This week's news from parish ministries around the Episcopal Church has rightly focused on the ways congregations are responding to community need especially during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And there are just too many of those to mention, so on behalf of the Episcopal Café staff, consider yourselves all lauded by us.
But of course there's more going on:
There a story from Biloxi this week of the rebuilding of the Church of the Redeemer, twice destroyed by hurricanes:
"The sanctuary has many of the architectural features of its historic landmark, first built in 1891 facing the beach in East Biloxi. Hurricane Camille destroyed the building in 1969, but spared its bell tower. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the rebuilt sanctuary in 2005 and toppled the tower, but the original bell was salvaged from the rubble.
The new sanctuary, with a bell tower over its entrance, is surrounded by oaks and pecan trees a mile west of Cedar Lake Road south of Interstate 10. The church’s ‘Window of the Redeemer’ overlooks the congregation; the picture of Jesus was made with glass broken by Camille but spared by Katrina.
[...]Many lifelong members, some with canes or walkers, joined younger members with small children for celebration services."
Pictures and more here.
Continuing to look at the Gulf coast, there's news of the opening of a new center in Alexandria Louisiana designed to assist immigrants as they adapt to American culture and work to find a place for themselves in this country:
At Tuesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, representatives from the organizations spearheading the center -- including the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana, Alexandria District of the United Methodist Church, and the Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith Cluster -- applauded the effort.
Also at the ceremony, Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy presented the group with a proclamation declaring Nov. 23, 2010, as Central Louisiana Interfaith Immigration Center Day.
And in Leavenworth Kansas, an Episcopal deacons idea to respond to the needs of children in the community, which ultimately became a clergy association program has been recognized and honored by Second Harvest this week:
Allen Ohlstein said he was a deacon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and was working at Hunger Relief Network at Episcopal Community Services in the Kansas City area when he had the idea two years ago to form a backpack program in the town where he had lived for more than 20 years.
Both the clergy association, a group of churches of different denominations in the city, and the Leavenworth School Board were supportive of the idea. He has since moved to Little Rock, Ark., but he said he was happy to say that the program has not slowed down, expanding to serve about 250 students a week from 120. And the organizers now hope to keep expanding the number of students served each year.
“It’s like Thanksgiving everyday,” both for the students who receive the food and the groups that organize it, he said of the program.