Missions & Social Responsibility Commission for the 21st Century (MSRC)

Change The World Sunday

Change the World Sunday 2018

 Believing that “…God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)   He must have been very pleased on May 20 during our fifth annual Change the World Sunday event.  Again this year, over one-hundred young and young-at-heart shared the love of Jesus Christ with others by participating in eleven projects, some nearby, others outside our own community.   One thing that participants all had in common was a determination to put our faith in action.

Some of us worked in the Goff Garden, planting vegetables that will be delivered this summer to the CoNSERNS-U food pantry in Rensselaer and other local food pantries.  Some worked in our Luke Garden, a neighborhood demonstration project to benefit wildlife, particularly native pollinating insects.  One group visited Veterans at the Veterans Administration Center in Albany bringing cards and forty-two quilts and afghans.  Another group spent time at St. Paul’s Women’s and Children’s Homeless Center in Rensselaer cleaning and organizing.  Ninety-two potted plants were handed out with smiles to residents at Rosewood Rehabilitation Center in East Greenbush.

In Fellowship Hall, creative hands worked on small gifts for residents of Riverside Nursing Home and cards for Veterans.  Knowing that God cares for our four-legged friends too, many of our Youth headed to the Humane Society in Menands to bring donations of food and spend time with cats and dogs.  Our Bell Choir headed to Riverside Nursing Home to share their music with grateful residents.  Resident Helen Gustafson, Organist Emerita of our church was thrilled to see so many familiar faces.

Lunches were prepared for and delivered to Interfaith Partnership, a homeless shelter in Albany which our Youth have had a connection with for several years now.  Time was spent visiting and singing with residents of Hawthorne Ridge, an area senior retirement community in East Greenbush, providing some welcomed fellowship.   Our kitchen crew was busy preparing a delicious meal for all of our volunteers which was served at Noon as we returned from a busy morning.

Thank you to all of our project coordinators for their time and effort planning this event, Pastor Sundar Samuel and our Church Council for their continued support, office and custodial staff, and all those who participated.

We are especially pleased to note that we have an on-going relationship with all of the organizations that were involved in our May 20 event.  When we began five years ago, a concern was expressed and shared by many that we make a commitment to continue to reach out more than just once a year during an event like Change the World.  Please mark your calendars for our next Change the World Sunday to be held on May 19, 2019.

Change The World Sunday, May 2018

Change World Sunday 2018



Matemoko Chenene

Our Missions Ministry Team welcomes its newest scholarship recipient, Matemoko Chenene! Matemoko, 18, attends the Qholaqhoe High School in Lesotho, southern Africa. In a recent letter, she expressed her gratitude to our church for her scholarship. She has a younger brother and sister whom she helps care for. With no transportation available, Matemoko walks to school, leaving home at 6 AM, and returns home at 5:30 PM. She wants to become a nurse “to help people with different sicknesses”. Her favorite subject (one of the least favorite of American students) is English. She loves singing in the school choir. We are happy to be able to provide assistance to Matemoko and ask for your prayers of support for her and her family.

Thapelo Malakoane

Thapelo Malakoane, recent graduate of Qholaqhoe High School was presented with a Bible in his native language of Sotho given to him by members of our Missions Team.  It was hand delivered by Lynn Minderman of Qholaqhoe Mountain Connections (QMC) in April during her visit to Lesotho.  Thapelo was surprised and very thankful for the Bible as well as for the scholarship he received from our church over the past several years.  Thapelo hopes to continue his education and go on to become a doctor someday.  We also wish him the best.

Our church is now supporting eight high school students with scholarships at Quolaqhoe High School.  Lynn was able to get them together during her visit for a group picture.  We look forward to Lynn’s next visit to our church on October 14.  Please be sure to join us for an update

8 students from Quolaqhoe High School


Joseph's House and Shelter

Kevin Connelly and Janet Schmidt volunteering in kitchen at Joseph's House and Shellter

Three or four times a year, our community prepares and serves dinner for Joseph's House and Shelter in Troy. Joseph's House provides a continuum of homeless services to residents of Rensselaer County, including emergency shelter, street outreach, and support services. Ordinarily, dinner is planned for 50 adults and children, but when temperatures drop below freezing, we plan for 90 persons. This is the Code Blue period when the shelter expands its capacity to accommodate street-homeless persons who are brought in out of the cold for overnight stay. Church members pitch in to prepare dinner after the Sunday morning service and serve it on Sunday evening. Rather than deliver the meal to the shelter, we serve the meal ourselves and join residents at the dining table. Our intention is to make a connection with - and see Christ in - those who are experiencing homelessness.




Missionary Mozart Makafui Adevu of Accra, Ghana, West Africa

The missionary we have selected for a special relationship with our church is Mozart Makafui Adevu of Accra, Ghana, West Africa. Contact has been made with him and we have received past newsletters and information about his ministry in agriculture methods, livestock management and disease control. The area in which Missionary Adevu works as regional coordinator includes Sierra Leone, from which our past missionary (now Bishop) Rev. John Yambasu comes. In addition to the specific information about Missionary Adevu’s work, we have had the opportunity to learn about the political and cultural issues in the region.

Missionary Adevu’s ministry is through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). In lieu of a covenant relationship, we have chosen to support him through the UMCOR-Sustainable Agriculture and Development Advance.

If you would like to know more, please ask any member of the Missions and Social Responsibilities Ministry.

Church World Service and the Crop Hunger Walk

Each year, a dozen or more children and adults from our community join the Castleton Crop Hunger Walk, held the third Sunday in October. Walkers solicit pledges prior to the event and then join others from our community and other churches on the 3.2 mile walk through Castleton-on-Hudson. Twenty-five percent of the money that is raised goes to The Anchor Food Pantry. The rest funds Church World Service (CWS) development projects to provide food security, clean water sources and increase the earning potential of women in developing communities.

This year, Adam Smedberg from CWS will address our community following the morning service on September 16th. Prior to CWS, Adam worked with the American Cancer Society coordinating Relay For Life events. Adam is a Western Massachusetts native, having grown up on a farm in Wilbraham, and graduated with a degree in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.  Adam lives in the Springfield area. When he is not working, you can find him serving the community as a Kiwanian or enjoying the Red Sox and the Patriots.

Crop Hunger Walk Ending Hunger One Step at a Time