Saturday Collection June 5 2010

This Saturday the news of the diverse ministries of the Episcopal Church in its congregations across the country brings us stories about the founding of a Hospice, congregations providing business incubator support for new “green” businesses, pet ministry, missionary work overseas, and civic redevelopment.

Hospice of the Panhandle, in the Martinsburg area of West Virginia is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It was founded out of a partnership between a local hospital and an Episcopal parish. Today it’s become a significant contributor to the care of the dying in the region.

From a story of its history:

“Hospice of the Panhandle had very humble beginnings. Planning for hospice began in the late 1970s among a group of concerned individuals who had learned about other hospices springing up in the country. Representatives from City Hospital and Trinity Episcopal Church, along with interested community members, formulated the original plan for the start-up organization. All were volunteers; there were no paid staff for the first few years.

In 1987, the board of directors recognized that in order to help the organization grow and become Medicare-certified, a registered nurse was needed. At the time, Margaret Cogswell, RN, was a board member who also served as Hospice’s volunteer coordinator. With nine years of experience as a nurse on the oncology unit, Cogswell was well positioned to assume the new role as executive director.

[…] Three decades ago, a hospice program was a seedling of an idea in the minds of a few concerned people. Today, Hospice of the Panhandle’s roots are deep and long.

In 30 years, Hospice of the Panhandle has helped more than 10,400 individuals who were suffering with end-stage illness while also supporting their families. Because of hospice, these many people have been able to live fully, accomplish goals and finally die with dignity, usually at home, surrounded by family and friends.”

Read the full article and history here.

A parish in Louisville KY has offered it’s kitchen to a young entrepreneur who’s found a “bicycle based soup delivery company”

Powered by Ritchie’s legs and his romantic notion that Louisville will embrace car-free commerce, SoupBycycle offers gourmet soups fashioned whenever possible from locally grown and organic ingredients. Rumbling through downtown and neighborhoods inside the Watterson Expressway three days a week, Ritchie, 37, delivers a bowl and a hunk of crusty baguette for about $5.

“I just roll around with soup,” he said.

[…]”I love cycling, and this is my craft,” Ritchie said while stirring a vat of cabbage bacon soup with an aluminum paddle in the kitchen at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in the Highlands. “I made a job for myself.”

Full story here.

The Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport NY has gained some fame this week because of a new companion that has joined her in her parochial ministry. The Democrat and Chronicle newspaper describes the life of Krista Cameron and her greyhound rescue dog “Dancy Girl”:

Being the pet of a church minister is a second life for the greyhound. Dancy Girl’s professional name was Dancing Queen. For three years, the dog was part of the greyhound racing industry and spent a year competing on the track. Cameron said Dancing Queen was retired from racing because she had a tendency to stray out of her lane and cause crashes.

About a year ago, at the same time Dancing Queen went up for adoption through a greyhound rescue organization, Cameron was looking for a dog to replace a pet that had recently died. She happened to see an exhibit sponsored by Greyhound Adoption of Greater Rochester.

“I just happened to go on the greyhound site and I saw Dancy Girl and it was just instant,” she said. “Her name caught my attention because I’m a dancer as well as a priest. And she just looked so gentle and kind.”

Cameron said it was a perfect match. Now Dancy Girl is a fixture at St. Luke’s and a constant companion of its leader. The dog attends church meetings and makes calls with Cameron. Children at the church like to walk her after Sunday services, and she is also a welcome guest during the post-sermon coffee hour in the church’s reception hall.

This year’s Waters of Hope riders are getting ready for their annual fundraiser in the Diocese of Nebraska:

Waters of Hope began with a 10-day, 1,000-mile bike ride through Iowa in 2008 and a 670-mile ride in Missouri last year. During those tours, riders raised more than $100,000 to help build wells for villages in Sudan and chlorination units in Swaziland.

This year will be the first time Waters of Hope takes place on Nebraska’s roads.

“The idea is to ride around the state and bring awareness to the need for clean water in the Sudan, because you can heal people’s diseases and you can give them vaccines, but if the water they’re drinking has parasites in it, you know, they’re back to square one,” said Slane, this year’s ride director.

“This is (a cause) that I think is at that elemental, basic level — where you can give it to somebody and it will take care of a lot of other needs.”

Waters of Hope will begin in Lincoln June 14 and end in Omaha June 20. In-between, Slane said, riders will travel about 100 miles a day, stopping in 15 towns big and small. There are planned stops and talks at churches around the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, although Slane said riders hope to get their message across to all Nebraskans.

A local team of missionaries from Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Petoskey Michigan, traveled to Nicaragua last month for a 10 day mission trip. They primarily picked up where previous groups had left off, working with the local community to create a sustainable food source for the region.

From the article:

When the group arrived in the village, they immediately went to work in 95 degree heat, digging holes, planting trees and teaching the villagers better farming practices.

“One thing is for sure, anything we could do, the village people could do better,” Greg joked. “We were definitely working with them, not for them. The area is very rich in resources, we just had to help them learn to use it.”

The group slept in a one room school house on cots and floor mats. While they did have a shower, their toilet consisted of a hole in the floor.

“I think one of the biggest surprises for all of us was how the village people carried themselves,” T. explained. “They had such dignity and the children were so polite.”

In Youngstown Ohio, civic leaders held a ceremony to mark the groundbreaking for a new community park, the creation of which was spearheaded by local Episcopalians:

The park will feature a brick-paved plaza, an arbor for events such as plays and concerts, and a large historic map of Smoky Hollow. A $396,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will pay for the project, which will be completed in October.

The concept came from Wick Neighbors Inc. in conjunction with YSU and the city of Youngstown as part of a larger plan to revitalize Smoky Hollow into a new residential development.

[…]The Rev. John Horner, former pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church and the founding chairman of Wick Neighbors, said the group formed with a “divine mission,” and that Harrison Commons is “the right project” to launch Smoky Hollow’s revitalization.

It was St. John’s that rallied all the stakeholders to get the movement started, Murphy added.

Wow! That’s quite a week in parish based ministry.

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