DIFFERENCE A quarterly publication of Sardis Presbyterian Church · sardis.org
We Have A Story to Tell “I love to tell the story, ‘Twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story, Of Jesus and His love.” Sardis has a story to tell. A great story. In fact, we have many stories. Those stories tell of Jesus and his love in many ways, but especially through mission and service. In these pages we intend to tell as many of those stories as we can. Working together, the Mission Interpretation and Community Service Ministries plan to bring you stories of faith and love, sacrifice and service. Members of Sardis individually and the church congregation collectively live out our Core Value of “Serving God by Serving Others”. It is important and valuable for us to know what is going on to build God’s kingdom through the work of Sardis. More that knowing what we have done or are doing, we also think it is important to know what we might do in the future. Through this Mission and Service supplement, we hope these stories can inspire all of us to grow and expand our participation in the Sardis ministries of service.
The 2017 Haiti mission team.
We intend this periodic supplement to the Communicator to be an ongoing celebration and promotion of mission and service at Sardis. We will share what we know. In addition, we would love for you to share what you know. Please feel invited to reach out to us with your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for all you are doing to tell the story of Jesus and his love.
Planting Seeds of Hope Sardis Presbyterian - Rama Road Elementary Partnership Eleven years ago, Sardis, in search of a churchwide project, entered into a partnership with Rama Road Elementary School. The school’s demographics had changed dramatically, and the need was great. Through the years, Sardis members have met with the Rama staff each year to see how we could best support their work. Sardis has provided supplies for teachers and students, supported teachers with wish list purchases, and showed our appreciation for their work with luncheons and monthly snacks. Pam Sterling with Rama student. Sardis has provided meals for families to encourage involvement at school functions. Sr. Link has coordinated the Second Harvest Backpack program which provides food for needy students over the weekend. Sardis has provided tutors in an afterschool program, media assistants, and test monitors. Sardis youth have made improvements to the school grounds. Sardis has worked to empower the PTA to grow and be an important part of the school. Sardis members have supported the Angel Tree project which provides Christmas gifts for families identified by the Rama staff. A Book of My Own Program provides books for students for summer reading. Sardis members have found many ways to get involved and continue to make a difference at Rama Road. Watch for opportunities throughout the year and find a way to get involved individually or with a group!
Ministry Members Mission Interpretation Ed Shoaf……………...Chair Anne Hollowell…...Vice Chair Ron Abluton
Community Service Sheri Bartel……………..Chair Stacey Champion…….Vice Chair Steve Benton
Rama Road Afterschool Tutoring Program
Charlotte Family Housing Investment in our community
Get involved...volunteer! The Afterschool Tutoring program is a great way to get involved in mission at Sardis Presbyterian. Sardis volunteers work with Rama Road students in 1st through 3rd grades in the Afterschool Tutoring Program. They meet together on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Rama where they enjoy doing homework together in small groups, reading books, sharing snacks, and other fun activities.
Imagine not having a place for you and your family to live. Imagine working a critical job such as an elderly caregiver or school cafeteria that pays about $8 to $9 per hour. Such a meager wage does not provide the basic necessities for your family – housing, food, clothing, medical, child care, and transportation. Then there is a sickness or work hours cut and you are in crisis and without a home. This is the story of the working poor. Margie Lisciani tutoring a Rama student.
Sardis strives to make a difference and impact homelessness by offering God’s transforming love and grace to those affected. In 2018 we
Volunteers can pick which day of the week works best for their schedule. “The students that we tutor are easy to work with; they concentrate and seem to enjoy working with us.” ~Jeannie Dishman~
“It's fun to watch the "ah ha" moments as the children begin to understand concepts.” ~Sallye Brown~
the Elizabeth House shelter with quarterly meal
mission funding ($12,500 in 2018) and service at assistance. Our partnership means not only compassion for homelessness, but it is making an
Rama students benefit from individual attention and form relationships with our Sardis members. “What a blessing it is when you see their eyes light up and you realize that they finally understand what you have been working on.” ~Catherine Helms~
investment in our community.
Consider volunteering next year when you see information about the Tutoring Program. You may find out you often receive more blessings than you give. “I love to watch so many kids of different ages helping each other out … and giving me lots of hugs.” ~Pam Stirling~
family homelessness. But it isn’t simply defined
You may remember it as Family Promise when we hosted families at the Francis House property. It merged into CFH working to solve by what they do but rather how they do it. CFH has a vision of solving homelessness and empowering
long-term self-sufficiency through a unique,
Community Service Ministry
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35
families on a path back to housing by developing
Community Service is an integral part of every day life for members of Sardis Presbyterian. The Community Service Ministry serves our church family and neighbors in the community by selecting, promoting, organizing and facilitating service opportunities throughout the year. Just a few of the activities coordinated by the Community Service Ministry members are:
supportive services and advocacy. CFH helps skills to eventually move out of poverty and to sustain self-sufficiency. CFH does not adhere to a charity model. They believe
accountability, and decreasing dependency. CFH understands the importance of obtaining support for Charlotte families, to build and strengthen our community.
Urban Ministry Soup Kitchen
Crisis Assistance Ministry Clothing Drive
Red Cross Blood Drive
Reverse Advent Calendars
91% of families who completed the housing
Loaves and Fishes Food Drive
Community Link Welcome Baskets
Charlotte Family Housing
Room in the Inn
Remarkable success is being shown. Last year within
their own without a rental subsidy. To
Community Service Ministry members are prayerful and devoted to serving others right here at home.
successfully maintained permanent housing on
email@example.com or 704-756-8295, or Anita Kirby at 704-365-2617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Few Good People Following the Lead of the Spirit A story about Sardis members making a difference in Bayonnais, Haiti. A team of 12 Sardis adults traveled to Bayonnais last November and visited the Bethesda Health Center that OFCB has created there. The staff had invited twenty pregnant women to meet with them. As they talked with these women through an interpreter, they discovered that most of them did not come to the clinic for prenatal care because they did not have the money to pay for the visit. They discussed with them what they would most like to have for their babies, and blankets and towels were the most frequent answers. Just like you, they want their children to be healthy, happy, and to have the right things. Here are some facts the Sardis team learned about having a child in that community: The maternal and infant mortality rates are ten times higher in Haiti than in the U.S.
Most women in Bayonnais receive little, if any prenatal care.
More than 90% of births occur in the home, assisted by a male matron.
Supplies for a clean birth are not readily available.
Most women are aware of the possible life threatening complications of childbirth, particularly infection and bleeding.
Most would prefer to give birth in a hospital or birthing center, were it available.
Some did not know that prenatal care and birth control were available at the Bethesda Clinic.
The Holy Spirit used these conversations to prompt Brenda McKay, RN (Sardis) and Glenna Cook, RN (First Presbyterian Charlotte) to return to Bayonnais for a more in depth study from January 15 to February 6. These two ladies went out into the communities in the surrounding hills to share love and compassion, and to encourage pregnant women to seek prenatal care at the Bethesda Clinic. They distributed receiving blankets, hooded baby towels, and prayer cards printed in Haitian Creole. The families graciously invited them into their homes and asked lots of questions about their pregnancies and prenatal care. The moms-to-be were very appreciative of the blankets and hooded towels and responded with hugs, smiles, and kind words through the interpreter. They also prayed with Brenda and Glenna using the Creole prayer cards. For many of these women, it was a two hour walk to get to the clinic. In the mountainous areas particularly there is not enough food which further complicates nourishment through breast feeding. Brenda and Glenna see real promise in making food packs to be given to these women if they will come to the clinic to be examined by the physician. Screening at the clinic has a small cost but paying for the lab work is very difficult for most. Here is their to do/request list: Pray for these women and those caring for them. Provide a blanket and a hooded towel to the clinic for every new mother, given out individually to encourage return visits for care. Develop a logo for the towels that uses the “B” of Bethesda. Increase birth control options for these women.
Intriguing, isn’t it, to think what two women can do. Since Brenda and Glenna came home, the clinic has seen a marked increase in the number of pregnant women coming for care. Showing love, caring, and prayer does wonders! Other outcomes that will interest you: In June there will be a church-wide collection of hooded towels and blankets (see the June issue of The Communicator) Thanks in advance for your support! Pat Campbell’s MSG and the Salty Fish Sunday School Class are already collecting blankets and hooded towels.
Provide each pregnant woman a World Health Organization recommended birth kit that includes supplies for a clean birth and costs about $5. Raise money to provide lab testing for pregnant women, buy supplies for birth kits, and provide salary for a Haitian nurse whose main job is to care for pregnant women and infants. Encourage groups going to Bayonnais to participate in making food packages for the clinic to distribute. Have the clinic staff collect data to assess the response from the community: new prenatal visits and followup visits.
Our Mission Co-workers Do you know that Sardis Presbyterian Church supports Mission Co-workers in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East? These dedicated Christians are involved in teaching, healing, evangelism, peacemaking, advocacy, community development, and other important ministries through the Presbyterian World Mission. The Mission Interpretation Ministry annually provides support to the following Mission Co-workers:
Mark Hare and Jenny Bent in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Rev. Sara Armstrong and Rusty Edmondson in Peru
Jim McGill and Jody McGill in Niger and South Sudan
Dr. Larry Sthreshley and Inge Sthreshley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Doug Dicks in Israel and Palestine
Many members of our congregation have experienced international mission for the first time either in Haiti or Peru. Our close connection to Bayonnais, Haiti is widely known, but we also have strong ties to Rev. Sara Armstrong and Rusty Edmondson in Peru. Last summer the high school ministry took a mission trip to Peru and worked directly with Sara and Rusty. They coordinated the work with the local Peruvians, and the youth assisted in planting footers for a multi-story building to be used by the Presbytery there. While there, the
Sara Armstrong and Rusty Edmondson
youth were also able to take a couple days off to sight-see at Machu Pichu. The work that Sara and Rusty are doing is only one example of the impact that Mission Co-workers have on the lives of people around the world, and we are happy that Sardis is a part of these efforts that are making a difference.
For Where Your Treasure Is “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34 We know that Sardis members use their money and time in countless ways to build God’s kingdom. In addition, members contribute generously to specific appeals as shown by our response to special collections. As well, just as we include charitable donations in our personal budgets, the Session includes money in the church budget for benevolent uses. That money is entrusted to the Mission Interpretation Ministry for distribution on behalf of the congregation. For 2018, the Session has designated 10% of the budget directly for mission and service. That total is $198,300.
2018 Mission & Service Budget Breakdown
General Ministry International Homeless and Housing Children and Families Hunger Other service agencies
Of the total, $35,000 goes to the Presbytery of Charlotte and in a future issue of “Making a Difference” we would like to explore how that money is used. Members of the Mission Interpretation Ministry distribute the remaining $163,300 after researching local and international needs. We support areas related to International Service, Homeless and Housing, Children and Families, and Hunger. As an example, see the article on Charlotte Family Housing elsewhere in this issue. Other money within the Ministry is used to support Adult Mission Trips, Special Projects like Give One Day, and urgent needs that may arise unexpectedly during the year. We are always willing to consider funding requests from the congregation and those ideas for benevolent spending may be submitted to email@example.com. Please feel free to contact any member of Mission Interpretation with questions.
6100 Sardis Road · Charlotte, NC · 28270 · 704.366.1854 · www.sardis.org