SIPC Organizes Support for Local Coast Guard

Skidaway Island Presbyterian church has a tradition of welcoming Joys and Concerns from its members during Sunday morning services. Recently Commander (CDR) Drew Behnke, a member of the United States Coast Guard, stood to announce that many of his fellow Coast Guard members were experiencing financial difficulties due to the extended government shutdown.

Members of the church’s Mission Committee put their heads together to come up with a plan to support those in need. Working closely with CDR Behnke, the idea emerged to purchase individual gift cards, not to exceed $50, for distribution among the 420 Coast Guard members within the coastal stations of Georgia. In less than a week, cards valued at over $3,400 were donated.

As the word spread among the island churches and throughout the larger community by way of The Landings Association website, the amount of support swelled to over $5,000 and 1700 hotdogs.

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.

SIPC Welcomes Rev. Dr. Carl B. Smith

Rev. Dr. Carl B. Smith is the Chair of the College of Theology and Program Director for the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Savannah, GA, campus of South University.

He has served nine years in pastoral ministry and over twenty years in theological education, both as a faculty member and administrator. Carl has earned a Master of Divinity degree from Temple Baptist Theological College in Chattanooga, TN with a focus upon the New Testament.  He has also earned a Masters of Art and a PhD in ancient history from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Rev. Smith loves to study the historical background and documents of late Judaism and early Christianity. His research field is early church history with a particular focus on Gnosticism and Ignatius of Antioch. He has published a book on the origins of Gnosticism, entitled No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins (Hendrickson, 2004), and several chapters in edited volumes.

Rev. Smith is an ordained priest in the Anglican Church (ACNA) and has been an active churchman throughout his academic career. He is the husband of Debby (36 years!), father of five grown children, and grandfather to six awesome grand kids.

Listen to the sermons below:

FEB 18 2018



JAN 29 2017