Christ Church Outreach News: September 22, 2022


Be a Part of God’s Mysterious Ways: Bring Used Bikes to FB4K or Volunteer to Help the Nonprofit Group Collect Bicycles at FireHouses on Saturday, October 1st

Many parishioners will recall hearing from Father Manny about a young man who was going off to college and needed a bike. An offer had fallen through, and his mentors turned to the power of prayer to find one – in less than a week’s time – for little or no cost. As Father Manny said in “Be One Body in Christ, Belonging to Each Other,” his sermon of Aug. 28th: “Sometimes we don’t necessarily believe that God works in mysterious ways. But I want you to believe that God does work in mysterious ways to accomplish his purposes in our lives.”


In the case of Ty’s bike, the mentors followed up their prayers by sending email pleas to Christ Church Outreach Commission members. With the clock ticking, the mysterious ways included intervention by Outreach Chair Patricia Fanning, who had recently donated used bikes to Free Bikes 4 Kidz Maryland (FB4K). Its president and several members sprang into action to choose the right bike for Ty and to make sure a refurbished Trek was tuned and ready for delivery to him and his mentors at St. Luke’s Youth Center (SLYC). See photos.

Now it’s your turn to help the bicycle nonprofit. FB4K’s annual collection day is Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at every fire station in Howard County. No matter how dusty –or rusty – FB4K wants your used child- or adult-sized bikes. As the organization says on its Facebook page, “We take bikes in any condition--even if your bike can't be fixed, we'll take usable parts off of it and correctly recycle the rest.” No helmets, please, unless new in the box.


FB4K will clean and, if necessary, repair donated bicycles at its warehouse in downtown Columbia’s Merriweather District. On Dec. 10, 2022, it will distribute them, along with a new helmet, to children identified by a network of schools, government agencies, and community groups. Since FB4K arrived in Maryland in 2019, it has given away 3,263 bikes.

President Ted Cochran tells Outreach that FB4K needs more volunteers to make it happen this fall. “Want to help us collect bikes on Oct. 1? Want to help move them to our refurbishing center? We can use a hand!” You can come as individuals or as a group. Please sign up to volunteer.


No bicycle knowledge is required. There are tasks for all. Starting in October, work sessions are held Monday-Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. Additional sessions take place as needed on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.



Episcopal Relief & Development Gets Aid for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Fiona has lashed Puerto Rico, as residents cope with flooding and almost total power outages. More than 20 inches of rain caused mudslides, washed away bridges and roads, and left behind untold devastation, according to a Sept. 21 report in The Washington Post.


Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) offers a guide to prayer for hurricane victims. ERD said in a statement that it has made contact with Episcopalian and Anglican partners in Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean. ​​“Our partners are preparing for and assessing the needs in their communities while dealing with continued rain and flooding created by Hurricane Fiona,” said Angel Venegas, ERD Program Officer, US Disaster Program. “We stand ready to assist in the coming days and weeks.”


ERD has set up a hurricane relief fund. On behalf of Christ Church parishioners, members of the Outreach Commission voted this week to contribute $500. This is the latest in a series of disaster-relief donations in 2022, the most recent of which aided flood victims in Pakistan. These are Vestry-approved funds derived from your pledges and contributions. Heartfelt thanks go out to one and all who make this possible.



Christ Church Prison Ministry: Reconnection and Restoration

More than 2 million people are incarcerated in U.S. prisons. Cut off from family and community, they are left to languish in an overcrowded, underfunded, sometimes corrupt system. Some—particularly people of color—are serving unjust convictions.


Matthew 25 tells us Jesus commanded us to visit those in prison, saying, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.” Our baptismal covenant, too, calls us to seek and serve Christ in all people—which includes those imprisoned, for whatever reason.


Christ Church is forming a group to discern our gifts, talents, and passion for serving those in prison. We will hold several meetings over the next few months, via Zoom, to discuss what might be involved: from simple acts of kindness like letter-writing to the possibility of hands-on relational ministry. If you’re interested in participating, please email Deacon Denise.



SAVE THE DATES: January 8-14, 2023 DreamBuilders Trip to Puerto Rico!

Our mission trips to San Juan in 2019 and 2022 were so successful and rewarding that we are heading back for a third trip to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Maria. Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 mph, devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017. FEMA estimated that 53% of all structures on the island were significantly damaged. Now, 5 years later, thousands of families in Puerto Rican are still living in damaged homes or crowded in with family members waiting for the day when their home can be made livable again. We are delighted to work with the SBP Puerto Rico team, who share their professional skills with friendship and fun.


We have reserved great housing in apartments a few blocks from the beach and near restaurants and shops. The average temperature in Puerto Rico in January is between 80-83 degrees. We will be opening registration for this trip soon, but we are limited to only 20 people, so SAVE THE DATES!



Donate Diapers, Baby Care Items for Transport to Columbia Community Care

Starting this fall, Leigh Smith has become our representative and takes parishioners’ donated items to Columbia Community Care (CCC), so that they can be distributed on Saturdays or stored until needed for home deliveries. Information about distribution sites, home deliveries, and how to volunteer in multiple ways can be found on the CCC Group on Facebook.


At Christ Church, members of R.A.G.E and the Outreach Commission ask parishioners to continue supporting the primarily volunteer organization. Please collect diapers, baby wipes, sanitary and personal care items, and adult diapers. Put them in the yellow bin, marked “CCC,” inside the Parish Hall on weekdays when the church office is open or on Sunday.



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.