Blessings come in all forms. One such blessing came as a gift from my sister-in-law, Nancy, who shared The Blessing of a Ginkgo Tree, a collection of devotions by the clergy of her church, Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As I read the devotions, one hit close to home.
It began with a word that I could not even pronounce let alone recognize: splangchnizomai. Rev. Henry H. “Chip” Edens, III explains in his devotion that splangchnizomai is in fact a Greek word which appears several places in the bible. It means “to be moved by compassion” but Chip goes further to say that splangchnizomai is more than just feeling an emotion. It is the experience of being moved by compassion into action. I had to smile while reading this since splangchnizomai describes each volunteer and supporter of the Presbyterian Community Center.
Recently a newcomer to the Valley brought some clothes to the Center that her husband no longer needed. A pair of leather soled shoes was included in the gently worn dress clothes. The recipient of these shoes, who had never owned such a nice pair of shoes, was thrilled.
On any day the shelves of the food pantry may appear stocked for the week but after a continual stream of clients the shelves are quickly depleted. This happened mid-summer when, by Tuesday, the interviewers were asking clients to return later in the day once a food delivery was processed. The Hunger Buster delivery from Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church was manna from heaven that day. The bags were stocked with just what the shelves needed and the final count was 203 grocery bags full of food - exceeding the congregation’s goal thanks to Pastor B. Failes’ weekly encouragement. Later in the week the Hunger Buster bags from Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church and Second Presbyterian Church vacation bible school were also delivered. The shelves were full again…stocked by ongoing acts of compassion.
Pastor John Hayden from Access Church took immediate action when he saw Roman Keller, Elementary Coordinator, at Fallon Park with kids from Pathways’ summer program. Roman came back to the Center with fifteen book bags full of school supplies. First Presbyterian Church provided the remaining book bags which allowed each student to receive a packed book bag when registering for the 2012 – 2013 school year at Pathways.
Whether it is a small act of donating clothes, a youth group service day at the Center, making Hunger Buster deliveries, signing up for a volunteer shift with Emergency Services or Pathways, sending a financial contribution for Emergency Services or supporting the Pathways for Youth program, the PCC staff and clients are blessed with a community that not only cares but takes action.
Splangchnizomai. The Greek pronunciation is something like: splawnk-NITZ-oh-my. If you can’t remember how to pronounce this word…don’t worry…you won’t need to pronounce it to put it into action.
by Cheryl Poe, Director of Volunteer Services