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September’s Mission Offering Is Somerset County Habitat for Humanity

September 5, 2021

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Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical, grass-roots Christian ministry with the goal of eliminating poverty housing. Unwilling to accept the fact that millions of people live without adequate shelter, Habitat challenges individuals, churches, companies, foundations, and other organizations to join in partnership with the poor to change the conditions in which they live.Somerset County Habitat for Humanity, Inc., founded in 1992, is an affiliate project of Habitat for Humanity International. As an affiliate, we are an autonomous, non-profit corporation with our own board of directors and committee structure. We are self-supported from funds raised in Somerset County. Local projects including restoration and construction of homes in Somerset, Meyersdale, Central City, Friedens, and other areas.

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Matt’s Musing

September 5, 2021

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends and Family,

In July 2007 members of our youth group and adult chaperones traveled to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.  Planning for the trip took well over a year and included numerous fundraisers, meetings with group participants and the United Church of Christ partners in New Orleans, and innumerable prayers.  

Memories of the trip flooded back to me as I saw images and heard the news reports this week following Hurricane Ida.  The good news is that Katrina’s flooding was not repeated during Ida, however millions still suffer in the Gulf Coast region.  Wide-spread power outages have made scarce the necessities of life.  

Little Farms United Church of Christ was the hub of the UCC’s Katrina relief efforts.  I learned the other day that they lost half of their roof during Ida.  Their website makes it clear that although their building is temporarily closed, the ministry of the church continues.  

In our gospel lesson for this week, we read about Jesus’ less than kind response to a foreign woman who was looking for a miracle for her daughter.  Jesus tried to send her away by convincing her that he was not sent to help her kind of people.  The quick-witted woman, with a touch of humor, persuades him to change his mind.  Her daughter is healed.  

What do we make of Jesus’ less than charitable response?  A crucial piece of the Christian tradition is the belief that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine.  Perhaps Jesus had an all too familiar human response when confronted with a person who didn’t look like him, worship like him, and wasn’t part of his tribe.  I must admit, that a significant part of me was quite nervous as our departure date got closer for our New Orleans trip.  My nerves weren’t only driven by taking a group of teenagers 1,500 miles away from home.  I was also nervous about the unknowns of that place.  How would the people receive us?  Would we be able to adjust well to a more metropolitan and diverse culture?  Would we, no, would I, be able to put aside my own preconceived notions about people and even prejudices and receive strangers with hospitality and gratitude?

Our trip to New Orleans was a life-changing experience for our group.  The people we met and their resilient spirit not only broadened our horizons, but inspired us to see the possibilities that are presented even in the midst of adversity.  Like the woman in the gospel story, with a little humor and a lot of perseverance, we can help to bring healing and life to all kinds of situations.  

In closing, if you’d like to contribute to Hurricane Ida relief, the United Church of Christ has set up a relief fund to assist our church partners in the Gulf Coast.  Simply notate “Ida” and the amount on your offering and we will see that they get it.

Blessings for your journey,

Pastor Matt

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Worship Connection for September 5th

September 5, 2021

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A New Way To Give

March 27, 2020

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The current COVID-19/Corona Virus pandemic has forced many individuals, businesses, and organizations to rethink how to accomplish day-to-day functions.  The church is no different.  

St. Paul’s continues to do vital ministry:

  • Reaching out to the homebound & lonely
  • Caring for the sick
  • Comforting the dying & their families
  • Working with the Somerset Area School District, Meals on Wheels, Somerset Area Ministries, and other agencies to ensure our most vulnerable community members are fed everyday
  • Online children’s programming
  • Online fellowship events
  • Live-streaming and videos of worship services on Facebook & YouTube
  • Launching a COVID-19 community mission fund to assist those in need because of social distancing, job loss, and illness
  • Honoring our monthly mission partners

A number of our members and friends have asked for an online way to give, so we are pleased to offer this service through tithe.ly.  You can make a gift by accessing our website (see the “Give” button on the homepage or the button below), www.stpaulsuccsomerset.org.  You may also download the free tithe.ly app to your smartphone or tablet and customize it to meet your needs.  Although the service is free to the church, credit card and transaction fees are assessed to each gift, so when making an online contribution through tithe.ly, please consider using the bank funds transfer feature, which has the lowest fee of one percent per transaction.  For your convenience, you may also select the reoccurring gift option if you would like to make regular gifts to the church.  If you have any questions or need assistance using this service, please do not hesitate to contact Cindy, our financial secretary.  And as always, we still accept and appreciate your mail-in contributions!

We value your continued thoughts and prayers during these challenging times.  On behalf of the staff, and lay leadership of our church, we wish you good health and strength as we encounter each day together.  Relying on God and one another, we will get through this!

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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