Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he declared to his disciples, “…You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samara, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
APC believes that this pattern of local and international mission should guide us as we work for the reconciliation of the world in Jesus Christ. We accomplish this by partnering with ministries already doing this in their own contexts.
It is the goal of the Mission Awareness Committee to inform and encourage the congregation that the faith doesn’t end on Sunday. We should be acting in compassion, service and evangelism every day.
Ardmore Food Pantry (AFP)
The AFP is housed at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore, and during COVID-19, is serving anyone (no longer just Lower Merion residents) who is experiencing food insecurity. The COVID pantry hours are Monday mornings (11:00 a.m. to Noon) and Monday evenings (6:00 to 7:00 p.m.) Pre-packaged bags of food are distributed weekly, plus protein, prepared foods, and flowers (when available). Guests retrieve bags outside by driving up or walking up to allocated doorways. (Masks and social distancing are required). The number of families being served (60-80 pre-covid) has increased and occasionally goes over 100.
Volunteers are limited during covid but are still needed (see sign-up genius on website). Area stores including Wawa and Trader Joe’s donate fresh produce and other items. Staple food items as well as financial donations are welcome. Donations to the Ardmore Food Pantry can be made through APC (memo check: Ardmore Food Pantry) or directly to the AFP (see website). Staple goods can be left in the APC front office or taken directly to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 36 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003. The AFP is one of APC Mission Awareness Committee’s ongoing local mission partners.
Click here for more information.
APC’s Temporary Home for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
A home leased and managed by APC’s Mission Awareness Committee which provides a temporary residence for refugees and asylum seekers. Our mission is to “welcome the stranger” particularly those escaping violence, persecution and intolerable conditions anywhere in the world. FIRST PLACE provides our guests a place to get established and have a supportive environment while seeking more permanent housing. In the nearly three years since its opening on February 1, 2017, FIRST PLACE has provided housing for 60 individuals. We have touched refugees or asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Egypt, Ecuador, Guatemala, Uganda, the Congo, Bhutan, Guinea, and Eritrea, as well as immigrants from China and Cuba. We work closely with HIAS, NSC, and other agencies that support immigrants, as well as the Presbytery of Philadelphia which has granted FIRST PLACE a Covenant Fund Grant.
In spite of severe 2020 restrictions on refugees—as well as COVID-19 restrictions—First Place is housing a family of three from Guinea (Africa) on a long-term basis. Also, a family of six is currently living in our APC Parish House.
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) of the Main Line
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) is one faithful response to homelessness where families experiencing homelessness stay in houses of worship while they work on goals that help them achieve permanent housing. APC partners (as a support congregation) with host congregation St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Ardmore. Five times per year (when not under COVID-19 restrictions), families stay at St. Mary’s for one week. On the Saturday of these weeks, volunteers from APC provide dinner and stay to eat and fellowship with the families until about 8:30 pm when the overnight volunteers arrive. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, families are being housed in a permanent location and are not traveling from church to church.
Read more about the Interfaith Hospitality Network here.
Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) of Southeastern Pennsylvania
MCC has as its goal “to improve the health and well-being of pregnant women and parenting families and to enhance school readiness for children 0 – 3 years.” MCC focuses on neighborhoods with poverty, infant mortality, health disparities and changing immigrant patterns. APC also shares space with MCC allowing them to store infant and children’s clothing in our Parish House basement for the use of their social workers for families in need. Each Christmas our Mitten Tree holds hats, mittens, scarves, baby blankets (and other hand-knit and purchased items) that are delivered to MCC for their clients.
Click here to learn more about the Maternity Care Coalition.
Athena Pre-Med Hospice Program
Rev. Graham Robinson
Through a grant from the Athena Institute for Women’s Wellness, the Athena Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program was founded to promote hospice care and develop a new generation of health professionals aware of the blessings possible for individuals and families at the end of life. During the academic year, students are trained and supported as they care for patients diagnosed to die within six months. Please pray that the Hospice patients will be treated with kindness, intelligence, warmth and grace and that the students will learn how to go through the process of care and loss in a way that deepens their compassion and understanding.
Raelyn Harman, Founder
The mission of Teachers’ Teammates is to ensure that all K-12 teachers and students in Delaware County have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. We want to demonstrate our encouragement, support, and gratitude for the work of our teachers. Working with former APC Church Administrator Raelyn Harman, our Mission Committee and individuals are helping to supply classrooms in Delaware County. Teachers’ Teammates is launching an online store that will offer free school supplies to all teachers in Delaware County starting in the most under-resourced school districts.
The Welcome Church & The Well Women’s Shelter
Rev. Schaunel Steinnagel – Philadelphia
THE WELCOME CHURCH is a church without walls that proclaims the hope and love of a gracious God to all people, especially those experiencing homelessness.
THE WELL WOMEN’S SHELTER grew out of the needs expressed within the community. This ministry was initiated when it became evident that there were women who did not feel safe going to large and co-ed overnight shelters.
SANCTUARY VILLAGE is a new program where newly constructed “Tiny Houses” will become available for homeless persons who are able to transition to independent living.
Welcoming the Stranger
Educational Outreach to Immigrants and Refugees
Patricia Lorenz, Acting Executive Director
Welcoming the Stranger (WTS), inspired by the Biblical passage, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” from Matthew 25:35, is an educational non-profit that offers free classes in English as a Second Language (ESL), Computer Skills, and US Citizenship Exam Preparation to adult immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia metro area. WTS was founded in 1999 by Rev. Sturgis Poorman, and has met the need of nearly 4,936 students from over 100 countries. Financial support comes from individuals, places of worship, and local businesses, as well as grants from area foundations, which allows all programs to be free of charge. APC has helped support WTS since its inception. Currently all classes (three 12-week terms) are virtual, using a few paid teachers and about 100 volunteers each term.
With new generations of newcomers come new challenges and needs. WTS strives to always adapt to the changes by listening to and responding to our students’ needs. This includes creating strong collaborative partnerships with other area organizations, offering workshops in a variety of areas, and providing community building support through friendships, activities, and connections.
Click here for more information about Welcoming the Stranger.
West Kensington Ministry (WKM)
Rev. Adan Mairena
WKM seeks to move people’s faith into action through worship, discipleship and transformation. They also serve creatively and faithfully by providing space for concerts and programing for youth which allows them to have a safe space to mature and grow. Some of the opportunities are learning to operate recording equipment and working in ceramic and silk-screen studios as well as engaging with issues relating to poverty, immigration reform and advocacy for changes within the criminal justice system.
International Mission Partners:
Caring Hands Ministry: Rescue – Love – Educate
(Arun, Shobha and Melissa Massey – India)
Arun and Shobha Massey continue to be committed to the ministry of rescuing children from temple prostitution. Caring Hands staff hold camps in various towns where the children from the Children’s Home are now living. Caring Hands staff members now live in each of these towns and they monitor, nurture, and interact regularly with the children—the ministry continues, but in a new way. Ten girls are currently living at home with Arun and Shobha—of the ten, six of the girls are in school and one is in college. Please pray the Masseys can find Godly men to marry each of the older girls.
Kuwadzana Presbyterian Church (KPC) Hunger Relief Ministry
(Pastor Simbarashe Nota – Zimbabwe)
For many years, APC has helped provide support for the Hunger Relief Ministry overseen by the leadership of the Kuwadzana Presbyterian Church which is located in a high-density community outside of Harare. Feeding one’s family due to high unemployment, drought, constant power outages, no standard currency, water shortages, etc. has made living conditions for ordinary persons extremely challenging. To help those in the greatest need (including widows and grandparents raising grandchildren) food packets are put together with staple items such as mealie meal, sugar, rice, flour, cooking oil and soya chunks for relish. 60 family units received packets in late November 2019. These families were chosen by the elders to be the most needy from the area around the church. Also provided by the church is a water tap at the front gate where area residents can get water from the church’s borehole. These “gifts” have been lifesaving and are seen as gifts from God.
Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF)
MBF is charged with spreading the Gospel and serving the most vulnerable through quality patient care in the developing world. What makes MBF unique is that they don’t “ride in and do the work for the churches in the developing world but instead MBF mobilizes churches in the USA to equip local churches abroad with skills and resources for medical ministry.” APC’s ongoing partnership is with Darbonne Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Haiti. The annual gift from APC’s Benevolence Budget helped to “save the lives of 25,000 newborns as both pre-and post-natal care was given so they have a chance at living past the age of 5 years old, despite the high infant mortality rates.”