Serving Those in Need

            Earlier this winter, just before the snow fell, a family arrived at one of the rural hamlets in Livingston County.  They came from a distance which had warmer climes, and the only things they had with them were some clothes suitable to warmer weather.  Fortunately, they were able to secure a welcoming apartment that would adequately house their family of mom and four children.  However, they did not have anything to put in the apartment’-it was completely bare–no furniture, nothing to sleep on, no pots and pans or dishes, no bedding, no towels, no warm clothes and just a little food.  The parish pantry coordinator for the area was called to help provide some food and see about furnishings.  She called her local church, explaining the need, and within a week the apartment was well furnished with several new mattresses, new and like new bedding and towels, furniture in great condition, kitchen supplies and food, all to make this new home very livable.  And, within the next week, new winter jackets were provided for the children and for mom.  Praise God!


            I share this story to highlight the fact that so often ministry and mission in Christ’s name happens through the connections of people and groups who care.  And so often in my years of ministry in our county, I am conscious of how in the midst of our reaching out to help make life better for our neighbor, a common thread appears’and that connecting thread is the Livingston County Coalition of Churches, helping to enable acts of ministry.  You see, in the above example, the local parish pantry was formed many years earlier by the Coalition of Churches along with twelve other pantries in the county.  Every day, every week, many people receive emergency food through these pantries’and not only food, but other important connections are made at the local level to help our neighbors in need.


            I am often made aware of the Coalition’s influence!  Last week I received the annual report for Chances and Changes, summarizing its significant ministry helping victims of domestic violence in our county and its positive efforts to educate the community to prevent this type of violence.  I know that many years ago Chances and Changes was formed through the Coalition of Churches.  When I visit in a home of one of our seniors and hear of the help they have received from the County Office of the Aging, I give thanks to God when I remember it was first organized by the Coalition.  The same is true for County-wide Hospice, and Teresa House.  When I visit in the local jail, I know that Chaplain Paul Metzger has already provided spiritual support to the person I’ve come to see.  Paul is the Coalition’s Chaplain for Jail Ministry.  And each time when our church’s confirmation group of youth visits the Hospitality Center at the Livingston and Groveland Correctional Facility, I am able to tell them that every Saturday and Sunday the Coalition of Churches staffs this Hospitality Center from very early morning to late afternoon, providing the gift of friendship and welcome to those who often travel all night to visit a loved one who is incarcerated.  Lucille Kane and Karen Root have served as directors to this vital ministry of caring for many years.  Praise God!   


            Not long ago, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Livingston County, the Faith in Action ministry was started to help the frail elderly and those who are handicapped stay in their own homes.  This ministry is growing every week.  And over the last year the Coalition has been working with Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse of Livingston County to develop a youth mentoring program at the county jail to help youth from ages 18 to 21 learn to make better decisions when they go back into the community.


            The goal of the Livingston County Coalition of Churches is to help make life better for those in need in our county.  Many times that happens through direct service, like at the jail or at the prison or at a food pantry.  Many times it is through making connections so those who care can make a difference in Christ’s name in serving their neighbor.


            Lori McEvoy, the Coalition’s Coordinator, has been a real gift to the work of our ecumenical agency in forging new connections and nurturing existing ones.  If you see a need for ministry in our county or would like to become active in an existing one, or would like to make a donation, then please call the Coalition’s office at (585-721-3245) and talk with Lori or with a member of the board of directors. 


Peace,


 


Rev. Neil S. Frood Jr.


LCCC Co-President


 


Board of Directors for Livingston County Coalition of Churches:


Co-Presidents: Rev. Neil S. Frood Jr. and Timothy McMahon; Treasurer: Paul MacLean; Secretary: Very Rev. Mark Lattime; Members: Rev. Deborah Roof, Terry Price, Rev. Richard Fox, Joseph DiMino, Rev. Beth Godfrey, Rev. Ed Irwin, Rev. Charles Tyo, Rev. Doug Wilson, Deacon George Spezzano, and Lori McEvoy, LCCC Coordinator and ex officio member of the board

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