As a part of our Parish Council, we are putting together Foster Care Kits! We are aiming to provide 10 for kids aging out of the system!
Let's come together to CREATE the hope we want to see in the world today!
The offering for Pentecost is going on now and that 40% is retained by Northminster.
Session had given approval to send those funds to Camp Skyline to help defray the cost of camp for a foster child this summer. Due to the camp being unlikely to open this year, we will send it to another foster care project instead.
Donations can be sent in the envelope supplied or in a regular envelope. Please put PENTECOST on the memo line of your check. The other 60% goes towards PSUSA programs supporting youth at risk. Thank you for your support!
From Church, Society & Mission
The C, S &M committee members have been thinking a lot this past month, about all those directly impacted most, by COVID 19. There are countless people struggling financially, and among them are those already facing hunger or food insecurity. We realized that many people may be looking for places to make donations at this time, so we decided, with Session approval, to hold a “Virtual Food Drive” for Gleaners or ask members to contribute to the Morse Elementary School Bridge the Gap project. If you find that your circumstances are such that your “stimulus check” is truly a bonus that you want to share, here’s the information on how to do that below:
delivers food to 500 various shelters, food banks/pantries and other agencies serving Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. They distribute 1.3 million pounds of food annually and spend $.92 of each dollar donated to food and food programs. Go to the link here, then under Donor Information, a drop-down menu will appear; click on to Northminster Presbyterian for your donation to go towards our total. http://feed.gcfb.org/virtual-food-drive
You can also help by delivering any of the items listed to the MORSE ELEMENTARY food bank. The Drive Thru Drop Off accepts any of the items listed to the right, or they can always use financial donations at www.tinyurl.com/TSDcares
Today, May 5, 2020, is #GivingTuesdayNow - a day to come together to help our communities be strong, resilient, heal and move forward.
“The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. To help our neighbors. To lift up those who need it. To support front-line workers and the nonprofits and community organizations that feed, house, educate, and nurture neighbors impacted by the global pandemic. To recognize that some communities are going to be disproportionately impacted. And to advocate for them and contribute whenever we can.” – The GivingTuesday Team
Folks, I invite you all to participate with this year’s GivingTuesday by joining in our Gleaners Virtual Food Drive. Gleaners Community Food Bank is a Detroit area nonprofit that provides food to the homeless, unemployed, and elderly. In this time of pandemic, they have expanded their reach and are providing even more emergency food access.
To contribute to our Virtual Food Drive, go to http://feed.gcfb.org/virtual-food-drive and choose Northminster Presbyterian Church as your team!
Let’s rally to do some good today. Together.
Happy Giving Folks!
You can still serve others while in quarantine. If you are looking for a way to safely help from home, below are clickable links to a few of the programs or projects Northminster has supported, as well those recommended to us.
Song & Spirit Institute for Peace in Royal Oak collects and delivers 3 tons of food each month through their Care-avan Outreach project. We heard from food coordinator Greg Allen last year in church, regarding the CarePax we collected in a collaborative effort with Troy First Presbyterian Church. The need is for money to fill these packs, the SnackPax to go to children, or the HatPax, as well as the food needed for the Care-avan.
Baldwin center of Pontiac provides many programs, including a food kitchen + food, clothing, household goods pantry. Click onto the general Baldwin website to learn more about how you can help.
Lighthouse, now partnering with SOS the need to provide food and housing, is greater than ever. Currently, SOS clients are being housed at Lighthouse, nearby motels and more. In addition, Lighthouse also has hunger programs, food distribution, financial help for rent & utilities, and so much more, which you can learn about on their website.
Troy People Concerned provides financial assistance or help in securing it, for rent, utilities, food. They also direct people to the area food pantries and more. Donate link is on their main page.
Recommended from Northminster members:
Cass Community Social Services provides food (serving 700,000 meals a year), housing services (warming centers, emergency shelter, rotating shelters in area churches), jobs support (Green Industries, making numerous items using re-cycled materials), and health services in their free clinic.
Covenant House Michigan is a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides hope to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 18-24, as well as shelter, educational and vocational programs, and other support services to help overcome hurdles such as homelessness, unemployment, inadequate education, violence, drugs and gangs. Their goal is to redirect people onto a path toward meaningful and successful adulthood.
Donating home-made masks: If you are interested in sewing face masks, or donating directly to hospitals for Personal Protection Equipment or other items needed.
Easter greetings from the Philippines!
We are praying that all of you are well, in body, mind and spirit, by God's grace. We are heartened to know that many of you are continuing to serve your communities with calm, compassion, and courage.
Thankfully, our family is still healthy. We have been at home for about 6 weeks under “enhanced community quarantine.” Later today, Thursday, April 23, we should hear updates about next steps – since the quarantine was supposed to last until April 30.
Powerlessness and Privilege
At times, it has been tempting to feel somewhat powerless -- even though we live with so many privileges, such as our health, clean water, medicine, and one another. It feels like we’re not doing enough. Although we wished that we could join our colleagues who are preparing and distributing relief goods for vulnerable communities. Sadly, more than covid-19, many are suffering from malnutrition and hunger and may die from those conditions. So, we join them by providing the funds to buy foods. We join them with our prayers for their efforts and these communities. And sometimes we share whatever ways we can, starting right where we live with our neighbors.
Our colleagues from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) national office and a local UCCP church live in our same “barangay” (loosely translated as neighborhood but with elected leadership) -- less than 10 minutes away. Although we have stayed in touch through a Facebook chat group and informal texts, we do not know about their specific needs. They would not tell us – but we can also guess. Only recently have we reached out to share blessings.
Recently the barangay leadership has provided relief goods such as rice, canned goods, and snacks, to all households. While we appreciated the extra food, thankfully we already have access and means to food. We guessed that our colleagues might not have those same means, since there are more people living at the parsonage and staff house. Twice now, we have received relief goods, and twice now, we have shared those goods with our colleagues. (Many of you would have done the same – we are not sharing this story to boast, but rather to promote the same spirit of neighborliness is found everywhere).
Korean Food Surprises
Our neighbor friend Francis has been our family’s go-to driver for several months now. Even before the pandemic, he took us safely back and forth to the airport, without haggling and hassle, especially when I have had to travel in the wee hours of the morning or during rush hour. His daughter Mae is Aurelie's best friend. In a previous family video, Aurelie asked you to pray for her and her cough, and thankfully now she is healthy. Her whole family is healthy.
One evening during my brainless scrolling through Facebook, I learned that a few Korean grocery stores re-opened after the Easter holiday weekend. Seeking comfort food and a break from staying at home, and stealing some nerves, I put together a list of items -- although I still needed a driver. Francis is no longer working as a Grab driver, and thus no income, so Juan suggested that we ask him. As excited as I was to get out of the house and shop, you should have seen how much of a nervous wreck I was. Maybe it was because of the sermon that I was writing and preparing to preach – but it was also because I have not left the house often enough, since we have been under quarantine. Juan is the primary shopper.
This grocery run should be in the record books – since what normally should be a fun and carefree errand, was the shortest run from car to dashing through store aisles and back to the car to return home. I tried to focus my anxiety on getting the right food items for us and Francis' family. Sadly, mostly for Juan and Aurelie, my nerves got the better of me because I left a bag of long-awaited and hyped-up ice cream and popsicles, near the cashier. I did not want to go back to the store either. (I know that was a long story about groceries, but I thought maybe some of you could relate to my nerves around errands – and laugh with me too).
Sermonizing and Preaching
When we are not leaving sweet treats at stores and sharing blessings, we are still trying to work by cultivating meaningful connections with you and with one another. Last Sunday, the First Presbyterian Church of Michigan City, Indiana, asked me to be their guest preacher. This opportunity was already being discussed before stay-at-home orders. I was grateful for the opportunity for them to open and welcome me into their church in this way. For that Sunday worship service including the sermon and a Benediction from our family, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRq9cW5mOw
**A special shout-out to friends and colleagues who are preaching weekly or on a regular basis: Thank you for proclaiming the Word in these unprecedented times. I know it must be draining and exhausting, as well as exhilarating and life-giving for others, or a mix of all of the above. (I only preached once -- and led a book club once since we've been under quarantine, and after both, I was spent and wrestled with more self-doubt than usual.) Please be gentle and gracious with your own precious minds, bodies and spirits, now and going forward.
Writing and More
In early March, I had been working with Filipino and international colleagues to create a prayer and devotional guide for us to remember migrants and their families. This guide was shared electronically and hopefully in other ways. About this time is when I first heard about Filipino seafarers who were working as crew members on cruise ships. I have been holding onto this story for several weeks - through prayers mostly. Thanks to the ongoing relationships with Filipino colleagues here and in northern California, we wrote this article: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/covid-19-impacts-overseas-filipino-workers/
A few days after this article was posted on the PC(USA) website, I heard from some folks in Houston who serve international seafarers. They wrote directly to the Senior Communications Director of PCUSA, who in turn reached out to the Presbyterian World Mission Communications Director, who then shared their email. We are now trying to find ways to connect – and hopefully something can happen to assist our stranded seafarers.
Assistance with birthday greetings
Our daughter Aurelie will turn 8, on Friday, May 1. Like some of you, you have already been celebrating life’s milestones in creative ways. We still hope to celebrate with greetings from around the world. Since our future steps with quarantine are uncertain, we ask for your assistance.
Please do not send anything since our Philippine mail service is only prioritizing essential services for medical equipment and other related items. (If you have already send something, thank you for taking the time. We will most likely receive these items sometime in the unknown future).
Instead maybe you could send a meme, write, or draw something, make a video, or something else creative. I will collect all of your greetings, if you send them here – or through Facebook messenger. **In a recent FB post, I also mentioned if you could specify from where you are sending greetings. It would be fun to trace the greetings on map with her.
Thank you for prayerfully reading along with us about our family’s whereabouts. Yes, we’re at home, like many of you – and yes, we’re trying to stay connected. Please drop us a line if you have a free moment: we would love to hear from you and pray specifically for you. We are grateful for the ways that we are connected in God’s mission, especially during these times.
Cathy, Juan and Aurelie
Rev. Cathy Chang
Regional Facilitator for Addressing Migration & Human Trafficking
Presbyterian Church (USA) World Mission
From Kate Thoreson, via the Faith Communities Coalition for Foster Care newsletter
During this time of universal crisis, may the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt inspire us to find that something we can do to promote the well-being of others and all of Creation:
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home-so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood they live in; the school or college they attend; the factory, farm or office where they work. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
-Eleanor Roosevelt, United Nations, March 1958.
Agencies reported on current needs of the children and youth they serve. Please consider contacting them directly to contribute to their children in need-now, more than ever:
Mentors-especially males (asking for a 1 year commitment) includes outings, help with homework, phone calls
Foster and Adoptive Families; Mentors; Items that are necessary for families to be licensed (Carbon monoxide detector, Lock boxes for medications, Smoke detectors, Car seats, Beds and linens).
WAYNE COUNTY MEDIATION:
Support and advocacy for special education services and IEPs
RUTH ELLIS CENTER:
Foster families for youth with LGBQT identities
THE NEW FOSTER CARE:
Support for the Transition to Independence Program (Resources, Treatment support, Legal services)
FOR THE SEVENTH GENERATION:
Goal is to connect those with a need with the resource to fill the need such as Clothing, Housewares, Furniture, Appliances, Professional Service
Jeans of all sizes; Birthday boxes
OAKLAND FAMILY SERVICES:
Foster and Adoptive Families; Child care for training sessions
The Baby Basics distribution on March 18 was held as scheduled.
Our buyer, Sarah Leight, took on the huge task of buying & bundling for one whole month (with her children’s help). Thank you, thank you.
We informed the parents of the supply they would receive, and then followed CDC guidelines of sanitization, distancing, etc. We wanted to ensure that our families didn’t have the added stress of stretching budgets to buy diapers, and our volunteers came through-- thank you to them as well! We hope to be able to distribute using the same precautions April 15th.!
There have been a regular flow of babies aging out and new ones joining the Baby
Basics family, but we try to maintain 18 at a time. The buying and storage of diapers means we cannot really handle more.
However, each baby that comes on board must wait until we have funding for 3 years’ diapers for that child. Thanks to the donors who support this program – we could not continue doing this without you!
Foster Care Mission 2020
The letters of invitation for applicants for the Borchardt Memorial Fund grants have gone out to workers dealing with foster teens in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties. We have a deadline of mid-April and will review the applications and make a recommendation to Session for their May meeting. Thanks to Jim Hoogstra for spearheading this effort!
The Pentecost Offering results in 40% being retained by Northminster - and this year, we will be using that amount to partially pay for a scholarship to Camp Skyline for a foster youth. Your generosity in the past has supported this same project, and we know you will be supportive once more. The other 60% also goes to programs at the Presbytery and PCUSA levels for children at risk.
Troy-area Interfaith Group
UPDATE: All meetings postponed until further notice.
Rather than have a meeting in March, TIG volunteers will work at Gleaners, 24162 Mound Road, Warren, on March 28 from 9-11 a.m. Last year, there were a total of 14 members - including Dave Love, Charlotte Sommers, Christy, Dylan and Tyler Cook & Ruth Turner - who, along with other volunteers, packed 1,357 lbs. of food to serve 1,229 people!
As we may be working in refrigerated areas, dress in layers & closed-toe shoes and bring work gloves. Register directly at the Gleaner’s website: http://www.troyinterfaithgroup,gcfb.volunteerhub.com/
On March 1st at 4:00p.m., join InterFaith Leadership Council (IFLC) for the Annual World Sabbath at North Congregational Church of Farmington, 36520 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington.
It is a wonderful interfaith service for peace that involves prayers, singing, and dancers in many traditions. For details, check the flyer on the bulletin board, or speak to planning committee member Ruth Turner, 248-835-5101.
Northminster is hosting the May 7 Annual National Day of Prayer is the 16th event and also marks the 15th anniversary of TIG! Northminster hosted the first time, and again on the 10th anniversary.
If you would serve on a planning committee along with Ruth Turner and a couple other TIG members, it would be very appreciated! The planning committee meets 2-3 times total, so it’s not labor-intensive. But having others from our church serve is evidence of how much we support this organization. Please speak to or email Ruth, 248-835-5101.
Northminster Presbyterian Church
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