Here are just a few stories of hope, illustrating the Kingdom Work our partner ministries are celebrating.
Each story represents the ministry priorities of ECSF’s funding guidelines.
Church of the Good Samaritan, Amelia
Dena Morris tells about the Community Suppers and Emergency Pantry: We serve meals to guests (averaging 30/month) and distribute from our Emergency Panty. The most popular items have been rolls of toilet paper, large boxes of cereal, canned chicken meat, canned tuna, creamy peanut butter, soups, dish liquid, and shampoo. The meals we have served (using crock pots & chafing dishes) have included soups with cornbread and salad; baked chicken with mixed veggies; and spaghetti with meatballs, salad, and garlic bread. We ask that our guests serve themselves in a buffet line and always provide plenty of beverages and desserts to go with the meals. We send any “leftovers” home with our guests. COGS members (we only have 16 able-bodied adults), friends of the congregation, and guests themselves (when they have been given items they were not going to use) have donated the rest of the food and staples. The people we serve are mostly low-income and elderly. We have also been able to assist at least two homeless individuals this year. We sometimes ask our guests to help “supervise” the Emergency Pantry distribution tables. We offer “door prizes” (some contributed by our guests) to randomly selected guests at the conclusion of each meal. Basically, we are becoming a loose-knit community of members of the congregation, neighbors, and new-comers. We offer thanks before each meal, greet each other in the local grocery, and listen to each others’ joys and concerns as we share a meal.
St. Mark’s, Dayton
The Rev. Mike Kreutzer relates a story about how the Kemp School Community Partnership encourages children in his community: “Is it going to snow anymore?” asked “Joseph” excitedly as he watched the huge flakes falling gently outside the school window. This was an event that he had been waiting for ever since he had arrived in the United States. Joseph had never seen snow. He had been born in Congo, but his mother and brother and two sisters had fled when he was still an infant. Joseph’s earliest memories were of the refugee camp in Kenya, where he had spent most of his nine years. Now, he lives in Dayton and attends Kemp Pre-K – 6 School. A Lutheran (ELCA) pastor and I serve among his tutors. We assist his teacher and the school’s Literacy Specialist (a daunting job in Dayton Public Schools, where students come from 43 different countries-of-origin, and English is often a student’s second-language). We are part of the Kemp School Community Partnership, now in its 13th year, which serves the needs of the school’s students and is supported by four neighborhood churches and by ECSF. Joseph speaks English well, but he never learned to read or write in any language. “Back in Kenya,” he explained, “people speak mostly Kiswahili. Kiswahili is easy; English is hard.” I admitted that I don’t know any Kiswahili, so I suggested, “How about if I help you with English, and someday you can teach me Kiswahili?” “OK,” he replied with a smile that can light up a room, “Deal!”
Christ Church, Springfield
Besides the news media saying the Peace Camp is a positive force in the community and that it should be a model for the rest of the country(!!!) Nanci Keller gives several other examples from individuals:
1) The media asked a four year old in the Pre-k class what she was learning in Peace Camp she replied “Well I learned that I can have friends of all different colors and they are all nice.”
2) A referral from social services (we take 10 referrals each year) who was in the third grade class was sent to mediation twice for disrupting the class and hitting. One mediator told the boy he was obviously intelligent and that it was such a shame. “What is such a shame?” he asked. Well, the mediator replied now is the time in your life and in school when you can use your intelligence to be disruptive and a class clown or you can use your brain to be a leader and an influence in the classroom.” This took place on Tuesday and the boy thought about it and said to the teen “I can do it–I’ll make you proud–you’ll see.” The teacher reported a complete turn around in the student’s behavior. Just a teen mediator talking to the boy and showing him options really made a difference!! The teen mediators can really get through to the students.
3) One of our teachers was wearing her Peace Camp shirt in Krogers when a woman stopped her to tell her that her daughter attended Peace Camp years ago and was going through a somewhat rebellious stage. She said Peace Camp seemed to reach her daughter and give her purpose and now she is a very successful businesswoman! She just wanted to thank the teacher and to tell her Peace Camp made a difference in her family.