Faith in Action!
Jesus was asked: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” (Matt 22:36-40, Amp).
Everything Social Ministry does is centered on the second commandment ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ because of the love we have for God in the first commandment. We are people of faith and as God’s children we are called to share or faith through word and action. Social Ministry is the action!
God has provided me gifts of networking, team building and being able to identify the needs of people in our community. I am also a person of faith and have a passion for serving others. With those things in mind I feel God has called me into retirement to focus on how I can share my faith through social ministries which focus on networking with others who desire to use their gifts to serve.
I quickly realized through networking that God has also provided an abundance of food and earthly items which could be used to bring people together in fellowship. Food to feed and share with the food insecure; gently used clothing, furniture to furnish houses for our refugee brothers and sisters; items to create care packages for college students who feel anxious about being away from their home and faith communities, starting college or taking finals; fundraiser’s to send children with special needs to specialized summer camp; collections to provide school supplies for children who may not have them otherwise. Opportunities to be inclusive of all people by encouraging them to share their gifts as they feel led by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is at work in networking with local companies who are willing to share their abundance That same Spirit inspires volunteers who give their time to gather, sort, cook, fold, package, haul, shop or yes even do the dreaded paperwork.
The Holy Spirit is at work providing ways to expand social ministry to include helping the most vulnerable identify ways that they can use their gifts to serve. Seniors cooking with our abundance of food for a food program, serving homeless women and children or creating Christmas tags for us to put on gifts that will be delivered to families and children in our local community.
One of the relationships that we have built in our community is Outback Steakhouse. Each week they donate 50-125lbs of food such as soups, potatoes and mushrooms to support our various food ministries. Their employees have served at Community Meals and have asked to help us in the fall cook at St Peter’s. The owner has personally donated beautiful coats and jackets for our refugee families and now they want to give back and at the same time we can say THANK YOU!
Outback will give Social Ministry 15% of all proceeds that are collected on May 23from people who have our flyer. That 15% will go into the Social Ministry Fundraising account and be use for this such as postage and boxes for college kids care packages; kitchen supplies such as cooking tins, lids, storage bags, appliances, and more; disposable products such paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils; hot and cold beverage cups and more; supplies for hauling, moving and storing donations….you get the idea. We need to purchase everything that we can’t or haven’t had donated. We need funds in order to do that. Almost six years ago we received a $5,000 grant from Thrivent which then made us eligible for a matching grant which our congregation lovingly raised $10,000! Thrivent gave us another $10,000. Total of $25,000 and now almost six years later, it is essentially all gone. We were GOOD stewards of the money. We have many programs that used the money but Community Meals alone served over 26,000 meals by having some of these funds available.
We need to do this fundraiser to say thank you to Outback, the owner and employees. This is an organization that is willing to partner with us, a faith based organization, and share it’s abundance in order to assist us with our social ministries by raising money for those things that are not donated. We need to do this fundraiser to be out in the community as people of faith. This is another opportunity God is giving us to share the life, love and joy of Jesus Christ with others.
Your fellow servant in Christ,
What do we do in Social Ministry?
The Social Ministry porgrams at St Peter’s are incredibly active and resourceful. There are two primary platforms in the program. We also have ongoing outreach to Senior communities and our college students.
The Social Ministry team collects donated food from local food vendors in order to prepare homemade healthy meals for those in need. We have an amazing array of partners that generously donate their day old products. Whole Foods, Weis Market, two local Starbucks, Outback, and St. Martin’s in the Field all donate on a weekly basis. The Social Ministry team, led by Ellen Daneke, is constantly receiving phone calls for donation pick up. Our dedicated team picks up the food, brings it back to St. Peter’s, and sorts it out for redistribution. A team of cooks cleverly figures out what they have to work with and prepare the meals in our kitchen. Yet another team then takes it to places in need. Our Social Ministry team has partnership with St. Mark’s in Conshohocken, Gloria Dei in Huntington Valley, and Grace Lutheran to name only a few.
Social Ministry also assists in providing a Community Meals Kitchen at St. Michaels in Mt. Airy. Members of St. Peter’s volunteer their time and talents to prepare caserole dishes that are taken to St. Michaels every Saturday. Over the years, thousands of meals have been provided to the local community through this program.
Wonderful programs that always can use help! Are you available during the afternoon to help when a random phone call donates a truck load of perishables that need to be picked up? Are you a creative cook and willing to share some great fellowship in our kitchen? Looking for a workout and lifting heavy furniture while helping people in need just might be the ticket? Feel free to reach out to the Church Council Social Ministry liason,Jan Gera (215-517-8825) or the Social Ministry team leader, Ellen Daneke (610-324-9906) to help share the life, love, and joy of Jesus Christ with others through service.