[From John Major, rector]
Trinity Episcopal Church of West Pittston strives to seek and embrace ministries that allow us to live out our mission statement, “Working and praying together to live and build holy community.”
Many of our efforts fall under the umbrella of our “Good Neighbor Ministries,” which include long-standing and ongoing projects aimed at filling unmet needs as we identify them in our community. These include a parishioner-supported food pantry that provides emergency assistance to dozens of families each year, and a Feed a Friend program that provides homemade frozen meals to homebound neighbors and to those coping with illness or family emergency. This program is extended to provide rides and other assistance to these neighbors when needed. Trinity West Pittston also operates a prayer network that is publicized in the weekly paper and open to the public, where people can submit prayer requests by phone or mail and members of the congregation will pray for them.
For the past four years, Trinity has also offered a ministry called MUSICare to young families in the area. Through the internationally known Music Together program, we bring young families together for a “mommy & me” type class that helps children from birth through age five learn to appreciate and enjoy music, helps parents learn how to incorporate music into their everyday family activities, and provides an opportunity for these young parents to get together for conversation and fellowship. Through free Music Together demonstrations held in venues such as bookstores, libraries, schools and mothers’ groups, Trinity reaches out to the community at large and offers this fun, enriching experience to families throughout the region. This ministry recently spawned another ministry, a toy swap, which allows young families a place to share slightly used toys and provides a source of gently used and sometimes new toys that Trinity can share with others in need in the community.
Trinity also participates in shared and regional ministry, including providing toiletries and other items for use by the homeless program at Church of the Good Shepherd in Scranton and regular participation in a yearly evangelism program called Project Presence, that brings all the Luzerne County Episcopal churches together to sponsor a booth at the county fair, where balloons, goodies and literature are handed out to create a positive experience with our church for fairgoers. In the interest of sustaining the Episcopal presence in our community, Trinity has also entered into agreements with other regional parishes over the last four years in which our rector also served as either a rector or priest in charge at these other parishes, strengthening both parishes and enabling both to have pastoral leadership that guides them to the Gospel ministry of service.
In addition to these ongoing ministries, in the aftermath of a flood in September 2011 that affected more than one third of West Pittston and large sections of nearby towns, Trinity initiated a new ministry called FLOODCare. This ministry to our flooded neighbors has included hands-on assistance, distribution of gift cards, flood relief items and household goods, opportunities for pastoral care, and ongoing reminders that Trinity West Pittston is ready and available to assist in their recovery for as long as it takes. We continue to provide help and goods to a number of families who are still not back in their home.
Trinity’s FLOODCare ministry inspired a new regional ministry in disaster preparedness and response. Housed in a closed Episcopal Church in the geographic center of flood-prone Luzerne County and initially funded by a combination of diocesan funds and grants as well as grants from Episcopal Relief & Development, Episcopal Appalachian Ministries, St. George’s Regional Disaster Recovery & Outreach Center will provide a location to store and distribute disaster supplies, provide shelter for those affected by disasters and those who come to help them, and serve as a site to coordinate disaster preparedness and training throughout the region. It will also include a feeding program that will provide a needed service in an underserved community afflicted with nearly twice the state level of poverty. Trinity’s leadership and parishioners continue to support this ministry as part of our own community outreach, mission and ministry.
The Rev. John Major
Trinity Episcopal Church of West Pittston
Saint Clement and Saint Peter Church of Wilkes-Barre
The Children’s MUSICare Project featuring Music Together
Trinity Episcopal Church of West Pittston
Diocese of Bethlehem Episcopal Relief and Development Representative
Director of Saint George’s Regional Disaster Recovery and Outreach Center , Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA
Member of Diocesan Council, Diocese of Bethlehem