There are many facets to our commitment to Outreach Ministry.
Here at St. John’s Parish, “Outreach Ministry” refers to simply donating a jar of peanut butter occasionally, volunteering to wash dishes at the meal center, or handing out food at the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries food pantry on Thursday and so much more. Each of those things are meaningful and important parts of the overall activities we identify as “Outreach” that are described below.
Authentic Outreach Guided by our Baptismal Covenant
Essentially, committing to engage in opportunities to serve others, in our neighborhood, our wider community, town and region, is in response to the covenant with God established at our baptism. Each time we gather to renew our Baptismal Covenant, we are asked to answer eight questions affirmatively. The first three questions asked of us focus on reaffirming our core Christian beliefs; those first three questions begin with: Do you believe? The last five questions focus on how we will affirm our beliefs “not only with our lips, but in our lives.”
St. John’s Outreach Ministry: Opportunities for Service and Support
April Meal Center
Volunteers from St. John’s prepare and serve a meal for between 100 and 150 guests on the 3rd Sunday of every month at the New London Community Meal Center. In April of this year that Sunday happens to be Easter Sunday, April 21. Please consider whether you and some family members could donate a few hours that day for this special ministry. Two or three preparers are needed from 2:30 – 4:40, and ten servers are needed from 4:40 – 6;15. There is a sign up sheet in the slype, or speak with Christie Hayes (860-739-0345) or Chester Fairlie (860-739-4270). Thanks so much.
St. John’s Knitting Guild
Twice each month, members of the Knitter’s Guild gather to knit Prayer Shawls, Pray Scarfs and Pray Cloths for distribution to a variety of fellow Christians on their journey. Their handiwork is presented to those battling cancer and illness, to new mothers, to the newly baptized and others. Convener Judy Kaan leads this dedicated group.
Kateri Medical Clinics-Nigeria
St. John’s continued its relationship with Kateri Medical mission in 2018. The Vestry voted to approve a $3,000.00 grant to support the critical work they do.Founded as a mission outreach of Trinity Episcopal Church, Tariffville, CT in 2002, to provide simple, decent and affordable medical care in three Anglican Dioceses in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, to people who cannot afford it. Fr. Tom Furrer retired as Rector of Trinity in 2016 and has dedicated his time and leadership as he continues as President. Kateri opened their THIRD clinic in April, 2018 in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Kafanchan, the “Arthur and Esther Bradley Memorial Anglican Hospital in Gidan Waya. Their FOURTH clinic was expected to open in Gusau, in partnership with the Diocese of Gusau. The organization’s goal is to have 10 clinics open and serving people by 2025!
Brian Dagle Foundation
The Brian T. Dagle Foundation, established by Ann and Paul Dagle in the aftermath of their son Brian’s suicide several years ago, provides grief counseling, support services and other outreach programs in East Lyme schools and in other communities. St. John’s donates the use of our spacious property for parking for participants in their annual fundraiser, a 5-K run on the morning of the Niantic Light Parade. St. John’s and the Foundation held a “Service of Remembrance and Hope” during Advent in 2018 for those who have lost loved ones and who find it difficult to get through the holidays. Father Dinoto is a member of the Dagle Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Miracle League of S.E. CT
St. John’s partnered with Miracle League of S. E. CT as Venue Host of its inaugural Oyster Festival fundraiser last fall. Miracle League of S.E. CT an independent affiliate of The Miracle League of Connecticut is dedicated to providing recreational facilities to children with physical and cognitive challenges. St. John’s Rogers Field was provided for the Oyster Festival and we operated a parking concession on St. John’s Green. A portion of the parking proceeds were donated to M.F.SE. CT. St. John’s will be the host venue for a fundraiser again next fall. Last year’s festival raised over $25,000.00.
St. John’s Haiti “Pillowcase Dressmakers Guild”
(see full report) Originated and led by Helen MacDonald, this wonderful outreach ministry creates new toddler dresses out of pillowcases for children-at-risk in Haiti. Guild members come together to sew together and decorate beautiful little girl’s dresses which we send off to the mission in Haiti. Hundreds of dresses have been delivered to the Haiti missions to date.
Care and Share Partners
St. John’s is the collection site for peanut butter donations which volunteers deliver to Care and Share. Donation baskets are located in the narthex (front entry) of the church. We’ve also collected Christmas presents from parishioners through our “Christmas Giving Tree” and this year parishioners donated Thanksgiving Dinner Food baskets with all the fixin’s for families in need.
12-Step Recovery Meetings
Four days a week, St. John’s is the host site for N.A. and A.A. 12-Step Meetings in our parish hall and Guild room. We host A.A. 12-Step meetings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays and one N.A. meeting on Tuesdays. Fr. Dinoto is in discussions with meeting leaders to initiate plans for celebration of a “Recovery Eucharist” in the coming months. This service will be open to the community.
St. John’s Pantry Pals
S.J.P.P.’s gather and distribute a wide variety of “living needs” and clothing from our Guild Room each Thursday in conjunction with the S.S.K.P. food distribution located in the Bond Parish Hall. Pantry Pals repurpose household items, personal hygiene products, clothing, and other useful items to our neediest neighbors. New volunteers are always welcome to join in this important outreach.
College Student Hospitality Baskets
Amanda Murray, Dir. of Youth & Ed. Min. coordinates this outreach to area college students with the help of our Church School students and young people.
St. John’s Outreach “ministers” volunteer at the New London Community Meal Center (see report), on Montauk Ave. New London. Our parish volunteers purchase, prepare and serve Sunday dinner once a month there as a team. Christie Hayes and Chester Fairlie are longtime leaders who welcome and train first-time volunteers throughout the year.
Host Site-Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries
Each Thursday parish and community volunteers transform the Bond Parish Hall into a mini “grocery store”. In partnership with the Gemma Moran United Way Food Bank, SSKP provides a balanced variety of food supplies to East Lyme’s neediest neighbors. Each week fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy and bakery products and non-perishables make up a 3-day supply of nutritious food. SSKP clients are provided their own mini-shopping cart and select from available choices to meet their individual needs. St. John’s contributed to the purchase of the mini-shopping carts to honor Dick Miller’s dedicated service as Warden and vestryman at St. John’s. This winter parishioners donated winter coats for distribution by SSKP and the Vestry voted to approve a $1,000.00 grant to SSKP. Hosting the SSKP includes dedicated storage rooms, housing refrigeration and freezer appliances and the utilities to maintain them year round.
Outreach-“Showing forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives”
In summary, the Outreach Ministries of St. John’s Parish all have one overarching theme, which can be found in a portion of The General Thanksgiving found in our Book of Common Prayer (below)
“Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks, for all your goodness and living kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and fll the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up or selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
BCP p. 101 The General Thanksgiving