June 19, 2020

Outreach Update

Changes are all about us now. The pandemic and protests are making us take stock in what we value and how we live our lives.

The Church is about living God’s love in the here and now. However, we Christians are steeped in centuries of honoring and preserving our ancient texts and historical memories. So we are loathe to change and sometimes view any evolution as a threat to who we are.

But the mystery of truth for us is that we are created, guided, inspired, redeemed and sustained by a living God who loves us at every turn in our personal and corporate lives.

This is crucial for us at Trinity as we face the call for a different future for the church.

For I the Lord do not change; return to me and I will return to you”.
(Malachi 3:6 RSV)

As we regather as a congregation, our prayers are for the Spirit’s guidance for our future as a body of faith that seeks to continue our ministries to the neighborhood.

Here’s an update:

Micah’s completed its Sept.- May deliveries of food to school children with a coordinated effort of city & Trinity volunteers taking food to the YMCA, and then Potomac Case Mgt. staff distributing the food to needy homes, since schools were closed due to the pandemic.

The Clothing Bank is full of inventory as the Outreach Team prayerfully contemplates how to distribute the clothing we have and will receive in the future. Due to the continuing pandemic, we cannot safely distribute via our volunteers as we have traditionally done.

The Food Pantry is empty as Jeff and Ralph distributed all we had to places around Hagerstown that needed it. We made a decision to close until the pandemic is over, and we have developed a new workable mission vision.

Ralph continued all spring to work with Martin’s manager, Steve Blessing (sic), to truck excess and expiring food around town where it (and he) were warmly welcomed. In May, for example, he delivered 3600 lbs of food. Continue to pray for Ralph and his truck.

Jeff, Ralph and I have met several times during the past months to discuss developments, search for distributors and places in need, brainstorm new concepts of outreach and share information.

We have determined that:

  • With an aging crew of volunteers and the challenging layout of the church, we cannot return safely or realistically to the way we had operated the Food Pantry; we move 50,000 – 60,000 pounds of food into and around the church each year.
  • Who will take over our ministry as our volunteers age out?.
  • The only practical, workable location for the Food Pantry is the Fellowship Hall with its one ground level floor and kitchen, but that would disrupt the Contemporary Worship setup.
  • Our budget for the year is largely unspent and could really make a difference in the neighborhood. We even devised a possible plan to safely revamp the way we distribute food from the current location.

* So, although Jeff, Ralph and I want to continue volunteering in mission work, we need to find someone ready to start a new era in outreach and one who has calling to supervise this new process, whatever form that will take.

Outreach has long been a vital ministry at Trinity. We have volunteers who will follow a new leader, funds to support the program, as well as the calling and the heart to partner with the neighborhood. We can’t go back- only forward.

We will be praying for the guidance, inspiration and faith to ASSESS, ALTER, ADJUST and ADAPT, which means we will try new things, evaluate them, tweak or change them and try again. And again. Until we have something that works. Pray for the Spirit to fortify us and lead us in this.

Do not be discouraged. The Lord does not change. When we return to Him, He is there, always, with plans for a future and a hope.

If you have questions or ideas, please email Jeff: jeffreyreed@myactv.net.

– June Habeck Holler