Religion News: September 2017

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Cindy Kirchner and Barb Fuhrman staff intake at bread distribution (Photo: Theresa Curry)

Long-Standing Bread Ministry Grows

Early on a dark morning, a crowd sheltered from the rain on the front porch of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church parish building near Batesville. They were waiting for the bread fund distribution, a ministry of both Holy Cross and Emmanuel Episcopal Churches. Although volunteers call it by its original name, the monthly distribution has evolved to include a great deal more than bread. And, said Cindy Kirchner, one of the administrators, they’ve recently adjusted the process. “We used to pre-pack the boxes for our families,” she said. “Now we have them choose according to their needs.” This change allows for more personal interaction with clients, as they flow through the well-stocked rooms, asking questions and exchanging news about their lives. “This makes it more of a ministry,” Kirchner said.

Nancy Avery, the co-administrator, was stationed on the back porch, where she had arranged boxes and sacks of potatoes, turnips, cucumbers and cauliflower, all picked up from the central Food Bank in Verona. The recent addition of a cold storage unit––supplied by a grant to the churches––allows any leftover fresh vegetables to be stored.

“This is part of the Food Bank’s mission to make sure the food we distribute is nutritious,” said Avery, who hauls a truckload of produce and staples over the mountain each month. Her families are delighted with the produce, she added. “Many of them have their own gardens and that’s their tradition.” Some items, particularly the packaged goods, meat and frozen fruit, have limits for each family. Others are distributed in whatever amount is needed. The churches purchase food to supplement the supplies from the Food Bank. “We find our families are fearful of taking too much,” she said. “They want to make sure there’s enough for all.”

The program has been distributing food for several decades (no one was sure exactly how long) and several volunteers said they’d been helping for 10, 15 or 20 years. As busy as they were at the September distribution, they’re headed into their busiest time, Avery said. “As it gets colder, and people have to choose between heat and food, there’s more of a demand.”

Nancy Avery (Photo: Theresa Curry)

Waynesboro Churches Fundraise for Winter Shelter

A fun evening with good food will raise money for the Waynesboro Area Refuge Mission (WARM). “Men Who Cook,” planned for October 21, features “regular guys” and community leaders who’ll show off their culinary skills and compete for the crowd’s favor at the Best Western Plus Inn and Conference Center in Waynesboro.

The shelter ministry is supported by a coalition of Valley Mennonite, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Baptist churches. The mission provides warmth, safety, transportation and other services to those who are homeless during the winter months. There’s also a shelter for women with children.

To find out more about the program, buy tickets for the fund-raiser, or volunteer to cook, go to warmwaynesboro.com.

Dona Wylie of St. Paul’s. (Photo: Theresa Curry)

Race and Reconciliation

In accordance with its bishop’s wishes, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has made race and reconciliation a priority for the months ahead. Dona Wylie, a counselor and a retired nurse, said a group has met regularly and had some thoughtful discussions on this topic.

Beginning Sept. 20, Wylie and others from the group will moderate a Wednesday night discussion using Debbie Irving’s popular book, Waking up White as a focus for a conversation on white privilege. The author wrote the book after realizing her interactions with people of color had often been awkward and unhelpful. The study group, which will meet at 7 p.m. and continue for nine weeks, is open to everyone. Registration is requested for planning purposes, and it’s possible to register through the church office, or by emailing Wylie at [email protected]

For more information, go to stpaulsivy.org/news/2017/07/ 30/race-and-reconciliation.

“So we start with ourselves”

United Methodist Church Pastor Sarah Evancho was out of town when several different hate groups marched in Charlottesville. Shocked by what she was hearing on the news, she wrote a letter to her congregation, full of sorrow and guidance:

“It is a sin to hate a person God loves, and just because you might temper that word ‘hate,’ do not think that God is fooled,” Rev. Evancho wrote. “We are all sinners. We are all in need of the grace that only Christ provides. We can all be transformed from sinners, and liberated from our hatred. So we start with ourselves, and we no longer let each other speak the language of prejudice that makes hatred of another person socially acceptable.

“Change starts with us, and Christ has freed us for this very purpose, this holy cause. We need to raise the children in our homes and in our community to love as God loves, and reject the sinful divisions humankind has created to reinforce a false hierarchy that raises some up by forcing others down into the depths of an unholy social prison. In this country, people have the right to hate, but we are not building an earthly kingdom of legalism, we are building the Kingdom of God, and there is no room for hatred here. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us.”

Crozet Catholic Mission Now Has Weekly Masses

The Crozet Catholic Mission, sponsored by Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville began weekly Masses at 10 a.m. at the Field School in Crozet Sept 3. Masses are said by Fr. Joseph Mary Lukyamuzi, the pastor at Holy Comforter, and Fr. Dan Kelly, a retired priest who was formerly at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lovingston. A full-time priest for the mission is not expected to be named until next summer.

The mission has so far registered 101 families and has formed a building committee to acquire a site for a church. It has also begun a religious education program that has enrolled 44 families and 86 students.

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