The Mission Council coordinates many of the local national and international mission outreach programs of the congregation. Mission outreach is supported by every council and many small groups within the congregation. Examples are the youth mission activities and trips and Men on a Mission which raised over $20,000 for Highland Food Pantry during its cooking event November 4, 2017. Our mission focus is a testimony of the work that God is doing through all of us – serving Christ and neighbor in the heart of Winchester and beyond.
The Mission Council’s operating 2017 operating budget was $96,028. This was unchanged from 2016. Of that amount, $45,978 was obligated for the administrative support of our denomination including General Assembly, Synod of the Mid-Atlantic and Shenandoah Presbytery much of which is used for mission related activities and programs. $28,550 was allocated to local missions (see Community Outreach below).
The Mission Council oversees the Special Offerings of the PC (USA) which includes One Great Hour of Sharing (Lent/Easter), Pentecost (Pentecost), Peacemaking (World-wide Communion Sunday) and Christmas Joy Gift (Advent). The beneficiaries of the proceeds of those offerings are the following: Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Self-Development of People, General Assembly Ministries with youth and young adults, Child Advocacy at the national level, Healthy Families – Winchester city and Frederick and Clarke counties, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbytery and Synod peacemaking efforts, First Presbyterian Peacemaking efforts overseen by the Peacemaking Team, Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions, and Racial Ethnic Schools and Colleges of the PC (USA) (see reports below).
Other offerings that supported local and international missions included:
- 33% Winchester Rescue Mission
- 33% Literacy Volunteers
- 34% Guatemala: Central American Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies (CEDEPCA)
- Four Cents-a-Meal
- 75% Ethiopian Famine Relief – Presbytery
- 25% Jubilee Kitchen
- Christmas Eve (undesignated cash/checks)
- Youth – Laurel Center and American Cancer Society
- 4P and 10P services – First Presbyterian Helper Fund (Associate Pastor Discretionary Fund)
Community Outreach. The following organizations received financial support from our 2017 operating budget:
- CCAP (Congregational Community Action Project)
- Free Medical Clinic
- Fremont Street Nursery
- Jubilee Kitchen
- Laurel Center
- Boys and Girls Club
- Winchester Day Nursery
- Literacy Volunteers of America
- Faith in Action
- Winchester Union Rescue Mission
- Highland Food Pantry
- Massanetta Springs
CCAP – Basil and Peggy Clark are the current liaisons. Through the support and donations from Churches and individuals, CCAP provides help for thousands of families and individuals who are lacking daily essentials such as food, clothing, diapers, school supplies, and household goods. Over the past year our Church families have donated 1071 food items, 1201 household and clothing items, 358 school supplies, nearly 3,000 diapers, and over 300 Christmas gifts! The outpouring of support has been amazing. Bins are kept in the hallway near the Sanctuary year-round, and donated items are taken to CCAP each week. Many Church families include items for CCAP in their regular shopping. First Presbyterian hosted the final quarterly CCAP meeting of 2017. Thanks to the generous donations from First Presbyterian and other area Churches, CCAP continues to expand their assistance to those in need.
Highland Food Pantry – led by Carolyn Thalman. The mission of the Highland Food Pantry is to provide food and other assistance to those in need and to engage our community in the fight to end hunger. In the first 11 months of 2017 Highland Food Pantry served 5,650 households; which was 18,015 people. This includes 1,559 bags delivered to seniors through the United Way Special Delivery Project. In November the Men on a Mission event raised over $21,000 for the Pantry. Highland Food Pantry continues to benefit from significant support from First Presbyterian Church. Members of First Presbyterian are generous donors of material and financial gifts and of their time. Over 30 members of First Presbyterian volunteer on Tuesdays, assisting our clients, doing weekly Partner Pickups of donated food, and helping to unload regular deliveries from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
Jubilee Kitchen – Led by a team of 10 this year. Tara and Chris Holmes served as coordinators which involved ordering food and securing the weekly volunteer groups. Each week a team of two or three team members ran the kitchen and worked directly with guests and volunteer groups. Our kitchen leaders were Anay Beck, Wanda Hoover, Mark Johnson, Gretchen Johnson, Susan Kagey, Patti Keeton, Samantha Kilkus, Tonya Lovingood, Amanda Simmons and Sandy Wolfe. Several individuals often helped with picking up the Panera donation on Friday nights, such as Sam and Chris Kilkus, Mike and Nelda Head, Chris and Tara Holmes, Randy and Kelly Kremer, Susan and Wayne Kagey and Patti Keeton.
We did close for Apple Blossom Saturday. The Saturday after Thanksgiving we handed out leftovers to our guests to take home, but did not serve a full meal. This is a departure from past years when we have closed completely and not served anything. Over these 50 Saturdays, we served approximately 5000 meals (including seconds and take homes) with an average attendance of 82 guests per week.
We had a wonderful collection of volunteer groups this year. They come from within our church, other churches in town, community service groups, scouts, high school clubs, university groups and individuals from the community and are listed below. Our most frequent volunteers were the Quota Club who volunteered monthly, followed by Troop 3 Boy Scouts and Lifehouse Shenandoah who committed to every other month.
|FPC 8th graders and their mentors||Millbrook Leo Club|
|FPC 5th & 6th graders and their parents||Sherando HS Honor Society|
|FPC 7th graders and their parents||Boy Scout Troop 3|
|FPC high school youth||Lifehouse Shenandoah Church|
|Village at Orchard Ridge||Boy Scout Troop 711|
|Abundant life 55+||SU Christian Pharmacy Students|
|Alpha Rho sorority||First Baptist youth group|
|Brownie troop from Stephens City||Millbrook HS Key Club|
|Opequon Presbyterian confirmation class||Quota Club|
|Urology Clinic of Winchester|
We changed suppliers this year to USA Produce as they were able to give us better pricing on most items we use. We still supplement with Schenk’s when necessary. Panera Bread in Winchester donated its usual unsold bread and baked goods to us three weeks per month. We occasionally used a portion of the bread with our meal, but the rest was portioned into family sized bags and shared with Highland Food Pantry. The baked goods were used as our desserts each week.
Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy students put on a health fair that included blood pressure screenings, smoking cessation, weight/body mass index screenings, diabetes information and free handouts. The school donated thirty Flu vaccinations, which were given out on a first come-first serve basis in October.
WATTS (Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter) – led by multiple volunteers, finished its successful eighth season in 2017 during the week of 1/23 – 1/30/2017. An average of 35 guests/night were served. Like any other mission or outreach program, it is the volunteers who make this ministry possible at our facility. This year, approximately 120 volunteers worked over 700 hours to ensure the success of this much need ministry. The volunteers checked in guests, provided meals and snacks, stayed overnight, set up and tore down cots and other necessary equipment, visited with guests and provided evening activities.
Faith in Action – led by Bill Lawrence. Provides transportation for clients to and from medical appointments and treatments. This year, the need for this service has really declined.
Blood Drive Team – Glenn and Laura Burdick, our parish nurses, took over running the blood drives for the congregation this year. They coordinated blood drives in April, August and December. The number of blood donors remained declined slightly in 2017. The Blood Drive team continues to be committed to holding 3 blood drives a year and is constantly looking for new ways to motivate the congregation to donate this precious resource.
Disaster Response Team – led by Dave Thalman, coordinated the 15th Shenandoah Presbytery work trip to the Gulf Coast that helped rebuild houses in Baton Rouge damaged by last summer’s floods. Five participants raised $450 for construction materials. This trip also moved one of two presbytery shower trailers from South Carolina to University Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) volunteer host site. The second shower trailer is used locally for WATTS.
Dave also continued work as director of our Presbytery Disaster Preparedness & Response Team; and Carolyn Thalman coordinated disaster response training across the Presbytery, as well as several campaigns to assemble Gift-of-the-Heart hygiene and clean-up buckets for this year’s hurricanes. Carolyn also helped lead the PDA refugee response program. Dave and Carolyn are members of the PDA National Response Team. Dave was re-appointed by Session as our FPC Disaster Preparedness and Response Coordinator with responsibility to oversee FPC’s Disaster Plan.
Peacemaking Team – was led by June Hess and Rossi Selzer.
On March 25th, approximately 100 adults and children attended the Prayer and Immigration Information forum coordinated with Karen Schultz and hosted by Victor Hugo. In addition to the prayer leader and interpreters, other professionals attended including Mexican Embassy staff, a legal specialist and local law enforcement. There was an additional hour where one-on-one meetings with advisors and translators were held. June Hess’ son and daughter-in-law, who were visiting from Houston and are fluent in Spanish, were very helpful with the event.
Our church again participated in International Justice Mission’s Freedom Sunday and turned it into a month long ‘event’. At the end of August, the congregation’s attention was focused on exploited laborers around the world by dedicating flowers used in the services to the workers who planted and harvested them. Congregants left all services with a flower and, hopefully, with a prayer in their hearts that those laborers were treated with respect. Then Peacemaking envelopes were in the pews for two weeks while a display of FPC library books regarding enslavement around the world were displayed (thanks to Marge Toxopeous), as was a tri-fold that invited thoughtful advocacy of anti-slavery actions. Todd Bowman led the children in making an eye-popping display over the cross in the sanctuary during worship. The team received numerous positive comments and we believe a good many hearts were significantly touched.
The church continues to have the opportunity to address the worst trafficking offenders (chocolate and coffee growers) through its “Fair Trade” sales, which continue to be strong (thanks to Susan Kagey).
The Peacemaking Offering was held in October and raised $1,845. This year, the 25% ($461.25) local contribution for Congregational Peacemaking activities was donated to IJM.
Members of the Peacemaking Team spent over 6 months working as task-force to explore becoming a Refugee Resettlement church. As a result, the independent Refugee Resettlement Team was created in October.
U.S. & World Mission Team – led by Carolyn Thalman, coordinated support for our three PC (USA) mission co-workers. Karla Koll, is professor of history, mission and religions for the Latin American Biblical University (UBL), a PC (USA) mission partner that has been training church leaders in Costa Rica. Drs. Les and Cindy Morgan have been the PC (USA)’s only mission co-workers in one of the world’s most economically impoverished and most densely populated countries, Bangladesh. They have served in hospitals, run village clinics and they have worked on controlling tuberculosis and leprosy. Brian and Sandi Thompson-Royer work with the women’s organization of the National Presbyterian Church of Guatemala in its efforts to empower women. They facilitate leadership development and help nurture relationships between Guatemalan women and Presbyterian women in the United States. Sandi believes “miracles can happen” when women take leadership roles in families, churches, and communities.
Ethiopian Partnership Team – led by John Fisher, was involved in the following activities in 2017.
In May, First Church hosted Kes Amena from our partner church in Mettu. Kes Amena brought greetings to all four of our services on May 14, and led a Sunday School class the same day, in which he spoke of the work our partners are doing in Mettu and told us about his own faith journey. First Church paid the cost of Kes Amena’s airfare and other travel expenses from the Ethiopia designated fund.
Aremi Clinic Pharmacist
In March, Ato Tesfaye, the IBS DASSC director, notified us that they had hired a pharmacist for the Aremi Clinic, so we were able to begin fulfilling our three-year commitment to pay a portion of his salary. The pharmacist’s name is Tesfahun Teka Tekiegiorges.
Financial Contributions (Mission Council)
We made the following financial contributions to our church partners in 2017 from Mission Council budgeted funds and Ethiopia Partnership designated funds:
- Support for Mettu Congregation’s Widows and Orphans benevolence fund: $1500 ($1000 budgeted funds + $500 Ethiopia designated fund)
- Support for Ketta Congregation’s Widows and Orphans benevolence fund: $1500 ($1000 budgeted funds + $500 Ethiopia designated fund)
- Support for Aremi Clinic staff salaries: $1500 (Ethiopia designated fund)
- Support for Aremi Clinic pharmacist salary: $3334 ($2250 Individual donors/Pharmacist fund + $1084 Ethiopia designated fund)
- Sponsorship of Pawulos Jemalu Duresa at Gore Hostel (iCARE program): $925 for sponsorship (Ethiopia designated fund)
Guatemala Mission Team – led by Carolyn Thalman. Sandra Cleaver and Carolyn Thalman traveled with 2 members of Fairfax Presbyterian Church and members of Looking for Lilith to Guatemala in May to mourn the loss of one of the Guatemalan women who had been with the team from the beginning.
We also sponsored several students through the People of Guatemala with scholarships, allowing them to attend school.
Presbyterian Coffee Project – led by Susan Kagey, is a program of PC(USA) that connects congregations with Equal Exchange, a fair-trade organization that offers coffee, chocolate, tea, cocoa and a variety of handcrafted items for sale. Buying fair trade through the Presbyterian Coffee Project ensures that more of the money we spend on coffee, tea or chocolate reaches the small farmers who actually grow it. Fair trade practices complement PC(USA) missions with farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia as well as our commitment to stewardship of the natural environment. Buying fair trade ensures that farmers will earn the income they need to feed their families, educate their children and improve their communities.
This year, Equal Exchange began offering loose leaf teas and organic chocolate chips for sale, so we have added those items to our order form. Congregants can place orders at any time by filling out an order form in the Gathering Space or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Orders are placed once a month on the first Sunday and are generally available for pick up on the second Sunday.
Each year, the Coffee Project team recommends to Mission Council an organization or project to donate the accumulated proceeds for that year. This year’s recipient of $500 was the International Justice Mission (IJM).
Thank you for your ongoing support of the Presbyterian Coffee Project and free trade.
Community Thanksgiving Dinner – led by Bob Cleaver, Bill Stewart and Lacey Morise. The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is a community event with hundreds of volunteers as well as many faith communities and businesses joining together to give back to the community. First Presbyterian is the host church; however, there are no funds in the budget of First Presbyterian Church that support the dinner. It is a mission supported totally by volunteers and donations.
For Thanksgiving 2017, –over 1350 meals were plated–450 plus volunteers from at least 3 states—over a 120 turkeys donated and baked–148 pies donated–1400 servings mashed potatoes prepared–48 pans of dressing prepared–10 cases green beans prepared–30 plus gallons gravy prepared–1200 rolls donated–apple sauce and cranberry—coffee, tea and lemonade. Major church supporters First Presbyterian(host)–Braddock Street Methodist–Market Street Methodist–Wesley United Methodist–Mt Olive Methodist–Macedonia Church United Methodist (youth group).
We also funded over $25,000 for Needy Family Assistance, a discretionary fund that the Pastor distributes to those in need of assistance to prevent their utilities from being shut off or eviction from their residence.
Thank you to all who have supported the mission and outreach efforts of First Presbyterian Church in 2017.