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Christ Church Outreach News: October 27, 2022


Prepare to Welcome Somos Amigos Executive Director Frank Brightwell this Sunday, Oct. 30th

At last, Somos Amigos Medical Missions Executive Director and CEO Frank Brightwell has been able to resume visits to partners such as Christ Church after a long hiatus due to the pandemic. He will deliver the sermon at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services this Sunday, Oct. 30th, and make a brief cameo appearance during Sunday Circle.


Meanwhile, more volunteers have been able to travel to the Dominican Republic during 2022 than was possible at the height of the pandemic. Volunteers at the clinic held during the second week of October included Christ Church parishioners Dione and Jim Mahoney and former parishioners Mary and Ed Keath (you can see them in the enclosed images; click to enlarge).


It was March 2020 when Brightwell last visited Christ Church, before the Keaths moved to a new home in Oregon and before the coronavirus upended life in the little town of Naranjito and everywhere else around the globe. (See a March 2020 photo in this July 1, 2021 Outreach blog.)

Somos Amigos’ previous healthcare delivery model had depended on volunteer clinicians and other helpers traveling four times a year, collaborating with residents of Naranjito. To sustain a level of care, Somos Amigos has created a local model. This year marks 25 years in the rural, mountainous region, and plans for the future involve expanding the patient base.


In another success, due in part to supporters at Christ Church, Somos Amigos has expanded its insulin program to better care for people with diabetes whose needs had been unmet. The Outreach Commission donated $1,000. in vestry-approved funds to the program earlier this year as part of its support for nonprofit organizations that are local, national, and international.


“Before commencing with our first patients three years ago, we spent a full year investigating and consulting with renowned experts. We could not find a model of insulin delivery to patients in remote communities anywhere else in the world,” Brightwell said. The program provides a schedule of yearly visits (or more frequently, if necessary) with an endocrinologist and with an ophthalmologist to address complications.

During the October clinic, the Mahoneys were able to witness yet another success in which Christ Church played a part. Franci, the boy who needed heart surgery five years ago, has fully recovered and is thriving in middle school.


In 2017, parishioners raised funds to help Franci after he had been diagnosed at age 6 by Somos Amigos doctors with a congenital heart defect. He had to go to Santo Domingo, where he received successful surgery by U.S. physicians and then spent four days in intensive care and two weeks in a children's clinic. As he was undergoing treatment, Checo, his grateful father, and Magaly, who was then his school teacher, watched over him in the big city.


Without surgery, the hole in his heart would have meant continual fatigue, an inability to play with his classmates, and a shorter lifespan.


To learn more about Somos Amigos and what you might experience traveling to Naranjito, feel free to speak to Dione and parishioner Shahra Toth, who regularly volunteer at the clinic when circumstances permit. Parishioners Preethi Jackson and Ellen Hoke have also volunteered.



DreamBuilders Puerto Rico Mission Trip Registration is Open, but only until October 30th!

DreamBuilders is sending a team to Puerto Rico during January 8-14 to repair homes damaged by hurricanes. Some families have been waiting for home repairs since 2017 when Hurricane Maria devastated the island. This year, Hurricane Fiona knocked out their infrastructure again and caused more damage to Puerto Rican homes. This will be our third mission trip, working with SBP-Puerto Rico to help families get back into their homes. Registration is open now through October 30th through the DreamBuilders website: http://www.DreamBuildersmd.org/January-2023-trip-to-puerto-rico/. The $700 volunteer cost covers flights, housing, food, and rental vehicles. We have reserved excellent housing a few blocks from the beach and near restaurants and shops. The average temperature in January is 80-83 degrees. All training, safety instruction/gear, and supervision are provided. If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Gold at heycathy@verizon.net.


DreamBuilders Local Project for the ARC of Howard County: November 12th & 13th

DreamBuilders will be renovating a group home in Columbia, replacing the kitchen floor and upgrading several damaged doorways. We need 10 volunteers each day to complete the work over a single weekend, as the residents will be relocated during the renovation. The workday will be 8:30-4:00 each day, and lunch will be provided. This project is open to youth in seventh grade and older, and adults. No experience is necessary, and all training and supervision will be provided. You can register for this project through the DreamBuilders website: DreamBuildersMD.org. If you have any questions, contact Cathy Gold or Stacey Frith.



Join Us for an Interfaith Vigil for Refugees on November 13th

Christ Church’s Refugee Ministry will host United We Pray: Interfaith Vigil for Refugees on Sunday, November 13th at 7:00 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church. This community service is open to people of all faiths and traditions, as we gather to show our unified support for those around the globe forced to leave their homes due to war, persecution, or disaster. We will pray particularly for our refugee neighbors who live, work, and attend school in our communities. The service, to be held in St. John’s historic church at 9120 Frederick Rd. in Ellicott City, will include readings, prayers, music, and reflections from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Quaker faith traditions.* A light reception will follow in the adjoining All Saints Hall building immediately following the service, with the opportunity for refreshment and fellowship, and the chance to meet some of the refugee families in our area. We welcome all community members to this event, as united we pray for the plight of refugees around the world.

*Sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church, Columbia Jewish Congregation, Dar Al-Taqwa Mosque, Patapsco Friends Meeting (Quakers of Howard County), and Christ Episcopal Church.


Columbia Community Care Seeks Volunteers on Saturdays, Continues to Request Diapers, Personal Care Items

At Christ Church, members of R.A.G.E and the Outreach Commission ask parishioners to continue supporting the all-volunteer organization, Columbia Community Care (CCC). Please look for updates, such as requests for volunteers on Saturday mornings, posted in the CCC Facebook Group or on the “I Can Help” portion of its website. For example, you’ll find a need for volunteers to take grocery items to one of the three distribution sites after pickup at the CCC pantry building, 10750 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. The signup form goes through the end of the year.


Please keep collecting diapers, baby wipes, sanitary and personal care items, and adult diapers. Put any of these in the yellow bin, marked “CCC,” inside the Parish Hall. Drop off items on weekdays when the church office is open or on Sunday. The Christ Church point of contact is Leigh Smith, who monitors the bins and delivers their contents.



FISH Asks Our Prayers Along with Snacks and Cookies

Our representative from FISH of Howard County recently had surgery. Paul Wisniewski is recovering; please pray for his good health. Pickups have resumed from our yellow bin between Old Brick and the Parish Hall. Please continue donating cookies, crackers, and snacks to fulfill the shopping lists. Thanks for your contributions to our neighbors in need.


In general, if you have suggestions about ways to help the community, if you want to get involved, or if you need assistance, please email Christ Church Outreach at outreach@christchurchcolumbia.org. Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.



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