The Mission of our Outreach Ministries is:
To answer the concerns of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church by responding to parishioner needs and by reaching out to our local and extended community, offering both financial and hands-on involvement.
We answer that mission through many activities throughout the year, especially as listed below:
SERVING AT THE LIGHTHOUSE YOUTH CENTER – Members of St. Christopher’s whom we have named “The Christ bearers” after mission for which St. Christopher is known, go at least once a month to The Lighthouse Youth Center to prepare and serve a meal for the youth who gather there in the afternoon and share an evening meal before returning to their homes. This team has grown from just a few parishioners to now include many who have offered themselves in service, including our children. We consider this ministry a primary aspect of our Outreach ministries because it allows us to work directly in service to the youth of the community who come to the Lighthouse. This is “hands on” ministry at its finest and we are blessed to be a part of it.
SUPPORT CHURCH FOR FAMILY PROMISE OF SOUTHERN CHESTER COUNTY: Another recent addition to Outreach Ministries has been our partnering with Cornerstone Presbyterian Church to participate with them in serving homeless families in Southern Chester County who are part of Family Promise. Our facilities are not large enough to provide sleeping quarters for five families, but our hearts are, and so we provide support to a larger church that offers the housing while we assist with other tasks such as preparing and serving one of the meals during the week that the family is at Cornerstone. Again, our children participate in this work, often going with their parents to play with the children in the program and to just be friends for awhile. This also has been as rewarding for us and has renewed our own commitment to family life in all of its configurations. Those who work with Family Promise are known as “Promise Keepers!”
OPERATION SHOEBOX – Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ. Together with more than 100,000 dedicated volunteers in the U.S., we are able to share the love of Jesus Christ and the joy of Christmas with millions of boys and girls. See Reba Webb or Peg Graber with questions.
PRAYER SHAWLS – We are fortunate to have talented women in our church who create beautiful shawls of all shapes and sizes. The shawls are blessed by our congregation and given to those who are ill, grieving or have a special need. Recently we were able to bless a family with a prayer shawl for the Mother and 3 prayer pets for her children, one of whom was diagnosed with leukemia. Hundreds of prayer shawls have been given to those who need them in the last several years. We are proud of this ministry.
PRAYER SQUARES – The prayer squares are given to those are ill or have need for comfort. We also have Prayer Pets, small plush animals holding a child’s prayer square for children. We also create military squares to give to those in service to our country to carry with them in a uniform pocket or helmet and we are now especially known for the prayer squares that we give each year to the students of Lincoln University who sing in the Lincoln University Concert Choir. They are special squares created just for them in the school colors and usually with some sort of musical symbol emblazoned on them. Each square consists of material sewn together and quilted with prayer. Then strings are sewn on so that when a prayer is said a knot can be tied. Each prayer knot allows room for the recipient to tie a knot of their own as they say a needed prayer. They are easy to make and our leader, Cheryl, provides chocolates each time! Join us each month on the 1st Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the Church House. This group is not limited to women. One of the most faithful members is a man and we invite others to join in the fun, fellowship, and good work.
SOUPER SUNDAY is an Outreach Fundraiser for our programs. Many people in our congregation make large pots and a great variety of SOUPS. We serve them up during our Coffee Hour downstairs in the church undercroft or for those who are not able to negotiate the stairs, with our newly accessible worship space we can also accommodate you upstairs. Freewill donations are accepted in our soup can for a bowl (or 2 …) of soup, crackers and beverage. Though we normally serve sweets served during coffee hour, these are not served on Souper Sunday as we remember that many people in our world are lucky if they get even a bowl of soup each day.
UNITED THANK OFFERING – United Thank Offering (UTO) is a ministry of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Through United Thank Offering, children, women, and men nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God. These prayers of thanksgiving start when we recognize and name our many daily blessings. Those who participate in UTO discover that thankfulness leads to generosity. United Thank Offering is entrusted to promote thank offerings, to receive the offerings, and to distribute the UTO monies to support mission and ministry throughout the Episcopal Church and in invited Provinces of the Anglican Communion in the developing world.
HUNGER WALK: The Hunger Walk takes place in the fall of the year and is a community-wide event sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world. With its inception in 1969, CROP Hunger Walks are “viewed by many as the granddaddy of charity walks,” notes the Los Angeles Times (Oct. 26, 2009.) Funds from the Hunger Walk are currently being used to assist local families and we are proud to participate.
ADOPTED CHILDREN – Members of our congregation sign up to help support our Adopted children each month and the committee provides yearly gifts at birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc. We currently are supporting Bianca in the Philippines and the Student of the Month at Lighthouse Youth Center here in Oxford.