SIPC Welcomes Brendan Mungwena

Brendan Mungwena is a Zimbabwe exchange student studying macro economics at Armstrong State University, thanks to the Georgia Rotary Student Program, and was a guest speaker at SIPC on January 28. Brendan received a warm welcome from his American host family, the Eskews – Austin, Kay and Sam.

Click HERE to read Brendan’s testimony.
Click HERE to read about Brendan in the January 19 issue of the Skinnie magazine.

 

A Message from Union Mission

Patricia Youngquist, Executive Director of Union Mission, spoke to the SIPC congregation during the Worship service on Sunday, January 13. The following is her message:

Homelessness is a growing problem, not just in Savannah but across America. The need for help, for supportive services, for a hand up out of homelessness, is great. Last year, over 4,500 men, women, and children were homeless in Chatham County. That could be for a day, a week or longer. Right here in Chatham County, on any given day, there are approximately 1,000 people living without a stable home. These people could be in emergency shelters, on the street or under bridges, in motels, in their cars, or couch surfing with friends and relatives.

Union Mission began 80 years ago as the dream of a man of faith. Our founder, the Reverend George Akins, came to Savannah from Toccoa Falls Bible College in the north Georgia mountains. The suffering he saw on the streets around him during the Great Depression inspired him to create a place of hope and help that would touch the lives of those most in need.

His dream has been changing lives in Savannah ever since. Each year, hundreds of men, women, and children come to Union Mission looking for a beacon to light their way to a new life. Here they find safe beds, hot food, and the help they need to rebuild their lives. Many of them tell us that we are the first place that truly gave them a hand up out of homelessness into a better tomorrow.

Union Mission works to change lives by creating an environment where individuals can thrive and lives can be rebuilt. The program at the heart of what we do is our Emergency Services Program. Our two facilities, Grace House for men and Magdalene House for women with children, offer 90 days of housing and supportive services, including mental health care, employment and training support, and dedicated staff trained to address the specialized needs of individuals and families recovering from homelessness. Our goal is to help them leave homelessness and transition to safe, stable housing.

In 2016, (we are still gathering our 2017 stats) we served 474 people. In doing so we provided over 28,000 nights of shelter, served over 84,000 meals and helped over 300 people find employment. We helped over 200 people find stable housing. .

Union Mission is a place of second chances. It is a place for those who are weary to find rest, for those who are ready to find a fresh start, and above all a place where hope lives on. You can see it in the faces of the people we serve and hear it in their stories.

One such story is the story of Niaisha. After ending a 15 year relationship with her children’s father, Niaisha moved to Savannah from Cleveland to be closer to her family. She soon discovered that her family was not going to be able to support her in a way that she had thought they could.

Niaisha reached out to Union Mission and within a few days there was a room for her and her two children at Magdalene House. Beyond just providing them a safe place to sleep, Union Mission provided intensive case management, connecting Niaisha to counseling, child care assistance and affordable housing in the community.

Despite the struggles she encountered, Niaisha was determined to create a better life for herself and her two children. Within 90 days, Niaisha moved from Magdalene House to her own apartment, a safe space where she and her family could continue their journey to a brighter future.

Today, Niaisha works at the Georgia Ports Authority and both of her children are honor roll students. She is also enrolled in a program that will enable her to purchase her own home in two years.

Niaisha said, “Supporting Union Mission is not just helping one, two or three people; it’s helping generation after generation. By Union Mission helping me, they’re creating a legacy through my children.”

I’m humbled when I hear women like Niaisha and others express their gratitude for the help they received at Union Mission. But the work we do would not be possible without the generous support of people just like you – men and women of faith who are committed to doing what Jesus did – accepting people where they are, loving them, and extending the gift of grace to those in need.

You can extend that grace in a variety of ways. You can join us as volunteers, as financial partners, or as prayer supporters. Your support as a volunteer can help bring the light of hope to mothers at our Magdalene House working to build a better life for their children, or lift the life of a man at Grace House who feels forgotten by the world. With your help as financial partners, we can continue to provide a safe place for those who have nowhere else to turn. As prayer partners you will under-gird with love and grace the work we do each day.

Celebrating 40 Years

Video created by Eleanor Graham.

PWOC 2017 Free Market

This years Free Market was a huge success! The PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) Free Market at Fort Stewart served over 395 families, 1000 people were able to walk through the Chapel doors and be blessed. Our doors were open from 10am-6pm. The line was wrapped around the chapel building.

We began our morning serving smiles, Starbucks coffee and Dunkin Donuts. It was very exciting to see the excitement and joy from the families. As each family came through the doors to shop, each family member could take as much as they needed for their families to include: clothes, housewares, kitchenwares, electronics, shoes, toys, books, games,  accessories, children clothes and furniture. All items were donated, some gently used and some brand new.

We were encouraged to know as we greeted the families that they were grateful and thankful for this opportunity. The majority couldn’t understand why it was FREE. My response, “because we want to be a blessing to you and your family just as the love of Jesus Christ is a free gift, we ought to share that love with others.”

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SIPC Welcomes Rev. Dr. Charles Partee

On Sunday, October, 29, we were blessed to have the Reverend Doctor Charles Partee in our pulpit.

Dr. Partee is Professor Emeritus of church history at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He has devoted his life to the study of John Calvin and is the author of The Theology of John Calvin (WJKP, 2008), Calvin and the Classical Philosophers (Brill, 1977), Adventure in Africa: The Story of Don McClure (Zondervan, 1990) and with Andrew Purves, Encountering God: Christian Faith in Turbulent Times (WJKP, 2000). He blogs at : charlesbpartee.wordpress.com

 

Listen to the sermon below:

Sunday, October 29, 2017
“To God be the Glory”
Rev. Dr. Charles Partee

From Our Parish Associate

As one of the newest participants in the SIPC community of faith, I want to say thank you to everyone who was present to worship God and to help tell the story of the congregation’s beginnings on our 40th anniversary kickoff Sunday. My faith was strengthened hearing about the persistence of church members who invited neighbors to form a congregation, pursued a land purchase, and identified a first meeting place that brought out the best forms of service in everybody involved.I also appreciated Bill Foster reminding us that the period of the church’s founding, the 1960s-1970s, was a turbulent time. I am a child of the 1970s and have come to know through studying history that while I was playing happily at home and starting school, forces in society were unleashed that caused considerable chaos. And yet, in a time of changing mores, military action and war, racial unrest, and political unease, a group of people quietly formed a church in the bay of a local firehouse and they worshiped. Since then, every Sunday for 40 years, a group of people has continued to worship the Lord of all creation as followers of Jesus Christ. That’s 2,080 Sundays in a row!

We are in another turbulent time. Just as it was then, it is a time of changing mores, military action and war, racial unrest, and political unease. Inspired by the Spirit that has put courage into this congregation, I am going to take note of what those charter members did 40 years ago, and what every member has done in the 40 years hence, and just keep taking the next steps with you to keep securing ways to worship God in spirit and in truth and build a community in the name of Jesus Christ on Skidaway Island.

And while there are several churches on the island now, I am excited that we still are known as a church that enjoys ecumenical unity. All of the pastors of Skidaway churches meet monthly for lunch and we are looking forward to a community Thanksgiving service at The Skidaway Institute of Oceanography on Sunday, November 19 at 5 p.m. SIPC works in partnership with Messiah Lutheran Church on Stephen Ministry and the Longest Night Service, and thirteen different congregations on Skidaway Island and throughout Savannah are represented in our preschool families.

I am thankful that God holds the future of SIPC in His hands. Let’s enjoy watching and seeing what He grants us to enjoy today and every day to come!

Blessings,

Deanie

Troop 57 Eagle Scout Project

 

Troop 57 Eagle Scout candidate, Rutherfurd Cairns, has been busy on his project.

As you can see from the photos, the rotted fence around the Sanctuary HVAC units has been nicely replaced and the trash dumpster enclosure has been repaired and painted to match the Church.

SIPC Welcomes New Parish Associate

A Parish Associate is an ordained minister serving within a church but not in a call position (such as an Associate Pastor). As in our situation, it is often a part-time position. The Parish Associate works under the direction of the Pastor and is approved by the Session and the Presbytery’s Committee of Ministry.

Deanie Strength, our new Parish Associate, will be working part-time for us. Her primary work hours will be Tuesday through Friday mornings and early afternoon. She will work one Sunday a month, at which time she will serve as a liturgist, and will preach at least six times a year (mostly in the pastor’s absence). She will be available as a resource to the preschool with Bible teaching, to make hospital and home visits with parishioners, and to help reach out to those who may become new members of the church. She will serve as an ad-hoc member of the Discipleship, Mission and Benevolence, Worship and Music Committees and will be available to help create new ministry and mission opportunities.

Deanie was ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament when she accepted a call to serve St. Simon’s Presbyterian Church as Associate Pastor in 1999. She served in that position for seven years and then supported that congregation for nine years through service as a volunteer and mother. Deanie and her husband Joey made the decision to move to Savannah in 2015 when Joey accepted a position with the Hunter MacLean Law Firm where he now practices real estate law. Their children, James (13) and Nell (10), are students at Savannah Country Day School.

Deanie was educated at the University of Alabama (B.A.) and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div.) in Texas. She was raised in the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, worshiped with First Presbyterian Church, Georgetown, Texas while in seminary and fulfilled her seminary internship at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Laura Mendenhall, later president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She also worked on the neonatal and gynecological floors as a summer chaplain at Scott and White Hospital in Texas.

A favorite verse of Deanie’s is Luke 11:9 – “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” She thinks of herself as a seeker, eager to seek the Lord where He may be found. She has been practicing contemplative prayer and 12 step spirituality to deepen her relationship with God and others and to better discern the path the Holy Spirit is leading her along. During the course of her ministry, doors have opened to support men and women spiritually along the journey of life; to labor alongside brothers and sisters in faith in Jamaica, Malawi, and Brazil; to encourage mentally and financially challenged residents of downtown Brunswick and Savannah through community ministries; and to nurture the faith of presbytery children as a camp director, Sunday School teacher and youth leader. Prayers have been answered for opportunities to serve and glorify God through her words, music, and simple acts of kindness. Most recently she has been singing in the choir and providing contemplative piano music at First Presbyterian Church, Savannah where her husband and children are members.

She is energized by the opportunity to assist pastors in the presbytery who are offering their gifts to strengthen churches. She looks forward to assisting Rev. Garrison in his service to Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church and supporting the congregation in its efforts to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ. Glory be to God!