I would like to share what my faith means and what being a part of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church means to me. A number of years ago I went to Guatemala with a team from Peaks Presbytery. We were hosted by CEDEPCA (The Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies in Central American). This organization teaches and trains pastors and works with indigenous women to be help them have a trade that will help them provide for their families. CEDEPCA is supported by a number of Presbyteries, including Presbytery of the Peaks and other Presbyterians in the US. In fact a few years ago some of the leaders and teachers came here to Forest Hills. The Joy gift offering a few years back helped provide a building for these Guatemalan women to show and sell their beautiful woven scarves, clothing and hangings. I feel fortunate to have one hanging in my house that I purchased from one of the Guatemalan women. I am proud to be in a church that supports the kind of much needed education and practical support that I witnessed while in Guatemala.
I also have the honor of serving on the Grants Committee of Peaks Presbytery. This is a group of folks from all over the Presbytery who meet three times a year to award grants to groups who are working on hunger issues. We award monies from the two-cents-a-meal program to churches and civic groups who provide backpack programs for children at schools who would likely go hungry if it was not for these backpacks full of food sent home with the children. We award grants to Outreach programs and food pantries. Each cycle that I have been a part of, our own Grace Network has received funds to assist in their food pantry. I have been very touched by the amount of care and concern shown by these civic and church groups. I also am overwhelmed by the significant hunger problems in our own region. I am so honored to serve on this committee and be a part of this important Peaks Presbytery effort.
I am equally proud to be a part of Forest Hills and to get to know many in our congregation especially when they experience grief, sickness or joy. As the Session Liaison to Congregational Care Ministry I have had the privilege of helping provide or coordinate meals or food, rides for doctor’s appointment, home, hospital and nursing home visits, phone calls or sending a simple note to some in our congregation to let them know I am thinking and praying for them. I am sure that I always receive more of a blessing from these interactions than the other person I am trying to help or comfort. But that is true almost always, I think when we serve and help others we are often the ones who receive the blessing.
So as you can see, my faith in Jesus Christ and his teaching to feed the poor, visit the sick, etc. moves me to get involved in the many needs both locally and beyond. This is where God placed me on this earth and I am trying to follow him as the Holy Spirit leads.