December 31, 2019 Chinese officials were just beginning to report a strange flulike illness that would come to dominate our every waking moment. And so our journey began…

2020 was not a kind year. It preyed on the weak, the sick and the marginalized. It was a year filled with division and upended by chaos. It was a year dominated by staggering loss of life across the globe, yet still filled glimmers of courage compassion and heart.

Faced with a viral enemy that the world had not seen for generations, nations were forced to shut down, shut down stores, doctor’s offices, parks, schools, churches. Forced to live within the confines of our homes we had to create new ways of working, playing and communicating with our friends and families. 

As a church, we have always been determined to be the change we want to see in the world. When the world shut down just days following our Fish and Chips Fundraiser for the Appalachian Mission trip, our resilient mission committee sought to find ways to reach out to our mission partners who would need us more than ever.  We began the year with our 2nd annual celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.   

We were unable to house Interfaith Hospitality Network families into our home in July. We could not make our monthly lunch bags for the House of Mercy Mission to help families stretch those food dollars to the end of the month so we did what we could and sent donations to these organizations. Camp Johnsonburg was another casualty of the pandemic, but we sent virtual camping giftbags to lessen the disappointment in our children who planned to attend.  On October 12th, the Pumpkins arrived, two days late, in the pouring rain!! Thank you to member families and the boy scouts who helped unload. Again, because of covid, we ordered only ½ a tractor trailer instead of our usual full load but we were pleasantly surprised to sell out in just over two weeks with a total of $15000 in sales to support mission. We prepared (but did not serve this year) and delivered a Pre-Thanksgiving meal complete with stuffing and potatoes at House of Mercy Mission. We continued to send bags and bags of warm clothing, blankets, toys, even furniture to the Elizabeth Coalition, and delivered many, many Christmas gifts to deserving children through The Greater Abyssinian Baptist church, House of Mercy, and Elizabeth Coalition. Our Magnet for Mission is going strong. The magnet designates each month as a specific collection.  As an example, February, we collected Peanut Butter and Jelly, always in high demand at the local food pantry. We continued our connection to MEND (Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity) by collecting change for them on Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday. We continued to work with One World/One Love which helps those in refugee detention centers. And we thank those who give generously to One Great Hour of sharing each year.

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