FPC CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE PROJECT
At its meeting on April 6th, Session approved the implementation of a coronavirus response project partnering with GoFundMe. This project will seek to provide medical professionals working at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital with food twice a week while they fight the coronavirus crisis. The food will be prepared by local restaurants, thereby stimulating their survival, and will be delivered by them to the Emergency Department, ICU, and Coronavirus floors, our front line in the war with this virus.
We hope to raise $8,000 in contributions, which should provide food for about 75 medical staff per day through the rest of April and May in those areas of the hospital identified. Types of food to be provided include pizzas, subs, breakfast sandwiches, tacos, etc. as requested by the Sentara VBGH coordinator. This project will be coordinated at FPC by Randy DuVall, Director of Missions, and Janet Ellis.
In addition to supporting the medical staff, the fund will support our local restaurants and their beleaguered staffs.
The GoFundMe campaign is partnering with First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach. The church is providing the first $1,000 and will be the recipient and distributor of all contributions.
FIRST CHURCH FOOD PANTRY
Please consider a special gift to the First Church Food Pantry. Our requests for food have increased. A gift of cash or any non-perishable food item (examples: peanut butter, jelly, tuna, rice, hearty soup, beef stew, canned vegetables or fruit, juice, cereal, powdered milk) will enable First Presbyterian Church to continue helping at a time when the need is greater than has ever before experienced. Food items can be placed in the baskets located in the narthex, by the elevator or dropped off at the church office.
First Presbyterian has annually sent an inter-generational summer mission team to the state of Chiapas in México since 2007. There we have worked through Hebron USA with the Tzeltal-speaking indigenous people of the Tzeltal Synod of the National Presbyterian Church of México on a variety of construction projects including the multi-year construction of the new sanctuary in Ch’ixtontic and the construction of Dispensario Tzeltal Manos de Cristo, the medical clinic in Ocosingo, which opened in 2012. We have developed strong relationships with the Presbyterian churches and people with whom we have lived and worked, one of the principal goals of cross-cultural mission trips. In addition, we have participated in four primary care medical mission trips to Manos de Cristo where American health care providers have worked alongside the resident Tzeltal physician treating indigenous people from the surrounding areas. During the last three medical mission trips we partnered with physicians and students from Eastern Virginia Medical School (“EVMS”). In 2018 we also conducted a fundraising campaign that raised over $62,500 for capital needs at Manos de Cristo.
Members and friends who have participated in these trips through the years have experienced the strong Christian faith of indigenous peoples and thereby strengthened their own faith. It is in the Developing World where Christianity currently experiences its greatest growth. The trips have helped spiritually equip church members and friends for service in Virginia Beach and elsewhere closer to home. These trips are a tangible expression of following Jesus’ great commandment to love one’s neighbor as they love themselves.
Randy DuVall, Director of Missions, December 2019
In October, 2018, First Presbyterian sponsored its first mission trip to Cuba through the Cuba Partners Network (“CPN”) of Presbyterian World Missions. We returned in 2019. Members have lived at the Presbyterian Church in San Nicolás, Cuba, a small town located east of La Habana. The groups also had the opportunity to visit the seminary in Matanzas and to visit the city of La Habana. The primary focus of these trips has been relationship building with the faithful Christians of that church whose faith has remained strong despite many years of adversity for the Christian churches in Cuba. We have eaten with, worshiped with and recreated with the members of that congregation, including the youth. We have conducted Vacation Bible School and spent countless hours in one-on-one conversations with church members.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been involved in the life of the Cuban Presbyterian churches since the early 1900s. Under the auspices of CPN, our church is now in a Covenant of Christian Solidarity with the church in San Nicolás, an effort to deepen the spiritual life of both congregations. It is important to understand that this relationship is between Christian people in Cuba and in the United States. Relations between our respective governments remain strained as they have been for many years.
Randy DuVall, Director of Missions, December 2019
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