We ServeAt Northminster, we serve. We seek to share the grace of God that has been overwhelmingly bestowed upon us, and we seek to give witness to our faith by helping others. Our service in our community takes many different shapes as we yearn to reach out to many different people.
Northminster Has Gone to the Dogs!Many in our church family are active in various ways with the Saint Francis Service Dog Foundation — a non-profit organization which trains and places service dogs to assist people with a wide range of disabilities including cerebral palsy, crippling arthritis, and autism. It is not unusual to see a service-dog-in-training attending Sunday worship with her puppy raiser or foster family. (We hope the dog is the only one snoozing during the sermon!) Along with puppy raisers, foster families, and sitters, many in the church support Saint Francis financially and/or help with special events such as the annual spring fundraising dinner and the Dogtoberfest community event every October. Many members attend the graduation program each year for the newest partners, and the ceremony is one of sadness and joy as they leave Saint Francis to help someone in need. Many of the dogs are located in or around Roanoke, so the deep connections forged with them continue. In many ways, Northminster is thankful to be in relationship with Saint Francis Service Dogs.
Recently, WSET-TV reported on a local service dog graduation. Click here for a link to the video.
Or “RAM”, As We Know It!Roanoke Area Ministries is an ecumenical ministry of a number of Roanoke churches. RAM provides support for the homeless and the poor. Emergency financial assistance, help with employment, a day shelter, and a hot meal at noon are available to help those in need and to empower them to transition from dependency to independence. Since 1986, Northminster has provided workers to serve lunches one day a month. In addition, financial assistance is provided to RAM, and members generously donate food and other various necessities.
Presbyterian Community CenterThe Presbyterian Community Center, located in southeast Roanoke, provides economic, educational, and spiritual assistance to families in need. Northminster is deeply involved in the two primary programs used to aid families: Emergency services helps individuals with rent, utilities, prescriptions, heating oil, and the big item—food. To this end, Northminster provides financial assistance, as well as food items through campaigns like Hunger Busters. The second program is Pathways for Youth—an educational program that provides tutoring, homework assistance, cultural opportunities, counseling for young people, and mentoring. Northminster is glad to have been a PCC partner from its inception and is glad to provide support through giving, food campaigns, and the numerous church members who weekly provide administration assistance.
Trying To Do A Good Turn DailyOne of Northminster’s longest relationships has been with Boy Scout Troop 26, for whom Northminster was approved as a sponsor on February 24th, 1944. Med Prichard chartered the Troop shortly before enlisting for World War Two. Troop 26 has always been an active Scouting program with the primary objective of helping a young Scout obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. The Troop attends Camp Powhatan each summer where a Scout can work on merit badges to further his advancement. Some of the merit badges taught at the Camp cannot be taught at the local Troop, such as swimming, archery, and rapelling. Troop 26 has been on many long distance trips, such as a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, where the Scouts were allowed to spend the night aboard the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. Each March, Scouts go skiing in Ghent, West Virginia, which adds to the enjoyment of the Scouting experience. It’s fun to be a Boy Scout, and especially in Troop 26 at Northminster.
Other InvolvementNorthminster is also glad to contribute to several agencies helping with the needs of the less fortunate: Roanoke Rescue Mission, the Pastoral Counseling Center, the City Chaplain, Bethany Hall (an agency aiding women with chemical dependence), the Salvation Army Abused Women’s Shelter, and West End Center (an agency providing after school care).
St. Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation is named after a thirteenth century Italian saint who founded the Franciscan order. Francis gave up his position as the son of a wealthy merchant and instead lived in poverty and simplicity, focusing on spirituality and service. He is attributed with being rather fond of animals, even one time preaching God’s grace and love to birds nesting in a tree. Francis is also attributed with saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” This is wisdom Northminster tries to follow. Whether through service dogs or local mission houses or even the impromptu help of a person in need, Northminster tries to preach the Gospel at all times. And if necessary, we’ll even use words.