Category

Ministry Teams

January 8, 2018

During an Opportunity Forum last October, Munro Richardson of Read Charlotte challenged our congregation to support literacy at Westerly Hills Academy in one of three ways:  1) help students gain regular access to books by building home libraries, 2) ensure students experience active reading three times per week, and 3) ensure every kindergartener knows his/her letters and phonics by May 2018.

We are putting our energy behind not one, but all three of these challenges—the next one comes up on January 16.

For the next challenge—encouraging active reading—we will sponsor parent dinners and training sessions at Westerly Hills. The first of these is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16, at 5:30 p.m. If you can help with these events, please contact Heather Herring.

Thanks to your generous response to our Christmas Book Drive, we presented each Westerly Hills student with two books to take home on December 18. We plan to add to these home libraries throughout the remainder of the school year. Look for additional collections of gently used books before Spring and Summer breaks.

For the third challenge, FPC members have been working with Read Charlotte and the Westerly Hills administration for two months to develop the curriculum and process around letters and phonics tutoring. We look forward to offering this opportunity to the congregation soon.

 

December 1, 2017

Our friends with the Urban Ministry Center sent us this update from Room in the Inn:

Friends,

Thanks to all hosts and volunteers that stepped up to the challenge of frigid weather over a holiday weekend. RITI usually experiences a downturn of beds available over holidays, but not this weekend. Congregations added hosting nights, added beds to their already-pledged totals…even in one case taking more neighbors at the end of the evening so that no one had to be turned away. And there were still others who could not host yet emailed me to let me know their hearts were with us.

And thanks to the evening teams and to the RITI “saints” (our on-call volunteers), who showed up in force and worked cheerfully with the neighbors under difficult circumstances. And thanks to Officer Mike Warren, who arrived at the Center at 7 a.m. over the weekend to let neighbors in out of the cold, and who worked with staff and neighbors to make the RITI check-in process run smoothly.

Here are the bed totals for the holiday weekend nights:

  • 12/29 – 129
  • 12/30 – 123
  • 12/31 – 143
  • 01/01 – 195!

The cold weather continues through the week, and here are our bed counts as of this morning:

  • Tuesday – 122
  • Wednesday – 158
  • Thursday – 173
  • Friday – 225
  • Saturday – 143
  • Sunday – 104

Half a century or more ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” Several millennia ago, another man said, “Inasmuch as you have done it to some of the least of these, you have done it to me.” When we offer hospitality to the most vulnerable among us, we are in essence serving the whole of creation…we are honoring the deeper dimension in which we all are united.

Thanks.

Blessings,

Paul Hanneman

 

First Presbyterian will continue its Room in the Inn hospitality on Monday and Tuesday nights through March, 2018. This includes warm beds, warm food and warm hearts. Sign up today to welcome our neighbors.

August 30, 2017

Make a difference in the life of a child this school year by helping out at Westerly Hills Academy.

Heart Math Tutoring: Heart volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring for 30 minutes or an hour each week from late September to early May. Sign up for slots Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30-9:30 a.m. or 9:30-10:30 a.m. at  www.hearttutoring.org.

Augustine Project Literacy Tutoring: Tutor a struggling reader and become one of more than 130 Augustine tutors in our community who are changing students’ lives, one lesson at a time. Augustine Literacy Project provides free, one-on-one instruction in reading, writing and spelling to struggling low-income students. Training is offered this fall and winter. Sign up online for training.

Success Coaching: Communities In Schools (CIS) volunteers help Westerly Hills Academy students develop skills in goal setting and navigate making decisions. CIS Success Coaches meet with a student weekly (minimum of twice a month) at an established time during the school day. Interested?  Sign up for training online.

Work with one teacher all year: Spend one hour a week getting to know a Westerly Hills teacher and assisting specific students in his or her classroom. You can select the time and day that fits with your schedule.

If you can’t get to Westerly Hills during the school day, there are plenty of other ways to get involved.

Project Backpack: FPC believes no child should worry about where their next meal is coming from over the weekend. Provide a weekly food bag (individually or with a group) for a child at Westerly Hills Academy each week from October May. Four-five bags should be brought at the first of the month and placed in the grocery cart in the hallway behind the sanctuary. Sign up online.

Support a Teacher through the Apple Tree: Contribute to a classroom by purchasing items selected from the PW (Presbyterian Women) apple tree located in the historic lobby. Items are due by September 24.

Community Cleanup Day: Work with staff and parents to make Westerly Hills beautiful from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, October 7. The to-do list includes painting, gardening and a staff lounge makeover. If you can’t make the cleanup day, you can contribute garden soil, Keurig coffee makers (used is okay), K-cups (tea & coffee), curtains, rugs, chairs and paint for bathrooms (bright colors are great and used paint is fine). Items may be dropped off behind the sanctuary through Thursday, October 5. Sign up online.

Serve on a Ministry Team: If you have a passion for our programs but can’t get to Westerly Hills or church during the day, you can contribute by participating on a ministry team! Teams help organize and plan ministries like BELL summer camp, Camp Grier, holiday outreach and Project Backpack.  Contact Heather Herring for additional information.

Contact Heather Herring if you want to know more about any of these ways to support Westerly Hills Academy.

August 9, 2017

How do the lives of families change when we help build a Habitat home? Take a few minutes to watch this powerful snapshot into the lives of several beneficiaries of Habitat homes. Their stories make it crystal clear that when we pour our hearts and souls into building homes, we’re making a lasting impact on people’s lives.

Now don’t you want to be part of that? Signups for Habitat begin on Sunday, August 20. Watch for information in the lobby and the registration link on the Now@FPC page on the website.

– Mary Scott Peterson, Ministry Team Coordinator

July 21, 2017

Are you part of one of the many FPC Ministry Teams that are involved in outreach to our neighbors?

If not, let member Michael White give you a quick look at just one of these teams, the FPC Moving Ministry, which helps with the Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Furniture Bank and Relocation program. As Michael says, just a couple of hours on a Saturday morning once a moth means we help “put their stuff in their place and put smiles on their faces” for people who are transitioning from having no place to live to having their own place to live.

 

 

June 14, 2017

Hey friends, I invite you to take a peek at the good work some of our fellow FPCers are doing to help others in our city.

First, here’s a WBTV interview with Emily Elliott about Heart Math Tutoring, a nonprofit that connects volunteer tutors with about 600 Charlotte-Mecklenburg students. I’m sure Emily would love to hear from you if you get stirred up by the idea of helping children jump-start their futures.

Heart Math Tutoring Featured on WBTV

 

Here’s Diane Carey talking about Loaves and Fishes, posted by the group We Walk Together, a group from all across Charlotte that came together shortly after the Charleston church shootings to encourage community and conversations by simply walking together.

 

Posted by We Walk Together Charlotte on Friday, June 2, 2017

 

It’s so inspiring to see strangers become friends by working together to help others.

If you’re thinking about how you can get involved in an opportunity to serve, call or email me.  The sky’s the limit! And it can start by simply following the lead of Howard Thurman, “Ask yourself what makes you come alive.”

– Mary Scott Peterson, Ministry Team Coordinator

June 5, 2017

Your next opportunity to help folks who are transitioning from homelessness into a place to call home is August 12.

Our Moving Ministry works with Crisis Assistance Ministry every month on the second Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon.

Not everyone needs to be able to do the heavy lifting, either. There are plenty of smaller items to be moved.

Sign up here either for August 12 and meet at Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Furniture Bank, 333 Dalton Avenue.

May 26, 2017

Last Saturday was our annual spring work day at Lakewood Preschool. My kids (James, 13, and Kate, 9) and I had the privilege of attending with six other members of our church.

Years ago, when the playground was built, we volunteered at the work day and it felt great to see how that playground has been enjoyed since. Watching the precious children who sang at the Lakewood luncheon several weeks ago, I could picture them laughing as they ran through the mulch and squealing as they slid down the slide. I pictured those same faces as I pulled weeds and wiped away spider webs (and, yes, spiders) from their cubbies.

I often arrive to work days such as this with a heart and head full of noise from the busyness of life. I confess that I am very much a Martha type of gal, hustling and getting things done, though I long to be a Mary, sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus. This day was no different, with demands at home nagging at me in the back of my mind as we pulled into the school. As we entered the gates of the playground, I told my children, “We’ve got one hour to help as much as we can.”

Two hours later, I looked at my watch in disbelief. How could the time go so quickly? Then it dawned on me that my focus hadn’t been on the work, but on the people with whom I was doing it. We talked about our children, congratulating one another on their achievements and rolling our eyes at the phases they go through. Experienced gardeners shared advice with novices, while the novice’s children mocked her black thumb. (That may or may not have been me…) We got to know each other’s children, noticing how their mannerisms mirror their parents’ and how one sibling is so different from the other. We teased a friend about putting her type-A gifts to work organizing the school’s shed. We learned that other friends had helped lay the roof on the school building when it was first built, before they were married, before they had the teenagers we were getting to know.

Looking up at the end and seeing what we had done together, serving together while being together, was powerful.

Relationships take matters beyond my head, even beyond my heart, and straight to my soul.  Worshipping on Sunday is wonderful, but the church is much more meaningful when I grapple over scripture with others or receive a card or meal when I’m struggling. Think of how much it means when someone says they are praying for you when they know you.

Relationships play such a part in our commitment to anything we do that has meaning in our lives.  Without relationships it is so difficult to become truly engaged. Think about the causes you believe in passionately. More than likely you have a personal connection that stirred your interest and commitment.

Soul stirring should happen at church, if nowhere else. Isn’t that part of the church’s job? My invitation to you is to think about what does stir, or could stir, your soul.  Make a connection.  Make it a priority.  See what happens.

– Heather Herring, Child & Family Partnership Coordinator