Mission and Social Justice

Shared in the April 14th Connection

Snapshot #3

INTERFAITH COMMUNITY SERVICES and THE HUMAN FAMILY

Interfaith Community Services – InterServ – is a shared mission partner with Heartland Presbytery and has been serving families in St. Joseph and the surrounding area of Northwest Missouri since 1909.

As a partner with the Heartland Presbytery and its “shared mission giving”, InterServ was able to touch the lives of hundreds of people each day with supportive services in 2014, serving over 11,000 people through seven different programs.

InterServ’s mission provides for the basic needs of people, especially those in the human family who have the fewest alternatives in life.  We provide financial help to families in their efforts to avoid eviction and homelessness and to provide access to food from our food pantry at our Calvin Center in order to counter the impact of hunger and poverty. Last year 7,500 food orders were given at our Calvin Center – a former Heartland Presbyterian Church in North St. Joseph. The InterServ Immigration Program began with funding from PCUSA and the Heartland Presbytery, now providing services to over 300 immigrant workers and families annually, permitting greater participation and inclusion into the community. As an example, Marie, a high school graduate now part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), now has an opportunity to continue her formal education and to have gainful employment without fear of being separated from her family. In our natural aging process, as we move from active to needing greater assistance to frailty, InterServ provides homecare with home delivered meals provided by volunteers, delivering 15 meal routes in St. Joseph and rural Buchanan County.  This is an offering and blessing that keeps us in contact with elderly to assess their living conditions, helping them to avoid isolation and provides nourishment for body, mind and spirit.

These are just a few snapshots of the programming that InterServ, as shared mission partner, undertakes on a daily basis. It is the support of Presbyterian congregations in St. Joseph and throughout Heartland Presbytery that helps InterServ with vital ministries to children, youth, families and elderly – the human family.

Shared mission giving supports the work of servant and advocate. Bringing the faithful together to promote dialogue, gathering the community to help gain awareness of the unmet needs and to gain understanding of who’s affected and how by the social conditions of our day. And through that community dialogue we create opportunities for a compassionate response that reflects and carries out the social teachings of the Gospel.

For more information InterServ and the services, opportunities and faith connections it provides, visit www.faithfullyserving.org.

Let us continue to pray for one another

Sincerely,

David G. Howery, LCSW

Executive Director

The Human Family Heartland Connections (2) bulletin insert

 Shared in the February 17 & 24th, 2015 Heartland Connection-

Earthkeepers of Heartland Presbytery                       Earthkeepers at Cherith Brook

By Diane Waddell  Earthkeepers at Cherith Brook

The Earthkeepers team is proud to be a part of Heartland Presbytery. The team meets monthly, seeking the promotion of environmental and social justice locally, nationally and globally.

Earthkeepers work under the umbrella of the Mission and Social Justice Committee and also works closely with Presbyterians for Earth Care.  (PEC is a member-based, grassroots  organization which seeks to promote  Earth Care efforts  through advocacy and faith-based theological reflection.)

Earthkeepers also works alongside Environmental Ministries,  which is incorporated within the office of the Presbyterian Hunger Program and funded through OGHS. Several Earthkeepers members are also active on the Steering Committee, Advocacy Committee and Conference Planning Committee of Presbyterians for Earth Care.

Members of several Heartland Presbytery churches are represented in the meetings.  Members are highly involved in eco-justice not only in their churches, but also within the larger community.  Members also integrate the work of Sustainable Sanctuary, Kansas City Food Circle, and MO and KS Interstate Power and Light during their programs, discussion and planning. They are also represented on those boards.

Earthkeepers at Grace Garden
Earthkeepers at Grace Garden

Earthkeepers has written seven overtures and has sent Overture Advocates to the 218th, 219th, 220th, and 221st General Assemblies.  Overtures have included reinstating the  Environmental Ministries office, adding Creation-based scripture to the Book of Order, discouraging Non-biodegradable products in churches, supporting EPA standards, and supporting eco-agriculture.  The two most recent overtures were based on (1)  promoting food sovereignty/food democracy/fair trade;  and (2)  highlighting the importance of the Precautionary Principle and Sustainable Development.

During  2014, Earthkeepers also appreciated visiting sites which support sustainability, including Cherith Brook, the Galileo building at JCCC and the Community Garden of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church .

Earthkeepers meet the fourth Monday of each month at Village Presbyterian Church at 7:30 PM. Anyone interested in working in the areas of social, eco- and environmental justice is  welcome to be a part of the group .Earthkeepers at Galileo Pavillion JCCC

For more information, please contact

Diane Waddell, Moderator, Earthkeepers

Moderator, Presbyterians for Earth Care

 1earthconnection@gmail.com.                                                                                                                                                                                                              Earthkeepers at Galileo Pavillion JCC

Shared in the February 10, 2015 Heartland Connection:

Maya Quiché – Partners in Transformation

Dave Winters

Mission & Social Justice Division  shared mission snapshot for connection #1

What could be more Presbyterian than transformation through education? What could be more effective mission than empowering sisters and brothers by helping prepare them for ministry and mission?

For almost 25 years, Heartland Presbytery has been in partnership with Maya Quiché Presbytery in the western highlands of Guatemala. We have learned together to share our faith and hopes and strengths as sisters and brothers in Christ. We have learned that leadership is difficult among their 22 small, rural congregations. When a church there needs a pastor they search among their members for one who has displayed gifts of faithfulness and leadership.

One such is Filomena Mejía, the lay worker in the small El Buen Pastor Presbyterian Church  that sits on a small plot on a large coffee plantation in the foothills above the Pacific coastal plain. Access for outsiders is only with permission of the plantation manager, then through a large iron gate, watched over by armed, uniformed guards.

maya quiche mission snapshotThree years ago, Filomena had only completed the second grade. Reading was difficult for her. But she struggled to share her Bible, to pray with her little flock, to serve as best she could. After years of sharing their need for secular and theological education, Maya Quiché leaders put together a plan to meet their needs. Heartland quickly responded with scholarships. As a result, 18-25 pastors and other emerging leaders have been studying now for three years. In a month Filomena will begin to study 9th grade and will take more basic courses in Bible and theology. Her excitement and gratitude know no bounds.

On January 10th, 2015, Maya Quiché Presbytery will ordain Filomena as their first woman pastor. Nine members of Heartland will be there to share joyously in the celebration.

It is our shared mission giving that enables us to partner with Filomena and Maya Quiché in exciting ministry and mission.

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