Community Outreach – Lansdale & Beyond
The following information is available 24/7 at our office/ramp door for anyone who might come to our door seeking financial or other types of help.
Helping Local Neighbors with “Emergency Funding”
St. Vincent de Paul Benevolence Society
Click the image below for their website:
St. John’s Church Council is now working with and donating regular funding to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which provides help to those in the area who find themselves in need of financial or other help and do not know where to get help. Operating within, but independent of, the Catholic Church (Archdiocese of Philadelphia), through local parish groups called Conferences, the St. Vincent de Paul Society helps those in need with material, moral, and spiritual support. Currently, more than 500 volunteers are involved throughout the Delaware Valley. Conference activity is defined by the needs of the particular local community. Home visitation is performed across the board. Additional good works can include transportation for elderly/shut-ins; bereavement support; nursing home visitation; holiday dinner/gift drives, etc. Support for local family assistance is given from the Emergency Fund from referrals from St. Vincent de Paul. These requests are received periodically, one at a time. St. Vincent de Paul will report to St. John’s which families were helped and how they helped. This would give St. Vincent de Paul authority to decide how to help those in need.
Why Are We Partnering with St. Vincent de Paul?
St. John’s is known as a generous congregation. Through the years we’ve been there for the community, especially for those in need. We’ve developed relationships with local partner organizations and churches to provide assistance and support to those who struggle to maintain their expenses. One avenue of support from St. John’s has been the distribution of gift cards to those who express an immediate financial need, providing compassionate help to those who needed immediate support for their existence. However, over time, the gift card strategy has waned in its effectiveness and intended purpose.
First, and foremost, is the safety of St. John’s staff as well as
everyone working or attending our Montessori school. On
occasion we’ve experienced an aggressive tone on the part of
some seeking help. We’ve noticed an uptick on “expectation” on
the part of those who ask for gift cards, sometimes on a recurring
Second, is the recognition that information is being shared in the community that “St. John’s is the place to go for gift cards.” At
one level that’s good. However, the frequency of those showing
up for help is beginning to tax the office administrator and pastors
at a level that is not sustainable.
Third, we believe there are better and more effective ways to help
those in need, and our goal is to further our support and deepen
our relationships with area agencies that can provide the right
kind of help in the right way to those in need.
To that end, we are no longer providing gift cards to those who
simply show up and request them. We’ll be donating our current
inventory of gift cards to area agencies, and therefore will no
longer be collecting gift cards.
Through partnering with St. Vincent de Paul, we can be assured that the assistance is being given to those who really need it, as they are better to keep records of those in the community who genuinely need this help and are not abusing it. There is a notice by our ramp door advising anyone seeking help to contact St. Vincent de Paul, so our staff no longer has to handle these issues at the door.
St. John’s UCC partners with a number of service organizations that help in our community and beyond. Some are actively supported all year long, and some specifically at our Alternative Gift Market in November (see Alternative Gift Market page on this website), but all are important to our St. John’s family!
OUR MISSION PARTNERS – LOCAL & REGIONAL
BETHANY CHILDREN’S HOME – http://www.bethanyhome.org/
St. John’s has supported Bethany Children’s Home in Berks County for over 100 years. Bethany is also one of the organizations represented at our Alternative Gift Market in November. More than 300 children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned are taking back their lives each year at Bethany Children’s Home. If you know someone in need of help please call 911 or contact ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
Bethany’s Shelter Care program provides emergency services, crisis intervention, and immediate housing for child abuse victims. Their trauma informed Shelter Care staff provide support to children transitioning out of unsafe conditions. To learn more, call Bethany at 610-589-4501. In their unique and specialized programs, youth have access to a variety of therapeutic, spiritual, and cultural services in addition to recreational activities. Youth reside on campus in one of their historic cottages with a family comprised of house parents and support staff.
Watch our publications for special St. John’s projects to support Bethany Children’s Home during the year and at the Advent-Christmas season!
On designated Sundays, St. John’s has a sale during our Fellowship Time after the 10:15 am worship service of fairly-traded coffee, tea & cocoa products. For nearly 30 years, Equal Exchange has been a leader among Fair Trade food and worker-owned businesses. Through the Interfaith Program, Equal Exchange collaborates with thousands of churches, temples and communities of faith around the U.S. The UCC works with Equal Exchange to bring you high-quality coffee, tea and cocoa products — always paying farmers fairly. In addition to the sales, we also serve Equal Exchange coffee and tea during our Fellowship Time.
INTERFAITH CENTER OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA
Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i, Sikh, and others…the Interfaith Center is governed by a Board of Directors and a professional team whose members reflect a broad spectrum of religious, ethnic, and racial communities. These leaders advance the agency’s mission by drawing on their collective experience in interfaith relations and diversity work conducted in civic, governmental, community, and educational areas.
The Center’s holistic approach to learning engages the head, the heart, and the hands, through teaching, dialogue, and service. Formal projects, or Signature Initiatives, have the same goal, which is to create communities of hope and reconciliation throughout our region—in workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods. We bring together religious leaders, congregants, and youth, to get to know each other as people and to learn how to value and respect the “other” while maintaining (and often strengthening) their own religious identities.
Our tagline, Dare to Understand, is both a statement of fact and a call to action, encapsulating so much of what makes our work unique. It conveys a sense of the courage required to participate and engage in interfaith work, the fear of the religious “other” felt by so many, and the need to overcome such fears. It challenges us to be bold in learning about one another, to dare to listen sincerely to the crying needs of our time, and to work together to contribute to the good of our region. Not only is our tagline a call for a deeper understanding of the religious “other,” but it is also an invitation to continued discovery within one’s own self, heritage, and unique perspective. Location: 100 West Oxford Street, Suite E-1300, Philadelphia, Pa. 19122
MANNA ON MAIN STREET – LANSDALE –www.mannaonmain.org
See the tab under Missions for a separate page dedicated to information about Manna on Main Street, including a listing of food items they need as donations, plus the history, mission, how to help Manna and special projects for Manna at St. John’s. Click the link below to go to the Manna page:
MITVAH CIRCLE FOUNDATION
Mitzvah Circle Foundation is a non-profit organization designed to provide support to individuals and families during times of individual crisis, poverty, homelessness and serious illness. We help those who have fallen through the cracks, providing help and guidance quickly, with care and compassion. We are not faith-based; we treat everyone with kindness and compassion, restoring hope and honoring dignity, serving all people regardless of age, family status, gender, race, or religious affiliation. Address: 2562 Boulevard of the Generals, Norristown, PA. 19403
URBAN PROMISE – www.urbanpromiseusa.org
SInce 1988, the mission at UrbanPromise has been to equip Camden’s children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and Christian leadership. They strive to fulfill this mission through after-school programs, summer camps, two schools, experiential learning, job training, and a host of other programs that challenge youth to develop & realize their potential. UrbanPromise has participated in our November St. John’s Alternative Gift Market for many years. St. John’s has also collected school supplies and donations for UrbanPromise as part of our June VBS offering, and helps distribute gifts from our White Gift Service in their neighborhood. Address: PO Box 1479, Camden, NJ 08105 Phone: 856-661-1700
Special Notice: ‘Code Blue’ in Lansdale in Winter
During the winter months, the Montgomery County Health Department declares “Code Blue” if night time temperatures are 20 degrees or below. Volunteers are ready to provide dinner and overnight shelter to North Penn area homeless men at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale. Volunteers from local churches staff the shelter from 7:30 pm to 9:00 am in three shifts: intake, overnight, and breakfast/cleanup. Both male and female volunteers are needed! New volunteers are provided any training on-site during Code Blue nights. Anyone who would like to help can sign up for time slots through the Code Blue page on the Trinity website, TrinityLansdale.com. Please contact St. John’s representative, Jim Stevenson, at 267-642-9952 for more information. Thank you!
OUR MISSION PARTNERS – NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
AGAPE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC – REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA http://anamliberia.org/
The Agape National Academy of Music‘s (ANAM) sole purpose is to grant Liberian children opportunities to be successful through music and arts. The Agape Music provides formal music education and discipline to youth and young adults; it trains young people to become dedicated church musicians; it teaches war victim children peaceful alternatives to the rage they feel from the trauma of the Civil War. ANAM has served as a major center for extracurricular activities in Liberia, impacting 100’s of children, catapulting academic performance, and completely exposing some of the lowest income populations to: formal music, choral workshops, vocal and instrumental recitals, and more. The recognition of the positive effects of ANAM scholars is apparent across Liberia’s most populated county, Montserrado. The children of Liberia are passionate and resilient. They are yearning to find purpose, be peacemakers, and rebuild their nation. ANAM gives Liberia something to believe in; the unspeakable beauty of ageless choirs coming from all over the nation to sing, celebrating creativity, and giving one another hope, is just one of the many hidden treasures on this little coastal metropolis.
In October 2011, the director of ANAM, Samson Tarpeh, visited St. John’s & played music at our worship services, and participated in a Fall family outing St. John’s held at a nearby farm & learned all about the American tradition of hayrides & weenie roasts & s’mores! He returned for the dedication of our Schultz Memorial Organ in 2017 and performed at an Artist Series concert in 2019. He is connected to St. John’s as a member of our Facebook group.
BACK BAY MISSION, BILOXI, MS. – www.backbaymission.org
Back Bay Mission has been a lasting source of hope and help for thousands of children, adults and families along the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1922. As one of the oldest and most highly respected organizations within the United Church of Christ and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Back Bay Mission continues its journey of providing innovative solutions and compassionate responses to those suffering at the hands of social injustice and economic hardship. Today Back Bay Mission is poised to accelerate services to those in need of homes, stability and opportunity. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, many volunteers from St. John’s & other UCC churches across the country traveled to the Biloxi, Ms. area for work projects. http://www.ucc.org/volunteer_back-bay-mission
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE (CWS) – http://www.cwsglobal.org/
Some 8,000 congregations and groups across the U.S. hold CWS Blankets events, providing funds to help people in need around the world. For over 60 years, CWS has worked in partnership with local communities to identify their needs and access the resources they need to build the foundation for a more viable future, including:
Blankets, tents, food and other emergency supplies in the wake of a disaster. Tools and seeds for refugees returning home to replant their fields Wells for families living in drought prone areas to provide clean, safe water to drink and to irrigate crops and gardens Literacy training and microcredit for women struggling to realize their potential.
St. John’s has supported the global efforts of Church World Service for many years. We annually support them in early February with a special offering on Blanket Sunday, where a $5.00 donation furnishes a blanket to a neighbor in need. The Blanket Sunday offering also helps CWS provide tents, food & emergency supplies in the wake of a disaster, tools & seeds for refugees returning home to replant their fields, and wells for clean, safe drinking water in drought-prone areas.
Each Fall, St. John’s members participate and & donate to the annual CWS CROP Walk. It takes place on a Sunday afternoon in early October, starting at Trinity Lutheran Church & walking downtown on Main Street in Lansdale. Watch for details in our publications starting in September.
GLOBAL MINISTRIES – http://www.globalministries.org/
Through Global Ministries Child Sponsorship program, St. John’s sponsors three special children. Dilli Babu and Yashi are Tibetan children living in a children’s home in India, and Nickole Florence is a 13 year old living with her family in the Philippines. Look for letters from the children on the bulletin board “Mission/Outreach” in the hallway outside the Library and read the Mission Corner article in the Enlightener.
GLOBAL MINISTRIES – DUMAQUETE KALAUMAN CENTER, PHILIPPINES
As a community-based center in Dumaguete City, Philippines, the Dumaguete Kalauman Center for Development (Kalauman), whose name means “from where you can draw hope”, spreads God’s love through holistic services and programs, including educational programs, health services, and Christian education, with family and community engagement opportunities.
The Kalauman Center is a Child Sponsorship partner of Global Ministries. The money received by Global Ministries from child sponsors is used for education expenses, medical assistance, cultural activities & establishing a college or trade school savings fund for each child. It is the only participating center that provides higher education using sponsorship funds. In addition to facilitating the child sponsorship program, Kalauman also works to strengthen partnerships with the nearby communities to promote opportunities for children and families to participate in community affairs, & to connect parents of children at Kalauman to employment opportunities. On August 14, 2016 following worship, member George Kaufman shared slides & stories from the visit he and his wife, Patricia, made to the Philippines to visit Nickole Florence, one of the children St. John’s sponsored through the Child Sponsorship Program of the UCC. The Kalauman Development Center is at the heart of the program in which Nickole Florence participated & is a center providing crucial services to over 250 children.
HEIFER INTERNATIONAL – https://www.heifer.org/
Heifer International‘s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self-reliance, by providing them the tools they need to sustain themselves. St. John’s supports them through Sunday School and special offerings and projects.
NEIGHBORS IN NEED (NIN) – http://www.ucc.org/nin/
Special Offering on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday of October. Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. NIN grants are awarded to churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Funding is provided through donations to the NIN offering.
OAXACA LEARNING CENTER – http://www.tolc.org.mx/
In recent years, St. John’s members have been generous in giving support to the Oaxaca Learning Center, a nonprofit organization in Mexico offering free academic teaching and learning services to students 14 years and older. The Learning Center assists students from low income or impoverished urban families and from indigenous rural villages throughout the state of Oaxaca who have migrated to the capital city to complete their studies. Founded by Gary Titus, formerly of San Francisco, the Learning Center is living witness to a vision becoming reality. Since it officially opened its doors in 2005, the Learning Center has nurtured hundreds of students, helping them through junior and senior high school and providing many of them with the resources to pursue university studies. A special Artist Series concert to raise money for the center was held at St. John’s in the Fall of 2018.
ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING – http://www.ucc.org/oghs/
One Great Hour of Sharing, as part of Our Church’s Wider Mission, is the special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that carries God’s message of love and hope to people in 138 countries. The UCC works with international partners to provide sources of clean water and food, education and health care, small business micro-credit, emergency relief, and advocacy and resettlement for refugees and displaced persons. OGHS also supports domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response. This special offering is collected during a Sunday worship in mid-March.
OUR CHURCH’S WIDER MISSION (OCWM) – http://www.ucc.org/ocwm/
This is an outreach mission of the United Church of Christ. This is an ongoing program with various projects, and a portion of your weekly offering can be designated for OCWM. Please click the link above to learn more about Our Church’s Wider Mission. Click this link below to see a pdf file of the OCWM brochure. http://www.uccfiles.com/pdf/ocwmbrochure.pdf In recent years, St. John’s was one of the Top 50 UCC churches in donations to OCWM!
OUR ‘SISTER’ MISSION PARTNER UCC CONGREGATIONS
These are ‘new’ (within the last 20 years) start-up churches in nearby urban communities which have grown into established congregations and became part of the United Church of Christ through the support and prayers of the people of St. John’s. We continue to support the needs of the communities they serve through donations from our annual Coat Drive and our White Gift Service.
Living Water United Church of Christ – www.lwucc.org
6250 Loretto Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111 (Oxford Circle neighborhood)
The Assembly Hall at Living Water UCC is named in honor of St. John’s UCC Lansdale because of our support in helping them become established.