Monday, September 20, 2010

St. Philip's Lutheran has a full house!

St. Philip's volunteers getting dinner ready for our families
St. Philip's Lutheran is hosting a full complement of 4 families (including our first single father family!).  St. Philip's was one of the very first congregations that launched our network, with full support of Pastor Patrick Downes who was one of the startup team leaders.  When we arrived, we met Jane Newcomer, Pam Brenneman, Lori Bowles, Ruth Bowles, Leona Schechinger and Ellen Lenker hard at work getting dinner ready for the families, and they were gracious enough to take a minute out for a picture.

Nancy & Brandon Zinnato
 The St. Philip's Family Promise crew is led very capably by Brandon Zinnato, shown here with his mother Nancy Zinnato, both of whom have been very supportive of launching our Family Promise network.  Brandon is part of the social ministry committee that first considered bringing Family Promise to St. Philip's.  Brandon says:  "At first, I thought it looked a little odd and alot of work, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized Family Promise was something we had to do!"  The whole social ministry committee was on-board after only one meeting and St. Philip's church council unanimously approved to join in 20 minutes - they moved quickly!  Brandon credits Aldersgate UMC pastor Beverly Lewis with encouraging him early on, and then goes on to paraphrase Matthew 25 where Jesus said "when you are serving the needy, you are serving him."

Brandon Zinnato & Jason Kaul
All told, over 60 people at St. Philip's have come together to support Family Promise, including Pastor Patrick who likes to spend overnights with the families with his 3 children.  Brandon says: "I'm the coordinator, but it really is a team effort" and being a good son, Brandon makes sure to credit his mother Nancy with being one of his most reliable volunteers!  Kris Dierks, Steve Furguson, Sharon Kittle, and many others have been essential to the work at St. PhilipsAnother volunteer we met is Jason Kaul, who is driving the van this entire week.  Jason has been coming to St. Philip's for 18 months now and stated unequivocally: "St. Philip's is the warmest & friendliest congregation I've ever walked into!"

How was the dinner?  Quite good.  Brandon asserts "In my experience, Lutherans are the best cooks."  Well....we're staying out of that one...but perhaps a Family Promise cook-off challenge might be brewing?

Up this week is also a trip to Old Country Buffet, thanks to the contributions of St. Philip's members.  The families really enjoy a night out and getting the opportunity to select what they get to eat - so it's a nice treat!

Thanks St. Philip's volunteers!

What We Have Accomplished

A summary of highlights and history in pictures of what we have accomplished this year.  Thank you to all of the volunteers who have made 2010 a success!  click on the link:  What We Have Accomplished

Saturday, September 18, 2010

HUMC Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser - and Family Promise!

Hockessin United Methodist hosting week is coming to an end.  Before it does however, the students took an opportunity to wash the Family Promise van at their annual Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser.  Shown here is Anne Marie Wilkinson hard at work.  Congregational Coordinator and FP Board Member Kymm Hockman notes:  "Anne Marie has been here almost every night this week."  Thanks Anne Marie!

Speaker's Bureau for Family Promise

Family Promise has a Speaker's Bureau that can speak to congregations, civic groups and other interested organizations about our mission.  We have already spoken at Rotary Clubs, a Diocese meeting and Mom's clubs.  If you are interested in hearing from us, please contact Board member Kim McWatters (

Kind to Kids donates tickets to Family Promise

Thanks to Kind to Kids for donating tickets to Family Promise so our families could enjoy the Blue Rocks game!  (and thanks to the volunteers at Hockessin Baptist who took our families to the game as well as Board member John Clatworthy who made this connection).  This is yet another example of how we have benefited from partnering with other fine organizations in our area to provide services to our homeless children and families!  Kind to Kids is a nonprofit fund managed by the Delaware Community Foundation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hockessin United Methodist Church Hosting Week

Cyndy & Bill Brown with children Julia & Evan

A number of members of Hockessin United Methodist church were ready Sunday evening to greet our families and enjoy dinner.  The Brown family (Bill, Cyndy, Evan & Julia) have made meals for 3 hosting weeks, working with Cyndy's Ladies Circle.  When we arrived, Bill was hard at work at the stove preparing turkey, dressing and the rest.  The Browns feel they have been very blessed, and think this is a great way to give back to the community.  It's important to them that their children are involved so they can learn about the world around them, and appreciate what they have.

Ken & Jane Buddenbohn, Anne Marie Wilkinson
Jane & Ken Buddenbohn have also assisted with the hosting now for their 3rd week.  In addition to supporting Family Promise, Ken is also helping to launch a new Cub Scout Pack 51 at HUMC (now's a good time to let him know if you want to get involved!).  Ken says this is part of the mission-orientation of their church, just like supporting Family Promise.  Both of these ministries have received strong support from Pastors Laura Martin & John Mitchell.  Jane works as a psychologist in the Christina school district where she sees the direct impact of homelessness on children:  problems with homework, lack of stability, difficult schedules with busing, etc.  In addition, she has definitely noticed the sharp increase in the numbers of homeless children in her years at the school district.  Also shown pictured is Anne Marie Wilkinson, a young lady who particularly enjoys entertaining the children during the host week.

Kymm Hockman talks to families while Ted Brown looks on
Ted Brown and Kymm Hockman were preparing to be the overnight hosts.  In addition to volunteering with Family Promise, Ted leads adult Sunday School, is on the Board of Trustees, and provides leadership coaching for senior leadership of the church.  Kymm serves as the congregational coordinator of HUMC, and also is extremely active as a member of the Board for Family Promise, training new congregations and setting the hosting schedule.

All-in-all, it looks like the families will have a great week with a caring group of volunteers.  Thank you HUMC!
Congregational Coordinator & Board member Kymm Hockman

Friday, September 10, 2010

FP 3rd Quarter Newsletter

By popular demand, we are continuing to publish a quarterly newsletter that is suitable for printing / inserting into church bulletins.  Just print double-sided, cut in half and you have an insert.  Please help spread the message of the efforts in our network to assist homeless families!  and thank you!  Just click on this link to bulletin

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grace Lutheran volunteers speak with passion for their Family Promise ministry

We interviewed several dedicated volunteers, sitting clockwise around the table:  Josh Kelly, Nancy Goyda, Kathy Hunsicker, and Erika Wolf.  Josh is Director of Youth and Family Ministry at Grace Lutheran.  Nancy is one of the original founders of our network and "the spur of Family Promise at Grace Lutheran" according to Erika.  Kathy Hunsicker is a member who often drives the van and is also starting a GriefShare ministry at Grace (for those who have recently lost a close friend or loved one).  Erika was making dinner this evening after serving the day at ContactLifeline, a crisis prevention helpline.  These 4 very dedicated volunteers are part of the 50 or so people at Grace Lutheran who have been taking care of our families.

When we asked them why they got involved in Family Promise, aside from the encouragement of Nancy and Pastor Paul Lundmark, they each had their own reasons:  Erika believes this is an effective way to help those less fortunate.  Based on her experience with other ministries as well, she says "you can't tell people what to do, but give them options and help them explore what is right for them."  Kathy feels a strong personal connection:  she believes she would have been homeless had she not had strong family support after her husband died (many of our families don't have the blessing of family support to help them in their difficult times).  Josh believes that God has blessed him richly, and he feels called to reflect that blessing to those that are struggling.  As Josh says: "Christ set an example of helping those that the world ignores."

When we asked what impact Family Promise has had at Grace, Kathy states: "our congregation made a commitment to Family Promise, and as a member of our (church) community, I need to do my part."  Josh references I Corinthians 12 where the apostle Paul states that the church is One Body, with Many Parts that work together in a mission.  Kathy and Erika both feel this is an important part of evangelism, with congregations working together and demonstrating their faith through action.  Josh summed it up nicely:  "In the first years of Christendom, it was the homes where people met and grew in community.  The buildings are the tools, but it is the people living out their faith that is important."

Thanks again to all of the volunteers at Grace Lutheran!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mark & Lynette Russell of HBC talk about their Family Promise experience

Mark & Lynette Russell are long-time members of Hockessin Baptist Church, and are currently serving as the Congregation Coordinators.  They have particularly enjoyed the Family Promise experience at HBC, and see it as a ministry that brings different age groups within the church together in a common mission.  Over 60 HBC members and attenders have volunteered at FP over the past several host weeks.  In addition, the Russell's have been blessed with several other families who have taken on large tasks, including John & Jan Schoff who organize meals as well as Dan & Jewell Boulet (parents of pastor Jon Boulet).  Over the week Pastor Jon & his wife Andrea also took the opportunity to host the families by staying overnight  When we asked Mark & Lynette what they think of their Family Promise experience, Lynette say  "I appreciate the opportunity to reach out to people we wouldn't normally meet."  Mark added "there is a Biblical commandment to care for the poor, and Family Promise is a good program that allows us to do this within the walls of the church."  Thank you to all of the volunteers at HBC for your efforts!