Reflections on 2018 Mission and Service
In 2018 the Mission and Service Committee took off running with a strong interest and enthusiasm! We worked to strengthen ongoing projects as well as researching new opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters through Christ. On the local level we continued our support of the York and Pavilion Food Pantries, CROP Walk with Valley neighbor churches at Black Creek Park, and the York Easter and Christmas Sharing programs.
The work completed within the Mission Study Pilot Project by Barbara Sturm, Barbara Crane and Rev. Laura Fry continues to give the committee a framework as we facilitate Covington’s mission efforts. Focusing on Building a Caring Community, we sought out specific service-based activities in which individuals within the congregation and local community were serving. People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the peoplearound them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.
Following the compilation of a Volunteer Survey named “Here I Am Lord”, the committee hosted after-worship discussions focusing on the work of community-based organizations. David Chamberlain shared his family’s “Send a Cow” experience which took him to Kenya. Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse representative Rosalie Mangino-Crandall presented job sharing treatments and services GCASA provides as well as summarizing drug and alcohol problems in the Genesee-Orleans counties. Pavilion resident Sue Kinney spoke with us about her recent mission trip to urban St. Louis working with refugee families. In winter 2019 we will continue the series by welcoming Elaine Gurrant, a teacher for English Language Learners, and Kate Kingsley from Teresa House.
Working with new church members, Laura Magrum organized a group from Covington to serve a meal at Cameron Community, an urban outreach community center in the Lyell-Otis neighborhood in Rochester where 95% of residents live in poverty. We served a hearty meal of baked ziti, fresh vegetables, bread, watermelon, homemade cookies, lemonade, coffee, and milk, met new neighbors, sang a few VBS songs and were blessed by hospitality and fellowship with these new friends in Christ. Keep this ministry in prayer as they strive to help families in need throughout these cold, winter months.
The committee participated in a PCUSA webinar addressing the mounting violence in our society and learned how other congregations are working within their communities to counter such horrific events. In response we suggested that the local portion of the Peace and Global Witness offering in October support anti-bullying and restorative justice programs in our area schools. There is certainly more work to be done around this critical problem, and we will continue to listen to one another and to God’s voice to direct our efforts.
By year end, the committee began deliberating over the use of the funds raised specifically for the Chiapas water project. Working with the Christ Clarion church in Pittsford, the plan was to install at least one more water-purification system but with the loss of one of our leaders and critical health issues of another, the two churches have decided to suspend the effort. With Covington funds still available, the committee is prayerfully considering the future use of those funds.
Many thanks go out to our entire Covington congregation family who give freely of their time, talent, money, and prayers to the mission and service work of our congregation. Know that input from the congregation which helps identify need and opportunities for service locally are imperative to our mission and service role at Covington.