Portland Mennonite Church has a big heart for giving, and this holiday season we gave many gifts.
Our Advent Tree giving project this year went toward the work of Family Promise of Metro East. Since the organization is just getting off the ground, they told us that their biggest need was funding. So we participated in a major fund drive they did through the Willamette Week’s Give!Guide. Some people gave directly online and others gave their money through PMC’s offerings. Family Promise of Metro East is excited that they exceeded their holiday fundraising goal of $20,000. The total amount that went through the PMC offering was $3,425 and we had an estimated $4000 from PMC donated online, so our total donated amount was about:
$7,425.00 donated to Family Promise Metro East!
We also had a number of material items gifted to FPME for their day center including Playdough sets, Legos, craft supplies, towel sets, etc. Our Advent Giving Tree gave us a visual of our donations. We started with tags that people could take, and everyone added an ornament after making their donation. Check out our beautiful Advent Tree! (before and after photos)
Our Christmas offering went toward Mennonite Central Committee which is an organization that does relief, development, and peace work all over the world. Our church has been a long-term supporter for MCC, both financially and through members who have served as long-term volunteers. The total Christmas Eve offering was:
$2,494.25 donated to Mennonite Central Committee!
The kids at PMC also worked on gifts. During Sunday School classes in Advent, Danese Jundt helped the PK1, 2nd & 3rd graders wrap simple gifts and make cards for other children. We took all of these gifts to a program in North Portland called First Door. This organization runs an afterschool program that serves kids and families in need.
Other fundraisers included Christmas Wreaths sold by the PMC youth group. Additionally, PMC members Franz and Kathy Van der Horst hosted an evening of storytelling and raised money for MCC. Our Mainspring food offering for December raised $100. We also hosted the Just Cause fair trade store during the weekend of the Advent workshop. The store sold fair trade items and donated 10% of their sales to the Sunnyside Mennonite Montessori School, which is one of PMC’s outreach programs to the local community.
Not only did PMC members give financially, but they gave with their time and service to each other and the community.
Ed Shirk, Bruce Kuhns, and a crew of PMC volunteers worked very hard for months to do major renovations on the parsonage. And a whole host of people showed up on several occasions to help clean and move boxes/furniture for the parsonage move in.
Over the week of Thanksgiving, PMC hosted families with Family Promise and served a full Thanksgiving meal for current and former families. On December 8, five PMC members showed up as a part of our monthly commitment to serve with NightStrike, an organization that provides needed food and services to the homeless community in Portland.
Carolyn and Josh McCarty opened their home to host folks for a Christmas Dinner potluck. And, the Congregational Life Core Team sponsored a Soup and Bread lunch on January 1, 2023 to give us a chance to be together on New Year’s Day and served lunch to about 65 people. The members of this Committee – Lois Gearhart (chair), LaVonne Blowers, Randy Lanford, and Micah Engle-Eschleman – all pitched in to make this event happen, as well as others like Sylvia Shirk who brought soup and Sharon Ness who helped with coffee and clean-up. It was a beautiful time of fellowship together to bring in the new year!
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed time or money over the holiday season! We can celebrate a church that is actively engaged in community building and outreach, and many of these efforts and projects continue on in the new year of 2023.