Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in His name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Collect from The Book of Common Prayer
Outreach is what we call Trinity’s ministry to people of all walks of life, not just Episcopalians. This ministry focuses on those who are not necessarily members of our parish but rather part of our wider community in Ashland, the Rogue Valley and beyond.
Trinity’s two outreach committees have the same overall purpose but work in different ways:
►The Outreach Ministries Committee coordinates Trinity’s programs and projects that provide direct, hands-on assistance to those in need, such as meals for the homebound, food for the hungry, sleeping bags for the homeless, etc. This committee has one or more representatives from each of the six main ministries listed below plus a coordinator, Judy Clinton (541-488-2860). The group meets periodically to coordinate calendars and help each other as needed with publicity, funding, volunteers, etc. Anyone interested in these ministries is invited to attend.
►Food & Friends has replaced Meals on Wheels as Trinity’s outreach to the homebound. Trinity volunteers drive two delivery routes each Monday of the month throughout the year. They pick up prepared meals at the Ashland Senior Center on Homes Ave. by 10:30 a.m. The routes take about an hour to complete. Volunteers must have a background check before being approved as drivers; mileage is reimbursed if requested. Trinity volunteer coordinators are Anne McCollom (541-482-3356) and Maggie McCartney (541-488-5276).
►The Ashland Emergency Food Bank (AEFB) has long been a major focus of Trinity Outreach. Under a new system of volunteer participation, Trinity provides a team of 12 volunteers to staff shifts on Mondays during the first four months of the year. It takes three volunteers per day to staff the Food Bank.
Trinitarians also donate food each week, amounting to more than 3000 pounds annually. The donations are collected in baskets in the narthex before the Sunday services. After being presented at the altar, the donations are taken to the Food Bank. Additionally, Trinity provides financial support to the AEFB via the Outreach Funding Committee and donations put in the “Little House,” a special collection box for offerings from those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. In 2010 more than 600 families visited the AEFB, triple the number of previous years. The growing demand for food (about 1500 pounds a day) continues to strain Food Bank resources so contributions and volunteers are always needed. The AEFB is located at 2200 Ashland Street. For information, contact Patti Chase (541-488-0403) who represents Trinity on the AEFB board and coordinates Trinity volunteers.
►White Gifts is a special ingathering of gifts for those in our community who need extra help with food and shelter during the cold winter months. The program was initiated in 2007 by Deacon Meredith Pech to coincide with Epiphany, when the Magi presented their gifts to the newborn King. Parishioners wrap practical gifts–such as blankets, coats, sleeping bags, sweaters, food and household items– in white paper and place them at the altar before the Epiphany Sunday services. In recent years, Trinity has taken the gifts to La Clínica del Valle and the Ashland Emergency Food Bank for distribution to those in need. The coordinator for Jan. 2012 is Carol Harvey (541-512-1007).
►The United Thank Offering (UTO) is a way church members can give a little each day as part of a regular practice of thanksgiving. Pocket change is set aside daily to donate twice a year when we have UTO ingatherings. The UTO is a program of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole Church, founded by and administered by women since 1889. The monies collected are sent to the UTO offices in New York. All monies are used for grants…no administrative costs are deducted. The blue-and-white envelopes and coin boxes of the UTO, available in the narthex, are well known to long-time Episcopalians but may be unfamiliar to those who are new to the church. Those with questions should contact Bonnie Oliver (541-482-0558), our UTO coordinator.
►Sewing Women at Trinity (SWAT) has been making quilts for almost 4 decades. The group, which is open to all, meets each Tuesday starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall to cut and sew quilts. Click here for more information
►The Outreach Funding Committee raises funds for outreach, such as through the Party of Parties. It also disburses the money raised according to set guidelines. This process includes careful assessment of local needs and requests for assistance. The Outreach Funding Committee has raised and disbursed from $15,000 to $20,000 annually. About 80% is given locally. Recent local recipients include: YMCA Scholarships; Backpack Buddies; Ashland Emergency Food Bank; Dunn House; Family Nurturing Center; Uncle Foods Diner; Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team; Jackson County Maternal Child Health; Lotus Rising; Planned Parenthood; and the UCC Shelter Fund. National and international giving has included, for example, projects of the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund; Central Asia Institute (for schools); Friends International (serving addicted youth and families in SE Asia); Great Shape (Jamaican literacy project); and Partners in Health (health clinics in Haiti and elsewhere).
In July 2011, Vestry approved the following allotments as recommended by the Trinity Outreach Funding Committee.
- Ashland Emergency Food Bank: $1,500
- Ashland Family YMCA Scholarship Fund: $500
- Backpack Buddies: $500
- Dunn House: $1,200
- Family Nurturing Center: $1,700 (this is in addition to the proceeds from the American Bandstand Fundraiser)
- Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team: $900
- Jackson County Maternal Child Health: $2,000
- Lotus Rising: $400
- Planned Parenthood: $500
- Uncle Foods Diner: $1,100
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): $900
- Rotary Garden Project: $100
- Help Now Advocacy Program: $840
Total designated locally: $12,140 (80%)
- Great Shape: $750
- Partners in Health: $1,200
- Ashabavan Women’s Respite Home: $500
- Sudan Medical Relief: $585
Total designated internationally: $3,035 (20%)
This large, active committee is always seeking interested volunteers. One subcommittee plans the Party of Parties Pancake Supper held on Shrove Tuesday. Another organizes the live and silent auctions held at the supper. Yet another coordinates the dozens of smaller parties or activities (dinners, hikes, movies, etc.) parishioners host and attend throughout the year to raise additional funds for outreach. They also meet to assess community needs and make disbursements according to set guidelines. Contact the Parish Office to learn more and find out where you might be able to help. This committee is currently seeking a new chairperson.
Is there other outreach besides the Outreach Ministries Committee and the Outreach Funding Committee? Of course!! The list is long. Here are a few examples:
► Our Music Program, the Labyrinth, interdenominational programs, special events, support groups and more—all reach out ‘beyond our walls.’ Four 12-Step meetings are held in the Parish Hall each week. Of special interest is a support group for people who have a disabled or ill spouse (contact Deacon Meredith Pech, 541-482-2669).
►Trinity also supports the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These are international development goals agreed to in 2000 by 189 heads of state and government, including the U.S. and many international organizations, “to address the deepest material brokenness in the world today.” The goals include reducing extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS and global partnership for development. An MDG-related project our Parish embraced recently was Nets for Life, to provide mosquito nets to prevent malaria in Africa.
►And finally, many parishioners are active volunteers for outside organizations and services such as the American Cancer Society, the Butler Fund, Campus Christian Ministry, CASA, Community of Hope, the Equamore Foundation, Family Nurturing Center, Friends of the Animal Shelter, Global Volunteers, Hospice, the Threshold Choir, Mended Hearts, Relay for Life, food drives, tutoring, hospital auxiliaries, and more.