Grace Presbyterian Church of Springfield is a mission-driven church whose outreach is directly determined by the congregation. Based on the interests and callings of our members, Grace is actively involved in mission both locally and internationally. We take seriously the apostle Paul's admonishment that together we are the Body of Christ, called to do the Lord's work, loving our neighbors as ourselves. It is the duty of the mission elder and the Mission Committee, as engaged by the congregation, to ensure that mission funds are spent on activities in which members are actively engaged. You are invited to explore the joy of service through the opportunities offered at Grace. Regardless of specific talents or amount of time available, there is an activity for you to engage God's people.
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:
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. Contact JoAnn Holmes 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!). Contact 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. Contact David Retherford, Mission and Service Elder.
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. Contact Joe Miller, Evangelism Elder; David Retherford, Mission and Service Elder; or DennisBustillo.
CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program) is the outgrown acronym, retained by Church World Service (CWS), that represents community, interfaith hunger education and fundraising events. CWS is an ecumenical charity of which PC(USA) is a member. 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 CROP Walk, sponsored by the Burke-Springfield Clergy Group, is held the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Grace Mission Ministry makes a contribution for each Grace walker who participates. For more information, contact Judy Riekse or Hiede Sowden.
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 congrega-tion. Volunteers are needed to ensure this holiday ministry is completed the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Contact John Heine.
Tri-Cities Work Camp
Youth are invited to spend one week each summer rebuilding homes and lives. 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. For more information see Tri-Cities Workcamp Progress. Also, call Alisa Laska.
Ministry for Middle East Peace and Justice (MMEPJ)
The Ministry for Middle East Peace and Justice was formed at Grace in 2004, for the purposes of 1) educating its members and the Grace congregation on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, 2) building stronger ties to the Christian Church in the Holy Land, and 3) advocating for Palestinian human rights--and for justice, peace and security for all the people who live in Israel/Palestine.
Prominent in the ministry's activities is the support of an Anglican congregation that worships at two churches in Palestine: the St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Nablus and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rafidia. The partnership remains vibrant through regular exchange visits. Notable ones include several trips by Grace contingents to Nablus/Rafidia, the participation of three Grace members in a 2010 Nablus summer camp, and almost yearly trips by youth in the Nablus congregation to join Grace youth in the Tri-Cities Workcamp.
In addition, the ministry seeks to conduct learning opportunities for our congregation and the wider community. MMEPJ maintains contact with the Ezher Bloom Mosque in Chantilly, VA, organizing Grace participation in Ramadan Iftar dinners and planning for reciprocal visits to Grace. Through MMEPJ, Grace is also a founding member of the Voices from the Holy Land film series, shown in the DC area for the last five years. The series includes a variety of informative and compelling documentary films about the people living in the Holy Land.
Each November Grace sponsors an Alternative Gift Fair, and the MMEPJ facilitates the inclusion of Palestinian crafts and products. Proceeds go to Palestinian causes and to support the Palestinian individuals, businesses, and organizations that produced the products. For instance, olive oil sales provide funding for Tent of Nations as well as the olive oil producers - Canaan Fair Trade.
MMEPJ has sponsored several trips to the Middle East. The latest, A Pilgrimage of Discovery, was held during the fall of 2018. For an overview of that experience, please click here.
For more information, please contact Kathy Drinkard.
Grace's Honduras Mission consists of four components: 1) on-site mission to Honduras, 2) providing scholarships for Honduras children to attend school, 3) sponsoring a missionary, and 4) providing financial supporting to Clementina’s Kitchen.
The On-site Mission to Honduras
Grace sends a mission team each year to central Honduras to participate in community improvement projects. Each summer, 12-20 youth and adults travel to Honduras and work there under the guidance of Honduras Outreach International (HOI). The church collects such things as school supplies, medicines, old eyeglasses, and soccer balls to share with the villages in which they work. The mission trips have a lasting impact not only on the villagers but on the mission team members as well. Contact: Greta and Joe Miller
HOI Scholarship Program
Grace raises funds each year to support the education of children in the Agalta Valley through our HOI partnership. HOI annually educates nearly 415 kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students from over 30 villages. Grace has supported anywhere from 9 to 21 students for the last 19 years through funds that include proceeds from a silent auction and individual gifts. Grace’s support helps pay the tuition of students, provide them with scholarship opportunities to attend HOI partner high schools, and pay for all their school supplies. Contact: Judy Riekse
Grace supports the ministry of Pastor Selvin Elvir at Rancho El Paraiso/Olancho. Pastor Selvin provides pastoral services to all of the villages in HOI's sphere of Influence. Grace has helped sponsor Pastor Selvin for the last four years.
Clementina’s Kitchen is run by Clementina Martinez Lizardo, a woman about 85 years old who has dedicated most of her adult life to feeding children from poor families in their place of residence in Cane, La Paz . Clementina shares how she decided to start her work in this way: "I was a first grade teacher and several times looked at children collapsed suddenly and did not know what was happening. I started to ask what was going on and ended up discovering it was because there were days without food came because their families could not afford." Grace offers financial support for this important ministry.