Needs and Responses to COVID-19
Dear members and friends of Shadyside Presbyterian Church,
We have been in communication with our local partners regarding need and response to COVID-19. Many of our partners have already been impacted financially, with some having to lay off staff. In addition to concerns for their staff, they are greatly concerned for their clients. Their repeated and greatest request was for prayer, but that was soon followed by expressed need for funding. Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) will respond to financial needs as our budget allows, but below are ways you may be able to pray more specifically.
Grace & Peace,
Rev. Todd E. Leach, Associate Pastor for Missions
East End Cooperative Ministry
“Thank you for your prayers. We appreciate you thinking of us during this difficult time for all of us. Non-perishable food donations and monetary donations are always needed and welcome. We are seeing an increase in need for our pantry service due to clear shelves in the stores, and those who are experiencing poverty cannot go to the store and stock up. In addition, we feel as people are either out of work, or had reduction in their work hours, we also will see increased need for some time to come. I think we will get through this together, but it is not going to be easy for many.”
Foundation of Hope
“Currently, our biggest needs are prayer, donations, and financial support. The jail is still in need of paperback books and the Aftercare office can use toiletries and gift cards to Giant Eagle, etc. We expect the needs of our Aftercare offices to grow this year due to this crisis, and we may have to cancel our fundraiser, so the support of individuals and organizations during this time is crucial.”
Garfield Community Farm
“We’re currently experiencing weekly losses from our restaurant sales, and significant loss in the month of July from cancelled Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS) Summer Youth Institute (SYI) summer programming. But, we’re really excited to be able to donate food, starting this week, to families in Garfield who have been hit the hardest. Donations are our priority now, we’ll find ways to cover the finances as the year progresses.”
“Your timing is perfect and quite overwhelming that you guys are thinking and reaching out. You are the first! Because of the extended length of time with our children off, we need to address that immediately regarding what tools and resources children and parents need for another few weeks. As of today [March 23], we are still open for essential services: health; dental; and women, infants, and children.”
Off the Floor Pittsburgh
“We initially thought we would close for about two weeks, but it is clear that will be much longer. After conferring with our board chair, Wes [Rohrer], over the weekend, it is expected at minimum we will not be able to return during April. So far, referrals have dropped off as partner agencies are also closed, and donors understand the limitations and they have backed off, as well.
“At this point, the best thing you can do is pray for us that we can survive this crisis and quickly return to a greater level of service. Pray for the wisdom to discern how we best make a comeback and that we can find the right people to be a part of our team moving forward.”
Open Hand Ministries
SPC has been in communication with Open Hand Ministries (OHM). OHM is concerned for its Circles teams, who are unable to gather during this time. They are attempting to forecast how their budget will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food security is a concern, and donations through their website can help to provide food for their clients.
Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER)
“Thanks so much for reaching out. I can’t tell you how much it means to know you and Shadyside Presbyterian Church members are keeping us in your prayers. We need them. The whole world needs them. I’m going to share your message for two reasons – one, we’ll talk and see if there’s anything we can think of that you might be able to help with. I will let you know. The second and most important reason I want to share it with all the staff is because I know it will mean so much to them. In times like this, hope and inspiration come in many forms, and I’m so grateful you and your congregation are offering to be that hope and inspiration for POWER and all of those we serve.
“Thank you too for recognizing that connection and relationships are key to recovery. Some believe that substance use problems are a symptom of isolation and disconnection. We’re being as creative as we can in trying to stay in touch with those who need us most.”
The Neighborhood Academy
“Today [March 23], we began our distance learning plan with our students. We also dropped off thirty-one meals to our students. We anticipate that number growing as the students and families speak with each other, and we are certainly happy to provide our families with the meals that they need during this difficult time.”
Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, 2019, and stalled over the islands for 24 hours, causing loss of life and massive damage. Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s mission partner in the Bahamas, Caribbean Youth Network (CYN), has shared a second update with us.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support during this most difficult week. I know you have probably seen enough horrific pictures of the aftermath of the hurricane on the media to last a lifetime. Here is a brief update on what is happening:
This morning there is a mandatory evacuation of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, going on. We have heard the CDC needs to come in and clean up. Authorities have not been able to adequately find and clean up the deceased. Many people have already been evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama in the past few days by boat, helicopter, and cruise ships.
Nassau has become the hub for evacuees. Large facilities like the national basketball gym have been turned into shelters. Huge collections of relief supplies, food, clothing, etc. have taken place here and people are being cared for.
Yesterday, seventeen teens arrived from an orphanage in Grand Bahama. They are staying at the Ranfurly Home for Children, a group with which the Bahamas Youth Network (BYN) has a strong presence and ministry. Our leaders are involved in helping these traumatized kids get settled and feel loved.
Jude’s family was evacuated yesterday from Abaco, and they are living in our church for a time.
Our ministry partner in Freeport, Marvin Rolle, is alive and well. He is heavily involved in helping with relief efforts there and covets our prayers.
Please continue to pray for the authorities here. There are a lot of unanswered questions and disorganization. No one is clear about what lies ahead.
We are doing our best to help with needs involving teens. Please help us spread the word that donations given to our hurricane relief fund will enable us to do even more. Share this newsletter with a friend! Click here to contribute.
Thank you for your strong support and prayers! Keep them coming, and we will continue to update you as major developments occur.
Contributed by Dan Weightman, Executive Director of Caribbean Youth Network
Read the first update from CYN after Hurricane Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, 2019, and stalled over the islands for 24 hours, causing loss of life and massive damage. Shadyside Presbyterian Church’s mission partner in the Bahamas, Caribbean Youth Network (CYN), shared the following update with us.
Dear CYN team,
Thank you for the many responses of encouragement you sent back to us with assurance of your prayers during Hurricane Dorian. Here is what we know so far:
In Nassau we did not have high winds, but we have had a good bit of flooding due to high rainfall. The university campus is under water, as are many low lying areas. We’ve also had long power outages.
Abaco has been devastated. Pictures and videos that circulate are heart-wrenching to see. An entire area called The Mud, which provided housing for over 5,000 people (mainly Haitians), was wiped out. We are hearing of five confirmed deaths. Many people are in shelters and grouping in the few homes that survived. The Swings have heard that their home lost half the roof and has three feet of water in it. Jude believes his family is safe only through seeing their names on a shelter list that is circulating. Communication is difficult.
Grand Bahama has had the hurricane over them nearly stationary all day today. It is forecast to start moving off to the north tomorrow afternoon. Our Young Life ministry partner, Marvin Rolle, has been sending updates saying that flooding is bad and wind damage is high, though not to the extent of Abaco yet.
The CYN does have a hurricane relief fund and any donations can be designated as such if you have a heart to get involved in helping Abaco and Grand Bahama. Click here to contribute. Let’s all keep praying as the storm rages on!
Thank you so much!
Contributed by Dan and Kelly Weightman, founders of Caribbean Youth Network
Update: Read a second update from the CYN after Hurricane Dorian.
Watch a Video of the 2019 Mars Hill Mission Experience
In Partnership with the Community Housing Coalition of Madison County
Thank you for your prayers as forty-one members of Shadyside Presbyterian Church traveled to North Carolina to participate in the mission experience in Mars Hill from July 7 through 13, 2019. To see a glimpse into the week-long experience of our mission team members as they assisted families with housing needs, built relationships with homeowners and with each other, and served Christ through their actions, please click on the image or follow this link.
The Mars Hill Mission Experience is an annual one-week intergenerational mission trip to the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina. In partnership with the Community Housing Coalition of Madison County, individuals and families from Shadyside Presbyterian and other churches join together to work on the homes of disadvantaged homeowners.
Learn more about the mission partnerships of Shadyside Presbyterian Church.
Welcoming Rev. Michael Stanton
Rev. Stanton was ordained by the PC(USA) to the position of Executive Director of Open Hand Ministries, Inc., one of our mission partners in Garfield and East Liberty which is committed to promoting justice and equality through homeownership. In 2007, Rev. Stanton co-founded the ministry with a number of like-hearted individuals and organizations from the neighborhood.
Michael earned his Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2006. He is happily married and living in Garfield with four beautiful children and “too many pets.”
Please join us in welcoming Rev. Stanton to Shadyside’s pulpit.
Welcoming Rev. Krieg on His Return to Shadyside
On Sunday, October 14, the Reverend Jean-Luc Krieg will preach during the service of worship at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Later, he will speak during dinner in the Parish Hall at 6:00 p.m. on the topic, “Why Cities? From Fear-based Interventions to Sustainable Solutions.” Please join us in welcoming him as he returns to visit Shadyside.
About Rev. Krieg
The Reverend Jean-Luc Krieg, born and raised in Ivory Coast, West Africa, and of Swiss-German descent, is founder and executive director of Urban Mosaic. Previously, he was field coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean with Geneva Global, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based philanthropic investment firm. In that position, Jean-Luc supervised a research team and served as a consultant to dozens of non-profit organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia, in the design of development and entrepreneurial strategies that produced significant economic, social, spiritual, and environmental returns.
An ordained minister, Jean-Luc holds both a Master of Business Administration degree in international economic development and a Master of Divinity degree from Philadelphia-based Eastern University and Palmer Seminary. Since April 1991, Jean-Luc has long nurtured an interest in working among Mexico City’s urban poor. Twice he lived in Mexico—in 1993 and 1995/96—before finally returning to Mexico in 2005 to pursue his vision of founding Urban Mosaic. Rev. Krieg has traveled to close to fifty countries and enjoys bridging worlds.
Kids on a mission trip? Really?
Well, yes, indeed, when it’s the Mars Hill Mission Experience, which welcomes family participation. Many of you may be wondering what a mission trip as a family would look like. I found these pictures from eight years ago, and the memories came back like a flood!
I remember working at this client’s mobile home putting down a laminate floor, as her wheelchair had been knocked off balance too many times due to uneven carpeting. Our team was comprised of all women, from three different churches, to install her new floor. Our client, Marjorie, voiced her disappointment at the all-female team, because she enjoyed Todd’s good looks on past trips, and really wanted to see him again! All week she kept saying, “Why don’t you get Todd over here to double check that?” Oh, did we have fun laughing with her! This client remains one of our treasured relationships from fifteen years in Mars Hill, and we visit her every year.
The exterior of Marjorie’s mobile home was drab, and she loved flowers. We pooled some funds, and visited the local nursery. We purchased some mulch and flowers and suggested the children come and weed the area, then plant and mulch. As you can see, the joy the children bring to a work site is contagious — and a bit messy when they decide to “swim” in the mulch!
Our daughter Nadia (now 11) has been to Mars Hill every year, beginning at the age of 14 months! Dhini, who joined our family when she was 3, also has enjoyed eight years of this amazing trip. I can say it is one of their favorite weeks for many reasons. Witnessing the teamwork among many churches reinforces what they learn about God’s kingdom. They see us rise early, break bread together (albeit college cafeteria style), leave to serve others, and return dirty and tired. They hear about all of the work sites each evening, impending challenges, sketching out solutions, and purchasing supplies. They sit with us in worship every night, witnessing that church can happen in a college dormitory. They gather with children of all ages and learn from volunteers, and Christian Education directors from many churches. They rejoice in seeing completed projects, and they learn to trust that next week’s volunteers will continue unfinished projects. They see God’s children, who live in a place that looks so different than Pittsburgh and many other places they have seen. They see us nominate each other, including the youth, for silly awards and for working extra hard. They see us solve problems, and walk alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ. They prepare snacks, and sidewalk art for our return, and catch a glimpse of what a college looks like! They grow to know our youth, so when they reach middle school, these big kids are not strangers. They have friends in a new town to whom they can send Christmas cards and letters. Our upper elementary school children learn to teach and care for the youngest among them, holding the hands of toddlers and calming infants.
They witness us all being the hands and feet of Jesus!
Contributed by Linda G. Leach
Are you interested in learning more about our annual Mars Hill Mission Experience? An informational meeting occurs on Sunday, April 29, at 12:30 p.m. in the Hulme Room. If you are unable to attend, please contact the Reverend Todd E. Leach, Associate Pastor for Missions.
Welcoming the Reverend Dr. Andrea Zaki
Shadyside Presbyterian Church welcomes the Reverend Dr. Andrea Zaki, President of the Protestant Churches in Egypt and Director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), as our guest preacher during worship on Sunday, February 4, at 11:00 a.m. Prior to the service, Dr. Zaki will participate in a question/answer session in the Chapel beginning at 9:45 a.m. Please join us in welcoming him to Shadyside.
View a video highlighting Dr. Zaki’s ministry with CEOSS as a Langham Scholar, and read more about him and his work below.
About Dr. Zaki
The Reverend Dr. Andrea Zaki is the President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt and General Director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS). He also serves as the President of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches and is a lecturer at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Zaki’s educational background includes a Ph.D. in religions and politics from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom (2003); and a Master of Arts in theological studies from Eastern University in West Chester, Pennsylvania (1994). He also earned a diploma in social development from Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia (1988); and a Bachelor of Theology from Cairo Evangelical Seminary (1983).
Hands Along the Nile Development Services (HANDS) forges lasting partnerships between Americans and Egyptians in order to increase intercultural understanding and support Egyptians in their efforts to raise the quality of life for the most under-served members of their society. To these ends, HANDS facilitates cultural exchange programs and partners with organizations on the ground to empower disadvantaged Egyptians to raise themselves out of poverty.
HANDS was founded in 1989, by the Reverend Dr. Samuel Habib and some American friends with the primary purpose of supporting development work in Egypt. HANDS’ roots are in the Presbyterian communities of Egypt and the United States, which maintain a long history of partnership in raising the quality of life for Egyptians of all ages, genders, and religions.
One of HANDS’ major partnerships in Egypt is with the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS). This organization, which started as organized literacy classes, now reaches over two million people in 150 communities each year through its comprehensive village development programs and interfaith dialogue efforts. HANDS also has begun partnerships with almost thirty other organizations in Egypt, including clinics, an orphanage, and a job skills training center for women.
Last fall, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) approved a disaster response plan submitted by our Mission and Urban Ministry (MUM) Team. The MUM Team has committed to set aside annual funds specifically for disaster response, and, in addition, provide SPC members with the opportunity to give to a disaster assistance organization. If you would like to make a contribution to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), please place your check (payable to Shadyside Presbyterian Church) or cash donation in the pew envelope designated for PDA, and place the envelope in the offering plate during worship. Contributions also may be mailed to the church office.
Let us remember in prayer those who have lost family, friends, or property as a result of this natural disaster. The Reverend Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus of PDA has extended this invitation to prayer: “Please join us in praying for courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we respond to the deep human needs left in the wake of the storm.”
Learn more about PDA’s relief efforts in response to Harvey here.
Read a prayer for those in the midst of Harvey here.
Mission Experience in Partnership with ConeXión Mosaico
March 11–18, 2017
Today we visited the communities where ConeXión Mosaico has focused its ministries: Chimalhuacán, Las Palmas, and San Sebastián. It was so encouraging to see the immense progress in all of these places in just two years since we last visited. A previously rundown field in Chimalhuacán where crime was rampant is now a beautiful sports and recreation indoor/outdoor facility for the community. In Las Palmas, the water lines and water tank that were just being built and installed two years ago are now complete. The plans we saw before for a community center have begun construction. And youth in San Sebastián are asking and working for a library to be built in their neighborhood.
But the most significant moment for our team came when we visited the location of the project we worked on two years ago. At that time, community members wanted to clear a ravine of trash so that children could play in the grassy knoll and trees. It was – like this year – tedious and hard work, but the product was beautiful and deeply appreciated by the neighbors, who all joined in with the cleaning efforts. We learned that, after that, other areas of the neighborhood also decided to clean up their sections of the ravine to transform those areas into park spaces as well! However, soon thereafter, other neighbors rallied around, using these ravines as construction dumps, for which the neighborhood would get paid and could then sell the land to others for housing. When those who wanted to clear the space argued their position, they received threats against their safety and families. Consequently, the space we cleared two years ago has once again become a dumping ground for trash and construction fill. Seeing it and hearing these stories was both sad and good — sad because the efforts begun by the community and with which we aided are no longer happening. But it was a good reminder of two important things:
- Our work was not in vain. Others in the community saw the positive effect of their neighbors and emulated them, at least for a time; and
- This is why partnership with ministries like ConeXión Mosaico – who are present in these communities day after day – is so incredibly vital. Transformation cannot come through one-week efforts of visitors coming in and assuming they can fix the problems of poverty. As the Church, we need to work in mission partnership with our brothers and sisters who are on the ground, in the field, and in it for the long haul.
Today we are ever more grateful for the work ConeXión Mosaico is doing, and for our opportunity to partner with them in this important work.
Contributed by Rebecca Reeder