I Was Hungry And...
On a Sunday morning the church door opens constantly. While the sanctuary upstairs is being prepared for the service of Holy Communion, early comers' steps lead downstairs to the fellowship hall where there is another communion gathering, holy as well in its nature as it has been prepared with love and dedication.
Each and every month in Canada 863,492 individuals, 36% of them children and youth accessed food banks in 2016. In 2017 almost a half a million unique individuals visited Ontario's foodbanks; 33% of them were children. In Orillia, ON, over 1,250 men, women and children access the Orillia Sharing Place Food Bank monthly.
Out of this increasing need, the congregation of St. David Anglican Lutheran Church in Orillia established the Community Breakfast Program eight years ago. Breakfast is prepared every Sunday throughout the year. In addition, on Christmas morning there is a special breakfast. "There are people from all walks of life. It's a nice blend of men and women, young and old and all in between", says Youth and Family Minister Nancy Hannah.
Even though this is a food program, it is also a community program. First, it offers an opportunity to the community to work together. Namely, breakfasts are prepared by five different volunteer groups and supported by five local businesses together with the Eastern Synod Mission Committee. Secondly, with this program a community of people has been created. "People have similar challenges and they are able to advise one another and guide each other to places where they can find help", Nancy says.
"This is a great program. There are many families that utilise it. There are no other meal programs on Sundays in the area. This is the only one. It's good that people don't need to go a whole weekend without a meal", says Ed Evans.
"This church practises what it preaches", Ed adds. "They don't just say the word, they show it. No matter what nationality, sex preference, saved or unsaved, alcoholic or drug addict, wealthy or poor, this congregation loves you unconditionally. They accepted me. I'm proud to be a member of this church."
When the hour is over, food platters emptied and dirty dishes cleared away, people disperse, some to the sanctuary, some to their homes, and some somewhere in between.
St. David's Community Breakfast Program is supported in part by a grant from the Eastern Synod Mission Committee. Story & photo credit to Eastern Synod.
One Gift, Many Benefits for Good Shepherd Brockville
An anonymous donation was made to the congregation of Good Shepherd Brockville, to say the least it was a surprise and the donors made it free of any restrictions.
As in the case of most churches by the middle of year, Good Shepherd was in a deficit. The gift would have helped the situation immensely. Our Pastor suggested to the congregational council that we look outside of ourselves and to the need of others. The decision was made to repay an outstanding loan and give 10% of the donation to others. The question now became; “With all the needs in the area and the world, who should receive the funds?”
The children of the Sunday School had been fund raising to purchase a well through CLWR. It was decided to support them and this worthy project.
It was suggest by a member of council that a “Sunday of Giving” be planned and invite members of the congregation to share the areas they volunteer and work in that would benefit from this financial support. After the presentations were presented the congregation would vote on the one they thought was most in need. The results would be announced at the coffee fellowship time.
The Sunday chosen was Advent I with the presentations being made during the sermon time. (Our Pastor didn’t object!)
The time can and three people of the congregation came forward and shared the story about their group. The Good Shepherd Lutheran Women spoke about the work of CLWR. A person shared his involvement and the work of the local Civitan Club. They have supported a Christmas Dinner for over 125 people who are intellectually challenge for many years. The last presentation was made on behalf of Family and Children Services Lanark, Leeds and Grenville and the needs that are presented to them daily by needy families.
It came to vote. Ballots were placed out and people began to ponder which name to write on the slip of paper. A hand came up and a member stood and made an observation. In her heart she could not vote for just one. The presentations were all so meaningful and every group was deserving of our support. Her suggestion was that the money we were offering to the winner be divided equally amongst these groups. The congregation gave an over whelming yes to the suggestion.
The congregation decision aligned perfectly with their mission "Sharing our gifts to be In Mission for Others. Small church, big hearts, serving one another within the church and community."
Gift of a renovated balcony, a new piano, and a new sound system for St. Luke's
Wilhelmina Schultz was a life-time member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Kitchener. She truly enjoyed Sunday worship services and the music program of the congregation. She was actively involved in a variety of church programs, including teacher of the Sunday Church School program, and Financial Secretary for many years. After she passed these duties on to others in the congregation, she continued to support the Sunday Church School program with her own set of “Sunday School” envelopes. Following her death, the congregation received notice that it had been named as a beneficiary of her estate.
St Luke's Council made the following designation of the funds in Wilhelmina's memory. Designated funds for the renovation of the choir loft/balcony to allow more flexibility for choir members, the hand bell choir, and other musicians (all of this work was done by volunteer members of the Property Committee). A new acoustic piano was purchased and dedicated in memory of Wilhelmina Schultz.
Designated funds for upgrades of the church sound system and future video capabilities. Designated funds for the pay down the principal bank loan to repair the flat roof areas of the church building. Designated funds for the development and implementation of a new church website and church logo.