Outstanding! Remarkable! Incredible!
These are the words that come to mind as I share this update with you. As you may already know, this ministry has just been awarded a new $2,500 grant from the Parrish Family Foundation. Our committee is extremely grateful to Ben Bullock for applying for this on our behalf. This is definitely an unexpected blessing and will go far in helping us find and serve homeless youths. We have also just finished our holiday fundraiser on Facebook. We set an ambitious goal of $2,000. It’s my pleasure to share with you that we raised 158% of our goal! Yes, once we included a couple of checks sent to us, were received a total of $3,150 in donations.
This gives us a number of options to achieve great success. We will be sharing updates about how this money is utilized for our homeless youth community, especially the most vulnerable LGBTQ+ kids. Also, If you don’t already, please start following, liking, and sharing our social media. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and our webpage.
This isn’t the end of our great news. Thanks to the continuing efforts of our Safe Space committee and each person’s dedication and willingness to create new ways to reach the kids, we had our first attendee in December. This is huge! This is when word of mouth begins. This is the start of gaining trust among the homeless youth in Columbia.
As a result, our December 9 Dinner was a joyous occasion. It turns out our guest is quite the accomplished pianist. In fact, much of the evening was spent being serenaded with beautiful music from this talented young man. There was really no better way to celebrate the holidays than to share ourselves and our services with this person and to have him so gleefully return the gesture with his art.
After sharing a wonderful meal, lovingly provided by Joanna Zaleski, our guest departed with a backpack full of supplies. He left us with the promise to enthusiastically spread the word about our ministry and what it now means to him.
All this positive news points to one thing. We have now established a firm foundation upon which we can build a sustainable service to those uniquely in need. We have now moved forward from the gestation period associated with beginning any new ministry, to the actual birth itself upon hosting our first youth. For me, this seems to be a somewhat symbolic and wholly appropriate way to celebrate Christmas. Today, thanks to everyone who’s hands have touched this ministry in any way, we can begin our growth phase.
Our entire committee, as well as Reformation Lutheran Church as a whole, is pleased to be taking this journey with you. Things are about to really take off!
Safe Space Dinners, Committee Chair
Thank you to all the volunteers for another successful Blessing of the Animals on Oct 10th. Also, a big shout-out to Temples-Halloran for providing treats for both adults and furry friend’s and showing their support for the church for this annual event.
There was a nice turn out of church and community with their furry little friends a one hard-shelled friend named Bethel. Apparently, this was the first turtle of Blessing of the Animals, and he/she may have been able to keep up with his furry little friend’s as fast as his/her little legs could move. The chickens were missed this year!
It was fun to see Pastor Tim lie on the ground with one of the furry friends.... not so sure about what was happening to ease his/her skepticism.
Until next year – may all enjoy the blessings bestowed upon by the joy given by the animal’s we love and cherish and the unconditional love they provide us!
On Wednesday evening, August 25, we held a ZOOM meeting to discuss the documentary, Meltdown in Dixie. There were about a dozen people who joined the discussion. The documentary covered a situation regarding a small business owner in Orangeburg, SC who opened an ice cream shop adjacent to a very small parcel of property owned by the Sons of
the Confederacy organization. The group has erected a monument and flag pole on the parcel and flies a large confederate flag on the flag pole. The movie covers both sides of this story, i.e., those that want the flag removed and those that want it to stay.
Our small group discussed several relevant issues, e.g., racism, white supremacy, and social justice. The general consensus was the discussion went well, and we agreed we need to keep the dialogue going. As such, it was suggested we select another source or example of this topic, presented in books or movie form, and continue our discussions. We agreed it would
be most beneficial to invite people outside of our congregation to join the discussion. If you have not seen the documentary, we highly encourage you to view it. Also, please watch for
further announcements about the next discussion and consider joining the conversation.
Over the past six months, the Servant Committee members have done an exceptional outpouring of themselves to generate and carry out activities to reach out to the community and enhance fellowship activities. A part of this ministry it has been an exhilarating and uplifting experience to see things brainstormed, planned, and come alive. There have been eight core people making this happen and we are looking for others to join this group to help in planning and carrying out the awesome ideas and suggestions given to us as we grow both in the community and as members of a beautiful congregation.
Below is a listing of the Committee Member’s and their contact information. If you are interested, please reach out and let one of us know.
Lynn Black – firstname.lastname@example.org – 803-661-8249
Shirley Derriso – Shirley.email@example.com – 803-413-0966
Sharon Turner – firstname.lastname@example.org – 803-609-6841
Ann Kurth – email@example.com – 719-237-9488
Professor Candice Turkaly’s Advanced Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities class enjoyed a guest speaker Bryan Burgin, representing Safe Space Dinners, a ministry for LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness. Safe Space Dinners offers a safe space to gather, homecooked meals and a backpack of items people will find helpful in their day-to-day lives. The group hosts dinners at 6 PM on the second Thursday of each month. facebook.com/safespacedinners .
The class is learning various models to address systems-level change in communities and organizations through local non-profits discussing their community change projects. Bryan presented information on how the project started, planning and implementation, challenges, successes and funding and sustainability.
Students are not required to work with Safe Space Dinners, but several students are preparing a homecooked meal for dinner attendees.
To learn more about Safe Space Dinners, click here.
A HUGE THANK YOU!!!
The coats, scarves, hats and gloves were provided to a non-profit organization, Food Not Bombs, who provide meals to the homeless every Sunday afternoon at Finlay Park. Due to the extreme cold, individuals were asking for such items and our congregation was able to come through and provide these much-needed items. There were 30 coats collected, a number of scarves, along with hats and gloves.
This is a link to Food Not Bombs Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/colafnb/)
Check them out.
The cleaning supplies, disinfectant spray, antibacterial soap, diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and Clorox wipes were provided to Homeless No More who provide emergency family shelter, transitional housing and more permanent placement in affordable housing. Again, with your generosity, much needed items were provided to families when times are even more difficult than usual.
Our preliminary accounting shows we (RLC) collected $245.61 in offerings on Feb 7th for the Souper Bowl of Caring. Thanks to everyone for your generosity with this great need and annual tradition. The actual amount may be higher once we include the online giving (which will be reported near the end of the month.) We'll provide a final amount when that information is made available. Again - thank you so much for your help with this community's food bank needs.
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