Hands of Christ

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The Mosaic

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on May 3, 2016 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)


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


Concert at the Park

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on April 24, 2016 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (2)

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 handsofchrist.net@gmail.com 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.


Park Circle

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on March 7, 2016 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Charleston Atlantic Presbytery at its stated meeting on Saturday February 27 approved a unanimous recommendation from the Park Circle Church based on a unanimous recommendation from its session to close the church. An administrative commission was elected to see the process of closure through to a completion.

There will be a service to recognize the ministry of Park Circle at a later date. Please keep the congregation in your prayers during this time of transition and for the commission as it begins its work.  Members of the commission are REs Mary Porter (St. Paul), Catherine Byrd (First Scots), Frank Carroll (Park Circle), Karen Cookson (Yeamans Park),  Jim Frye (Westminster), and James Parlor (Hebron Zion) and TEs Achim Daffin, Mike Fitze, and Richard Cushman.

The Hands of Christ is most appreciative of the support and hospitality given by Park Circle over the years. We will work with the administrative commission to still hold a distribution at that site in 2016 and hopefully beyond. Visit our facebook page to see photos from last year's distribution at Park Circle.


Reflections on the 2015 Hands of Christ Distribution Season

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on August 23, 2015 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)



An interview with the Executive Dierctor as published by Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church: http://www.mppcmissions.net/jim-deavor-hands-of-christ

PPC partners with Hands of Christ each year in an effort to help kids in need get the school supplies and uniforms necessary for school success. MPPC was one of over two dozen Presbyterian churches to participate in the three week distribution. We give thanks to God that our Fellowship Hall was filled with so many hands on July 28th as we served 130 children from 44 families. In total this year, Hands of Christ served 4,322 children with the help of 1,000 volunteers. This included 21 distributions in 14 different PC(USA) churches across five counties in the South Carolina Lowcountry. There was also a distribution at Thornwell Home for Children in Clinton. Thank you to all who were a part of sharing God’s love through this wonderful ministry.


The smiles were priceless.


Now that the three week distribution rush has come to a close, we took a minute to reflect with MPPC member and executive director for Hands of Christ, Jim Deavor, on his call to Hands of Christ. The mission, at its most basic level, is the same for all of us no matter where, when, or how we are called. It’s always about uniting in God’s love, and God’s love is powerful…

How and why did you feel called to Hands of Christ?


Frederick Buechner writes in Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC that “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” My two great passions in serving are helping the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) better meet its mission and in helping children. My association with Hands of Christ began in the summer of 2002 as a part of a mission trip lead by Hands of Christ founder, Tammy Gregory Brown, to Austin, Texas to see about replicating the back to school program of Manos de Cristo here in Charleston. Our goal was to partner congregations to share resources with those in need locally.

What is the purpose of Hands of Christ?


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


In what ways has this experience with Hands of Christ helped you grow in your faith?


I am continually humbled by the dedication of the volunteers and the gratitude of those we help. Each year it reminds me of how far I have yet to grow in my faith.



How and where did you experience God’s power and presence in the midst of your work with Hands of Christ?


We have truly been led by the Holy Spirit throughout as we have flown by the seat of our pants, from our start, to getting incorporation and 501(c)(3) status, to having grown from two congregations in 2003 to more than two dozen in two presbyteries today. Serving over 40,000 children over this time period has only been made possible by God’s grace and power.



From your experience, what would you like to share with others?


To see a child get excited about getting something as simple as what we give (school clothes, underwear, socks, and supplies), tells of their need. It tells us of our need, to be brought back to reality from the over-supply of material goods that we have, and that we need to focus on what is important, of sharing Christ and his love, and helping meet the needs of these children.


The other great thing is to see our churches come together. For example, the two congregations on Edisto Island that were separated during the War Between the States, one African-American, the other white, who had basically nothing to do with each other for 140 years, now come together as partners not only in this project but also in others.



What scripture or person from the Bible is reflected in your experience?


Matthew 25:40 “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”


John 17:21 “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”



A meaningful story from this year…


A volunteer relayed this story to me at the John’s Island distribution this year about a little boy who was the youngest child and only boy in a family. He often wore hand-me-downs, especially shirts from his sisters! He was so shy and embarrassed doing so. Then he received new clothes and his own shirts, and he became so proud of those clothes, had his confidence greatly boosted, and became a straight “A” student. Our premise all along has been that by helping these children with the necessities before they start back to school, they would have their self-esteem boosted, and would perform better academically. This boy’s story confirms this.


For more information about Hands of Christ, visit www.handsofchrist.net.


2015 Distribution Season Recap

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on August 16, 2015 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Our 13th distribution season has come to a close on Saturday August 15, serving 192 children from 95 families at westminster. On Monday the 17th we will serve 33 children in Clinton at Thornwell Home for children. That will bring our total after a trip to the Charles Webb Center to 4322 children. We could not have done it without the help of the most awesome of volunteers, over 1000, who served from from Walterboro to McClellanville to Edisto to Kingstree.

The first week we were blessed to have  the youth mission team from Newtown, PA with Pastor Leah Miller as our guests! They were a great help with loading, unloading, setting up, and helping wit hthe distributions.  

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.

We welcomed aboard Second Presbyterian as a new distribution site.  David Savard led that effort with lots of help.  The Rev. Sidney Davis of Zion Olivet helped make tha ttransition a smooth one. We were touched by the overflow of appreciation expressed those two nights from the people that we helped.


Thanks to our amazing Road Crew under the direction of operations Manager Jim Frye.  They  travel to every site to deliver supplies and clothes and oftentimes help lead the distribution effort.  Andrew Byrd was an awesome Volunteer Coordinator this year.  Our college and high school students, which included Andrew plus Mark, Marcus, Luke, and Samantha were a tremendous help as part of that crew.

Our executive director emerita, the Rev. Dr. Tammy Gregory Brown was able to join us at several distributions.

The after-distributon 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, lasgna, barbeque pork, and many other delicious items.

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 form Walmart and Hanes.  Kiawah Crares helped finanically and brought volunteers to our distribution at hebron Zion.

A number of new pastors joined our ranks: Cecelia Armstrong, Lissa Long, Cress Darwin, Ashley Sanders, Daniel Smoak, Sam Martin, and Randy Booone all were active participants at distributions.  We were thankful for the continued support of Jan Culpepper, Sidney Davis, Timothy Schoonover, Mike Fites, Mike Shelton, Lamar Carney, Frank Portee, Perry Griffin, Richard Cushman, Tom Herrington, Clark Scalera,  James Rogers, and Charles Heyward.

Lots of hugs, lots of smiles, lots of blessings.


Thanks be to God!


Soli deo gloria!

40,000 and Counting

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on August 7, 2015 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We are in the middle of week #2 of the 2015 distribution season.

On Monday Yeamans Park held their second distribution ever and in spite of the weather served 286 children. The distribution ran very smoothly. There were many volunteers and lots of excitement and enthusiasm. Thanks to BSA Troop 409 for their help and for the commemorative stepping stone that they made and presented to the Yeamans Park congregation.



Tuesday night at Moncks Corner First Presbyterian Church we went over the 40,000 mark for the number of children we have served since 2003. While that number is a milestone we are reminded that what is important is the one single child that we serve at any given moment, putting a smile on her or his face, and showing them the love of Christ. Jane Hood passed the torch after 9 years of leading the effort there and during that time 3362 children were helped. Thank you Jane!

As we stood in line awaiting supper on Wednesday night at Moncks Corner, one volunteer was heard saying "It's awesome, a labor of love." That succinctly sums it up for many.

Also at Moncks Corner, rising high school junior, Marisol, again served as a shopping buddy/interpreter. As a young child she was one of the ones that was served. The next year she came back to volunteer, and has been doing so for the last five years. Mucho gracious Marisol! We are very proud of you.

Now we move on to North Charleston and Park Circle Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are needed. Many times we have to cut off the line very early as we will reach capacity in a very short time. Please report one hour before start time.

Week One, 2015 Distribution Season Recap

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on August 1, 2015 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Week One of the 2015 Distribution Season comes to an end at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Walterboro; two more weeks to go. 271 children were served today from 122 families. In Colleton County we served 475 children between our two distribution sites (Aimwell & Bethel).

We have served 1221 children thus far during our 2015 distribution season.

Since 2003 we have now served 39,598 children.

Who will be # 40,000 and will it happen at Moncks Corner on Tuesday or Wednesday of the coming week?

Thank you to Aimwell, St. James, Mount Pleasant, Edisto, Hebron-Zion ,and Bethel for your wonderful hospitality.

Thanks to the ever faithful Road Crew who logged over 450 miles this week going to the six different distribution sites.

The Benefit Concert at St. James which featured the choirs of Harbor View, James Island, and St. James Presbyterian Churches gave us a wonderful concert last Sunday night and $2,586.50 was raised as we remembered the Mother Emmanuel 9.

We said hello and good-bye to the youth mission team from Anchor Presbyterian Church of Newtown, PA who spent much of the week with us. Y'all were great! Thank you Pastor Leah Miller and all of your team.

We have had volunteers come from so many of our churches this week: Aimwell, Bethel, Cane Bay, Edisto, First (Scots), Harbor View, James Island, Johns island, Mount Pleasant, Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, Park Circle, St. James, Summerville, Sunrise, Yeamans Park, Westminster, and elsewhere.

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.

The Hands of Christ Ministry 2015

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on July 26, 2015 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (2)


Benefit Concert Remarks by Executor DirectorJim Deavor


The Mission of the Hands of Christ is to bring Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations together to meet the basic needs of children showing them Christ’s love.


Now that I have read our mission statements, I guess I could sit down, as the bulletin says I am to talk about “Hands of Christ Ministry” and that sums it up so sussinctly, but I suspect Henry Meeuwse wants a few more words out of me than that.


I do know that you would rather hear singing than me talking so I shall try to be brief.


In 2002, a small group from Westminster and Zion Olivet traveled to Austin, TX under the leadership of Tammy Gregory Brown, to observe Manos de Cristo’s back to school program, to see if we could replicate it here in Charleston. In 2003, we had our first distributions, hoping to serve 200 children, but, with the help of a grant from the Presbyterian Women’s Thank Offering, we served over 1000. It was a miracle and continues to be so. A couple of years later First (Scots) came on board as a partner.

We now have 24 member congregations in this presbytery. This year we have 14 distribution sites and will serve, over a 22 day period, some 4500+ children, taking us well over the 40,000 mark, one child at a time, one smile at a time.


These past six weeks have been monumental for the Charleston area. A different spirit exists, but one we have been feeling for these 13+ years.


When the AME 9 were slain Janet and I were out of state visiting family. We went to bed that night having gotten word of a shooting on Calhoun Street, but knowing no other details. I figured it was a hold up or domestic squabble that had gone bad. The next morning we heard the details of the horrible news and as we traveled that day to a memorial service in Florida for one of Janet’s cousins. NPR filled us in on the details as we drove through Georgia.


It was so sad. So horrific.


Eventually getting home, hearing the forgiveness offered by the families watching the memorial service for Rev. Pinkney, and hearing the “Reverend President” speak, we were again and again and again moved to tears.


Sometime during that service it struck me, what if instead of Mother Emmanuel, the murderer had stopped in at Zion Olivet or St. James. Instead of the names of Clementa, Cynthia, Shoranda, Tywana, Ethel, Susie, Depayne, Daniel, and Myra, it could have been Sidney, or Charles, or Carolyn, or Josephine, or Carmen, Pat, Peter, Clarissa, or Wanda. My heart sank.

Yes, the Mother Emmanuel 9 were our brothers and sisters in Christ and we greatly grieve their loss, but those Presbyterian names would have been my brothers and sisters in Hands of Christ, and I recoiled at the thought.


Over these years we have developed a special bond, as we have served these 39,000+ children to date. We have shared laughter and tears as we have relayed to one another the stories we have heard from these children and their parents that we have helped. Our secret has been that we take the time, to be one-on-one with each child. For those twenty minutes you act as a shopping buddy you get to know a little something about that child. To see a child get excited about getting something as simple as what we give them, tells of their need. It tells us of our need, to be brought back to reality from the over-supply of material goods that we have, and that we need to focus on what is important, of sharing Christ and his love, and helping meet the needs of these children.


We have also taken time, to be one-on-one with each other. We have shared, after each distribution day, a meal for the volunteers. In my mind they have been what I call “kingdom meals” as we broke bread together as brothers and sisters in Christ, often exhausted, but feeling so fulfilled. Whether it’s sandwiches, or red rice and fried chicken, or even ribs, the food has always been good, but it is that fellowship time that makes those meals together so important. It is in the breaking of bread that He is known. It is the breaking of bread with our brothers and sisters that we are made known.


We have something special, this bond between us, as workers in the Hands of Christ, and I thank you for that. I thank God for that.


My friend, Tom Are, pastor of the Village Presbyterian Church, outside of Kansas City, preached at the closing worship service of this year’s Next Church Conference. Tom said that among the ordination questions, we have focused too long on “Will you seek to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church?”

Given the events of the past year on the denominational scene, he suggested that it was now time to move on. That we should now focus on a different ordination question: “Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry?”


“Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry?”


We have been doing that these many years.


Hands of Christ has intentionally been apolitical, be it PC(USA) or non-church issues. We have been about the business of meeting the basic needs of children as they start back to school. We have been about the business of bringing PC(USA) congregations together.


Jesus prayed that we might be one:

“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21 NLT)

Colleagues in ministry. We have been that. That is the way we achieve the Great Ends of the Church.

Colleagues in ministry. Being one. That is the way we can most readily proclaim the Gospel for the salvation of humankind.


Colleagues in ministry. Being one. That is how we provide for the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.


Colleagues in ministry. Being one. That is how we maintain devine worship and preserve the truth.


Colleagues in ministry. Being one. This is how we promote social righteousness.


Colleagues in ministry. Being one. This is how we exhibit the kingdom of heaven to the world.

And if you ask me, it is through being friends to our colleagues in ministry that we can achieve the true peace, unity, and purity.

Jesus did pray that we might be one, not just for our benefit, but for the world, so that it would see and believe.


Our mission is two-fold: to serve children, showing them Christ’s love, and to bring PC(USA) congregation together.


We must hold both of these in balance so that we can continue to do well what we have been doing. Serving the children keeps us from resting on our laurels. It keeps us from focusing in on ourselves.


Bringing PC(USA) congregations together enables us to do so much more than would we could do alone. It enables us to be one by breaking down walls and building bridges, to step out of our comfort zones, and to expand our horizons. It helps us fulfill Jesus’ prayer that we might be one.

Thank you for being here tonight, to worship, and to celebrate together; to be one.

Thank you for being friends among your colleagues in ministry.

Thank you for being the hands of Christ.


Minute for Mission MPPC July 19, 2015

Posted by handsofchrist.net@gmail.com on July 20, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Minute for Mission

Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church

July 19, 2015


Being Presbyterian means being a member of the Reformed branch of Christianity that picked up a Scottish heritage on its way to America.

Historically, we have been strong advocates for education, both inside and outside of the church, and we have striven to help the poor.

Also, historically, it means we have a representative form of government that includes a connectional system. Locally, we and 47 other congregations are members of Charleston Atlantic presbytery.

Together with 23 of those congregations we are members of Hands of Christ.

The mission of Hands of Christ is to bring Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations together to meet the needs of children showing them Christ's love.

We do this via our back to school program. Starting next Saturday at Aimwell Presbyterian, way out in the country in Colleton County, on the way to Walterboro, we will serve about 200 children.

Next Sunday, night the 26th, at 5 p.m. there will be benefit concert at St. James where the three Presbyterian congregations on James Island come together to sing and to celebrate. All are invited to come participate.

On Tuesday the 28th we host a distribution here at MPPC where we will serve about 100 children. Beyond that evening, from this congregation of 3000+ members and friends we are called upon to help out with donations of school supplies, money, and volunteering our time, not just here, but also, in the spirit of Presbyterian connectionalism, to help out at one of the other 13 distribution sites in this five county region over the 22 days starting Saturday July 25.

For example, at Park Circle, with an active membership of about 50, they will, because of demographics serve over 1000 children in a three day period, starting Thursday August 6. They cannot pull off their distribution without help from other congergations. Not only here, but at Second Pres, Bethel in Walterboro, Westminster, Yeamans Park, and elsewhere they could use your help.

It's just a few hours on an weekday evening or a Saturday morning. You get to work with a child, one at a time, being their shopping buddy, helping them pick out their new clothes for school. You become friends with them. It is so rewarding to then see the smile on that child's face as they walk away with a bag of clothing and a bag of school supplies, that otherwise they would not have.

So, for the next three weeks you can live up to your Presbyterian Heritage of promoting education, helping the poor, and being connected to other Presbyterians by participating in the Hands of Christ.

I encourage your donations and your volunteering, here and at other sites. There is a table with a sign-up sheet and info outside. After the service, Stephanie McCants and I would be most glad to answer your questions or go to www.handsofchrist.net.