The Partner Church Committee had a very active year in 2019-2020. At GA in June the Rev. Jim Coakley graciously accepted the Steward of Partnership award for Mary Ellyn Vicksta and Jan McHugh, members of our committee. Mary Ellyn does a phenomenal job of meeting all of the committee’s photography and video needs. Jan has been a member for nine years and has been active with our Annual Plant Sale, RE presentations, Party! Party!, and numerous other events.
Approximately thirty families in our congregation continue to generously support our Mango PIE (Partners in Education) Program by providing stipends that make education a reality for 40 students at our partner congregation of Banay Banay, Philippines. As a committee we also helped Alma, a third year college student, pursue her goal of a college education by providing her with a computer.
The minister of our partner church in Deva, Romania and his wife, Julia, welcomed a beautiful boy, Abel into the world in December 2019. We had the idea to make a baby quilt for Abel and asked the congregation for assistance. Boy, did we ever receive! Margaret Alexander, Mary Ann DeBruin, and Jane Salsich all contributed their time and expertise to help committee members Tina Main, Vicki Milde, and Jan McHugh craft a lovely quilt. To include as many congregants as possible, we made the quilt two-sided and asked for signatures from Fellowship members who happily signed hearts with well-wishes. Baby Abel loved the colorful result!
This year’s Party! Party! was a very successful partnership with Soup Saturday and included amazing soup recipes from our partner countries of The Philippines and Romania, wonderful desserts (including the ever-popular Halo Halo), dancing, games, and a slide show highlighting our partners.
In March our intrepid committee leader, Tina Main, worked with the Religious Education staff and students on a cross-cultural story in which the students brainstormed ideas for plot and character names. We hope that when our partners are allowed to meet again the students of Deva and Banay Banay will finish the stories and send them back to us. To be continued…
And last but not least – in May, the Fellowship held a virtual plate passing that raised funds to assist our two partners with unexpected expenses. Banay Banay will use the funds for repairs to their church, and Deva encountered some additional needs for their guest house. Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful generosity!