Bulletin Insert, June 26, 2016. Ascension Sunday Soup Ministry

Brothers and Sisters in Christ-

After 6 months’ experience with providing Sunday Soup, and noting both dwindling attendance, and a fading out of volunteers to prepare soups, serve and clean up, Father Fay called a meeting on Sunday June 19th of all those interested, to determine our next step. This is a summary of the discussion held at that meeting and direction taken as a result. 
Fr Fay opened the discussion by explaining the reason for the meeting:  “We have served 545 bowls of soup with 184 take-out cups of soup since we began on All Saints Sunday, 2015. Taking the 33 Sundays thus far, that is an average of 16 bowls and 6 take-out cups each Sunday.  However, if the goal of our ministry was feeding the poor as well as establishing community, I am not sure that goal was met. The number of homeless, transient and needy each Sunday varied from two to perhaps eight. Most of the bowls were consumed by our volunteers which included parishioners and various youth groups. In addition, around twenty-five members of Ascension actively participated. While this is an excellent percentage for any ministry, considering our small size, it meant at least four or five people involved in the cooking of soup and bread, the set-up and clean-up, every week – even when we had large youth groups supporting us. Over the last few weeks, the number of people wanting soup has diminished substantially.”

Points discussed-
 -If we are going to do a meal program – should it be hot soup in the summer?

-Should we open this discussion and invite all members of the congregation to suggest ideas for community outreach and giving; then collect these ideas and have the members of the congregation determine how the church can help the community?

-Any discussion of putting together a ministry should consider the size and age/capability of our congregation.  (the “thinning” bench). Is there an existing program we could help support?
-Should we reinstate Sunday Soup during the winter months, and add an hour or two for people to use the undercroft as a safe, comfortable space for Sunday afternoon (football on TV) concluding with the soup supper. Considering our volunteer status, maybe we should do this once or twice a month rather than every Sunday.

Father Fay and the Vestry will soon (Goal is July 3) begin a program for receiving and sharing information, using sticky notes, about our outreach and stewardship. Please pray and carefully consider the above points, and contribute to the discussion.

Here is how it will work:
Over the next four months, the Vestry will ask you to answer three questions:
!. What do you believe are the needs of the greater Salida community?
2. How can Ascension Church help meet these needs?
3. What would YOU do to support these ministries?

The first question’s answers should begin Sunday, July 3.  Please write your ideas on a yellow post-it note (in the main church narthex) and stick them on the board provided. Of course, you may place as many sticky notes as you have ideas. No idea is too silly or too impossible You can sign them or not. Remember, the answer to “How?” is “Yes.”
We will collect all of the post-it notes after services on Sunday, August 7. On August 14, the Vestry will collate the data, noting the needs identified, identify those needs already being met in the greater Salida community (and by whom), and issue a report to the congregation on Sunday, August 21 for the beginning of the next phase of our outreach identification process.
From August 21 until October 2 we will ask you to answer the second two questions: How can Ascension Church help meet these needs. And What would YOU do to support these ministries?
The answers and your input will help us begin our fall stewardship program and work the new ministries into budget and outreach.
We believe that living a Christian life means giving God more than one hour per week. Help us carefully consider and come up with a realistic plan to reach outside our doors and ourselves to assist God’s people who are in need.

Ascension Church supports several organizations and community activities.

    Episcopal Relief and Development

    United Thank Offering

    Community Thanksgiving Dinner

    Community Christmas Dinner

    Colorado Haiti Project

    The Grainery

    Buena Vista Prison Ministry

    Caring & Sharing

    Neighbor To Neighbor

    Global Mission Supporting School Children

    Rector’s Discretionary Fund (food, gas and lodging for the needy)

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