Current Outreach and Mission Opportunities
The mission of Servant Ministry at St. John's is to inspire and encourage parish members to serve as the Body of Christ in the community and world. The team has set the following goals:
1. Publicity: Ensure the parish is aware of the needs in our community, nation, and world and the impact we can have.
2. Signature Projects: Helping Hand Weekend Food Project & Family Promise
3. Grow the Team: Add two new members to the Servant Ministry Team
4. Projects/Agencies we will support: Haiti, Harvest Hope, HomeWorks, Shandon Cluster of Churches, Prison Ministries, St. Lawrence Place, and Cooperative Ministries.
To Act in the World as the Body of Christ
Each year during Advent parishioners are given an opportunity to help those less fortunate by giving them Christmas gifts. Local agencies provide us the names, ages, sizes and needs of children. Tags with this information are placed on the Giving Tree and parishioners choose and sign out the tags. Wrapped gifts are returned on a special Sunday in Advent to be blessed, sorted and delivered.
Harvest Hope Food Bank
Each week everyone has an opportunity to bring non-perishable food items to Sunday services. Food items are left in the basket located inside the front door of the Barr Center. Harvest Hope Food Bank picks up the items from the church for distribution to those in need.
Helping Hands Weekend Food Program
As a member of the Shandon Cluster of Churches, St. John’s lends a helping hand to 50 students at neighboring Hand Middle School. This program provides backpacks of food each week during the school year for children who have been identified as homeless or in transition between homes. This is considered St. John’s signature project. The program is supported in the Servant Ministry Budget and through donations. Parishioners volunteer each week to pack and deliver the backpacks to Hand Middle School.
Millennium Development Goals
The eight MDG’s have been embraced by the national Episcopal Church as specific steps to help repair the material brokenness in the world today. These are outlined in various publications and can be accessed through our parish website. Through greater outreach, our parish is taking an active role in identifying ways to serve others in the local and global community. Our MDG funds have been designated for the Home Works Peru house and Haiti.
International Outreach Opportunities
St. John’s has long been involved in our diocesan mission to Haiti, particularly in the towns of Cange and Chapoteau. We have accompanied medical missions, participated in school building in the region, and helped fund agricultural and clean-water initiatives. Due to recent concern about the specific oversight of funds and of parish, school, and medical facility administration, our bishop, along with a diocesan outreach commission, has devised a new way to send funds more securely, and to operate occasional mission trips. St. John’s remains dedicated to Haiti and its people, as always. A newer initiative involves mission work in Ecuador through our Episcopal partners there. A number of trips have been made in recent years, and another is planned for June 16-26, 2018.
Home Works Mission Trips
Home Works of America is a local non-profit Christian organization, that repairs homes for elderly and disadvantaged residents. Each summer, many of St. John’s youth participate in these meaningful mission trips. The Middle School (including rising 6th graders) youth go to Augusta in June, and the High School youth go to Johns Island in July. The central mission of Home Works is to show God’s love for all through service to others, to assist others in their faith journey and to equip youth to lead.
Kairos of South Carolina
Kairos is an ecumenical Christian ministry designed for use in state and federal men and women’s correctional institutions. The purpose of Kairos is to establish a strong Christian community among the residents of correctional institutions. Twice a year, men from St. John’s help lead a four-day long “short course in Christianity” for the inmates at Broad River Correction Institution, in Columbia. They return monthly for half-day visits to help encourage those who have participated in the weekend. The Kairos ministry is supported by the prayers and cookie donations of concerned churches and individuals throughout the state. St. John’s bakes thousands of cookies for the weekend.
Family Promise of the Midlands
Family Promise of the Midlands is a national, non-profit initiative that brings the faith community together to help families regain their housing, their independence, and their dignity. St. John’s is one of 15 churches in the Columbia area that offers housing for homeless families (up to 15 people) for one week a quarter. Since December 2014 there have been 24 families served, 90 individuals. To date 13 families have achieved permanent housing and independence. Christ is made present by the volunteers who lovingly set up the bedrooms for the families that are hosted, prepare and serve meals, provide activities and spend the night. There are many opportunities for volunteers to help Family Promise reduce homelessness and transform lives .
Other projects supported by Servant Ministry are Harvest Hope, Stop Hunger Now, St. Lawrence Place, Cooperative Ministries, and Shandon Cluster of Churches.