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St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen’s “Operation No Starvation – 2018-19”

Operation No Starvation” is a program designed to foster volunteerism and instill a spirit of giving in kids ages 6 to 17.  The program focuses on hunger prevention through fundraising and food drive campaigns for St. Mary’s Caring. The initiative is designed to inspire kids to engage in community service and begin building a volunteer portfolio, while working with a team of their peers to develop leadership skills. Participants are provided with resources they need to put together their own projects, in addition to group campaigns that target specific programs for the soup kitchen. The group meets the 3rd Saturday of each month during the school year. The 2018-19 School Year Kick-Off meeting will be Saturday, October, 20 at 2:00 P.M.  

Check out St. Mary’s Caring website to find out more about Operation No Starvation.  (And, see our very own Sydney & Savannah VanCamp featured on the home page. They participated in this program last year.)

“Shipwrecked and Rescued by Jesus” VBS Theme for Summer 2018

Gearing Up for Vacation Bible School (VBS)!
VBS season is right around the corner!  It’s time to spread God’s Word through singing, science experiments, crafts, games and delicious snacks.  VBS will be July 16-20 from  1:00 – 4:00 P.M. Children age 3 (and potty trained) through rising 6th graders are welcome to be Shipwrecked and Rescued by JesusWe are looking for teenage and adult volunteers to help make VBS unforgettable.  If you would like to volunteer, sign up on the Volunteer Form. If you have questions about VBS please contact Cocoa Maday. Registration forms are available in the church office and online at Good Samaritan VBS Registration.

Tragedy in our Community and Resources

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  II Corinthians 1: 3-4

“Family and Friends of Good Sam,

We always think tragedy won’t hit close to home, until it does.  There is always a great urge to ask “why,” to search out the cause and to assign blame. There is a time and a place for each of those responses, but right now I invite you to take stock of the gifts and resources; love, care and community support that we must have.

 The apostle Paul reminds us, one primary purpose we have from Christ is to comfort others with the same care we have received from God.  For this moment is a poignant time for love and mercy.  Please note the resources below for topics and ideas that may assist you in difficult conversations with family and youth. I am also available to visit with you one-on-one or with your family.”

–Pastor Mitch  

Resources

Resource links for times of tragedy can be found here.

Good Sam Sr. Youth Requests Prayers and Support for Mission Trip

During a recent Good Sam Council meeting, Isaiah Mack outlined a request to the council to present his mission trip to Costa Rica this summer to the congregation. With their approval, he’ll present his request for prayers and support with this mission trip this Sunday.  Isaiah will be traveling to Costa Rica in June with other students from his Honors Spanish class at The King’s Christian Academy to assist with home building for a needy family and spreading God’s Word.

With the deadline for funds due April 15th, Isaiah writes about his plans, hopes and request:

“I have an exciting opportunity coming up this summer that I’d like to share with you.  As part of my growing desire to join God in serving people in need all over the world, I will be traveling to Costa Rica with other students from my Honors Spanish class at The King’s Christian Academy for a 1-week service project.  Our team of students and staff will be departing on June 11 and returning June 16.  I am writing this letter to invite your financial partnership with me in this endeavor.

The trip has been planned and designed by The King’s Christian Academy in partnership with Joshua Expeditions, a Christian non-profit organization.  Since 1997, Joshua Expeditions has been providing Christian schools with quality educational travel designed to inspire purpose in the lives of others.  They have designed this trip to provide us with the best experience possible in the 6 days that we will be traveling, allowing us to serve the people of Costa Rica and share with them the love of Jesus Christ.  You can learn more about them by visiting their website at www.joshuaexpeditions.org.

Our days in Costa Rica will be spent building a home for a needy family.  The family will be presented with their home on our 5th day, then we will help the family move their belongings into their new home.  As we work to meet the physical needs of the local residents, opportunities will open to meet their spiritual needs as we explain that Jesus is the reason we choose to serve them.  It is my hope that God will be expanding our hearts and giving us a broader perspective of His involvement in the whole world.

I am writing to ask for your help in getting to Costa Rica.  To participate in this trip I would love your prayers for my preparation and travels.  I also need to raise money for airfare, room and board, and other travel expenses.  I will need $2,750.00 by April 15th to join the trip. 

Thank you so much for prayerfully considering if this is something you would like to participate in.  May God bless you for your time and support.”

Sincerely,    Isaiah Mack

If you are interested in helping support Isaiah on his journey, contributions can be made to Good Sam with the trip name “Joshua Expeditions” in the memo line. We will send the contributions to them in Isaiah’s name. 

Casserole Sunday Fundraiser Returns as Sr. Youth Raise Funds for ELCA Youth Gathering 2018

Casserole Sunday Returns in March

The Sr. Youth will once again be making casseroles to sell to help support their trip to the Youth Gathering in Houston. Beginning in March, the group will announce their casserole offerings and take orders for the casseroles.  The casseroles are made in a 9” x 11” aluminum pan and are ready for the oven. The cost for the casseroles is $20 each and all money goes towards expenses for the trip. If you would like to assist in helping to make casseroles, we’re sure they would accept the assistance.  If you have questions, please contact Diane Glasgow.

Showy Fundraiser Planned by Sr. Youth for ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX

Did You Hear? Flocking Season is HERE. . . March 4 – 25, 2018

What’s this all about?  Confirmed reports indicate that flocks of flamingos will soon be entering our nearby neighborhoods. These flocks of plastic Pink Flamingos love getting a chance to rest for weeks in St. Mary’s County neighborhoods (these gregarious birds love Good Sam folks).  Now is your opportunity to purchase Flamingo Protection Insurance (FPI) during the following Sundays in February–Feb. 11, 18 and 25–and keep these wildly colorful birds from showing up your yard. Since hearing the news of their impending arrival, we’ve deployed our Sr. Youth group (who have undergone intensive Flamingo Removal training) in case you didn’t purchase the FPI offered and these flamboyant birds decide to take up residence in your yard. The youth Flamingo Removal teams will carefully gather the flock and remove (or move) them from your yard–for a small donation. And, for an additional donation the team will move the flock to a yard of your choosing.

Ok, so you’ve figured out that this is all for giggles and grins, right? And, it’s another way for our Youth traveling to the ELCA Tri-annual Youth Gathering in Houston to defer the costs for their trip. Here’s how this works:

  • You’ll have the next the weeks of Feb 11 – 25 to prepare and buy Flamingo Protection Insurance–FPI (for a $40 donation) from our youth.  Insurance will “protect” your yard from these pink plastic flamingos “resting” in your yard during their stay in St. Mary’s Co.
  • Without insurance, you may have Pink Flamingos show up in your yard. Should this occur, one of our highly trained Pink Flamingo Removal Teams will come and remove these birds from your yard (for a low removal donation of $25).
  • AND, for an additional $30 donation, you can “suggest” whose yard these Pink Flamingos might travel to next to “rest.” The Removal Team will take care of this for you. Our removal teams work on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays throughout the period of March 4 – 25.

 Please see Corinne Marino at church, or contact her by email  or phone (301-904-1854) to either purchase insurance ($40 donation), deploy a removal team ($25 donation + $30 donation if suggesting the next yard) or if you do not wish participate in this event.

Again, we will be using all collected donations to help our youth attend the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Houston TX this summer. Thank you in advance for your support!   Any or all donations can also be placed in the offering plate any Sunday at Good Sam (please make a notation of Pink Flamingos – Youth Gathering and your name).

*Note: If you have concerns or do not wish to participant in this event, please feel free to notify Corinne Marino.

Fundraiser Planned to Support Trip to 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering

Taco and Talent Night – November 18, 2017

Join us for an evening of delicious tacos and spectacular talent. On Saturday, November 18, the evening starts at 6:00 P.M. with a delicious taco dinner. Dinner will be followed at 7:00 P.M. with a talent extravaganza. Tickets are available in the Fellowship Hall or the church office–adults $10, children $5. All proceeds go to support the trip to the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX. And, we are looking for you and your talent! Please sign-up in the Narthex!  Questions? See Diane Glasgow.

 

 

Making New Connections: Reading-Tutoring Volunteers at Carver

Reading /Tutoring Volunteers for Carver Elementary School Students
Point of Contact:  Gennifer Koebke

Do you like children?  Do you like to read?
Are you looking for a way to help in the community?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we’ve got an opportunity for you to use your talents to assist our neighbors!  We began a successful Tutoring/Reading Volunteer program during the last school year at Carver Elementary and we plan to continue and expand this volunteer program again this school year.

Volunteers are given choices of grade levels and days/times to read with a student or students on a regular basis. No experience is necessary and training will be provided, along with the resources needed to help students grow in reading skills, and develop a lifelong love of reading. But, your primary opportunity is to support the kids reading, give them encouragement and allow them to know that someone is listening and cares about their skill development. There are so many students at Carver that would benefit from the chance to have a mentor reading tutor in their lives!

Registering to be a Volunteer with SMCPS:

New volunteers will need to register as a St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) Volunteer and go through the required background check before being able to participate. This is easy, quick and painless! Visit the SMCPS website link (here) and follow the instructions. You’ll be contacted via email that you’ve been approved. It may take little while as this is completed by an outside provider. So, if you’re interested in this exciting service opportunity, get started now! (Volunteers who have already registered and have been approved do not need to reapply, but are encouraged to review the online volunteer safe schools information.)

Once you are approved a Carver staff member will match you up with a student/classroom that matches your schedule and available time .  Returning volunteers may want to stay with the same grade or teacher, perhaps follow a student tutored last year into a new grade level, or try out tutoring at a new grade level.  There are also opportunities for mentoring students during “catch-up reading breakfast groups” that meet in the mornings. There are so many students at Carver that would benefit from the chance to have a mentor reading tutor in their lives!

Please consider this valuable service opportunity on your faith journey!

Get Involved in a Community Youth Project

The Youth Community Center Steering Committee is planning a Community Youth Mapping project that involves youth and adults in gathering, analyzing and disseminating information about community resources for youth, children and families.  It will center on the Lexington Park area in an effort to identify the youth needs in the area and possibly move up the timeline for the youth center that is in the County capital improvements plan.

Here’s how you can help! We are looking for input and support from individuals and agencies in the area.  If you or your organizations are interested in being a part of the Community Youth Mapping project, please come to the informational event on December 5th, 2-4 pm or 5-7 pm, at the Lexington Park Library.  If you would like a one-on-one meecommunity-involvement-graphicting about the project, please contact Mia Bowers at smcyouthcenter@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support for this project!  Please do send this information on to any other people/organizations who would be interested in hearing more about this project.  Please see the flyer on the kiosk in the Church Narthex.

Amy Ford
Branch Manager
Lexington Park Branch
St. Mary’s County Library
21677 FDR Blvd.
Lexington Park, MD 20659
301-863-8188 x1012

Connecting Kids, Adults through Prayer

We always have more fun when we put our heads together

We always have more fun when we put our heads together

This fall we bring back a new version of a program we haven’t done in a number of years.  It’s called “Prayer Buddies.”  We hope to share the vision for this program among our members and then invite our young people to find an adult they would like to ask to be their Prayer Buddy.  We hope you will be asked.  And we hope you will know what is involved in this fun, cross-generational prayer and support activity.

Here is a quick overview.  Attend a “Prayer Buddy” gathering event (usually will happen during other congregational activities). Talk with your Buddy about your hopes and dreams, needs and how life is going.  Do the Group activity; these will be things like:  have a picture taken together, do an art project, make prayer buttons, etc.  Then say “hi” each Sunday when you see each other in the halls or in Worship.  Make plans to meet up at the next Prayer Buddy activity (if it fits in your schedule) and enjoy knowing, seeing and praying for each other over the year to come.

Nancy Shoemaker will visit Sunday School on October 2 and 16 to talk about the Prayer Buddy Program.  Pastor will introduce the program during children’s time on Oct. 9 and 16.  We will have a kick off activity on October 23 during the Gifted and Giving event during education hour that day.  Be ready to say “yes,” when a young person comes to ask: “Will you be my prayer buddy?”

                 (The following is an article from an ELCA publication that will help fill out the vision for this program.)

BY VICKIE REYNOLDS, Comstock Park, Michigan, USAprayer-buddies-program

Inter-generational activities lead to improved relationships.

In 2005, I sat in a workshop at a youth-specialties conference titled, “Mentoring Children and Youth.” I signed up because another person and I had attempted—and failed—to establish a mentoring program in our congregation.

The value of mentoring seemed obvious, and we had worked hard to kick it off. Several adults attended our two informational meetings. But nobody signed up. Typical responses were, “I’m not sure I’m the best role model,” “I’m not familiar enough with scripture,” “I’m not comfortable praying with a child,” and “I’m not comfortable being with a teenager.”

So in 2005 about 60 youth leaders and I eagerly waited for the instructor to bless us with his wisdom.  sept 29 alongsideHe asked: “How many of you have worked at starting a mentoring program in your congregation?” About three-quarters of the hands went up. He continued: “How many of those programs succeeded?” Not one hand rose. The room erupted into uncomfortable, but relieved, laughter.  The speaker then shared ideas of creating mentoring relationships without…well, mentoring! Among his ideas were ways to decentralize children’s, youth, and adult ministries. Instead he focused on inter-generational activities and fellowship.

The easily used ideas focused on creating inter-generational bonds. The one he felt strongest about was the Prayer Sponsor program. I came home excited and worked to begin it the following spring.  We’re still going. It has created inter-generational bonds similar to what I felt as a child in my home church. Children at Union Avenue Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, know they are a part of a larger family. Adults in our congregation know their names and interests, and they love the kids.

A prayer sponsor differs from a prayer partner. To be a prayer partner means you regularly meet and pray. To be a prayer sponsor means you regularly pray for the child as though the child were your own.  We ask for two other commitments. We ask sponsors to say “hi” to the child every Sunday to start building a relationship. And we ask that they attend the annual Prayer Sponsor Tea. In this event, sponsors meet with their prayer kids at church, sit together for the refreshments, and join in inter-generational activities.

IMAG2492We always have a “photo booth” where a photographer takes photos of each sponsor-child pair. Both get a print to hang on the refrigerator for the next year.  We also ask parents to remind each child throughout the year that the sponsor is praying for the child. Parents are to remind children they may phone their sponsors whenever they have problems or worries.

What has happened since we started prayer sponsoring? Mentoring has happened. Kids pay more attention when their sponsor shares testimony, preaches, or is in the hospital. Sponsors pay more attention when “their kid” is in the Christmas play, a school play, or is sick.  Because prayer sponsors typically keep the same prayer child year after year, meaningful relationships form. One younger child, facing minor surgery, reminded his mom they needed to phone the prayer sponsor. One kid picked up a love of photography from his sponsor, and they did a few photo projects for the congregation. The sponsor eventually gave the boy his old camera.

One child (since moved) lost his mom at a young age. His sponsor honored his birthday every year by cooking the favorite meal the boy’s mom used to prepare on his birthday. His older sister’s sponsor took her Christmas shopping every year. And one little girl, whose family left our church when an older sister wanted to go elsewhere with school friends, encouraged her family to return. The reason: the annual contact of her sponsor, who continued to pray for her and send birthday and Christmas cards.

I would encourage every congregation to be intentional about being inter-generational. Pairing each child with a sponsor has changed the spirit of our fellowship and created a generation of teenagers who know this church is theirs.

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