Zoom chat with Leigh Curl. We’re continuing Wednesday night conversations with some Wilshire ministers. This week, chat with Pastoral Resident Leigh Curl at 6 p.m. The format will be an open question-and-answer session. The chat will happen online through Zoom. To receive information on how to connect, email firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 3 p.m. this Wednesday, May 13.
Unified Budget update
April gifts: ………………………………………………… $290,279
April budget needs: ………………………………… $287,000
YTD budget gifts: …………………………………… $1,134,667
YTD budget needs: ………………………………… $1,107,000
YTD budget surplus: …………………………………… $27,667
Cord of Three on mission. Cord of Three Class collected donations for Interfaith Family Services and delivered those last week. These donations went directly into apartments that Interfaith uses to house families on the edge of homelessness. The core work of our mission partners continues even amidst COVID-19, and Interfaith continues to graduate families who have moved from low-paying jobs to higher-paying ones that, during this time, are allowing them to work from home.
Good Neighbor Awards. Each week the Missions Committee hopes to award at least one Wilshire friend a Good Neighbor Award. These weekly awards will be presented to those who are serving in both small and large ways. To nominate a person who has helped you or someone else during this time, follow the link at www.wilshirebc.org/registration.
Can You Spare a Can? success. Over the course of four weeks, Wilshire gave 6,636 lbs. of food ($5,300 value) to the Wilkinson Center. As fast as it hit the shelves, it was out the door and to neighbors in need. The center has experienced a 30 percent increase in pantry visitors, according to Laura Ingrim, engagement manager. “Wilkinson Center has been experiencing tremendous supply chain challenges, and your donations meant we had cereal, pasta and canned vegetables on the shelves when otherwise we would have had none.”
Extra gifts to mission partners. With the congregation’s generosity, the Missions Committee has continued to make monthly gifts to our mission partners as well as some additional gifts. During the month of April, extra funding was sent to Austin Street Center, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Gateway of Grace, Human Rights Initiative, CitySquare, Wilkinson Center, Homeward Bound and Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries.
More mask donations. Women of Wilshire and other individuals last week donated almost 200 face masks to a homeless shelter in New York City that our CBF field personnel, Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey partners with. The Wilshire women also purchased snack and hygiene items for another partner of Lesley Ann’s, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, that serves vulnerable children and families.
Women of Wilshire Letters of Encouragement. Women of Wilshire (WOW!): Would you like to send (and receive) an encouraging handwritten note each week? To participate in this note exchange ministry, email Carolyn Murray at email@example.com. Once a week you will receive an email with the name and address of another WOW! member. Simply write an encouraging note to your person and drop it in the mail. You also will receive a note of encouragement in the mail from another WOW! member.
Know Your Number workshop. Have you heard about the Enneagram but not known where to start? Do you hear friends or family members talking about their “number” but not understand what they mean? Would you like to know more about yourself, about how you are uniquely created by God? Join in a free online workshop scheduled for Saturday, May 16, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The “Know Your Number” workshop will be led by Heather Mustain and Geri McKenzie. It will introduce the dynamic system of self-discovery called the Enneagram. This workshop is intended for those who are new to the Enneagram and have not yet identified their numbers. Leaders will introduce Enneagram terminology, work through all nine numbers and provide resources for continued growth. Space is limited to 30 participants with just a few spots left. Advance registration is required by May 13 at www.wilshirebc.org/registration.
Project Mask combines mission efforts. Wilshire mission funds were used last week to purchase 52 face masks made by Gateway of Grace’s Project Mask. Gateway is one of our local mission partners at Gaston Christian Center. Project Mask employs refugees who have been economically impacted by COVID-19 and for some of them the pay they receive is the first time in their lives they have been paid for their work. These 52 masks were delivered to our very own Christine Wicker, development director, for Homeward Bound. Homeward Bound is an alcohol and drug treatment facility that has continued to help our neighbors through their darkest days. Asila is a refugee from Afghanistan who moved to the United States a little over three years ago with her husband and daughter (pictured), but had to leave behind her eight siblings. She has been sewing for 10 years and is reliable, creative and resourceful. She loves that she has been able to take part in keeping people safe from COVID-19. Asila made all 52 of the masks Wilshire ordered and is sending a portion of her profit back to Afghanistan to help her family, who have been hit especially hard by COVID-19.
Stephen Ministers are spiritual friends
By Annette Miller
Have you ever appreciated something so much that you wanted to give it a special name, or to capitalize a common term to label it with special significance? That’s how I feel about my Stephen Minister. I want to label her as “Friend.” I’m reminded of the Quakers who feel such significance in the word “friend” that it is part of their organization’s name: the Religious Society of Friends.
My Stephen Minister Friend and I have been working together for a while. The program is confidential, and the volunteer Stephen Ministers have a good bit of training. They also meet regularly for continuing education and to get confidential feedback from others in this closed group to ensure that the interactions they have with people like me are the best. These qualities about the program give me comfort.
A year ago, I recognized that I was at a point where I could use some spiritual help. Actually, I had no place to turn for that kind of specialized support. Thankfully, I have good health care for medical issues — but spiritual, well, that was a totally different matter.
I approached Tiffany Wright, who at that time was the staff liaison for Stephen Ministry. After careful prayers, she matched me with a Stephen Minister and I began meeting with this new Friend twice a month. There, I discovered a safe place for my big spiritual questions. My Friend offered only positive support and encouragement, no criticisms, judgment or harshness. I was encouraged to ask and explore and to write out my thoughts in poetry, which is a fairly recent venue for me but very helpful. I also was occasionally given names of books, websites or Scriptures to help me along.
During our time together, we discuss spiritual issues or actually any issues. My Friend doesn’t answer my questions for me; she supports me in my journey, walking beside me. Sharing one of her own experiences or that of someone she knows invites me to see a different perspective. The absence of judgment allows me to voice thoughts I would not have considered otherwise. I find our time together a fertile time of sowing seeds for future thoughts, watering sprouts to assist growth, and even transplanting young plants that would grow better out from under a shady tree.
Stephen Ministry is one of the hidden jewels of our church’s multiple ministries. Here, I enjoy an open relationship with a Friend who truly cares about me, prays with me, listens to me and encourages me.
These are troubled times in our world. Christianity does a good job teaching us to have an attitude of selfless service. But I want to encourage you to grow in another way: Reach out for help and allow our community to minister to you. We are a family here at Wilshire, and the church leadership has wisely provided three task forces to help you in whatever you need. We all need help of different kinds and at different times.
If you could benefit from having a Friend listen to you and pray with you, send a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (214) 452-3176 to get started.
Blog originally published on Wilshire’s Facebook page on April 27, 2020.