Saturday, October 18
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The Presbytery of Southern New England
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
The 33 congregations of the Presbytery of Southern New England respond with compassion and justice to a range of mission concerns. For many years First Presbyterian Church of New Haven, Connecticut, has been providing meals to the homeless, working in partnership with Columbus House, the city’s main provider of housing to homeless individuals. Several years ago the church helped to found Abraham’s Tent, an effort now shared by more than 20 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations, who open their buildings for one week each to provide a dozen homeless men a respite from the harsh New England winter. The program is funded in part by presbytery mission and stewardship funds. Members of the congregation welcome the men into safe and warm temporary shelter that on weekends doubles as worship and fellowship space.
The program fosters relationships with men who are otherwise known only by their presence on the street. Night after night, the men come to know that they are known and valued children of God. The effort has helped the men return to independent living; for three years running, all the men have moved to stable housing by the end of the winter, having been strengthened by the support, meals, and love from the congregations.
Young adults join older members in serving as essential leaders in this outreach involving 100 church members each year. Elders Micah Luce and Brian Gray have served as the primary organizers of Abraham’s Tent. Christian educator Bryce Wiebe prepares hot breakfasts to order. Elder David Miller works behind the scenes to make sure that the men feel at home. The senior high youth group prepares meals and plays board games with the men into the early evening. Elders Ralph Jones and Nancy Rupp invite the entire congregation to act as advocates for justice by writing letters to state legislators about their firsthand experiences of homelessness in Connecticut.
—Rev. Bill Goettler, copastor, First Presbyterian Church,New Haven, Connecticut Let us join in prayer for
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Dear God, thank you for giving us opportunities to serve—to be your hands and feet—and to share our time, talents, and treasures with our neighbors in need. Amen.