May 31 ,  2018

by David Wassung, Eastridge Presbyterian Church

The journey began in the spring of 2017 when Eastridge Church in Lincoln decided to look for a local mission opportunity. They approached a nearby Middle School offering to partner with them in a project that would benefit the children and families of the local community. Surprisingly, the principal of the school had a project in mind that she wanted to launch, but funding was not available. The project was called "Food Market". It brings in food from the Lincoln Food Bank once a month to provide a supplemental food source to the students. In order to qualify for the program, the majority school student population must be entitled to a free or reduced lunch program. This particular middle school qualified but was one of the only ones who didn't have the program. Eastridge, quickly agreed to form a partnership with Lefler Middle School based on financial and volunteer support for the "Food Market" program.

In order to raise funds for the startup of the "Food Market" program, they promoted the partnership with the congregation, assisted in writing grant requests and formed a subcommittee to manage the partnership with Lefler Middle School and the Food Bank of Lincoln.

By the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, enough funds were raised to start the "Food Market" at Lefler Middle School. The Homestead Presbytery (Congregational & Leadership Development) provided a $500 "seed" grant that played an important role in getting this project started. Although the total budget was $20,000 for the school year, each dollar played an important part in delivering the food to these students. In addition, they requested and received grants from local businesses and a generous donation from a Trust Fund at Eastridge.

The first year of the Food Market has been deemed a SUCCESS and is on track to continue in the 2018-19 school year. Here are some impressive statistics from the 2017-18 school year that just ended.


* food was provided to 1,717 students (average of 190 students /month) with a cumulative total of 8,102 family members (average of 900/month)
* Food Bank of Lincoln delivered 28,477 lbs total, including 8,291 lbs of produce.
* Eastridge Church provided 65 volunteer hours assisting with distribution of food to the students

The partnership with Lefler has been much more that providing food to needy students and their families. It has led to other opportunities for the students to interact with Eastridge in the way of School CLUB activities at the church Food Pantry, further participation from Eastridge Outreach supporting school needs and even more future possibilities.
Eastridge volunteers shared a comment heard recently from one of the students receiving food "Oh, now my parents will have some extra money to pay off some debts because they didn't have to buy us food" .

GOD provides for the needy in such wonderful ways. Little did we know what our journey was going to look like when we started.

 Join in the Celebration of Retirement!
Heritage's Rev. Raymond Meester is retiring! Join in the celebration following services on Sunday, June 3rd in Fellowship Hall at Heritage Presbyterian Church!

Keep Thinking...

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the  mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult

Psalm 46:1-3
2018-2019 Planning Calendars
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Good Reads

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When do you learn that "normal" doesn't include lots of yelling, lots of sleeping, lots of beating? In  Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family, and Church , Sarah Griffith Lund looks back at her father's battle with bipolar disorder, and the helpless sense of déjà vu as her brother and cousin endure mental illness, as well. With a small group study guide and "Ten Steps for Developing a Mental Health Ministry in Your Congregation,"  Blessed Are the Crazy  is more than memoir-it's a resource for churches and other faith-based groups to provide healing and comfort. Part of The Young Clergy Women Project.
Presbyterian Women at the General Assembly
from May-July PW Quarterly Newsletter

The PC(USA)'s 223d General Assembly will meet June 16-23 in St. Louis, Missouri, and Presbyterian Women will be there. PW will have an exhibit in the exhibit hall, which will be staffed by PW staff and volunteers from the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery. If you will be at GA and would like to volunteer in the booth, please contact PW marketing associate Carissa Herold, carissa.herold, for information.

For the first time, PW will be present at GA as a corresponding member to the assembly. Carol Winker will be the first national PW moderator to serve in this role. Corresponding members have voice but not vote. Commissioners voted PW's membership during the 222nd GA in 2016, along with placement in the Organization for Mission, the manual of administrative operations for the General Assembly, as a related corporation.

During this assembly, the Institutional Relationship Agreement between Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc., and the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the PC(USA) will be renewed. This agreement, originally known as a covenant, is renewed every four years. The covenant outlines how PW and the Presbyterian Mission Agency partner in the ministry and mission of the church. The covenant will be discussed in GA Committee 10, the Mission Coordination Committee, of the assembly.

PW will also pay close attention to the work of GA Committee 4, the Way Forward Committee. This committee will consider the recommendations of the Way Forward Commission, a group created by the 2016 General Assembly to review the structure of the PC(USA). Along with the All Agency Review Committee, a group assigned to periodically review the six agencies of the PC(USA),* the Way Forward Committee is recommending that the corporate functions of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) be moved to a new corporate board specifically designed to manage corporate matters for the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) and the Office of the General Assembly (OGA). Historically, corporate functions for PMA and OGA have been a responsibility of PMAB and its predecessor councils. According to Way Forward and All Agency, this change will allow PMAB to focus on mission and provide for a better corporate decision-making balance between OGA and PMA.

PW sits with voice and vote on PMAB. With corporate func-tions currently in PMAB, PW has voice and vote in these matters. PMAB's corporate work includes shared services-those services provided by PMAB that are used by other entities and agencies at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville (legal services, human re-sources, IT, finance and accounting, and so on). PW is the second largest user of shared services, and has benefitted from voice and vote in corporate decisions. In the original recommendation from Way Forward and All Agency, PW was not given a seat on the proposed new corporate board. After many conversations and debates related to board seats, this recommendation is now altered to include PW.

What can you do? Here are some action steps:

* Pray for the commissioners to General Assembly.
* Be aware of congregation, presbytery, synod and national policies and actions-ask who is making decisions and what the impact on women will be.
* Log on to PC-Biz, the General Assembly web page that lists all of the business coming to GA. Pay attention to business that impacts women (For example, social justice issues are in Com-mittee 11, where the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns has a resolution on sexual misconduct and one on
* Watch for Presbyterian News Service ( and Presbyterian Outlook ( ) articles about is-sues coming before the Assembly. You can subscribe to PNS news feeds that will come to your email account.
* Watch for e-blasts from national PW in your email. If you do not subscribe to PW email information, contact Patricia Longfellow at
* Talk to commissioners in your presbytery and synod about actions coming before GA and tell them your concerns.
* Sign up for the GA223 newspaper at
Photos from Eastridge's "Food Market"