The annual spring senior luncheon held on Sunday, May 3rd was another fun and delicious time to share fellowship! We actually had two of our super seniors (age-95!) attend this year. Thanks to Sue Hack who brought Marietta Watt and Barb Zuspann who brought Betty Blankenship. We had a wonderful 'Teddy Bear' picnic theme provided by Amy Rasing and her team of servers. We were asked to bring our favorite teddy bear(s) and to share their stories as we launched the new 'Prayer Paws' mission for our deacons' use this year. It was fun to listen to Edna Mae and Cathy tell us about their special teddy bears. "THANK YOU!!" Amy and Co. for once again honoring our seniors! "THANK YOU" seniors for donating enough funds to start this mission with at least a dozen teddy bears! Once again, 'Hope Happens Here!' for everyone!
April 25, 2015, our own HPC member, Elizabeth Ross returned from El Salvador for her mid-year break from her year long International Service Learning Internship through the World Hunger Relief farm program. Sunday April 26th we welcomed Elizabeth with joy and anticipation as she shared her experiences in Santa Marta with us at a special presentation during our Sunday School time. Elizabeth gave us an insightful look at the work she is doing in El Salvador. Not only did she educate us with some of the history of El Salvador but she gave us a better understanding of the challenges the people of Santa Marta face every day.
We learned how the Moringa plants that Elizabeth brought as seeds to Santa Marta are making an impact on their community. The English classes she teaches and the work she is doing with the youth of Santa Marta are just a small part of what Elizabeth is accomplishing in the five to six months she has been there. As a special gift to celebrate this mid year visit, Elizabeth left us a special cross which will reside on our communion table until she returns in December. To follow Elizabeth's work you may check her web site periodically hereread more
When asked what we might do for Elizabeth; she answered as other mission coworkers did when asked this question. That we include her and the people of Santa Marta in our prayers. Specifically for the youth; safety in their struggles with immigration problems and opportunities for themselves and their families. That they might gain ownership of their own land. For Elizabeth; prayers of support, love and reassurance that we are with her in spirit. In her aloneness that she knows that God is with her always as she is in our hearts and prayers always. Elizabeth asked that we be cognizant and knowledgable of what our government is doing in regard to El Salvador and other underpriviledged countries. That we seek to inform our leaders when we see injustices done.
Thank you Elizabeth for letting Hope Presbyterian be a part of your year in Santa Marta! We feel blessed to walk with you and your 'beautiful feet!' Elizabeth has returned to Santa Marta and you may like to read more about the rest of her trip home. Click above and you will link to her blog site.
We had a beautiful sunny morning for our 5th annual HPC Easter egg hunt. Once again, our young friends from Colony West subdivision joined children from Hope Presbyterian Church family and friends. There was the orderly dashing for eggs beginning with our youngest age group from 2-4; followed by the 5-7 year olds; then the 8-10 year olds. The eggs are quickly gathered up; emptied then the children enjoy refreshments of rice crispies and juice. Much laughter and fellowship is experienced along with the Easter bunny who always makes an appearance here for the perfect photo op! Until next year folks! Thank you all for coming!
Easter Sunday dawned with a chill in the air and soft morning light for our HPC early morning worshipers. Our Easter Sunrise Service began promptly at 7 AM around our firepit in the west parking lot. After joyfully proclaiming "Christ Has Risen! He Has Risen Indeed!" we shared a wonderful breakfast of casseroles, fruit and pastries.
This spring HPC has had two work days which centered on spreading mulch! Look for more opportunities to come as there is need for more mulch to be spread over the creek area along Wabash Street. Our first work day we had a great turn out and it made unloading and spreading a full trailer of mulch a much more enjoyable task! More hands, more comaradarie and less hours of hard labor. Look for the next work day to become a part of the Mulch Ministry Team!
Hope in Action! Another wildly successful Hope in Action week took place July 26- August 3. Thank you to all who participated; thanks for the donations, thanks for the prayers and thanks for the hours. As Teresa of Avila wrote:
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Of course it is not about statistics, but as the hands and feet of Christ, we can celebrate the efforts made:
• Painting at Kemmerer Village (5 people, 6 hours)
• Prayers and encouragement for kids at Mom n Me camp (estimated 23 people-hours, 48 journals).
• Surgery blankets and toys for God's creatures at the Animal Protective League (21 blankets, many toys, 9 people, 3 hours).
• Shelving for supplies for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club (7 people, 4 hours)
• Landscaping and clean up at the Illinois Presbyterian Home (9 people, 4 hours)
• Painting at Kumler Methodist (7 people, 4 hours)
• Raising money for the James Project through donations and staffing at the Garage Sale (estimated 8 people, 16 hours)
• 42 cans of chili collected and 15 blocks worth of trash collected in our neighborhood (11 people, 1 hour).
• Taking care of God's creation through several miles of walking/bike trail cleaned (18 people, 2 hours, 8 bags of trash)
• Backpacks with school supplies for 50 kids at Addams Elementary (approx. 25 people-hours)
• Helping produce 250 lbs (so far) of fresh garden produce for Kumler (approx. 10 people-hours
Altogether, HPC members and friends invested almost 400 hours in helping establish God's kingdom here on earth (not including the time spent organizing). We affected thousands of Springfield residents including several hundred children (along with no doubt hundreds of cats who will pass through APL in the next few years!). That is in addition to the 230 or so working hours your Missioneers invested at Alamosa, which greatly and positively impacted the 160+ people whose homes and church homes we worked on.
If you missed it, don't worry – there's plenty more to do. Hope in Action week is a special effort and we are grateful for the generous response, but that does not mean we only "do mission" one week a year. Keep an eye out for mission opportunities that come around every day, that are offered at church every Sunday and that will be on deck in the coming months about next year's mission trip and Hope In Action Mission Week.
The Spiritual Growth Team hosted "Acoustic Open Mic Night with a Mission" event in November 2014. Open Mic events are open to all ages from anywhere, for sharing music and spoken word in a family-friendly environment. Folks come from all walks of the community and all ages to participate and enjoy the show. The HPC congregation has been generous in donating food and drinks to sell, and in their time spent to set up, greet, participate, clean up, rearrange furniture, and rearrange furniture again. All money received at these events goes to some kind of youth in crisis. Donations from the November 2014 event were given to Kemmerer Village. Kemmerer's clients and staff of attended with participation as an audience and on the stage.
We can use lots of support for our 2015 Open Mic night events, and we need lots of audience to listen! So, dust off that old harmonica and pull out those poems you wrote that you didn't think you'd ever read out loud... (Contact: Jan Piland)
Hope in Action 2015 is planning another week of mission activities for congregation members to participate actively in our Springfield and surrounding community. This year's event in Springfield will be July 18-26th.
This follows the all church mission trip to Chicago, Sunday, July 12-Friday, July 17. Hope will be in action in CHICAGO with "Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection" (DOOR)-a faith based network of urban service-learning programs that expose, educate, challenge, and motivate participants to respond to the issues and concerns facing an increasingly urban world.
Join the group as we seek the face of God in the city for a week: read more about DOOR
* Volunteering at a variety of community agencies
* Staying at facilities in the city
* Participating in a network of service-learning opportunities
* Hearing a local perspective on the city
* Using public transportation
* Interacting with people of the city
* Reflecting on their experiences
Springfield Hope in Action includes working at Kemmerer Village in Assumption; praying and preparing journals for the campers at the Mom and Me Camp in Bloomington; walking to pick up litter along the Wabash Trail; meal preparation for the three homes housing foster parents and children of The James Project in Springfield; working with Habitat for Humanity building handicap ramps; volunteering at the local APL; working at Hospital Sisters in Springfield; preparing special gift and resource boxes for the teachers at Jane Addams School; preparing Sunday lunch for our friends at Sojourn Shelter and working within our own courtyard garden. Other possibilities include working at Inner City Mission; Boys and Girls Club and the Closet of The James Project. Look for more details to follow.
This year's trip was more of a Youth Work Trip than a congregational one. We went to gorgeous Alamosa, Colorado, about 50 southwest of Colorado Springs and only 30 mile north of Taos, New Mexico.
We took off on a bright Saturday and went as far as Hays Kansas where we overnighted in the First Presbyterian Church. We stopped by the Russell Stover headquarters but, sadly, they were closed. So we went chocolate-less into that good morning on to Colorado Springs.
We stopped by Garden of the Gods, which was practically on our way to marvel at creation. Poor Neil Parker had to suffer through a trip of mostly young women; but he bore up stoically! This was our first taste of the different environment Colorado offers and we were all completely charmed.
We arrived at Alamosa in time for a great pot-luck served by the fine folks at Alamosa Presbyterian Church, where our own Nancy Seefeldt summers.
After supper we learned about our work projects at 4 different churches in the area. There are five total, who are small and band together to help each other with maintenance and upgrade projects. The group that does this is called the Blister Fellowship informally.
At Alamosa, a crew replaced a piece of sidewalk that was a tripping hazard and a tile floor where the Unitarian congregation meets. Several Alamosa members worked with them. It was hard work, but the comraderie made it fun. Mel Bremhorst made a career decision not to go into concrete work as well. All around, a worthy endeavor!
At Monte Vista, we painted the exterior trim of the church there. The pastor and a few members helped as well. Other than on overcast day, it was great painting weather. David did the crazy high work (not related to Colorado's new legalized marijuana laws!) and the team really worked hard to get the worst areas covered.
At Antonito, a crew worked to landscape in advance of a big social event. They hauled rock and dirt what seemed like miles! It was all about Girl Power as the three women really made the place look great. Each of the three locations took 3 days. The 4th, we all worked at the same twon, at two sites.
LaJara had two projects – one to build a ramp for a parishioner that needed it; the other to replace a fence for another parishioner that was falling down. The ramp crew was hyper-efficient and finished in time to help the fence crew "git er dun". All in all, a good days work.
Of course we took a day to explore, going to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Taos New Mexico. If you thought walking on a beach was bad, try hiking 3 miles and 700 feet of elevation in the sand! Taos Pueblo was hosting a Pow Wow and we got to dance with the tribes, eat like a native and of course spend our money on jewelry and crafts.
We ended up heading back tired, but having had some great connections with Christians from far away. Our hands and feet really made a difference. As Terry (our work coordinator) said, "You [youth] have represented your generation well" referring to the hard work and lack of complaints. Although it really isn't about us, we can take a quiet satisfaction from being able to be the hands and feet of Christ for a short time.