A Christmas Story

By Nanette Smith

As most readers will know, Bethlehem churches take turns each night serving and housing homeless men and women in the “Room at the Inn” project. On Thursday nights, Jo Trepagnier is one of those serving men at Nativity Cathedral. On December 13, what she brought for the men was not something she had made; rather it was from the Church of the Mediator, where she serves as office manager, and it was made by a handful of Raub Middle School students who attend Mediator’s after school Just For Kids program.

A favorite activity in this program is cooking in the Mediator kitchen. Usually they eat what they make. But that Thursday, volunteer Patricia Gaukler suggested the idea to the kids that they cook for the shelter . “The kids were enthusiastic about it. I told them a little about the program and let them choose what they wanted to make,” she said. They chose salad because they wanted to give the men something healthy and cupcakes “because they love to ice cakes,” Patricia said.

Next week, I interviewed two of these cooks. Sixth-grader Caridad Reyes, who likes the cooking because she wants to train to be a chef someday said, “We made food for him because it isn’t right that everyone in the world has something, and they have nothing. If homeless people don’t eat, then we should not eat either.” She looked a little sad and cast her eyes down when she said this to me. Pat had told me that she spoke to the kids carefully about the problem of homelessness and why we should care for our neighbors. It was clear that Caridad took this to heart.

A genuine story teller, the voluble sixth-grader Steven Cruz said he knows about people in need, referring to people he sees in his neighborhood. “I cook for people all the time at home,” he said. “I give poor people pancakes, sometimes pizza.” He told me that when he was a little child he almost died from a heart condition, and that was why he cares about other people “who have problems.” Like Caridad, he loves to cook, especially rice and beans; and he shared a secret with me on how to get the dish just right.

Last year, Mediator pastor, Maria Tjeltveit, helped a group of JFK young people make pies to take to the Homeless Supportive Services Christmas party in Allentown. So this is becoming sort of a tradition.

Jo told me that the food the kids made for Nativity was a big part of the meal and a big hit with the 50 or so men. I am guessing that she asked me to write this article not just to remind people of the Bethlehem homelessness project and the work done by Just for Kids, but because it is a beautiful expression of the Gospel, children—who themselves don’t have a lot--giving what they can to people with much less. They gave of their talents, time, and heart, and showed an understanding of how giving at Christmas time can truly carry the right spirit.

[Nanette Smith is a parishioner at the Church of the Mediator, Allentown]


Shelters at Cathedral and St. Andrew's seek volunteers

From Craig Updegrove
St. Andrew's, Allentown/Bethlehem
Jan. 20, 2012

For the fourth straight year, Bethlehem area places of worship including a couple Episcopal churches (Cathedral Church of the Nativity and St. Andrew's) are sheltering the area homeless at night. This winter season, the mission started in the beginning of December and runs until the end of March.This week we have seen a large increase of new guests. Last night we housed 34 people! If previous years were any indication, as the winter progresses, these numbers will continue to grow. Through the New Hope campaign funding, we have been able to hire 2 part time coordinators to help coordinate each site. However, many of these sites could use additional help.

Each site, at a minimum, require the following for each night they house the homeless:
Cooks and or servers- Each site will feed dinner to about 15-30 people (this includes volunteers). Usually a site will have at least two people cook and serve. Also, each site/volunteers will supply the dinner, drinks, dessert, and paper products for each meal.
Overnight volunteers- 2-3 volunteers at each site spend the night at the place of worship  to oversee everything. Additional cooks/ servers- Each site serves breakfast. Some just serve cold cereal, while others provide a hot breakfast. Again this usually takes about two people.

Many of these  places of worship  have additional volunteers that will come and socialize with the guests. Also, some sites have volunteers to come in and clean-up in the morning. In addition to volunteers at the churches, we also transport to some sites. A handful of the places of worship  that shelter are not within walking distance to the Southside (where the homeless are during the day). We try to have 2-3 drivers in the evenings and 2-3 drivers in the mornings to transport the homeless to and fro the places of worship .

I encourage you to help at least once during this season. This is a transformational mission that has affected me more than you can imagine. It will do the same for you. Please take this opportunity to help the homeless. Please discern this email while you are eating a hearty soup or snuggled up in your warm bed and imagine not having it. At the very least, as a Christian, isn't this what we are called to do? Help the people that can't help themselves.

If you would like to volunteer, I've attached a flyer with schedule and contact information. Also the following link will allow you to sign-up to drive the homeless:

Sign up genius for transportation volunteers


Please feel to contact Brian Gordon from Nativity @ cell 610-463-5988 if you would like to drive.

If you have any additional questions about the mission, please feel free to call me at 484-892-1589.

Thanks,
Craig Updegrove

_______________________________________________
Bakery mailing list
Bakery@churchreply.com
http://churchreply.com/mailman/listinfo/bakery_churchreply.com


Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering System needs volunteers

[From Craig Updegrove]

This winter's ecumenical emergency homeless shelter effort in Bethlehem will start tonight and will run until April 1.  About half of the churches who are shelter sites are outside of walking distance for the homeless to get to, so volunteers are needed to help transport the homeless guests to (in the evening) and from (in the morning) the shelter sites.  This need has created over 500 volunteer opportunities to drive over the 17 weeks the shelters are open.  The following website link has been built to help organize the driving volunteers and to explain the volunteer opportunity in more detail.

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/emergency30


Any questions, please contact Brian Gordon at 610-463-5988 or gordonbt@me.com
 
We also have volunteer opportunities available at all of the churches. If you have a night or two that you would like to help, we have many opportunities available. Each night/morning we need volunteers to cook dinner, serve dinner, stay overnight, cook breakfast, and clean-up. I’ve attached a list of all the churches that are participating. The list has the contact numbers so that you can reach the churches directly.

Download the list in a .pdf here.
Download 111208 Client Emergency Shelter Contact _list 12-1-11
 
Thanks,
Craig J Updegrove


Diocesan Convention Resolutions as passed

The following are the Convention Resolutions as passed at this year's Diocesan Convention.

Resolution on the Budget of the Diocese of Bethlehem

Be it Resolved, That the Assessment Rate applied to Line A, Normal Operating Income (NOI), of the 2010 Parochial Report shall be 12% in 2012;

and be it further

Resolved, That the Proposed Mission and Ministry Budget of the Diocese as it is presented to the Convention be adopted.

Presented by Diocesan Council

Explanation:

With this Resolution, Diocesan Convention adopts a Diocesan Operating Budget for 2012.  The Income of the Budget represents a continuation of a blend of Assessments and Acceptances, both at rates identical to last year: 12% of Normal Operating Income (NOI, Line A of the Parochial Report) for the Assessment and 3% of NOI for the Acceptance.

Resolution of the Personnel Committee Regarding the 2012 Salary Schedule

Be It Resolved, that the Salary Schedule for Clergy for 2012, be as follows with a 2.8% Cost of Living increase,

and be it further

Resolved, That the same Cost of Living increase applies to lay employees.

Parish Index                    Size of Parish                    Clergy Salary Range
1-99                                Small                                $30,635.00 - $36,800.00
100-250                           Medium                            $33,925.00 - $50,165.00
250-399                           Large                                $40,600.00 - $62,500.00
400 – above                      X-Large                            $54,790.00 - $88,715.00

Be It Resolved, That the Clergy Supply Schedule for 2011, be as follows, and be it further

Resolved, That Supply Clergy be reimbursed for travel at the current IRS rate.

Number of Services

1 Sunday Service or 1 Saturday                $130.00
2 Sunday Services                                    $160.00
Mid Week Service                                    $80.00

Resolution To Establish a Plan of Action for Relief for the Homeless and Poor in Our Society
[A M E N D E D]

Whereas the current increase in suffering of homeless people in our society has been largely ignored during our economic downturn and housing crisis, as almost 700,000 of our citizens are known to be homeless (with four in ten living on the street);

Whereas the greatest increases in recent years in homelessness are among people who have become unemployed (including veterans returning from our wars) and among those who formerly lived in homes now in foreclosure;

Whereas 250,000 persons living in families are homeless;

Whereas, contrary to misconceptions, blame and stereotypes, the root causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing and poverty;

Whereas in response to our economic downturn and jobs crisis, budgetary reductions at the state, federal, and local levels have had direct and devastating effects upon our parishes’ work with the poor – upon shelters for the homeless; upon soup kitchens, upon food banks, upon employment counseling programs, upon legal services programs;

Whereas a large part of Jesus’ ministry consisted of the prophetic task of confronting and denouncing not merely the distinct sinful actions of individuals, but a host of systemic, structural evils (e.g., the transformation of the temple into “a den of thieves”) that degrade human life and impede the coming of God’s reign;

Be it Resolved, therefore, That parishes throughout The Diocese of Bethlehem will form prayer-and study-groups to meet regularly for an extended period in order to discern what is the Church’s call to the homeless and the poor in this present era; to discover how our faith in the coming reign of God may be sustained and strengthened in these profoundly difficult days; to devise methods for challenging and changing systems that now severely limit our society's potential for achieving a just distribution of the necessary means of life; to examine government policies that either contribute to or reduce unemployment; to plan actions for relief of the most vulnerable among us; to raise the quality and dignity of life for the poor and the homeless; and to restore compassion to our public and private discourse.

Be it further Resolved, That this convention submits the following resolution for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012 which commends the same practices to the parishes and dioceses of the National Church:

To Establish a Plan of Action for Relief for the Homeless and Poor in Our Society

Whereas the current increase in suffering of homeless people in our society has been largely ignored during our economic downturn and housing crisis, as almost 700,000 of our citizens are known to be homeless (with four in ten living on the street);

Whereas the greatest increases in recent years in homelessness are among people who have become unemployed (including veterans returning from our wars) and among those who formerly lived in homes now in foreclosure;

Whereas 250,000 persons living in families are homeless;

Whereas, contrary to misconceptions, blame and stereotypes, the root causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing and poverty;

Whereas in response to our economic downturn and jobs crisis, budgetary reductions at the state, federal, and local levels have had direct and devastating effects upon our parishes’ work with the poor – upon shelters for the homeless; upon soup kitchens, upon food banks, upon employment counseling programs, upon legal services programs;

Whereas a large part of Jesus’ ministry consisted of the prophetic task of confronting and denouncing not merely the distinct sinful actions of individuals, but a host of systemic, structural evils (e.g., the transformation of the temple into “a den of thieves”) that degrade human life and impede the coming of God’s reign;

Be it Resolved, therefore, That parishes and dioceses of The Episcopal Church will form prayer-and study-groups to meet regularly for an extended period in order to discern what is the Church’s call to the homeless and the poor in this present era; to discover how our faith in the coming reign of God may be sustained and strengthened in these profoundly difficult days; to devise methods for challenging and changing systems that now severely limit our society's potential for achieving a just distribution of the necessary means of life; to examine government policies that either contribute to or reduce unemployment; to plan actions for relief of the most vulnerable among us; to raise the quality and dignity of life for the poor and the homeless; and to restore compassion to our public and private discourse.

Presented by the following:

Members of Grace Church, Allentown, Summer Reading Group, 2011:
Addison Bross
Mary Louise Bross
Kelly Cannon
Kelly Denton-Borhaug
Gunnar Denton-Borhaug
Bob House
Libby House
Lori Molloy
Jean Moody
Jack Moody
The Rev. Elizabeth Reed
Jeff Reed
Joan Roy

The Rev. T. Scott Allen

Vestry Members, St. Andrews Church

The Clergy and Vestry Members, Trinity Church, Bethlehem

Resolution on Building Relationships with Muslim-American Community
 
Whereas:  A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in September 2010 found that 31 percent of U.S. citizens believe that "mainstream Islam [i.e., not "militant Islam"] encourages violence;"

Whereas:  Rep. Peter King's accusation (in Congressional hearings, March 10, 2011) that American Muslims have failed to support U.S. law enforcement's fight against terrorism has caused much pain and misunderstanding;
 
Whereas:  John B. Chilton, reporting on these hearings  in the Episcopal Cafe,  cited a document entitled "Shoulder to Shoulder," signed by clergy and laity of various faiths, representatives of national religious councils, and leaders of institutions for training of clergy, calling on elected officials and all citizens "not to perpetuate damaging false witness against our neighbors," but instead "to stand shoulder-to-shoulder [with persons of all faiths] in communities of growing awareness, trust and hope;"

Be it Resolved: That the parishes within the Diocese of Bethlehem be encouraged to work with the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission in reaching out to their local Muslim neighbors by organizing or being a part of an event in the coming year to build new relationships that will lead to better understanding of our different faiths.
 
Presented by the Diocesan Peace Commission:
Addison Bross, Co-Chair;
Barb Gessner, Co-Chair;
Mary Louise Bross;
Njideka Kelley;
Fr. Don Knapp;
Tom Lloyd;
Suzanne Siebert;
Candis Siatkowski.


Diocesan Life for October 2011

You can download the 2.4 MB .pdf here: Download October2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL

Diocesan Convention resolutions and information about pre-convention meetings

Attached you will find the four resolutions that will be presented at the Diocesan Convention October 7-8 at Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. All delegates should receive a pre-convention packet mailed to them at their home by September 17th. If you are a delegate and have not received your packet by September 23rd, please call Rosie Hummel at 610-691-5655 x221.

Pre-Convention meetings are open to anyone in the diocese. They are scheduled as follows:
September 27, St. Alban's, Sinking Spring     7:00 P.M.
September 29, Church of the Epiphany, Clarks Summit    7:00 P.M.
October 4, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem    7:00 P.M.

Resolution A: Resolution on the Budget of the Diocese of Bethlehem
Resolution B: Resolution of the Personnel Committee Regarding the 2012 Salary Schedule
(Resolution A and B can be found here): Download 2011 Resolutions A and B

Resolution C: To Establish a Plan of Action for Relief for the Homeless and Poor in Our Society
(Resolution C can be found here): Download 2011 Convention Resolution C

Resolution D: Building Relationships with the Muslim-American Community
(Resolution D can be found here): Download 2011 Resolution D


Grace Church and Grace House residents get to know each other

By Beth Reed, Priest-in-Charge, Grace, Allentown

Yesterday [Sunday, August 14] was a joy at Fifth and Linden in downtown Allentown. We welcomed three of our six new neighbors from Grace House at coffee hour, and then our neighbors showed us their home. At least 20 parishioners took the opportunity to see the first floor of Grace House, with its common kitchen and living room, and two residents very graciously showed us their bedrooms. We took a solid next step in our relationship with our neighbors, and I look forward to how our relationships will develop.
 
Grace House is a partnership of New Bethany Ministries, the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, and Grace Episcopal Church. Six previously chronically homeless men now live in a renovated building that formerly housed the Grace Church Sunday school and the parish’s AIDS Outreach ministry.
 


Six chronically homeless persons will live next to Grace Episcopal Church in Allentown

By Libby House and Bill Lewellis

Grace House2 On April 20, Grace House at 112 North Fifth Street, Allentown, a newly renovated three-story brick and stucco property next to Grace Episcopal Church, will welcome its first homeless residents.

The creation and development of a group home to provide permanent housing in apartments for six chronically homeless persons began a few years ago with a conversation between Robert Wilkins, president of the board of New Bethany Ministries from 1998 to 2010, and Elizabeth House, senior warden of Grace Church.

It was the brain child of Wilkins, House, William Kuntze, former executive director of New Bethany and Patrick Malloy,  former rector of Grace Episcopal Church. Their initiative received enthusiastic moral support as well as financial commitment from Bethlehem Diocese Bishop Paul V. Marshall.

Grace House Funding for Grace House came from a wide variety of sources. Grace Church donated to New Bethany Ministries half the value of the property which for nearly 15 years had served as the church's headquarters for its former AiDS Outreach Ministry that closed in December 2007 when federal and state funding dried up. The $500,000 costs for renovating the facility were paid for by a $250,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank, Pittsburgh, through KNBT grants from Lehigh County and the City of Allentown, and additional money generously provided by Episcopal Ministries of the Diocese of Bethlehem, the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, Senator Pat Brown, Representative Jennifer Mann, The Century Fund, and individual donors.

The new group home will become part of the City of Allentown's First Lady's Commission to End Chronic Homelessness in 10 years. The six individuals who will gain the safety and stability of a permanent residence through this project represent 10 percent of those described as chronically homeless in Allentown in 2010.

Grace House will be a joint project of New Bethany Ministries of Bethlehem, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem and community operated, and Grace Allentown, a parish of the Diocese of Bethlehem. The facility's location in downtown Allentown will allow New Bethany Ministries, which has been working to address the needs of homeless people and others on the margins of our society, primarily in Bethlehem, for 25 years, to expand its outreach. it will also allow the Grace Church community to continue to develop and increase its mission and ministry to the people of the inner city neighborhoods of Allentown, where it already provides strategic services to the poor.

in addition to New Bethany and Grace Church, the Lehigh County Conference of Churches will play a crucial role in supporting and supervising the residents who will live in the facility by providing rent subsidies and social services. The organization will select the individuals who are to live in the group home and will assign a caseworker to help see that those living in Grace House will have the assistance they need to help them become independently functioning and contributing members of the community. They will assist with access to public benefit funding, subsidized meals, clothing services, referrals for medical and mental health treatment, and job skills training.
Grace Episcopal Church houses several ministries that will also provide additional support for the group home residents, such as supplemental groceries through its food pantry, Grace Community Foundation which provides supplemental food in a respectful manner to some 6,000 ethnically, religiously and racially diverse persons in need every year; access to a job placement counselor through the City's Weed and Seed Program; a GED program for those who dropped out of school who wish to work to earn their diplomas; the iMPACT juvenile offender program; services from paralegals from North Penn Legal Services; and blood pressure screenings. The church hopes that the tenants may wish to become part of the Grace Church community and will benefit from the possibilities that can be derived from relationships offered there.

Once described at a national conference because of its outreach ministries as the largest small church in the United States, Grace Church also owns Grace Montessori School, which provides scholarships to one-third of its diverse student body of more than 100 in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility.
 
Episcopal Ministries of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Inc., dba New Bethany Ministries, is an agency of the Diocese of Bethlehem and as such is a church-sponsored, non-profit corporation whose purpose is to organize and operate housing and social ministries with related services in the geographic area of the Diocese of Bethlehem for the care and relief of the needy, poor, displaced and other distressed persons.
 
With its long history and experience in battling homelessness, New Bethany Ministries brings compassion and expertise to the Grace House initiative at a level that cannot be overstated. This ministry of The Episcopal Church summons the talents of approximately 20 employees and 600 volunteers to serve the needs of the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill, and the poor. In addition to managing its many shelters, homes, and apartments and providing much needed social services, the agency also serves breakfast and lunch daily in its hospitality center in South Bethlehem and offers emergency food pantry services. it is hoped that the unique combination of experience, expertise, services, proximity, and common mission of these three social justice power houses, New Bethany Ministries, Grace Church, and LCCC, will serve as a model for faith-based groups wishing to work together to address the problems of the most desperate of individuals living in our society, making a permanent difference in their lives that will restore them to dignity and independence.

New Bethany's 25-year history has included one deep valley. It was buried in debt in 1998. Low morale had spread through the staff as its executive director and two executive board members resigned. The staff had to be cut from 16 to 10. The organization was close to going out of business. That’s when Wilkins, retired senior vice president of finance for Bethlehem Steel and former Bethlehem city administrator took a leave of absence from his business to serve as interim executive director during New Bethany’s crisis when the ministry was having a hard time finding the $1,000 a day in donations (half the budget) it takes to operate its shelters, subsidized housing and meal programs. That's when the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, New Bethany’s 1983 founder, stepped in.

The Diocese of Bethlehem provided New Bethany the security for a loan and lent the charity $200,000 without interest. Bishop Paul Marshall convened a “Blue Ribbon” panel of leaders in business, social service, church and philanthropic fields to explore the problems and challenges facing New Bethany. The panel met during the last quarter of 1998 and offered a series of recommendations to the New Bethany board. By 2001, the charity cut its annual spending plan by $100,000. It got back up to a full staff of 16. It began offering just as many services as before its financial fall.

[Mrs. Elizabeth "Libby" House is senior warden of Grace Episcopal Church, Allentown, and director of the Grace Montessori School. Canon Bill Lewellis, now retired, served for nearly 25 years as communication minister for the Diocese of Bethlehem.]

Download: (1) An outline of the origin of New Bethany Ministries, by Bill Lewellis, (2) New Bethany's Two-Year Recovery, by Bill Lewellis, Diocesan Life, Dec. 2001, (3) Remarks by Beth Reed at Grace House open house, 4/7/11.

Download NBM.Outline of Origins

Download NBM’s Two-Year Recovery.Lewellis

Download NBM.GraceHouse.Holy Ground

 


Imagine you're down to your last $1000? Would you make it?

Urban Ministries of Durham, NC, developed an on-line simulation game called  SPENT to demonstrate how you would fare if you faced the decisions many working poor face daily.

At the beginning of the simulation, you’re unemployed and have only $1,000 left in your bank account. You need to get a low wage job and attend to life’s necessities—food, shelter, childcare, medical fees. The simulation is a reminder of the difficulties encountered by the working poor.

Play SPENT by clicking here or at http://playspent.org/.

posted by Andrew Gerns


Diocesan Life February 2011

Hello everyone! Here is the latest edition of Diocesan Life. We are now wrapping around a new, independent paper called the Episcopal Journal. Of course, our online version doesn't include that news, but you should receive it in your mailboxes this week. As always, if you have stories, photos, news, please pass them along to Kat Lehman. The file is in .pdf formate and is 2.3 MB in size.

Download 1102_DiocesanLifeFINAL_SMALL


Temporary shelter for the homeless in Bethlehem churches

To: Lehigh Valley Episcopal Churches
From: Craig Updegrove, St. Andrew's

As you may be aware, several years ago, Bethlehem Area Churches took on a mission, to provide temporary shelter for the homeless during the winter months. This year will be no exception. This letter is to make you aware that this system began again on December 15 and will continue until March 31.

Every night, a host site or two will provide this mission service to the homeless. We not only provide shelter, but we also give them a warm dinner, companionship, play games with them, and watch movies with them. This mission has transformed each congregation and person involved.

To help continue this mission, I ask for your help. On average, a church needs around eight volunteers each night to execute this mission effectively. This puts a lot of volunteer strain on each congregation. I would like to ask if anyone from your congregation would like to assist any of these churches. Volunteer hours are readily available.

Volunteer opportunities vary. We have people that will just cook the meal, serve the meal, stay overnight, serve breakfast, cleanup in the morning, or just sit and talk to our guests. This is truly a transformational mission and is needed by you to help in Bethlehem.

If you would like to help in other ways, you could donate personal care items, clothing, food, or cash donations to help these congregations to defray some of these costs.

If you or anyone in your congregation are interested in volunteering, please contact Craig Updegrove at 484-892-1589 for more details.

*****************
On a related matter, see Community must respond to deaths of homeless, an op-ed in The Morning Call, December 17, by Gary Millspaugh, executive director of the Allentown Rescue Mission.

*****************
Background on the ministry of Bethlehem churches to the homeless:
2009
Jan. 13-19: Still no room for the homeless in Bethlehem
Jan. 19: Lehigh Valley Episcopal churches help homeless during cold snap
Feb. 5: Finding room for the homeless in Bethlehem

2010
Jan. 13: Trinity Bethlehem organizes churches to shelter homeless people from the cold
March 9: Express-Times editorial

The newSpin blog has a search box that many might find useful. Scroll down on the left.


Mittens and gloves to warm the homeless and hungry

[From Marcie Lightwood]

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem, where I work as a social worker, traditionally gives gifts to our poor and homeless guests at Christmas time. This year, we have received many beautiful hand-knit scarves and hats from local knitters, but we have no gloves or mittens to give.

I am asking if you could please pick up a pair of gloves or mittens on your next shopping trip and donate them? We need more gloves for MEN than for women; we serve probably 2 women for every 3-4 men at the soup kitchen. We only have a few guests who are children.

Any kind of new glove is fine; some like plain knit gloves or mittens; others want them insulated or waterproof. The homeless folks love mittens, or gloves with the mitten fold-over.

You can bring them to Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 E. Market Street in Bethlehem, drop them at my home, or at the WDIY studio where I will have a box set up. You can call me to arrange pick-up. If you work at a place that can have a collection box on premises, please let me know.

Please feel free to forward this to people who have warm hearts.

We need about 250 pair of gloves, total, and any excess will be kept for guest needs through the winter.

Happy holidays to you, and thank you.

Marcie Lightwood
1334 Club Avenue
Allentown, PA  18109
484-767-2908, mlightwood@hotmail.com


My Father's House at St. Luke's Lebanon

My Father's House My Father's House, a refurbished apartment attached to the former rectory of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6th & Chestnut Streets, Lebanon, was recently dedicated for community service. For this project, St. Luke's partnered with two county agencies, Community Action Partnership (CAP) and the Coalition to End Lebanon County Homelessness. 

The apartment at the rear of 519 Chestnut Street, will be used for transitional housing for folks in need in Lebanon County. This pilot project for the county received grant money from the Diocese of Bethlehem through a New Hope Campaign in which funds were solicited for a companion diocese in New Sudan, Africa, as well as the Needy in Pennsylvania.

On hand for the blessing were representatives from each of the agencies and the Lebanon Ministerium,    In its history, St. Luke's Church has given the community the Good Samaritan Hospital and Lebanon's first library.

Father Terrence Wible, rector, led the dedication. This project was developed by the Outreach Committee of the church, Todd Snovel, Chairman. People in need of housing should contact the Community Action Partnership.


Emergency Shelter Coordinator sought

[From Scott Allen]

I just received this notice from The Bethlehem Hospitality Network which houses the homeless during the cold winter months Dec.-March in parish halls and is an ecumenical response to homeless in the Lehigh Valley.  7+ congregations open their doors each week to house the homeless in the parish halls of their churches. Ecumenical  in nature,  the Network represents Episcopal, Moravian, Lutheran, UCC, Unitarian and Independant congregations.   A coordinator is needed to help facilitate this effort.  Through generous grants from the Bethlehem Area Moravians and The New Hope Campaign we have the funds to hire a part time coordinator for this sheltering season. The Ministry Description is posted below with application procedures.  Please let anyone in your congregations know of this part-time employment opportunity.
 
Thanks,
 
Scott Allen
St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem
 
 
General Job Description: Under the direction of the Steering Committee for the Emergency Shelter, the Emergency Shelter Coordinator is responsible for facilitating the overall daily functioning and communication of the program. 

Major Job Duties:
•Coordinate resources across sites, i.e., sleeping bags, etc.
•Create a list of facilities, locations, times facilities open and close doors
•Help Site Coordinators manage volunteers
•Become a familiar presence at each site
•Communication
•Facilitate communications between sites
    •All information pertaining to the Emergency Shelter program   •Issues regarding shelter guests   •Communicate issues of program suitability with shelter guests   •Enforce decisions made by steering committee   •Keep a log of issues from each site   •Coordinate facilities during snow emergencies   •Attend monthly mandatory shelter staff meetings and communicate with the Steering Committee about the activities and needs of the shelters
•Oversee working committees
•Create list of emergency contacts
•If necessary, coordinate transportation of clients to sites

Qualifications:
•Knowledge of issues relating to homelessness
•Prefer 2 years experience in social services, with preference given to volunteer management experience
•Excellent written & oral communication skills
•Ability to make quick, difficult decisions
•Ability to multi-task
•Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
•Positive attitude, compassionate
•Ability to both take direction and to work autonomously when necessary
•The ability to respond to requests for information via phone, mail, and e-mail
•Ability and willingness to work as a team member and support the mission and goals of the Emergency Shelter Steering Committee
•Must be at least 21 years of age

Other: Work out of home.  Cell phone and travel expenses included in salary.  This position requires the candidate to file a 1099 and pay your own taxes.

Hours: 20-30 hours per week, beginning December 1, 2010 and lasting through April 7, 2011. Hours will be flexible based on needs of volunteers.

Compensation: Contracted Hourly Rate $25/hour

If this job is of interest to you, please email your resume to Terri Boyd @ TBoyd4@its.jnj.com


E.C.W. collecting sweatshirts and socks for homeless during Diocesan Convention

From Marlene Hartshorne:

For Diocesan Convention we are asking the parishes to help collect sweatshirts and socks for the homeless and those in need.
 
Each delegate should please bring one package to convention. The ones we receive at convention will be given to those churches who open their doors during the cold winter providing a place to sleep and hot food for the homeless. The ones not taken to convention each parish will deliver to those in need in
their area.
 
We appreciate very much all the help you give to us.
Thank you.
 
The Diocesan Episcopal Churchwomen.
Marlene.


Bethlehem churches' efforts to shelter homeless during winter months commendable

An Express-Times Editorial – Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Temperatures are starting to climb, most snowbanks have melted away and those of us here in the Northeast are beginning to trade our winter coats for light jackets.

Ah, spring! It's a time when we are no longer forced to cope with crippling snowstorms, ice-covered roads or chapped skin.

And it's also the time when the homeless among us aren't quite as vulnerable as they were during the bone-chilling days and nights of winter.

Recently Express-Times reporter Lynn Olanoff took readers inside a church-based effort in Bethlehem that provides shelter for the homeless from January through March.

Continue reading "Bethlehem churches' efforts to shelter homeless during winter months commendable" »


Friday night at St. Andrew's Allentown

[Editor's note: Some ten Bethlehem churches and one synagogue are participating in the second year of an emergency sheltering program, coordinated by Bethlehem’s Trinity Episcopal Church. It began in 2008 when Trinity Soup Kitchen staff discovered that there were no emergency shelter beds for people in Bethlehem during a particularly cold period, and people were in danger of freezing. The story below is a snapshot of Friday night when St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on the Allentown/Bethlehem border opens its doors to the homeless. For context, see an earlier story by David Howell.]

By Scott Allen, Jean Evans and Colleen Kram

Last January, when St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, decided to open their doors to the homeless on Friday nights, we had no idea what we were in for. While it’s a great deal of work and we deal with some difficult personalities who have exhausted the social service networks, we were in for blessings beyond our imaginings. As the priest there, I knew that this is what we are called to be and do by the gospels – but I had no idea of what grace and transformation this ministry would yield.

Recently, I asked one of our parishioners, a retired primary school teacher who is part of our hospitality team, to write a short reflection on her experience that evening (even though she had volunteered many times before). Each time we host is a little different and a snapshot like the one that follows is indicative of a “typical” evening – if there is such a thing – in this sort of hospitality ministry.

Continue reading "Friday night at St. Andrew's Allentown" »


Helping the Homeless in Allentown

New Bethany Ministries, which has attacked the homeless problem in Bethlehem for nearly 25 years, has the final $250,000 it needs to launch its first project in Allentown. At a news conference Monday, community leaders announced the funding that completes a $460,000 plan to turn a former Grace Episcopal Church building at 112 N. Fifth St. into a group home.

[snip, snip, snip]

Renovation of the three-story Allentown building is expected to begin in April and a midsummer opening is anticipated. It is to include the six rooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, three bathrooms and a laundry facility. The top floor will be used for meetings. Grace Episcopal, which sold New Bethany the building for half its value, had used the building for an AIDS outreach program until its funding was cut. The Lehigh County Conference of Churches, which administers programs for the poor, will choose who will live in the group home. The coalition of 140 area churches will provide rent subsidies and social services. Grace Episcopal Church, which is next door to the future group home, will also provide services.

[snip, snip, snip]

New Bethany offers single-occupancy units at other locations: 10 in Bethlehem and 13 in Coplay. It also offers temporary housing in Bethlehem, serves nearly 200 lunches a day and provides other services. New Bethany is also planning a $2 million hospitality center with laundry facilities, showers and affordable housing at the shuttered Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church in south Bethlehem. New Bethany is scheduled to close on the property April 1.

New Bethany Ministries, community operated, is owned by the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Read more.

––posted by Bill Lewellis
from a story in The Morning Call, Feb. 2, 2010

Making sure homeless children get to school and have school supplies

Russell "Rooster" Valentini is the ''homeless education liaison'' for the Allentown School District and the regional coordinator for the state Department of Education's homeless children's initiative. His daily work (shall we say ministry?) includes making sure homeless children get to school and have school supplies.

[The next three paragraphs are taken from a feature in today's Morning Call.]

As the homeless education liaison, he has an office in Allentown because that is where most of his work is. But as the state's regional coordinator, he also provides technical services to all school districts in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

''Around here, we talk about him as if he's an angel; not to be dramatic,'' [Allentown Salvation Army executive director Dave] Williams said. ''His commitment to the women and children, the vulnerable women and children, is something very hard to find. He sees the women and children as his own.''

Valentini works with about 600 students a year. Last year, 12 percent lived in motels, 46 percent in shelters and the rest with relatives or friends. The worsening economy has not increased his numbers. He has always dealt with families hit by waves of bad luck (layoffs, missed rent payments, no health care) and others who have subsisted on welfare for generations. ''Public assistance is a dream stealer,'' says Valentini, who writes poetry that often centers on his work. ''These children I deal with have never seen anyone with success of work experience.''

Read The Morning Call's feature (Sunday, Jan. 3) about Valentini here.

Early in 2009, I wrote the following on the newSpin blog. Valentini and a parent responded. See their comments below that blog post.

Thanks
Bill

Bill Lewellis, Communication Minister/Editor (1986), Canon Theologian (1998)
Diocese of Bethlehem, 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015
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Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]