Locally, Grace offers a wide range of mission activities to express God's love, from weekly sponsoring of a parenting class for families at risk, quarterly "All Hands In" church mission events, to one-time annual events such as preparing Thanksgiving food baskets. Grace is one of the founding churches of ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others), and remains actively engaged through food collection, member participation and funding.
Here are a few of our regular activities in local missions. If you'd like to connect with any of these opportunities, please ">contact Pastor Katie, our pastoral liaison to mission and outreach.
As many Afghan refugees have joined our local neighborhood, Grace has been honored to help set up new apartments for three Afghan families. We continue to walk alongside our new neighbors in friendship and mutual hospitality. Some opportunities to connect include providing rides, helping our friends navigate the joys of American bureaucracy (driver's license tests, English class sign-up, etc.), and simply growing alongside one another. Coordinator: Susan Wilder
The Grace Tutoring Program has been an active part of our life continuously since 1990. The program has helped over 600 children from Crestwood and Garfield Elementary Schools, by developing a caring relationship between students and church volunteers. Each student meets with the same volunteer, who becomes a special friend and homework helper for one hour every Monday evening, from October through May. The program needs tutors and substitute tutors for each school year. Coordinators: Mary Hawkins or Tammy Juba.
This program is a Fairfax County-based initiative focused on building basic family skills. Grace partners with the County by hosting this 12-week program on Thursday evenings. Grace provides dinner and babysitting for the participants. Volunteer facilitators and childcare workers are needed for each session; training is provided for volunteers. For more information about the County's program, check out this video (which features some Grace members as volunteers!). Coordinator: Janet Little.
Several times a year, members meet after church for lunch and a mob-style mission. Wester Hall becomes a production site, with tables set with food for weekend snack packs for Lynbrook School children on lunch assistance, or personal care items for Church World Service hygiene kits. Within an hour, 500-700 kits can be packed and ready for delivery.
The Help the Homeless meet-up group meets on the last Saturday of the month in Wester Hall. We put together backpacks containing a hygiene kit, paper towels, plastic container, mouthwash, a sack lunch, and a Bible. These backpacks are taken to DC and parts of Fairfax County to distribute directly to the homeless. Coordinators: Joe Miller, Dave Retherford, or Dennis Bustillo.
CROP Hunger Walks are community based walks sponsored by Church World Service (CWS). On summer Sundays after church, Grace members bring their garden produce and baked goods for others to enjoy in exchange for a donation to the CROP Table. The proceeds of the CROP Table, along with donations raised by walkers and our mission team, go to support our annual local Burke/Springfield CROP Walk in November. Grace participates not only through financial support but also always sending a good delegation of walkers. The Grace Mission Ministry makes a contribution for each Grace walker who participates. Coordinators: Judy Riekse or Hiede Sowdon.
Every year, Grace prepares and delivers Thanksgiving Baskets to families in the community. Families are recommended by ECHO or by staff and members of the congregation. Volunteers are needed to ensure this holiday ministry is completed the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Coordinator: John Heine.
Tri-Cities Work Camp
Youth are invited to spend one week each summer rebuilding homes and lives in Petersburg, VA. They construct porches and wheelchair ramps, paint walls, and expand their community. At the end of the week, the Grace youth group has gained work skills and new friends plus a greater understanding of people and God's love. Coordinator: Janet Little or Pastor Katie.
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