Programs: Outreach, Education, and Community Events
Outreach at Messiah is guided by the clear injunction Jesus gave us in Matthew 25.
“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Our practice of Outreach is always centered in prayer, scripture and our relationship to one another. After a period of discernment, the Outreach Committee has come to the following guiding principles for outreach at the Church of the Messiah:
We are called to be servant hosts to the neediest and forgotten.
We are called to provide the widest possible opportunities for congregation members to create a community of service.
We are called to draw on the breadth of our time, talent and treasure and to freely share them without expectation of recognition or thanks.
We are called to actively seek out new ways God may be calling us, listen for the voices of the forgotten and respond.
We call upon the presence of the Holy Spirit to help us live out these principles and discern where we may go in the future.
In response, Messiah directly supports outreach activities through financial grants, donations of material goods, volunteer hours and educational activities aimed at raising community awareness about the needs of the underserved. Among the most active programs at Messiah are:
Jayne Brooks Food Pantry – Weekly food distributions provide food for well over 100 households a month. The Pantry also participates in the countywide winter coat distribution.
Third Thursday Lunch – Funds raised by a monthly luncheon are distributed to not-for-profit organizations that provide services in Dutchess County. Lunch attendees are educated about the needs and goals of local agencies.
English as a Second Language – Instruction, support and advocacy are provided for members of the Hispanic community through classes in English, legal education and social events.
Storybook Project – Parents incarcerated in the Dutchess County Jail, with the facilitation of Messiah volunteers, record children’s books onto a CD which is then sent to their children along with the book so the children can hear their parents reading to them.
Linda A. Karr Cuddle Blanket Project – Volunteers sew quilted blankets for the children at risk who attend Camp Ramapo each summer. Over 300 quilts are distributed each year.
Rural and Migrant Ministries – Messiah regularly supports projects on behalf of the children served by Rural and Migrant Ministries (providing school kits, Christmas gifts).
In addition to these ministries, Messiah supports Crop Walk, Dutchess County Coalition for the Homeless, Hudson River Housing, IRIS Refugee Program, Larrynaga Sister, Violet Avenue School and Messiah Connections.
We continue to seek new ways God may be calling us, listening for the voices of the forgotten and finding ways to respond. In addition, we take our responsibilities as community members of Rhinebeck and the Hudson Valley by offering our space and talents to many groups including AA, Al-Anon, Family Movie Night, Rhinebeck Bridge Club, Rhinebeck Chamber Music, Sinterklass, among others.
As a part of our Lenten Education at Messiah, we are offering a program led by Bud Upshaw entitled “Learning to Communicate about our Differences in Civil and Non-Combative Ways.” Bud’s biography is included below and he will be leading 3 consecutive workshops during Lent here at Messiah, on Saturday, March 30th, April 6th, and April 13th at 10:00 am to 12 noon in Donegan Hall. The number of participants is limited to 20 and is on a first come, first served basis. Bud would prefer that people make a commitment to attend each Saturday in the series. We are very pleased to have Bud lead us in this important conversation and we are grateful for the many gifts and skills he brings to this series.
“Bud Upshaw has been custom-designing educational and training programs for business, industry, government, and the professions for over forty years. The primary focus of his professional career has been and continues to be on the art of managing difference and creating collaborative outcomes with others. Bud holds degrees from Vanderbilt (B.A.), Yale (M.Div.), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.), and lives in Rhinebeck with his wife, Martha, and their daughter, Dawn.”
If you are interested in reserving a space in the series, please email or call the parish office. The program is free and we look forward to welcoming Bud to Messiah.
Lenten Sunday Forum Series: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained
This Lent we are offering a series at the 9am Sunday morning forum focusing on images of the Garden of Eden in poetry, based on the text in Genesis. Each Sunday we will discuss poetry which engages the theme of our faith and lives in relationship to the biblical story of the Garden. This Sunday we will begin our study with the story of the Garden of Eden from Genesis. It is not necessary to attend the entire series to participate, come when you can.
Spirituality of Retirement group: “What do I want to do when I grow up?”
At Messiah we have begun a monthly group to look at the impact of retirement on our lives. Many members of our congregation are either newly retired or approaching retirement and the reality of retiring from our life careers often brings up many consequences. While we spend a lot of time planning our financial retirement, the spiritual and identity issues are often not addressed and it is our hope that this monthly get together can explore these concerns. The book for us to begin reading in our retirement group, by Dr. Paul Donoghue titled “Are you really listening” is in. If you would like more information on the group please speak to Fr. Richard or contact the parish office.
Inclusive Language and Gender Equality Study Group
A study group that will meet three or four times during the course of the year to begin a discussion on inclusive language and gender equality. The 2018 General Convention has directed congregations to look at language in an intentional way. We will review resources available to the church and what other congregations and dioceses are doing to make our language more intentional. Our study will begin with an examination of gender and theology, deepening our understanding of how we understand God. If you are interested in being part of this conversation please speak to Fr. Richard or email the parish office.
St. Paul’s study group
A study group has formed to examine by a close textural reading, the letters of St. Paul. We meet on designated Tuesdays at 3pm in Donegan Hall. Check the calendar for the next scheduled class. If you’re interested in joining the study group, you do not need to have attended any previous classes.
To learn more about Messiah’s programs or to get involved, email the Parish Office.