A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Very "Rotary" Christmas for Sharing Hope

[Pictured (from left) are: Bill Haase, rotarian; Donna Stalter, Rotary president; Rev. Robert McDowell, First United Methodist Church Senior Pastor; and Kristin Ankrom, Information and Referral executive director and rotarian.]

Christmas came early for Sharing Hope, a county-wide program that seeks to eliminate local poverty. Initiated two years ago by Rev. Matthew Richardson of First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Sharing Hope brings people together from various socio-economic backgrounds.

Participants come together twice a month at our church's Crossroads facility on W. Fair Avenue for a meal, group discussion, an educational piece regarding poverty, and small groups that offer peer support and encouragement. The program is helping people to move toward long-term financial stability.

"We utilize the Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World curriculum to build relationships between the community members who want to be a part of the solution and community members living in poverty," said Kristin Ankrom, Information and Referral executive director and Lancaster rotarian. "We have had much success over the past couple of years and can't thank Rotary enough for this donation."

When the Rotary Club heard about Sharing Hope's desire to have a special Christmas night for their recent December gathering, they offered a generous donation to help us purchase gifts for the children who are part of the program. And yes, the man in the red suit made a surprise appearance to hand out the goodies.

"Rotary is a strong supporter of the Lancaster community and we felt a need to help those struggling during the holidays by donating to this cause," said Donna Stalter, Rotary president. "The Sharing Hope Leadership Team shares the same goals as we do to promote a better community and life for people."

I am so grateful that our church has several people volunteering in this much needed outreach for our community. Thank you, Rotary Club for making Christmas a little brighter in our community!

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