Here’s a glimpse of the work of our Dominican Republic Mission Team who spent a week this summer building relationships with a partner congregation.
Here’s an update from David Chavez, Music & Worship Minister, and our Abiding Presence Mission Team serving in the Dominican Republic this week:
We arrived on schedule on Saturday and were delighted to see JC, our mission team leader, and Eliezer, his colleague and a second translator, at the airport. Both JC and Eliezer worked with our team last year, so it was like being greeted by old friends.
Pastor Mede met us at the hotel and shared eloquent greetings for us and our entire church. Every time he speaks about us, whether to us directly, to kids and adults at the bateys (company housing/mini-villages for sugarcane workers), or to the mission trip staff, he expresses appreciation for us leaving our families and homes and spending the time and money to embody the love of God. He talks about how the people we often encounter, many of whom are poor Haitian immigrants, may feel forgotten or may not always directly see the love of God embodied. Pastor Mede also expressed that unlike some other well-intentioned mission groups, the Abiding Presence team is offers actual practical help to him with our donations, presence, work and skillsets.
We twice visited Batey 28, which it turns out is pretty near the batey we have visited previous years. On the second day, we spent the morning doing sports ministry with the children and youth in the batey. Wow, that sun is powerful and hot! In the afternoon, we led a Vacation Bible School program, partially in the mud, but everyone had an amazing time.
During Vacation Bible School, we shared about how God cares for each one of us. We performed a couple puppet skits about God's love for everyone and God hearing our prayers, and everyone made a "God’s eye" craft, which were meant to remind the kids that God is always with them. We told the Bible story of Jesus calming the storm and taught that we do not have to be afraid since God is always with us.
Everyone worked hard, adjusted, improvised, adjusted again with changes in schedule and location and resources, which is often how it goes on a mission trip. Craig, Breanna and I played live music and many of the kids got interested in my small "piano" (the little melodica which you play with air like a harmonica except with small piano keys). I taught some of them a bit of how to play Amazing Grace using only the black keys. A few of the older boys (probably middle teenage years) shared with us a very cool rap song they had written about going to church on Sunday and following/trusting God "cien por ciento!" which means, "One hundred percent!". The next two days were filled with construction at the new church site, and music ministry, and more than I can possibly fill in here!
Though many of the socioeconomic problems persist in Batey 28, they have a major and striking difference from Batey Bermejo. In this batey they have permanent running water at a central location, which is carried by pipes put in by the company, and purified with filters put in by Pastor Mede's church. It was amazing to see the difference that it made in the community to have this basic need met.
Our 2019 Mission Team will be on the ground in the Dominican Republic June 15-21. Together, we will hold in our prayers the eleven travelers who are going to serve on behalf of us all.
The picture is of the church building being built by Luz Divina. Three summers ago, our Mission Team worked on the foundation of the building. Next week they will work to continue raising the structure.
Stay tuned for updates!
Cans of Fruit (14.5 oz. - 20 oz.)
Thank you so much for the generous support of our service ministries thus far!
During this season of Lent, we are “Abiding in Burke” as we continue to support and learn about our local service ministry partners. Each week we will collect a different item as a “work of love,” one of the disciplines of Lent. This weekend we will be collecting cans of fruit (14.5 - 20 oz. size) in the narthex to support the Abiding Presence Food Pantry & Neighborhood Food Pantry. One of our church members who is active with our food pantry ministries will be with us at the Abiding Table on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. to share a bit about their ministry, how we are currently engaged in supporting it and how you can get involved.
Coins (Noisy Offering)
During this season of Lent we are “Abiding in Burke” as we seek to support and learn about our local service ministry partners. Each week we will collect a different item as a “work of love,” one of the disciplines of Lent. This weekend we will be collecting coins during noisy offering to support the Shepherd’s Center of Fairfax-Burke. One of our church members who is active with the Shepherd’s Center will be with us at the Abiding Table on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. to share a bit about their ministry, how we are currently engaged in supporting it and how you can get involved.
God calls each and every one of us to serve. We are called to be Christ’s hands, feet and voice in the world today. Regardless of your age, ability or experience, God is calling and equipping you for service.
Here at Abiding Presence, our vision is for every person in our faith family to be engaged in some form of service both in the church and out in the world. This year as part of our “Making Firm the Foundation” vision, we want to help ensure everyone is equipped to listen to God’s call. Further, we want to raise up service opportunities so that people can get connected. In order to do this and track our progress toward every member serving, we will be distributing a “Time and Talent Survey” to all adults and youth in 7th-12th grade. Elementary and preschool kids will have the opportunity to fill out a special form just for them in worship this weekend. We hope to have the surveys returned prior to worship the weekend of March 2/3 so we can celebrate our faith families’ commitments to service for this coming year.
If you have any questions or would like the opportunity to talk further about listening to God’s call and/or service opportunities, please contact Pastor Keseley, Pastor Eickstat or any member of the church staff. All of us would love to talk with you and/or help get you connected with lay leaders in our congregation.
Abiding Presence is here to support those in our community in need of food assistance. We host a monthly “Neighborhood Pantry” in the community room at local apartment complex as well as a food pantry on the 4th Saturday of the month at Abiding Presence. If you or someone you know is in immediate need of food assistance, please call the church office at 703-455-7500.
We welcome donations of non-perishable food items from the congregation and community. They can be dropped off at the church at anytime during the week or left outside the main entrance.
During the month of February we will be stocking the ECHO food pantry with the goal of one ton of food donated by the congregation and community.
This Sunday (rain or shine), November 18 2:00 p.m.
Fairfax Presbyterian Church
The CROP Walk is a way to join with other faith community in Burke/Fairfax to walk to stomp out hunger. The walk is held rain or shine and is a 3 mile slow walk loop through the city of Fairfax. The walk begins at Fairfax Presbyterian Church. Walkers can register at Abiding Presence before/after worship.
Each year Abiding Presence provides ECHO Thanksgiving Baskets for families in need in our community. Please bring the following basket items to worship with you this weekend. Baskets will start to be assembled following the 11:00 a.m. worship service on Sunday.
$25 Grocery Gift Cards
Stuffing mix, readymade
Gravy mix packets or jars/cans of gravy
Boxed potato mixes
1 box or package of rice
4 cans vegetables (or 2 large cans)
Bread or muffin mixes
Dessert mix (cake/frosting, brownies, puddings, etc.)
Disposable roasting pan
According to Fairfax County Schools, approximately 28 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price meals. That’s more than 1 in 4 students in our area whose families struggle to buy enough nutritious food to feed everyone. Members of food insecure families worry about running out of food in their cupboards before their next paycheck and some even resort to eating less so that everyone in the family can be fed.
How are we called to respond? Well, Jesus commands us to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” so if I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from, shouldn’t I help my neighbor to do the same? Jesus repeatedly responds to the hunger of the crowds with abundance, multiplying the loaves and fishes so that all are filled with food left over. And every Sunday, we gather at the Lord’s Table, where all are fed, no matter their income or status.
So at Abiding Presence, we follow Christ in serving our neighbor through many food ministries, including the Children’s Weekend Meal Program, in which we deliver packages of food and snacks to a local elementary school. There they are distributed to children who receive free and reduced meals at school during the week, so that they do not go hungry over the weekend.
However, during the summer, these children are receiving neither school meals nor these bags of food. So, in partnership with the PTA and school, we started a monthly “pop-up” food pantry this summer at the school. Although we have a food pantry at the church, we realize that some may not have the time or transportation to make it to Abiding Presence so instead of asking them to come to us, we are going out to meet them at a location that is within walking distance and in their neighborhood. Jesus didn’t wait in the synagogue for people to come to him but instead, he traveled and went out to meet people wherever they were: in their homes, at the village well, around their dinner tables. As His disciples, we are called to do the same.
So I invite you to be part of making a difference and serving our neighbor through our food ministries. Help make our pop-up food pantry possible this month! We’ll meet at 8:30 am at Abiding Presence to load food and tables and then we'll head to the local elementary school, where we'll setup shop from 10-11:30 am. Let Pastor Heidi know if you can make it for all or part of the morning, donuts and coffee will be provided! Together, we can serve and love our neighbors, being the church in the world and extending Jesus’ table to all.
While the majority of our old sanctuary chairs found a second life at a Christian church in Maryland, about 30 of them found their second life at ECHO. ECHO is one of our community partners who supports people in need in the immediate Burke and Springfield area.
Recently, ECHO lifted up the need of children's shoes, especially for older children. If you have new or gently used shoes to donate, please bring them to church and drop them in the ECHO bin under the coat rack.
If you're looking for an opportunity to volunteer this summer as a teen or adult, consider signing up for one of ECHO's backpack packing sessions to help them get ready to distribute backpacks with school supplies to local school children.
We're grateful to have such a strong community partner with whom we can serve our community!
Monday, June 4 from 3:00-7:30 p.m.
One of Abiding Presence's longtime service ministries has been a partnership with the American Red Cross. We host six blood drives a year. Members of the congregation support the blood drives by volunteering at the check in table. If you would like to get involved in our blood drive ministry, please contact the church office to get connected to the blood drive coordinator.
Blood donors are always needed. Please call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter "AbidingVA" to schedule an appointment. Eligibility Questions? Call 1-866-236-3276.
You can help us share the word in the community by sharing our Facebook event.
Plan for approximately 1 hour. Eat and drink plenty of fluids prior to your donation.
One of the ways that Abiding Presence is about living out Jesus' commandment to "love our neighbors" is to support refugees who are resettling in our community by partnering with Lutheran Social Services. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, we remember that supporting refugees is part of our congregation's history. Abiding Presence helped to resettle a Polish family back in the early days of our congregation's existence. For the past few years, a group has been meeting to pray, discern and plan how Abiding Presence might support refugee resettlement once again.
Those who are interested in working with refugees are encouraged to attend an information and training session [postponed - new date TBD] at Abiding Presence with the Abiding Presence Refugee Ministry Team. Learn how you can make a big difference in some seemingly small ways in the lives of refugees, helping them rebuild their lives and adjust to their new surroundings. The session will be held by Lutheran Social Services and is required for our refugee ministry volunteers. Contact the church office with questions or for more information. Come be a part of serving God and walking with our neighbors, following in the way of Jesus in our community!
2,000 lbs (1 ton)
Current: 1,388 lb
February is Abiding Presence's month to stock the Ecumenical Community Helping Others (ECHO) food pantry. ECHO serves families in the Burke and Springfield Community who are in need of instance. Faith communities in the area take turns each month stocking the food pantry. Our goal is to collect 1 ton of food that will go directly to our neighbors in need through ECHO's ministry. Food can be dropped off anytime the church is open. While all non-perishable food items are accepted, current special needs include:
Individual Juice/Milk Boxes
8 oz. Tomato Sauce
Flour (2 Lbs preferred)
Juice (Large Bottles/Cans)
Personal Care Items
Adult and Children OTC Pain Medicine