Hands of Christ

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Our 50,000th child

Posted by [email protected] on August 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

This is Mone'.   She is the 50,000th child that we have served since our inception in 2003.  She was greeted with a standing ovation by our volunteers as she entered the feloowship hall at Zion Olivet on Saturday August 6.   Mone is a special child simply because she is a child of God.  She represents all the children that we have served over these 15 years, black, white, brown, yellow, and every shade in between.  She repesents the vision of our founders, the Rev. Drs. Tammy Gregory Carter, Sidney Davis, and that mission team in 2002 that went to observe Manos de Cristo in Austin, TX.  She represents the work of our hundreds of volunteers who have served over this time and especially t hework of our Operations Team.  She represents our philosophy of serving one child at a time in Christ's name. She represents the confidence that our granting agencies and congregations have in us as expressed by their financial support. She represents the 140+ year wall that came tumbling down that had separated our congregations since the War Between the states. She represents the Holy Spirit that has guided us as we started up and continually tweak our process.  She represents the work of the Steering Committee and our congregational liaisons and site directors.  She represents the work of our Board of Directors as they have provided oversight.  She represents our small, humble efforts to be Christ's hands, feet, and arms in this world as we try to live out the Great Ends of the Church as we pray they kingdom come, thy will be done.

The Six Great Ends of the Church (From the Book of Order F-1.0304)

 

The great ends of the church are:

 

*The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind

*The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God

*The maintenance of divine worship

*The preservation of the truth

*The promotion of social righteousness

*The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world

(This statement of the great ends of the Church, slightly edited in the Book of Order, came from the United Presbyterian Church of North America, which united with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 1958. The statement was then made a part of the Constitution of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as the body was called. This now classic statement was adopted by the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1910, following various actions between 1904 and 1910 looking forward to the revision of the church’s Constitution.)

Soli deo gloria

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Do you know about Hands of Christ?

Posted by [email protected] on August 2, 2017 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you know about Hands of Christ?

---DID YOU KNOW---There are no public programs to assist families by providing school clothes and supplies. Nope, no “school lunch” for clothing and supplies. All parents know it is hard enough to send children to school in properly fitting, clean clothes every day, but imagine doing it when you have no in-home laundry facilities, or no home at all. Shopping for clothes and supplies with little children in tow can be stressful, but imagine if you have no transportation. Clothing growing children can tax any budget, but imagine you must choose between clothing and food. These are the types of need Hands of Christ seeks to meet.

--Each summer in the three weeks before school starts, Hands of Christ is on the road, holding distributions at Presbyterian churches from Edisto to McClellanville, from Johns Island to Kingstree--and this year all the way to Orangeburg! Hands of Christ began in 2003 as a partnership between Zion-Olivet and Westminster Presbyterian Churches. By 2016, the number of congregations supporting this ministry with volunteer hours and donations (both in-kind and monetary) had reached more than 24 and the number of children assisted topped 47,000. A thousand volunteers a year are the fuel that runs this bus--AND YOU ARE INVITED TO BE A PART OF IT!

Hands of Christ needs volunteers:

-- Volunteers are needed at most distribution locations for a variety of tasks, but mostly (and most rewarding) as “shopping buddies.” Each child who comes to us is assigned a volunteer to be their best friend while leading the child through the distribution site to help him or her pick out two shirts, two pair of pants (or other “Bottoms”;) two pairs of undies and two pairs of socks. No experience necessary; we have a crew that helps assess sizes and fit.

--Additional volunteers are welcome behind the scenes at Westminster PC, where the program is housed; there will be almost daily work each morning preparing for distributions.

Hands of Christ welcomes help in publicizing its mission. Does your church know individual families in need or have connections to organizations that help children and families? Hands of Christ is there for those in the community who need the help getting their children outfitted for school. There are only three requirements: 1. The child must be present; we cannot give out clothing and supplies if the child is not physically present. 2. There must be some adult present who is responsible for the child. One adult can bring more than one child and that adult does not have to be a parent or legal guardian. 3. A child can receive clothing and supplies from only one location each year. It does not matter where the child is served or *what school the child attends; the parent or responsible adult can bring the child to whichever distribution is convenient. We ask they they not go to more than one location, however, so that we can be sure we have enough for every child who needs clothing and supplies to get their share. Anyone who would like a poster or other promotional materials please contact us at [email protected]

To volunteer or ask questions, contact Catherine Byrd at [email protected] or [email protected] or call her at 843-209-5917 or catch her on the fly at the presbytery office.

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2017 Benefit Concert Homily

Posted by [email protected] on July 30, 2017 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand (NIV) JOHN 6: 1-16

John 6:1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 Jesus asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

 

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

                                                                         ************************

 

There was a need. The people were hungry. Jesus did something about it thanks to a small donation from one unknown yet now famous boy with two small fish and 5 small loaves of barley, probably more like muffins. With that a miracle came about.

 

Fish and loaves multiplied and 5,000 were served --- and that wasn’t counting the women and children that were present. If you use Mr. Frye’s magic multiplier of 2.3 that would come to 11,500 people.

 

There was a need. The children needed clothes and school supplies.

 

In 2002, two pastors talked about that need and what their two congregations could do to try to meet that need.

 

Five adults and three youth traveled to Austin, TX to El Buen Pastor Presbyterian Church to observe the back-to-school distribution of Manos de Cristo. They observed, talked, prayed, and decided that we could replicate that program here in Charleston. Two congregations, Westminster and Zion Olivet, came together to form the anglicized version of Manos de Cristo, the Hands of Christ.

 

Originally thinking that we could serve a couple of hundred children with our “two fish and five loaves”, it suddenly multiplied with the help of a grant from the Presbyterian Women’s Thank Offering, and miracle of miracles, we served 1006 children that first year.

 

Multiplication kept taking place. First (Scots), Edisto, and Hebron Zion came on board. Then Moncks Corner and Mount Pleasant, followed by Park Circle and Saint James in partnership with James Island and Harbor View. Add in Sunrise and Palmetto and others. Before long, we had over two dozen congregations supporting this program.

 

We went from just over 1000 to 2000 children per year, and then 3000, and then 4000. Last year we served 4692 children, and cumulatively we have served 48,000 children in these 14 years since 2003. While that number is impressive, more important is the number one. That’s how many children we focus on at a time, one child, be it William or Grace, Shaquille or Shania, Jose or Maria as we show them Christ’s love and hospitality.

 

4692 last year. When Mr. Frye sat down with his team to do the planning for this year, realizing that we were adding an Orangeburg distribution plus an extra day in North Charleston at Zion Olivet, it became clear that we could well hit the 5,000 mark this year.

 

5,000 children. Sometimes just two in the back seat seems like an awful lot! 5,000 children. That means 10,000 shirts, 10,000 pairs of pants or shorts or skirts or skorts, 10,000 pairs of socks, and 10,000 sets of underwear. 10,000 glue sticks, 40,000 pencils, 50,000 pens. A miracle indeed.

 

People often ask how we do it. I simply respond that it is the work of the Holy Spirit because we didn’t exactly know what we were doing when we started and at times I’m not sure we know what we are doing now!

 

I also tell them that it’s been a “loaves and fish” operation. Thanks to a few grants each year, but more importantly thanks to the God’s grace via the generosity of our congregations and of individuals, we’ve never had to worry about money. God has kept providing. Now, that doesn’t mean for folks to stop contributing, this six-figure operation needs to keep on going. We don’t have 12 basketfuls of leftovers at the end, but we have enough to get a good start on the subsequent year.

 

Jesus took the loaves and fish and after he blessed it the distribution was made.

 

I’m certainly no Jesus, and our distributions have already started, but I want to thank you and bless you. It’s because of, most importantly God’s grace, exhibited through your generosity of time, talents, and treasure, that we are able to do this year after year.

 

Thanks be to God!

Amen.

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2017 Week One Recap, Look Ahead to Week Two

Posted by [email protected] on July 29, 2017 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)
Week One Recap, Look Ahead to Week Two Thank you Aimwell, Mount Pleasant, Edisto, Hebron Zion, and Bethel for your hospitality. Thank you, too, to Kiawah Cares for your support. We served 956 children in Week One. This puts us at 48,000+ since we began in 2003. The week ahead sees us on James Island, at Hanahan, and in North Charleston. We often have 300 or more each day at each of these sites so we need lots of volunteers. If the weather holds we will go over the 50,000 mark since 2003 while at Zion Olivet. Thanks be to God! We welcome the youth mission team from Pennsylvania for their third Hands of Christ season.

2016 Summary

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)


Our 14th distribution season in the Lowcountry sent us well past the 45,000 mark of children served since we first began in 2003. In 2016 we served 4692 children from 2066 families. We could not have done it without the help of the most awesome of volunteers, over 1000, who served from served children in five counties in the Lowcountry (Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Laurens, and Williamsburg counties) as well as at Thornwell in Clinton.

North Charleston became a special focus for two reasons. First, the Park Circle congregation was dissolved at their request by Charleston Atlantic Presbytery earlier in the year. Recognizing the need in the Park Circle area we were able to hold a distribution there even though there was no longer a congregation to host us. Volunteers from the many churches enable us to pull this off. Secondly, we opened a second site in North Charleston as Zion Olivet relocated from downtown to share facilities with Advent Lutheran Church on Rivers Avenue. The single day distribution there went exceedingly well as members from both congregations were joined by many volunteers from our member churches.

The annual benefit concert was again uplifting and energizing as the choirs of Harbor View, James Island, and St. James again treated us to great music and worship. It was followed by a delicious spaghetti benefit supper.

The first week we were again blessed to have the youth mission team from Anchor Presbyterian Church Newtown, PA with Pastor Leah Miller as our guests! They were a great help with loading, unloading, setting up, and helping with the distributions. They also brought along youth and adult advisors from Woodside Presbyterian Church in Yardley, PA.

Thanks to our amazing Road Crew under the Direction of Operations Jim Frye. They traveled to every site to deliver supplies and clothes and oftentimes help lead the distribution effort. Our Road Crew expanded its membership both in order to lighten its load as well as to further along the paths of succession that time requires as it marches on.

The after-distribution fellowship meals were awesome and depending on the site we ate ribs, red rice, spaghetti, cole slaw, fresh fruit, fried chicken, smoked ham, pizza, chicken salad, tossed salad, lasagna, barbeque pork, and many other delicious items. The first half of our mission statement is to “bring Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations together. Besides working side by side, it is at these meals that friendships are further cemented.

We were blessed with financial resources from our member congregations, grants from the Exchange Club of Charleston and the sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, and in-kind donations from Walmart and Fruit of the Loom. Kiawah Cares helped financially and brought volunteers to our distribution at Hebron Zion.

 

July 31 Benefit Concert Meditation

Posted by [email protected] on July 31, 2016 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

July 31, 2016 Hands of Christ Benefit Concert

 

Today’s Scripture is the story of Jesus blessing the children. Matthew 19:13-15

Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs." And he laid his hands on them and went on his way…

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

This passage is familiar to all of us. If you have worked at any of the Hands of Christ distributions this past week you have also heard it as part of the Blessing of the Hands service, that time in which we gather together prior to serving the children each day to center ourselves on the purpose of the day. If you work at any the upcoming distributions this passage will again be heard by you.

 

When hearing this passage, I often focus on the disciples being scolded by Jesus for trying to “shoosh” away the children.

 

Today I want to focus on Jesus’ actions with the children. He made them a priority. They were going to be the most important thing in his life for the time that they had together. Jesus was going to take the time lay his hands on them and to bless them.

Can’t you see Jesus addressing each one individually, calling them by name, … and they had on no name tags?

 

“Miriam, how are you? What’s your doll’s name? ‘Nitsa?’ That’s a nice name for a doll. Bless you Miriam and bless you Nitsa.”

“Ben, what happened to you? You are missing two teeth. I bet you are in second grade and can’t wait for your new teeth to grow back in. Let me assure you that they will.”

“David, good afternoon!” How have you been? You know, my dad was a carpenter, too. Make sure you learn as much as you can from him. Remember, measure twice, cut once.”

“Rebecca! I’ve been waiting all day for you to come see me. How’s that scraped knee doing? Can I touch it and make it feel better?”

 

 

 

 

Jesus was going to make each one feel special.

 

Jill Duffield, the editor of The Presbyterian Outlook in her recent column of July 18, told of her neighbor, who said he was going to write a book entitled “We Use to Stop on Yellow,” lamenting how we have made our over-scheduled lives so hectic. This gentleman, Jill reports, always made time for others. There was no need to run the stoplight as there would be enough time anyway at the end of his journey to tend to whatever matters might be at hand. The neighbor was always willing to stop to help with the plumbing, take care of the pets, or just pull in the driveway to chat if he saw them out in the yard.

 

How often do I drive home tired after a day at the College and dash in my house, barely waving to Chase and Jackson as they play ball in the yard next door or Faith and Olivia on their bicycles? What about at work, when I whiz by my administrative assistant’s office and fail to ask how Lisa how her son Jake did in the swim meet the night before?

 

Jesus was different. He was like Jill’s neighbor. Jesus was always stopping to chat or help out. Heal a lame person here, a deaf one down the road; to a blind man, “Here put this mud on your eyes and have your sight restored.” Can’t get in the pool fast enough?-- Just throw away your crutch and get up and walk. The woman at the well, a Samaritan no less, he was willing to spend time with her, just talking, and changed her life.

 

Jesus wasn’t sending texts, tweets, Instagrams or Snapchats or posting to Facebook. Jesus was never superficial. He was always genuine and totally focused on the person of the moment and that person’s needs. Jesus was the world’s greatest teacher. … I bet he was also the world’s greatest listener.

 

There is a reason that we give each child and each volunteer a name tag. Unlike Jesus, we need a little help with names. We ask each shopping buddy to get to know the child that they are helping. Learn their name, introduce them to each person along the way at each of the clothing stations. Find out their favorite sport and team, subject in school, TV show, video game, or whatever it takes to make it personal. For those 15 or 20 minutes, be that child’s best friend. That’s what Jesus did. He demands no less of us.

 

Come to think of it. What we do for these children, ought not we be doing every day, for everyone else? How much better would this world be if we took time to be neighbors to each other?

 

A friend of mine posted on Facebook not too long ago the following:

When I moved down south I wondered all the time, "why are all these people talking to me!?" If people talked to you in Boston on the subway, you knew they were nuts. It was a social contract---leave me alone and I will leave you alone. But down here people were always chit-chatting you up at the grocery store and I was thinking, what is wrong with these people? Now… I am one of the nutty people.

 

We southerners are apt to do that, to strike up a casual conversation in the checkout line. But what I’m talking about is Jesus’ example of not just being friendly, but being neighborly, of showing Christ’s love, of truly letting that person in front of you know that you care, that you look them in the eye, and that you are truly listening, not just to their words, but to their heart, and to their needs.

 

At the closing of our Blessing of the Hands service we recite together in unison the words of Teresa of Avila (1515-1582):

Christ has no body now but yours.

No hands, no feet on earth but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.

Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

 

A local pastor always uses in his benediction words that go something like this:

“May you see the face of Christ in every person that you meet, and may everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you.”

 

The mission of Hands of Christ is to bring Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations together to meet the basic needs of children, showing them Christ’s love.

 

As we go out from here tonight, to the spaghetti supper, to our jobs tomorrow, and to wherever you might serve, not only in the lines at one of our distributions, but wherever you are, even in your own family, ask yourself these questions:

“Am I speeding through this yellow light?

“Should I slow down, stop, and see what God has in store for me at this moment with the person I am with?

“How can I meet the basic needs of this person?

“How can I show them Christ’s love?”

 

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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Park Circle Service on May 1st

Posted by [email protected] on May 4, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Park Circle Service on May 1st  (from the May 4, 2016 CHATLINE Charleston Atlantic Presbytery)

 

 

 

 

Sunday afternoon, May 1, pastors, educators, elders, church members, and Presbyterians from across CAP gathered for a worship service honoring Park Circle Presbyterian Church’s 75 years of ministry in North Charleston. Former pastor and current chaplain at the The Village at Summerville, Achim Daffin, preached to a full sanctuary during this final worship service for the Park Circle congregation. Long-time member and elder, Inez Mitchum, read the scripture and the PCPC choir was on hand to lead the music.

 

Following the service a reception in the fellowship hall was provided by the “neighborhood” churches ( New Wappetaw, Sunrise, Palmetto, MPPC and YPPC ).

 

The Park Circle commission continues work on the transition getting an appraisal on the church property, taking inventory, dealing with assets, and providing pastoral care for members of the church. To all the former and current members of Park Circle: “well done, you good and faithful servants.”



The Mosaic

Posted by [email protected] on May 3, 2016 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

DAILY MEDITATION

The Mosaic That Shows Us the Face of God

MAY 03

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.

That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: “I make God visible.” But others who see us together can say: “They make God visible.” Community is where humility and glory touch.

Henry Nouwen 

Purpose of Henri Nouwen Society: to foster the spirituality of solitude, community and compassion that was embodied in the life and teaching of Henri Nouwen

henrinouwen.org

Concert at the Park

Posted by [email protected] on April 24, 2016 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Concert at the Park

April 24 @ 4 p.m. 

Yeamans Park Presbyterian Church

5931 North Murray Drive, Hanahan

In concert: Susie Hyman - Celtic Harp

Gine Litchfield- Piano

Zach Litchfield- Celoo

Garrett Mitchner - Oboe

Joan Owen - Organ

YPPC Handbell Choir

The Total Praise Ensemble



Congratulations Ruling Elder Clarissa Whaley!

Posted by [email protected] on March 23, 2016 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Congratulations Ruling Elder Clarissa Whaley!

St. James Presbyterian Church


The Department of Justice - Executive Office for United States Attorneys recently announced its Director's Awards, which include our own Clarissa Whaley for the District of South Carolina for Superior Performance in Litigation Support.

"Ms. Whaley was nominated for her outstanding work with survivors, victim families, and others involved with the Emanuel AME massacre, as well as her ongoing exceptional career work in support services to crime victims.”

The 32nd Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) Director’s Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the Great Hall of the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building in Washington, D.C.

Clarisa will also receive one of the Women of Faith Awards at this year's Gneeral Assmbly in Portland, OR. She is a staunch supporter of Hands of Christ having served as the St. James coordinator in the past and is a former moderator of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery.

Congratulations Clarisa and may God continue to bless you and your work.




 


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