One of the Seven Marks of Discipleship is to “engage in service and mission in and beyond the local church.” Our Outreach Committee is always busy offering our members opportunities to serve.
THE MISSIONS OF GRACE COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
We are involved in missions and ministries that are uniquely ours. Worship, children’s ministries, youth programs, and fellowship ministries are among the missions that are designed and carried out by our elders and staff members.
- Small Blessings Childcare – was started by the Conway Presbyterian Church many years ago. When our churches merged, the Small Blessings Childcare continued as a ministry of the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church.
- Good Samaritan Fund – provides a financial resource for members of our church and community. This fund is administered by the pastoral staff.
- MentoReach — provides reading mentors in 5 elementary schools, including the Eccleston Elementary where we started over 10 years ago!
- Stitchin’ With Grace – our quilting group gathers weekly to work on quilts and prayer shawls that are given to people in time of need or illness. These quilts are blessed in a prayer and given as a reminder that the prayers of the people of Grace Covenant surround those who receive them. Many of the quilts are made specifically for children. From 2004 through 2012, this group has provided 1,440 quilts to hurricane victims and to patients in hospitals.
- Food Bags – are supplied for our members, prepared by our children and youth, and distributed by our church staff to individuals coming to the church seeking food.
OUR PARTNERS IN MISSION
There are many wonderful missions in our community. While these are separate ministries, many with their own boards or governing bodies, we join with them in their ministries by providing support through our time, talents and treasures. We have ongoing collections of food and other items to assist these various partners in mission.
- Boy Scouts of America – we are the sponsoring organization of Troop 23. They meet on Monday nights at 7:15 on the second floor of John Calvin Memorial Hall.
- Christian Service Center – a homeless ministry which we support by occasionally helping to serve dinners and meals through their Fresh Start and their Daily Bread programs.
- Family Promise provides housing for homeless families through the participation of local congregations. Grace Covenant partners with Conway United Methodist – the Methodist provides the location to house a family for a week while we provide the meals.
- Covenant House. This ministry reaches hundreds of kids in Orlando via street outreach, crisis shelters, transitional housing projects, and aftercare.
- Good Shepherd School in Haiti In 2010 we started a 12 month mission to raise funds for the Good Shepherd School in Haiti which was destroyed by the earthquake in January of 2010. We’ve continued to provide support and encouragement to the people of Haiti through our “Hoops 4 Haiti” basketball games, the children’s “Hops For Haiti” and other events.
- Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. There are ten seminaries in the Presbyterian Church (USA), providing training for future pastors and missionaries. We support these seminaries financially and occasionally by having a student intern serve at our church.
- Second Harvest Food Bank. We regularly collect food for this community food bank.
- Russell Home. The only private, non-profit facility of its kind for severely handicapped children in Central Florida is the Russell Home located here in Orlando and founded by (and currently directed by) members of the Grace Covenant community.
- Duvall Home. This Presbyterian ministry provides quality residential care and day training programs for adults with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy.
- Missionaries to Madagascar. We have supported Dan and Elizabeth Turk in their mission in the African island nation of Madagascar for many years. They are involved in ministries promoting clean water, planting fruit and native trees, and health care.
- Operation Christmas Child. In the fall we gather shoeboxes filled with toys, health products and school supplies. These are sent throughout the world by the Samaritan’s Purse ministry.
- United Against Poverty provides a range of services to our clients who are struggling through unemployment, hunger, housing difficulties, and more. Services include emergency food pantry bags for first-time visitors, DCF/ACCESS site for Food Stamps, Cost Share Grocery Program, housing and job assistance. A hand up, not a hand out.
- Thornwell Home for Children. Founded as a Presbyterian ministry in Clinton, S.C., 1875, Thornwell Home for Children is a joyful Christian community, offering hope and wholeness to children and families. Its goals are to provide loving homes for abused, abandoned and neglected children, to offer an opportunity for healing by providing proper healthcare and mental health counseling for every Thornwell child, and to offer Thornwell’s children hope for a successful future by providing educational support and teaching self-advocacy.
MISSIONS THROUGH SPECIAL OFFERINGS
Some of the missions we support are through annual or occasional special offerings.
- Two Cents A Meal – We encourage our members to set aside two pennies at every meal time and to bring these coins to the church for our Two Cents A Meal offerings. These are used in various community and global hunger ministries.
- One Great Hour of Sharing – Your generous gifts to this Palm Sunday Offering help provide relief those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and assist in helping to empower the poor and oppressed.
- Pentecost Offering — Giving to the Pentecost Offering makes it possible for the church to encourage, develop, and support its young people, and address the needs of at-risk children. A large portion of this offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community.
- Peacemaking Offering — The special offering received on the first Sunday of October, World Communion Sunday, is used in programs that promote peace in our local community and in our nation.
- Christmas Joy Offering – This offering provides for two areas of important ministry. A portion goes toward providing financial assistance to current and former church workers and their families. Another portion goes toward providing opportunities for deserving students to attend Presbyterian-related racial ethnic colleges and schools.
- Special Offerings for Disaster Relief — ANYTIME there is a disaster in our country or in the world, the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is there! Whether it is an earthquake, flood, or storm you can donate toward these causes by designating an offering toward PDA. Simply contact the church office for information on how to make your contribution.
MISSIONS THROUGH “ANYTIME” COLLECTIONS
You can participate in missions through our several “anytime” collections. ALL these items can be placed in the boxes found in the entrance of Smith Hall, in Memorial Hall, or in the Church office…or just place on a bench in the Narthex and we’ll get them to the right place.
COUPONS: Grocery coupons are collected at all times and taken to the Russell Home for Atypical Children to help in cutting the grocery bill for the residents there. Please place your coupons in a plastic bag. Any non-expired coupon can be used.
POP TOPS: (from drink cans) These are taken to Ronald McDonald House to support their operations.
PET FOOD: We collect bags of dog and cat food for Pet Food Pantry, a program of the SPCA and Meals On Wheels to help care for the pets of homebound seniors in Orange County.
EYEGLASSES & HEARING AIDS — The Lions Club recycles eyeglasses and hearing aids so that the less fortunate can receive the gift of better vision through the “SightFirst” program. Your unwanted glasses, hearing aids, sunglasses and cases are all usable.
NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, AND ALUMINUM CANS may be placed in the collection bins located on the north side of the church at any time. The monies collected go into our Outreach Fund to support the Mission ministries of Grace Covenant.
God has blessed us with a wonderful campus. We are pleased to provide our facilities to a number of guests who conduct their work on our campus. These include addictive support groups in 12 step programs, an adult day care, an independent Hispanic congregation, Meals on Wheels, an adaptive sports clinic, volleyball and basketball teams, home owners’ association meetings, and a variety of other programs. If you or your organization is interested in using our facilities, contact the church office.