Thursday, September 26
Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence
The Presbytery of Utica
Photo: Robert Monesanto
In early 2009, First Presbyterian Church in Utica needed to prayerfully consider how its food pantry was going to continue serving its neighbors after over 20 years of continuous operation. These prayers were answered when three neighboring congregations—Our Saviour Lutheran Church (Utica), New Hartford First United Methodist Church, and New Hartford Presbyterian Church—agreed to join them in an ecumenical partnership. The partnership brought new donations of money and food and many new enthusiastic volunteers.
The partnership, called Seeds of Hope, provides emergency food (enough for nine meals, once a month) to qualifying neighborhood households. On pantry days, Seeds of Hope maintains a coffee ministry for those they serve to encourage neighbors to talk to each other and to their volunteers. Their client-choice method of service has pleased their visitors because they can choose exactly the foods they know they will use and enjoy. In 2009, Seeds of Hope served 283 households (718 individuals) per month, which included Utica residents of many races and nationalities.
In 2010 and 2011, Seeds of Hope experienced dramatic increases in demand, as did so many ministries that serve our brothers and sisters in need. When this increased demand was considered alongside declining state grants and local resources, the ministry wondered how operations could continue. It was again blessed by help from new special gifts from people and congregations, and by grants from the community at large.
The Presbytery of Utica is home to 3,644 members of 35 congregations.
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Lord, we are continually surprised and astounded by your abundant presence in our lives. Help us to be open to your working through the Holy Spirit and to recognize when we are being called to your service. Amen.