By Ruth Smith and Melissa Kramer
One aspect of the Ready, Set, Grow grant was to redesign the Care Fund, our emergency assistance funded by your communion donations, to be more relationship driven. Over the past few months, Ruth has been researching programs and learning more about our community’s resources to figure out a way to better serve our neighbors in need. We found that we needed to bring together our Caring Fund and the F2F ministry, because both focus on building relationships with low-income families and individuals while supporting their financial, relational, and spiritual growth. This month, we began our new process.
The Caring Fund works to support and encourage low income people and people in recovery to improve their lives, building on their own actions, gifts and resources. Our goal is to develop transformative relationships with individuals and households, and through our daily life and work, glorify God, support ourselves and our families, and benefit our community. Our guiding verse is 1 John 3:17-18.
We offer gas/grocery cards, utility, and rent assistance to church members and individuals referred by our community partners: Home with Hope, YWCA Domestic Violence Program, and Food Finders. Other forms of assistance are determined on a case by case basis, and require approval from the head pastor.
If others stop by, and have been helped by us in the past, we will meet with them and determine if they are a fit for our program. For those who agree to participate in Family-to-Family, are already in case management, or would like individual on-going support through the Caring Fund, we will support their development as determined with the individual/family.
Volunteers with the Caring Fund work with individuals requesting help and referred to us from our partners. They connect individuals with jobs around the church with the maintenance team, coffee cart ministry, second Tuesday meals, community garden, and more and then follow up with them. If desired, volunteers work with individuals to develop an action plan for longer term support.
We need volunteers that will commit to calling families and individuals to check in with them, follow up, and help us build relationships with our neighbors. Training will be provided. We also need volunteers to attend and assist with the monthly gatherings. If you are interested, please contact Ruth or Melissa.
As you contemplate your talents, stills, and spiritual gifts, think about how you will contribute them to Trinity in the new year. There are lots of ways to get involved, from volunteering to do odd jobs around the church with our maintenance team to brewing coffee on Sunday mornings.
New Ministry Teams in 2017
Other Ministry Teams
Are you interested in getting involved?
Please contact the church office (742-1288 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know!
By Ruth Smith, Community Engagement Coach
Our community groups are going well – full of conversation and relationship building.
The community dinner and dialogue group brings together members of our congregation with community members –residents, service providers, public servants, interested citizens. We eat dinner together and then talk about issues related to an abundant community. There are seven elements of an abundant community, which a group of us documented during a community walk last week. These include care, raising children, health, safety and security, resilient economy, local food production, and environment. The foundation of an abundant community is recognizing and connecting the gifts of individuals in the neighborhood as well as offering hospitality.
Last month, our focus was on care and how we, as individuals do not just serve, but care, for the most vulnerable in our communities. The week after our conversation, I was waiting at the stop sign to turn outside the West Lafayette Payless and there was a mom and her young son on the corner, camped out with folding chairs and a sign asking for money for food and gas. The car in front of me took FOREVER to turn so I spent a lot of time watching them. The first thing I noticed is that the mom wore a headscarf. So, I was thinking about a conversation I had a few months ago with a friend of mine in the Muslim community who was talking about the divide between the professional families and those who need more financial assistance and the capacity of the mosque to provide for them. So it got me thinking about who I could call to offer community support. Then, I was thinking about what service providers I could refer them to. And then, whether or not I could grab some of the 4 boxes of Cheerios I just bought to give to them (especially considering I splurged on some really nice pieces of fish for dinner) and how I would get them out of the trunk with the kids in the car. And during all these unproductive thoughts, a young woman got out of a van parked in front of them and came over to give a hug to the mom. It looked like she either knew them or gave them something they needed. So, why couldn't I help? And at this point, it was time to make my turn. I'm still thinking about it. How could I have shown better care? Not just meeting needs, but care.
In both groups, I encourage everyone to continue to get to know their neighbors. In whatever part of the city we live in, we do not know our neighbors particularly well. Let's all be intentional about learning the names of our neighbors, talking with them, take them cookies, and check in on them if you haven't seen them in their normal routine in a while. These might be the people who live next door to us. Or, our neighbors could be the people we sit next to or who serve us at the coffee shop we go to 5 days a week. But just think about how these relationships have the power to transform our lives, the lives of the people around us, and our communities!
Join us for the next community small group on Monday, November 13 at 7 pm in the Church Parlor. This is a great opportunity to invite friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers. The focus is on community issues, and we seek to create a safe place for people to share their experiences. This month, we will be talking about supporting healthy lives. Individual behavior, social relationships, and physical environment are the major factors determining our health level. These factors are closely related to our local community ties. When we act together, we produce primary sources of health; but how does disconnect affect our health and the health of others? Caring for yourself and your health is important on a spiritual level as well. It glorifies God and is being a good witness. Plus, the healthier you are, the more energy you have to do what God has planned for you. What is one other reason that you think God wants us to be healthy? We will explore what healthy living means within a community context, and how we can better support our health and the health of others.
By Melissa Kramer
Trinity is ready to begin a new family-to-family ministry. Our team of dedicated volunteers has identified a need in our community to provide relational support to families in the Lafayette area. Through monthly meals and events, we hope to form lasting connections with the families we will be working with. No relationship can be one-sided, so the nature of this ministry is a partnership between the members of Trinity and the families. We want to get to know our neighbors, but we also want our neighbors to be able to know us.
Trinity is partnering with Lafayette Urban Ministry (LUM) in an effort to provide housing and respond to other identified needs for families in the Lafayette area. LUM will be handling the housing portion, while Trinity members will meet with the families on a monthly basis. These monthly gatherings will offer food and a time for families to grow together and connect with each other. Families will also be connected with church members on an as-needed basis to provide need-specific support.
We have identified three “tiers” or levels of volunteer commitment that will allow our church members to participate in this ministry without feeling overwhelmed. Our core group leading this ministry has met with Joe Micon, Executive Director at LUM, and will be organizing the monthly gatherings with the families. The second level of volunteers will be our “once a month” volunteers. Those who serve on a monthly basis will either make one monthly visit with a family, or they will be serving at the monthly meal. The third level is what we hope everyone will fall into. We will need occasional donated supplies that we will give to the families, as well as members of the church who have special resources/information/knowledge that they can share with the families. Maybe you have perfected the skill of budgeting and would like to help others learn how to budget. Or maybe you are a parent/grandparent and can empathize with other parents. We all have something that we can offer to others. In the coming weeks and months, be praying about how you would can enhance Trinity’s Family to Family Ministry.
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