Archives for January 2015

Confirmands serve Boston homeless

Our Confirmation students recently participated in CityReach, an urban outreach program. Students had a chance to talk with and serve homeless people in Boston. Their reflections: “City Reach was both a surprising and important experience. I had had stereotypes about homeless people, but none of them were true. I learned that homeless people have all different stories, and some are well educated, and have gone to college. Another thing that stuck out to me is their faith. As we walked through Boston, I was talking to a homeless man who liked to sing, as do I. I asked him who his favorite singer was, and he said it was Jesus. The homeless talk about God and Jesus, and believe that no matter what happens, God will always be there. I think that their faith is a big part of what keeps them going in rough times. City Reach was a profound experience, and I learned a lot about others and myself.”   -Kate

“Walking into Boston on the Friday night, of December 5 opened by eyes to the reality of our world. Outside on cold, snowy nights there are people fighting for the best spot to sleep. The homeless try to keep as little belongings as possible for fear they may be stolen and also to keep weight off their backs. I was surprised to find that many of them keep a positive attitude about life and never lose their faith in God. The ones who stick with their beliefs and find work have a change to get off the streets.  On the first night I was shocked to find that many homeless kids stop going to school very early in their lives, and end up homeless. In a way that could end up being an endless loop if the kids never receive support. The main theme I learned that weekend was that no matter what background you came from or how much you have, anybody can be a good Christians. All you have to do is give a little to the people that need your help.” -Nate

“What surprised me the most at City Reach with the homeless, is how nice and normal they were. They were just like me and everyone else. They all had interests and some were the same as mine. They didn’t have raggedy clothes or were dirty and smelled bad. They were the total opposite. What I learned about myself is that I have to get to know people and things more before I can say anything about them. What I learned about the homeless is that they are you and me with just less stuff that they need. My big takeaway from the trip is that I have to have knowledge about things before I can label them. I have to do that with the homeless.” -Spencer

“I had a good experience at City Reach.  I learned that many people who are homeless lost their jobs and couldn’t pay their bills so they ended up homeless.  I learned that not all homeless people are scary and that they are really just nice people who live on the street.  I learned they want people to respect them and treat them like regular people. I could tell that they were grateful for the toiletries we gave them.  It made me feel good that I was giving them stuff they needed.  I felt bad that they could only take 4 things.  I also felt bad so many people were stuck outside when it was raining.”  -Andrew

“At the City Reach project, I was surprised to see that the homeless people I met were still hopeful that they would get out of this mess. I expected them to lose faith after being homeless, not gain more faith and hope! I learned that, as bad as homelessness is, you can help fix it by giving a little more. I always wanted to help the homeless by giving them money. In 7th grade, I learned about inflation. This sort of crushed by dreams of the money thing. But, after City Reach, I have realized, I don’t have to give them money, I can just buy the things they need for them. This will not cause inflation, but it will cause better lives for the homeless.”   -Cole

“I imagined homeless people looking dirty, with ripped up clothes, and lost teeth. However, that’s not necessarily true. Most of what I imagined was just a stereotype. I had an opportunity to meet and listen to their stories. I learned that they are people like you and me. They just experienced troubles in their past or made poor choices which led them to become homeless”.   -Anna

“On December 5th-6th I traveled with our Confirmation students, along with Stan Hitron and Gail Moylan, to Boston to participate in CityReach.  CityReach is an overnight urban outreach program begun in March 1996 for youth from churches of any denomination. The program gives these young people the opportunity to learn first-hand about homelessness from people who have experienced it. There were about 100 people at the overnight. Our 20 hours together began with the opportunity to hear from then City Reach Staff, made up of people who are currently homeless or have previously experienced homelessness. That evening, in the rain, our group took a “tour” of Boston to see where people sleep and to learn about the social service agencies in the area. Our guides showed us their outdoor sleeping spots and shared how they try to keep warm and dry. The evening ended with a prayer service and some time to eat snacks and de-brief with our church group. We spent the night on the floor of a parish hall and woke early the next morning to serve a meal and hand out clothes, food, and toiletries to the over one hundred poor and homeless individuals who came seeking assistance and a friendly face. We ended our CityReach experience by sharing what we learned with one another. Below you will find excerpts from the reflections written about this experience by our Confirmation students. The Confirmation class would like to thank all parishioners who graciously helped us collect donated clothing to bring to CityReach”.

-The Rev. Lynn Campbell+

 

2015 Stewardship Messages

Why pledge toward the mission of Christ Church for 2014/2015? Reflections from parishioners Tim and Kim Lysaght:

“So, why do we give our time, talent and treasure? Here is our top ten list:
10. Being on property committee allows you to get up during slow parts of the service and “check the heat, lights or sound system”
9. Singing in the choir counts as praying twice.
8. Teaching in children’s chapel allows you to learn what you were supposed to when you weren’t paying attention as a child.
7. When you are a Sunday school teacher, you get a fresh view of our faith from the perspective of a child.
6. Pledging helps your chances of getting into heaven – just sayin’ – it certainly can’t hurt.
5. A portion of each dollar you pledge goes towards outreach both locally and globally.
4. Your pledge is an estimate, not a commitment; it can be changed if your situation changes.
3. You are modeling behavior that you hope your children or grandchildren will emulate in the future.
2. The Lysaghts are increasing their pledge by 15% and you need to keep up!
1. Because what you give, you get back tenfold.
 
But on a more serious note, this church community has supported us in happy times and hard times. When Tim’s father died we were overwhelmed with the outreach that flooded us. This is truly a special church family. Being an active part of this community is helping our own children learn about what real love is. They have learned empathy, kindness, forgiveness… They are better able to face what lies ahead armed with these skills. Making church part of our family tradition (just as our parents did) grounds them and gives them shoulders to stand on, role models to follow and, hopefully, a desire to continue being part of a church community in their future adult lives.”