Mission News

& Opportunities

Monday, September 4th, 2023

Awake to Opportunity!

By Mary Mackintosh

I have become convinced that when we slow down enough to watch a hummingbird at the window or the full moon rising, or to stop for a moment to greet – really greet, not just give a passing “how are you” without waiting for an answer – an old friend, we open up the possibility of learning where God is leading us.

One afternoon in April or May, I passed Susanne Shoemaker in the RCB copy room and stopped to talk. We got on the topic of art in the Crossing Thresholds schools in Kibera, Nairobi. Some years ago, Susanne went on a mission trip there and painted a beautiful mural that still graces the library of one of the schools. Susanne agreed to help me consider how to bring art into the Kibera school curriculum and mentioned a possible church connection.

Many at RCB fondly remember Stoddard Platt who created and cared for our beautiful library just down from the RCB reception desk. Susanne knew Stoddard and mentioned that his son, John, is an artist doing work in Africa. John is founder of an organization with the wonderful name, How to Draw a Lion. Susanne, Naomi Onslow and I had a Zoom meeting with John and discovered that he has been to Kibera and employs a Kenyan artist who would be able to teach in the schools.

John connected us with Sam Kinyua, an enthusiastic Kenyan artist who agreed to spend a week at one of the Crossing Thresholds schools working with elementary and middle school students and their staff on developing drawing and painting skills. I arranged to meet Sam in Nairobi in July and set up a week of art lessons. The children were ecstatic! Their faces, concentration and results say it all! I have since met John Platt in person in New York and we will be launching art programming in all five of the Crossing Thresholds schools. John will be joining us at RCB for a discussion and exhibition of children’s art in early November.

None of us can really know why things happen. But I believe that if we live with open hearts, open minds and willing hands and feet, we will be more present to possibilities and able to make the world a little brighter.

-Mary

YOUR CHANCE TO VOLUNTEER THIS FALL

RCB is overflowing with ways to serve! We recommend you print this newsletter, sit down with your calendar and input the activities you might decide to make time for.

IMMEDIATE MISSION OPPORTUNITIES

Community BBQ at Lilac House

Friday, Sept. 8th, 3:00-6:00pm, Lilac House, 201 North 7th Avenue, Mount Vernon

Join the Lilac House community for hot dogs, hamburgers and snacks. Families welcome!

Lilac House provides transitional housing and support services for women returning from prison.

English Tutoring for Nazifa Hadizada

Wednesday, September 13th, 9:00-10:30am, RCB Children’s Library

Each Wed/Thurs/Friday, Nazifa Hadizada will be at RCB for English tutoring while her youngest child, Nada, attends the morning 2’s class at RCNS. Nazifa’s family fled Afghanistan in 2021 and she is eager to learn as part of this new chapter.

Weekly Community Conversation with Refugee Moms

Fridays beginning September 15th, 9:00-10:30am, RCB Children’s Library

Join us weekly or whenever you are able for English conversation with refugee moms on topics of adjusting to the US, parenting, and household budgeting and come prepared to hear their stories of hardship and hope. Younger children are welcome to come along.

First Reformed Church of Mount Vernon Soup Kitchen

Monday, September 18th, 1pm-2pm, RCB Lower Kitchen (to prep food), 3:00-5:00pm to serve meals, 135 South 6th Avenue, Mount Vernon

Join a cooking team to prepare and/or food at RCB for delivery to Mount Vernon, creating beautiful meals for people who need them.

Broadway Manor Homeless Shelter

Wednesday, September 27th and October 25th, 12:00-1:00 pm, 101 South Broadway, Yonkers

Serve pizza, fruit and cookies to homeless men and sit with them in fellowship.

Westhab Mobile Food Pantry

Thursday(s), September 28th + October 25th, 11:45-1:00pm, Dayspring Community Center, 320 Walnut Street, Yonkers

Help to unload pallets of food from Feeding Westchester and distribute to families in need in the Yonkers community.

Westhab Children’s Playgroup

Saturday, September 30th, 10:00am-1:00pm, Congregational Hall

Bring your family and join High School youth in games, crafts and a hot lunch with elementary-age children from the Westhab Dayspring after-school program. You are welcome to drop in at any point during the morning. 

Director Sarah Snyder

Twelve Habits of Reconciliation

Wednesday, October 11th 4:00pm-7:00pm, Copenhaver Room – LIGHT SUPPER WILL BE SERVED

Join Sarah Snyder, Founding Director of the Rose Castle Foundation, and members of her staff for an introduction to strategies they use to resolve conflicts, understand differences, and restore relationships in our families, our communities, our nation and our world. Sarah has worked to resolve conflicts in some of the most difficult regions of the world and we are fortunate to have her at RCB to share her knowledge and wisdom.

Clothing Closet Sale!

Saturday, November 4th 9:00am-2:00pm, Congregational Hall

Volunteers needed throughout the day. Be on the lookout for additional ways to be involved.

You can also donate clothes now, any items gently worn, no books or CD’s! For more information or to volunteer, contact Melissa Shinsato.

ONGOING MISSION OPPORTUNITIES

Yonkers Partners in Education 
      • Become a graduation coach and develop a meaningful ongoing relationship with a high school student, meeting twice monthly at the student’s school 
      • Become an essay coach and provide support to a junior or rising senior writing their college essays 
      • To find out more, click button at right. 
Prison Ministry
      • Become a pen- pal to a woman in prison 
      • Mentor a woman returning home from prison
Crossing Thresholds 
(Supports five schools in the Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya)
      • Mentor a middle school student in Nairobi and support their school fees of $500 annually 
      • Sponsor a high school student in Kenya and support their school fees of $1,000 annually

SERVICE TRIPS

  • RCB Mission will be sponsoring a service trip to the Equal Justice initiative headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama and work with Montgomery organizations addressing homelessness and hunger (dates to be determined) 

  • RCB Mission will also help to lead service trips with Crossing Thresholds to Nairobi, Kenya in January and July 2024 to work in schools and with supporting organizations. 

For more information, reach out to Mary Mackintosh.

SERVICE TIME THIS SUNDAY

Regular Service Hours

Two services: 8:30AM +10:30AM (livestream)

* NOTE * The 8:30AM service is only 45 minutes long.

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