Respectfully submitted by Alice Chiang and Anita Wotiz, Mission Committee Co-Chairs
2008 Mission Committee members: Robin & Gian Polastri, Ted Meeker, Mary Jo Alderson, Candace Mindigo, Cathy Bowers, Wayne Chittenden, Rita Williams, Bob Barrett, Ginney Uhl, and Kari Nadeau, with participation from Joy Craft, Bonita Banducci, Carol Thomsen, Sally Pfleiderer, Geoff Moyer, and Jonathan Evans.
The 2008 VPC Mission program continued existing partnerships and support for the worthy organizations that have been identified by members’ passions, with an emphasis on those that have volunteer opportunities.
Funds Raised for Mission Opportunities
In conjunction with our 50th anniversary Jubilee celebration, our highlighted activities were a visit from three of our Tekax brothers and sisters and a youth visit to Tekax, Mexico (described below), and Jubilee fundraising activities for Habitat for Humanity that included the proceeds of the Jubilee Gala and its silent auction and funds raised by our participation the Race Across America (RAAM) ($76,224 raised for Habitat).
VPC members generously donated $5,000 to augment Mission giving to the China Girls education program. We received 100 letters of gratitude and thanks from all 100 girls whom we are supporting in middle school. Our final year of commitment for this project is 2009.
Festival of Hope giving
VPC once again conducted a Christmas gift market to allow directed Christmas giving to those most in need in our world and to offer for sale various Fair Trade and hand made items. The congregation donated $4982Alternative Gifts International (AGI) projects.
Special EHP Grocery Gift Card giving
Candace Mindigo collected $1200 in food gift certificates during a special Christmas drive and gave them to the Ecumenical Hunger Program for distribution to families in need.
Jubilee Mission Activities
Visitors from Tekax
In March, three members of our Tekax sister church congregation, Marta Martin Zapata, her husband Orlando Gongora, and Miguel Cámara Valencia, visited with us for a week. Dee Berman flew in from Arizona to assist with translation and hospitality. We had a very rich week, filled with modeling our other mission projects (Habitat, St. Anthony SF dining room, Network Ministries, Partners in Caring) and California sightseeing (Monterey Aquarium, including a seafood lunch, and San Francisco, including a Chinese dinner). Dinners hosted by Bob Barrett, Candy and Rich Mindigo, Mark and Cheryl, and Gayten Harmon allowed some wonderful conversation and fellowship, as did the bi-lingual Bible Study led by Carla Christensen. We are especially grateful to Gayten and Scott Harmon for loaning their van (and donating the gas) for the week, easing our transportation challenge.
Youth Trip to Tekax
With the summer youth trip to Haiti postponed due to unrest in that country, the visit by our Tekax friends gave us a unique opportunity to discuss a potential visit by some of our VPC youth in June. Normally the turnaround for such a trip is about 10 months, but because we were able to discuss and plan face-to-face, this was planned in 2 months. A group of 11, including 6 youth (Carol, Bill and Bob Thomsen; Geoff, Christina and Zoe Moyer Sally, Eric and Ryan Pfleiderer; Natalie Shell; and Jonathan Evans made the trip. The trip was a great success and will hopefully serve as a model for continuing the relationship after our project funding has completed.
Mission Hands-on Activities
Maple Street Shelter (a Shelter Network program)
VPC continued the responsibility for serving home-cooked meals on designated Sunday evenings at the Maple Street Shelter. In addition to giving the residents a delicious hot meal and some company, this activity provides an opportunity for entire families, including VPC youth, to participate in Mission.
Plans were begun for VPC participation in PCUSA’s Living Waters for the World, which trains and equips mission teams to share the gift of clean, sustainable water with communities in need. Our first step was to explore a partnership with our Tekax brethren, and a detailed email was sent (thanks, Polastri’s) to explain the project and request a reply. We are awaiting their reply before proceeding further. We estimate we will need $25K - $30K for this project, and we have put aside $13K to date.
The Mission Committee wishes to express its gratitude for faithful dedication demonstrated by members of the VPC congregation.
To Sally Phillips for organizing VPC’s RAAM team and soliciting the donations that went to Peninsula Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to the riders (Sally and Joel Phillips, Raf Ornes, Michele Santilhano) and the support team (Cathy Paniagua, Mark Goodman-Morris, Karen Russell, Anne Hubble, Mary & Matt Elting, Grant Willard, John Francis, and many others) for their hard work that paid off in the $40,829 raised for Habitat.
To Barbara Lonergan, and her Gala team, for planning the Jubilee Gala which, along with its silent auction, raised $35,395 for Habitat. Thank you also to all who donated and bought silent auction items and extra funds on top of the Gala ticket price.
To Wayne Chittenden for continuing to organize our St. Anthony Padua dining room service.
To Candy Mindigo for collecting the donations for EHP at Christmas time.
To Trish McBride for coordinating the food and fellowship evenings at Maple Street Shelter.
To Nan Wentworth for organizing and Brenda and Jim Herrington for hosting the 26th Annual Heart-Lung Picnic last summer. This was the final one, so we thank Nan for her many years of work on this.
To Ken and Trish McBride for continuing to provide the Holy Grounds espresso cart with all proceeds going to Mission.
To Robin Polastri and Mary Jo Alderson for organizing the purchase and storage of the Fair Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate.
The Mission Committee, the "customers" of VPC, and small coffee farmers all over the world would like to express their gratitude for the faithful service of our Fair Traders who sell delicious coffees, teas, chocolate, and cocoas twice monthly. Muchas gracias to the Fiorettis, Mileys, Shells, Thomsens, Polastris and Meeker-Wotizes! They are helping change the world one cup of coffee at a time!
Many thanks also to all members of the congregation who volunteered for mission projects and who participated with prayer, presence, or a sharing of their means to ease the suffering and inequities of our world.
2008 Mission Allocation
An accounting of the 2008 VPC Mission expenditures from our allocation can be found here.