“What do you think of when you think of home?” asked Judith Ann Patt, pastoral leader at Promise Church, a new church start (in care of the Pilgrim Association of the Conference) which gathers in homes in the Weymouth/Quincy area.
“I imagine one of the things that comes to mind is home cooking,” she continued. “Our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness also dream of home cooking, but it’s difficult to find the money for the pots and pans needed to cook the food when they can barely afford the ingredients.”
Ordinarily, when families leave a shelter for a place of their own, it is their responsibility to supply all their own furniture and household items. Outfitting a kitchen with the proper cookware can be an expensive undertaking, so the members of Promise Church came up with a way to help.
This past Fall, Shaw’s Supermarkets offered a special stamp promotion, whereby bonus stamps were awarded for every $10 spent. Then, each time a stamp card was filled, it could be redeemed for a free Cuisinart product.
The members of Promise Church took advantage of this program and enlisted the help of their friends. Folks from UCC churches, non-UCC churches, local groups and individuals, all donated stamps -- which were then combined and redeemed before the program ended in January. The result was 40 free saucepans, fry pans and chef’s pans donated to Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.
Dorothy Newell, president of the Friends of the Homeless organization, said, “A new skillet for a family moving into our homeless shelters! What could be more welcome!” She also added her thanks to Shaw's and to all who collected the stamps to make this Promise Church project possible.
“It is sometimes hard for such a small congregation to see that they are making a difference,” said Patt. “With the help of many friends, this pile of cookware is a visible expression of our care for others.”
Helping the shelters run by the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore has been an ongoing mission of Promise Church. The Friends organization is dedicated to helping homeless families by providing food, clothing, furniture, shelter, education, and advocacy. They address a whole range of needs, from physical to emotional, from personal to social, and from psychological to spiritual -- so it seems fitting for people who are starting a new church to help formerly sheltered families who are just starting out in a new home.
“The people in this small congregation are seeking to follow the teachings of Jesus and we look for ways in which we can make a difference in our communities,” Patt explained. “Jesus says that God wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves and we try to bring that teaching into our lives. We meet in homes and this is a constant reminder of the importance of secure, decent, affordable housing for every family. Last summer the congregation purchased window fans for the local shelter when we learned that the buildings were not air-conditioned and fans were not in their limited budget. It was a small thing, but, like the Pots and Pans mission, it was a step on the path we are trying to walk.”
For more information, you can contact Judith at 781-337-5592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane writes news articles for the SNEUCC website. She is also the editor of the Starting With Scripture newsletter. Contact her if: Your church has a great story to tell about an innovative ministry. You have a prayer request to ...