Saturday Collection 2/20/2010

St. Andrew's in Ann Arbor is featured this week as it celebrates its 180 history of ministry in that city, its large and growing children's minstry and its 27 year old tradition of providing a free breakfast in the city to anyone who's hungry.

“We served 160 people this morning," [parish Deacon] Gray said on a recent day. "Some people are homeless, but many people have minimum-wage jobs and the breakfast really helps with their budget. … We are officially a 501(c)3 organization, but our funds are primarily provided by private donors.”

The Episcopal Church in Kansas City is taking the lead in growing a program that provides free snacks for children who aren't getting enough to eat in that city. Working in cooperation with the local Food Bank and the city schools:

"The church is hoping next year to increase the allocation of kid-friendly food to give to kids to take home. This year they've received as much as last year, but see a great need there, Long said.

More than 50 percent of kids at Lincoln Elementary are on free or reduced lunches, according to school district, and Garfield Elementary also has a significant number of kids eligible for free and reduced lunches.

While being on free or reduced lunches is not the sole criteria for receiving Back Snacks - teachers can give them to kids who aren't on free or reduced lunches if they see a need - the large number of kids on free or reduced lunches illustrates a large need there."

Full story here. Addendum: Ann Woodyard informs us that "the church that is working with the BackSnack program is actually St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Clay Center, Kan. This small church does an amazing amount of outreach in its community to help feed people."

St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Lexington KY made a joyful noise all through last weekend as parish choir members led a hymn marathon to raise money for a scheduled performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

"It's a great honor to be invited to sing at the cathedral, but these kinds of trips are not cheap. So we have to raise some money," said music director Ruth Witt.

Choir members recruited donors from within and outside the church, each of whom pledged at least a penny for each song sung during the Hymn-athon. Some people pledged more than that, Witt said.

Singers involved in the Hymn-athon ranged in age from 10 to 70.

Newly ordained Deacon Jim Fitzsimmons of Green Valley Arizona is featured this week in the news for his ministry supporting the St. Andrew's Children's Clinic on the border of Arizona and Mexico.

Fitzsimmons, who has resided in Green Valley with his wife, Vicki, since 2001, also serves as treasurer of St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic board of directors.

St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, held the first Thursday of each month (except July) treats 200-300 children each clinic day. It provides free medical treatment for disabled children of impoverished parents from Mexico, using medical and lay volunteers from both sides of the border. The clinic was founded in 1973, and is one of the longest-running border health project in the U.S., according to its Web site.

“Once you’ve visited the clinic and see the children in need of so much help, you’re hooked,” he said. “I’ve been involved ever since.”

(Speaking as a friend of Jim's and as the Dean of the Cathedral where he was just ordained, we're very proud of him and the ministry he is doing at the clinic here in Arizona.)

Comments (4)

The church that is working with the BackSnack program is actually St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Clay Center, Kan. This small church does an amazing amount of outreach in its community to help feed people.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Clay Center, Kansas is the wonderful, loving church featured in your second story. Clay Center is located almost three hours to the west of Kansas City in beautiful North Central Kansas. Donna Long is a member of an amazing church community led by the wonderful Mother Susan Sawyer. My husband and I miss them very much!

Ann Woodyard

[We are grateful for this information and have revised our post accordingly. - eds.]

Thanks Ann and Melodie - the article I found wasn't clear. It's great to have eyewitness reports and testimonials. Sounds like an extraordinary congregation with a big big heart.

Kudos to St. Paul's in Clay Center. Let me note as well that a number of congregations in Kansas City are also involved in the Back Snack program, including St. Mary Magdalene.

For the past several years Episcopal Churches in the Kansas City metropolitan area and in adjacent areas of the Dioceses of Kansas and West Missouri have provided more than one million meals per year.

Marshall Scott

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