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

Peace Prize Awarded to George Herrick

George Herrick

Since 1941, the Capital Area Council of Churches, as it is now known, has been building bridges of understanding, respect, and cooperation, focusing on issues such as racism, housing and hunger. For almost 78 years, the organization remains committed to breaking down barriers between local communities of faith and the communities in which we live, work, and serve. In 1966, CCAC worked with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and the Jewish Federation to found the Interfaith Center for UAlbany students.

On October 10, during its annual Awards Celebration, "Building Bridges," George Herrick was awarded the prestigious James and Pearl Campbell Peace and Justice Award. A life-long member of the First United Methodist Church, Veteran, and retired teacher, George continues to demonstrate what service is all about. He remains active in the Upper New York Annual Conference and serves as a lay servant in our church. He is widely respected and admired because of his dedication and humility. His involvement in the Kairos Prison Ministry at Coxsackie and Greene Correctional Facilities spans nearly 20 years. George’s efforts led to our church becoming a reconciling congregation several years ago. He has worked tirelessly for the acceptance and participation of members of the LGBT community. As editor-in-chief of our church newsletter "The Bell", George makes sure that the news gets out to our church family and friends every month. Few realize what a daunting task that is!

We congratulate George and extend our gratitude for a life of being the hands, the feet and the compassionate heart of Christ.

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.

Walkers from FUMC, Reformed and Luthern Churces of Castleton



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.