the World Wide Web, was a success.

“We discussed all facets of using the Web for one’s search,” organizer Bruce Follansbee wrote in a follow-up e-mail. “We covered the various types of job boards (commercial, recruiter, corporate and altruistic or affinity i.e., government, association, professional, universities, etc.) as well as networking tools, such as LinkedIn, which generated a great deal of interest.”

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