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VALLEY OUTREACH
Volunteers from our community help clients shop at the Food Shelf four weeks during the year.  In 2016 we had 38 volunteers serve 206.2 hours at the Food Shelf.  We deliver food monthly from donations given by out congregation along with clothes for the Closet.  In 2016 our congregation gave monetary donations totaling $5,548.06 and 1,153 pounds of food items.  In March 2017 we participated in the Annual March Food Drive and contributed 985 pounds of food and other non-perishable products and $1515.  We also participate in their annual “Undie Sunday” collection and in 2016 we collected 368 pairs of socks and underwear.

 

MISSIONS THROUGH OUR QUILTERS
Our quilters meet at the church on the first Thursday of each month.  In 2016 they made 80 quilts of various sizes – youth, crib, lap quilts, and 60 x 80 size – They also meet once each year at Our Savior’s Lutheran in Stillwater as a Synod project for missions.  With the quilts that our quilters made plus some made at the quilting day at Our Savior’s, our quilters donated 120 quilts in 2016.  These quilts went to:  19 to Tanzania; 15 to our local Young Lives; 2 to a Slovakia Orphanage; 22 to our High School graduates; 12 to Simpson House; 1 for a Relay for Life auction; 2 for a Sweet Adeline raffle; 4 to the new homeowners for our 2016 Mississippi Habitat Build; 21 to Rainbow Child Development; 2 to the Hospice program; 5 in our Baptism Faith Chests; 11 as gifts to people in need; 2 to Joseph’s Coats; and 6 were sold at our Holiday Bake sale and the proceeds from those is used to by batting and other needed quilting supplies.

 

MISSIONS THROUGH OUR PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY (YARNSTERS)
Our “Yarnsters” Prayer Shawl knitters and crocheters meet monthly as a group but also work on project on their own at home during the year.  They knit and crochet prayer shawls, lap robes, cancer caps, newborn baby hats, slippers, mittens, scarves, prayer squares, crosses, baby sweaters and water filter covers.  The items they donated in 2016 included:  881 chemo hats to the oncology department at Lakeview Hospital; 85 baby hats to Lakeview Hospital; 21 water filter covers to Little Sisters of the Poor; 23 prayer shawls, lap robes, prayer squares and/or crosses to shut-ins, surgery patients, etc.; 3 baby afghans to Young Life for their fund raiser; 17 pair of slippers to Dawn’s Closet at Valley Outreach; hats for each family member of our Rainbow Child Development sponsored family members; and numerous hats, mittens and scarves to the Rainbow Child Care Center for children that did not have winter wear. 

 

SIMPSON HOUSE
We typically prepare and serve Sunday supper at the Simpson House two times each year.  Simpson House is located in Minneapolis and is a homeless shelter.  We also collect towels, blankets, personal care items, and clothing for those at the Simpson House. 

Simpson Housing Services began as an emergency overnight shelter in the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church in 1982. Simpson has since become a leading nonprofit providing assistance to people experiencing homelessness. In response to unmet community needs, our programs have grown to include emergency shelter, single adult supportive housing, and family supportive housing. We work across the metro area, partnering with landlords and developers to find affordable housing for all families and individuals. At any given time, we provide supportive services to 100 individuals and 200 families with over 400 children

 

HOPE FOR THE JOURNEY HOME
We share a week in February and again in September with First United Methodist Church in Stillwater to staff this shelter in Oakdale.  St. Andrews and Guardian Angels churches oversee this shelter.  The shelter is for families who are in need of help.  Most of them have jobs and are going to school.  The children all go to school or daycare.  Our weeks involve three shifts:  the gathering in the afternoon, meal serving in the evening, and an overnight shift.  In 2016 we had 16 volunteers who covered 27 shifts for a total of 200 hours.  They served 30 families which included 42 adults and 67 children.

 

JOSEPH’S COAT
We have an on-going collection of clothing and smaller household items that are donated to their facilities in St. Paul.  One of our members is a volunteer at Joseph’s Coat and delivers our donated items when she goes there for her volunteer shifts.

Since 1989, Joseph's Coat has been serving our neediest neighbors in Saint Paul, Minnesota and the surrounding Twin Cities communities.  The free store provides clothing, household items, personal hygiene products, and children’s items.  Over one thousand individuals are served each week through the dedicated efforts of our wonderful volunteers.

 

RAINBOW CHILD DEVELOPMENT
At Christmas time we sponsor families with gifts from members of our congregation.  In 2016 we sponsored five families.  Each family give us a list of what they could use and then members of our congregation sign up to provide items on the list.  Gift requests have included items like laundry soap, personal care products, pillows, bedding and basic clothing items like winter coats, hats, mittens, and boots, and small household items.  We collect the donated items, wrap them and deliver them to the Rainbow Child Development facility.  Each family also receives a “Fare For All” food box of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

 

SHOBI’S FOOD TABLE (A project through the Saint Paul Area Synod)

We provide monetary support for this mission.  The mission of Shobi’s Table is to provide food, friendship, faith and employment skills to the homeless and near homeless people of St. Paul.

A food truck is the site of food distribution, with program participants serving as the volunteers who cook and serve the food. The program draws a large group of people together who are forming community with each other and finding the resources they need to move toward self-sufficiency.

Shobi’s Table is much more than a food truck that provides food to the homeless. The program is designed to draw the homeless into meaningful volunteer work and to help them build community with each other and volunteers. In addition, participants are assessed and connected to community resources that they need. As a result, participants gain skills, relationships and resources that help them move toward greater stability in their lives.

Currently, food is prepared on Wednesdays and served on Thursdays at one location on the East Side of St. Paul near Payne and Maryland Avenues. About 75 to 100 people are served meals every week

 

LAKE WAPOGASST LUTHERAN BIBLE CAMP
St. Paul Lutheran is a member congregation of Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bile Camp in Amery, Wisconsin.  Our youth attend Summer Bible Camp there.  Confirmation retreats are often held there.  We have had staff retreats there.  Our Seniors take a yearly outing to the Christmas Dinner Theater.  We support the camp and their mission with our participation and with monetary donations. 

 

COMMUNITY THREAD
We help support their programs for seniors through monetary donations each year.  We also have volunteers that help there, we publish their programs and events and encourage our members to participate in them.

Community Thread’s vision is a community where all people are engaged, enriched and connected. We leverage resources and volunteers to improve the quality of life for adults and their families in our local community. We do this by providing services aimed at older adults, particularly those who desire to age in place, as well as advocating for and supporting volunteers throughout the St. Croix Valley region. Our name symbolizes our belief that each act of service is a thread that ties people, communities and lives together.

 

ST. CROIX CHAPLAINCY
We help support the work of our local chaplaincy program through monetary donations each year.

St. Croix Chaplaincy Services is a cooperative ministry supported by participating churches of the St. Croix Valley and Lakeview Hospital.  They provide support groups for the community; workshops and seminars for Chaplaincy volunteers; spiritual/emotional support and care to Lakeview Hospital patients and families; offer consultation and support regarding end of life and other ethical concers via the Community Ethics Committee; provide spiritual and emotional emergency crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; are an integral member of the patient care team and offer consultation and support to staff, provide worship events such as memorial services as needed; facilitate the Critical Incident Stress Management protocol during and following a traumatic event; and provide a chapel at the hospital for worship, prayer and meditation for people of all spiritual traditions and faith communities, as well as other services.

 

Thank you to our members for their support and donations to help make these mission and outreach projects possible.  Thank you, also to Thrivent for their support through their Action Team programs that have helped to provide monetary support for these projects. 

 LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Each year before Christmas, our Sunday School students and congregation members pull together to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children around the world that would not otherwise have the joy of receiving a gift at Christmas.  Some families/individuals fill shoeboxes on their own as a special project.  Others donate items that are put together with other donations and used to fill the shoeboxes – the Sunday School students, and whoever else wants to join the, have one Sunday where they put together an assembly line of donated items and fill as many boxes as they have things to work with.  In 2016 we shipped off 152 Christmas shoeboxes and they went to children in Libya, Madagascar, Ecuador, and Peru.

 

SAMARITAN’S PURSE SCHOOL KITS AND PERSONAL CARE KITS
For many years our Sunday School students and congregation members have partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to put together School Kits for students around the world that would otherwise not have the necessary supplies needed to start their school year.  We have also put together Personal Care Kits for people around the world that do not have the necessary items for general hygiene.  In 2016 our congregation collected donations and assembled 152 School Kits and 33 Personal Care Kits that were delivered to Samaritan’s Purse for distribution. 

 

MGAMA PARISH IN TANZANIA
Our congregation has a sponsor congregation in Tanzania – Mgama Parish.  Since we began our partnership with them, we have supported our parish with monetary gifts which have assisted them to improve their buildings, plant better seeds, sue fertilizers, develop sources for fresh water, plant tree seedlings and to participate in a small loan program.  In the spirit of the Bega Kwa Bega program, they assist these people with all the help they need to become successful in their area.  We also have member donations that help sponsor students to continue their education.  In 2016 donations of $6,656.95 helped students from Mgama Parish continue their education.  We also had seven of our members travel to visit our Mgama Parish and surrounding areas in 2016. 

 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY – MISSISSIPPI
For the past 26 years our congregation has had at least one group each year – some years two groups – that have traveled to Mississippi for a week to build Habitat for Humanity homes.  There is still much to be done there and volunteers are greatly needed.  There will be a trip again this year – exact date to be announced soon – but it will be in October.  This trip is open to anyone, members and non-members, of any age.  If interested, call the church office.

 

MEALS FROM THE HEART
Each fall – usually in November – we participate in “Meals From The Heart”.  In 2016 there were 575 total volunteers that packaged 38,000 Pizza Mac dinners and 142,000 Rice dinners – 79 of these volunteers were from our church.  These meals are distributed both locally in Wisconsin and Minnesota through Ruby’s Pantry, who serves 15,000 families every month, and they also provide about 400,000 Rice Dinner and Pizza Mac meals to Haiti and Africa as well has hurricane disaster areas. 

 

ROBIN’S NEST CHILDRENS HOME IN JAMAICA
In past years we have had groups travel to Jamaica to work for a week at the Children’s Home and care for the children.  We have not had any groups go in the past few years, but we still support their ministry with donations and prayers. 

 

ELCA DISASTER RELIEF
We provide financial support for their programs on a regular basis.  When needed, we do special offerings for disaster victims.

 

GLOBAL HEALTH MINISTRIES
We provide financial support for their mission and outreach programs.

 

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF
In addition to our School Kit and Personal Care Kit projects, we provide other financial support or other mission and outreach programs they provide. 

 

WORLD HUNGER
We provide monetary support for World Hunger program needs for emergency assistance programs and other programs they offer.

 

Thank you to our members for their support and donations to make these mission and outreach projects possible.  Thank you, also to Thrivent for their support through their Action Team programs that have also helped to provide monetary support for these projects. 

Mgama Happenings:

     In 2005 the church council of St Paul Lutheran voted to become a sponsoring companion congregation of a parish in the country of Tanzania, Africa.  We were assigned the parish of Mgama. The members of this parish are mostly farmers who work their fields with the large hoes that everyone of all ages seem to use.  The partnership formed is directed by the Saint Paul Area Synod and is based on the three principles of  Prayers, Presence, and Projects.  Known as Bega Kwa Bega (shoulder to shoulder  as translated from Swahili ) we are one of over 65 sponsoring congregations.

    Our presence has been in 2008 and 2016 when congregation members  traveled the many hours to Tanzania and lived in the community.  We were always warmly welcomed by the singing and dancing of the villagers as our bus entered the village after traveling the rough rocky roads of Tanzania.  If only we could somehow translate the joyful worship they express in their services which last for hours that pass quickly to our own somewhat stoic worship services.

     When visitors from the Saint Paul Synod visited their parishes they soon began to develop ideas of projects that would benefit the people of the Iringa Diocese.  Volunteers may have thought of the projects and provided the beginning funding and training, but they also worked shoulder to shoulder with the parish members so they could eventually be in charge of projects.

     During the time we have been companion sponsors we have supported the following programs to our parish:  Scholarships are given for students to attend the secondary schools which require tuition. Most families are unable to provide that extra funding for schooling without the help of scholarships.  Education of one person is said to help ten others in the family live a healthier improved lifestyle.  A micro finance program which gives small loans to members has been started with joint funding from our congregation and members of the Mgama parish.  The rate of payback for loans is 98%.  Loans are used to purchase fertilizers, seeds, building materials, sewing machines, land, etc.  A four-year program of teaching better growing methods, use of fertilizers and improved seeds as well as better planting methods has given larger crop returns.  Crops not needed can be sold for income to use in other areas such as tuition or building materials. We have three safe water wells in our parish.  Safe water sources lead to healthy living and cut down on the travel time to secure fresh water each day.  The planting of trees was begun to protect land degradation and now it is a source of income for parishes when the trees are harvested for lumber.  As of 2016 over one million seedlings have been raised and planted by parishes in the Iringa Diocese of Tanzania.   We also support the Ilula Hospital and Huruma Orphanage with funds.

       Visitors to Tanzania have witnessed how the Holy Spirit is guiding the companionship.   All who have experienced the warm hospitality of our parish members will always remember their example of how they focus on relationships in their culture while we in the US tend to focus on things.  Being a part of this sponsorship is truly a blessing to the congregation of St. Paul Lutheran as we continue to pray for them and they for us.

SIMPSON HOUSE OUTREACH

       After what seemed like a long cold winter we welcomed the first warm days of spring and anticipated being out and about without heavy clothing.  Picture the life of someone who has had unfortunate situations in their life and they have no warm shelter during those days of winter or anytime where they have the comfort of save shelter.

       Fortunately for a period of 35 years there has been a community group in the Twin Cities dedicated to helping those in need of shelter.  Simpson Housing Services has been active in the community for 35 years to provide services such as meals, temporary and permanent housing, tutoring programs for children, and mentoring programs.  Volunteers are the backbone of this program and in 2016 alone 34,080 hours were given by 3,433 volunteers.

    St. Paul Lutheran members and friends are included in those volunteer hours when we served the evening meal there for two Sunday evenings.  As an outreach project directed by the Social Concerns Committee we provide a complete meal to the shelter guests and staff.  This is an opportunity for families to serve together in an activity of caring for others.  Some food preparation is done ahead of time but most is done when we arrive by 5:00p.m.  After the 7:00 p.m. serving time we finish with dishwashing and kitchen cleanup.  Most times we are back on the road to Stillwater by 8:30p.m.   Our scheduled dates for 2017 are Sunday, June 18, and  Sunday, October 15.  Participation is not limited to members of St. Paul Lutheran.

     A donation of many quilts made by St. Paul Lutheran Quilters, blankets, towels, socks, knitted hats, cleaning supplies, and household items was made to support the phase of Simpson Housing which assists homeless individuals and families moving into permanent living arrangements.

 

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