On Saturday, October 22, 2016, The Church of Heavenly Rest celebrated its 2nd annual parish-wide Community Connections Event. Beginning at 9 am and throughout the day until 4 pm, parishioners and community partners worked together to maximize our connection to each other while serving the NYC community.
September 29, 2016
To our Parish Community,
As the calendar turns to fall, our Outreach Ministries continue to grow and provide a broad, varied invitation to congregants to follow the CHR Mission Priority to be a church that “does God’s work outside our doors.” Please consider that invitation and participate in this rewarding work we’re doing together!
Two years ago we embarked on a journey to re-imagine Outreach, building on CHR’s rich tradition of service and leveraging our key resources: the time and diverse talents of our congregation, our contacts in the community, our budgeted financial resources, and the campus we are transforming, including our new kitchen. We continue to be guided by two core questions: what are we called to do and how can we focus our resources to make a meaningful difference? As we answer those questions, we aim to “be with” those we serve, with our programs oriented primarily toward our city neighbors to our north, which aligns well with CHR’s Harlem Initiative.
Our three established ministries are vibrant and offer broad scope for congregant participation. Our Aging Ministry, led by long time congregant Gail Zimmermann, offers engaging programming for Seasoned Sages within our parish and in the wider community. Stay tuned as we plan to launch in the coming weeks a monthly lunch with unique programming, among other initiatives.
Our Meals and Nourishment Ministry will include a new, weekly snack and story time program for Pre-K through 2nd grade with Outreach partner PS30 (led by congregant Laura McVey), plus we continue to build out programming to include job-ready culinary training in our new kitchen (led by congregant Riley McDonough), and preparing and delivering pre-packed, shelf stable meals to the hungry (led by congregant Susan Ward). Our program development is informed by recognizing the conditions of hunger in our city: acute but often episodic hunger, logistical challenges, limited healthy alternatives and a rigid food charity infrastructure. These current programs and others under development focus on the notion of nourishment as more than a physical manifestation of hunger, to include nourishment of the mind and soul.
Our Prison and Reentry Ministry continues to expand under the leadership of congregants Richard Buonomo and Lindsey Counts. Our programming centers primarily on job readiness, family relationships/connections, and “first days out” support, working with Outreach partners such as Circles of Support, Hudson Link and the Harlem Community Justice Center, among others. In the coming months we will once again host a Raising My Voice public speaking course for re-entrants, with congregants as class mentors. Volunteer opportunities within our P&RE ministry are abundant, either as a single activity or as a multi-week time commitment.
2nd Annual Outreach Service Day – Saturday, October 22 – Please join us! Our second annual Community Connections Service Day, led by congregant Tori Gilbert, is around the corner. We’ll meet at church and then disperse into the community for a variety of Outreach activities, consistent with our Ministries. Bring your mobile devices to the Community Connections Service Day and share your experience on social media by using #CHROutreach!
All ages are welcome, and lunch will be provided. Sign up here!
For more details about Outreach and how you can get involved, visit www.heavenlyrest.org/outreach and join in, however the spirit moves you to participate!