To Welcome the Stranger

“To welcome the stranger” is right in line with our values as a Matthew 25 Presbytery and so we are forwarding the opportunity described in the following message for your consideration:

Hello Friends,

Many of you have been asking us: “What can we do to help those who helped our troops, those in crisis, who are trying to flee Afghanistan?” At Catholic Family Center, we provided services to over 22,500 people in 2020. Our mission is to partner with people – especially the vulnerable and those facing poverty – to help them achieve their full human potential. We respect all people based on our belief in the inherent human dignity and worth of clients, colleagues, and community members. We offer hope to everyone regardless of race, religion, sex, age, range of ability, or culture.

CFC and our partners are ready to welcome those Afghan interpreters and others who provided support to the U.S. Armed Forces or at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, as part of the US State Department Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program. Rochester is one of 25 cities in the US to welcome families in this situation, and many of them are grateful to now call Rochester their new home. We are asking for your help as we welcome these families that are facing such loss. We are in desperate need of essentials to help these families get settled here in their new home.  The good news is, there are several ways you can help, including the simple act of checking in on your Afghan neighbors to offer your support, and to keep all affected by this situation in your hearts, and in your prayers.

Donate Items: we are seeking donations of NEW:
• Cleaning sprays/disinfectant wipes
• Laundry Detergents
• Paper towels
• Toilet paper
• Hand soap
• Dish soap
• Baby Diapers of any size
• Baby wipes
• Sponges
• Garbage bags
• Body wash 
• Toothbrushes and toothpaste
• Pillows
• Basmati Rice
• Gift Cards to Price Rite

Donations of new or very gently used items:
*Our guidance for donated used items is “if it is to your standard that you would give it to a friend or family member, isn’t ripped, stained, or fraying, we would be happy to take them.”
• Boxed fans or table fans
• Plates, bowls, cups
• Blankets
• Bedding (pillow cases, fitted and regular sheets-twin, double or queen only)
• Small garbage cans
• Good quality pots & pans
• Hand & bath towels

Please note: we are unable to accept used donations of the following:
• Clothes
• Furniture (Please contact Saint’s Place in Pittsford. We partner with Saint’s Place to provide home furnishings for our Refugee families)

Where to drop off your itemsAll donations can be dropped off to 87 N. Clinton Avenue, Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm. Our entrance is on Pleasant Street, where you are able to park in the designated parking zone. Upon entering, please let the front desk staff know that you are donating items for Ally Ewing. 

Or, you can donate items via our Amazon WishList!
If you want to support CFC but aren’t able to drop items off, please click HERE to shop our Amazon Wish List. Once you have all items you want to donate in your cart, please select the below shipping address, and all items will come directly to our office so we can deliver to clients.

Your Direct Gift of Support (money)
If you would like to make a monetary donation, please visit HelpCFC.com. There is an option to choose a program “I’m most interested in,” where you will find the option, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Programs, that will direct your donation specifically towards this effort. Or, you may send your donation to CFC: Catholic Family Center, Attn: Fund Development, 87 North Clinton Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604

Other Fundraising Options
Please see this resource document to learn other ways to support Catholic Family Center year-round. This Fundraising Catalog is a wonderful resource for groups, clubs, teams, offices, or seniors who need to complete a capstone project! Learn more about Refugee Resettlement in RochesterCFC is proud to play a part in helping refugees pursue their dreams. Our Refugee Resettlement programs offer a broad set of services that help refugees make the most of the fresh opportunities available to them in the Rochester community who for more than 100 years have welcomed them with open arms.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn how you can support our efforts. If you have any questions, please contact Ally Ewing at aewing@cfcrochester.org.  We appreciate your generosity as we support families arriving in Rochester! In gratitude,
Lisa HoytDirector, Refugee and Immigration Services

Family Promise September News

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Weekly thoughts on Worship, Faith, and Life, Vol. 1: week 4, Guest Alfred Appiah

Greeting’s members of the FPCV!

God is good. I am glad to report that I arrived safely at the Columbia Theological Seminary last two weeks. The delta variant of the virus (Covid 19) is spreading very fast across Georgia and its environment. So, I have been spending my days indoors, reading, and preparing for class. I want to thank you all for your prayers and support for my family. 

Today, I would like to share my perspective on the good Samaritan parable. I am currently studying Luke 10:25-37. I call this text the mission of the Church. The parable is very popular that we usually miss some of the critical details that drive it. We have always told the parable from the Samaritan’s perspective and condemn the acts of those who paid no attention to the wounded and beaten man left in his own pool of blood. Indeed, whenever pastors preach this story, they encourage us to take the position of the good Samaritan, to be the hero of our family, Church, and society. But the Samaritan in this parable was the hero because he first felt the pains of this unknown and wounded man lying on the roadside. The Samaritan offered help to the injured man because he asked the question “what if I was the one lying in this pool of blood,” “what if I was the one beaten and robbed,” “it was no fault of this person to have suffered this on the hands of the robbers, he does not deserve this, I must help him.” He offered him help because he felt his pain and put himself in his shoes. That was not the case for the Priest and the Levite. These two people walked away selfishly without thinking about the pains of the wounded man. Probably, they might have said in their mind, “this man was beaten because of his bad deeds.” They did not offer any help because they judged him instead of feeling compassion for him.

As a church, we can only offer help and support to the wounded world only when we feel the pains of the marginalized. When we put ourselves in the shoes of others, we will be moved with compassion and love. We cannot be the good Samaritan when the pain of others is not our pain. We cannot love our neighbors when we judge them. The Church’s mission is to love and care for all, but that can be done when we pay attention to other’s needs, know their struggle, and understand that their pain is ours. So, I took the vaccine not because I want to protect myself but also to protect my neighbors and loved ones. This is what we have been called to do, love and care for others as Christ did for us on the Cross.

Alfred Appiah

Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard Updates

Last year the VFFC was proud to provide 600 Thanksgiving Baskets through the support of the local Victor, Farmington and Canandaigua Communities. The past two years have brought on new challenges and obstacles for every one of us. Please read more of this letter from the food cupboard about changes this year and how you can help here!

The Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard is also in need of volunteers! These positions and their required skills can be found here.

Thank you for your continued generosity and support!

From Pastor Nick: Weekly thoughts on Worship, Faith, and Life, Vol. 1: week 3

“Let us Lament”

This past week I spoke about how Psalm 69 leads us from the orientation Psalms we had in 1 and 113 to psalms that speak of disorientation like 69 does as the writer cries out to God in distress and despair.  Sometimes these psalms are called Psalms of lament because they use the language of lament to name that what is happening seems unbearable, unfair, and without hope; while also naming that God is able to intervene.  They are cries not only about the calamity people find themselves in or faced with, but also are petitions for God who has intervened in the past to intervene once again.  The gravity of a problem will always be relative to the ones experiencing it given their values, context, and privileges in life.

What in our lives collectively and personally do we take notice of right now that hurts, that we have despair or despondency towards?  I know of a few that we share in common, but I wonder how our current attitudes and approaches have come far short of lament?   We have differing viewpoints about masking, protocols, vaccinations and politics, but we can still come together as a community and lament.  We are upset to have transition and for this church there has been a great deal of it: online worship, staff changes, Pastor Colin leaving in December, disconnection and distant relationships due to isolation, a sense of loss from how life used to be, loss of loved ones and friends, new ways of being and doing church etc.  I don’t believe everything can be solved by ‘just trusting God’ more; that goes for mental health, broken bones, mask wearing and the weather.  Instead, I believe that the language of the Psalms gives us a way to name our emotions, name the issues we are facing, and name God’s faithfulness and character as a God who can and does intervene.  

Will you join me in not blaming, judging, or belittling differences in our church and community?  Will you commit to pray a lament instead?  Here is an example: 

“Dear God, “X” is a problem right now. It should not be this way, and yet we have different beliefs and emotions that have hurt us and made it hard to be your people. We don’t have all the answers and we feel frustrated with ourselves, with how others have been, and that this situation is happening in the first place.  We know you are faithful; we recall how you brought healing to some of the worst diseases and ailments through Jesus Christ; we know you are a God who provides for your people. In Scripture we are reminded of the Exodus from Egypt, the food provided by manna in the desert, care and provision while your people were in exile, and the fullness of restoration brought by Jesus Christ).   We know that Jesus has freed us from all sin and brokenness and yet we remain broken, calloused, and confused about what the future holds.  We ask Holy Spirit that you will soften our hearts and minds, we ask that you bring about peace and restoration, we ask that you will put an end to divisions, an end to illness, and will instead bring about unity, peace, and genuine love for all our brothers and sisters.  We want this all now, and we trust that you are good and faithful to your promises to love us and never forsake us, and we also know that even if this doesn’t happen immediately that in the end your peace and your recovery, your restoration and renewal will happen for all things.  Come Lord Jesus, Amen.”

Pastor Nick

From Pastor Nick: Weekly thoughts on Worship, Faith, and Life, Vol. 1: week 2

“God shares the throne”

The second week of the Psalmist orienting us was all about equity and praise of the Lord for raising the lowly up.  Alfred so wonderfully explained how the poor man in the ash heap that God looks down on and has compassion on is translated more literally to be the man living in the garbage heap.  God has compassion on both male and female, and not just a compassion that recognizes their plight and speaks kind words.  God lifts the man from the garbage heap and seats him with princes; God notices the barren woman and gives her a dwelling.  Alfred recalled so many wonderful images and scripture passages; my favorite from this part of the Psalm was the connection to Genesis 2 where God is intimately involved with creation ‘playing in the dirt’ to make humanity.  

Psalm 1 was all about what road we are on, and where we find ourselves rooted; we were encouraged to find ourselves rooted in God’s care and instruction because it will mean sustenance, peace, nurture and fruitfulness.  Psalm 113 was all about God taking notice of creation especially humanity and sharing the throne; making seats for the poor, outcast, and forgotten members of society.  

Taken together it would seem the psalmist wants us to trust in God, to see our relationship with God and God’s word to be that which gives us instruction and nurture, and that Gods nature in relationship with us is to take notice of us, and to be about making things fair, equitable, and in right relationship.  What do we do with that and how do we respond to that?  

I believe it all comes back to the two great commandments Jesus gives his disciples.  Jesus says the love of God and the love of neighbors summarizes all of the law and the prophets.  I wonder about the phrase “to take notice,” and how that might be a clue towards loving God and loving neighbors.  If.  If Psalm 113 is all about how God “takes notice” of all of humanity and loves them properly and without discrimination; perhaps its also a call to us to “take notice” of our neighbors and love them without discrimination?  If we did nothing else as a church but this, imagine how much of an impact that would have on our communities of Victor, Farmington and surrounding areas?  

I can imagine people saying this: “that is the church that noticed when: I was on my last dollars of my paycheck, we were struggling to feed our family, we felt like no one cared about us because we were not white like our neighbors, we were being hurt, etc.”  Let’s be those that notice, and lets be those that show love without discrimination!

Pastor Nick

FPOC Host Week!

Hello amazing Family Promise friends! I trust you are enjoying your summer with family and friends and life seems a little more normal! Thanks to all who donated to the Amazing Bed Race! We raised over $30K and will help tremendously to fund our ongoing programs and family support.

First Presbyterian Church in Victor’s next scheduled host week is August 22-28, and in lieu of in church meals and overnight accommodations, we are requesting food gift cards be purchased at Wegmans, Tops, or Wal-Mart and dropped off or mailed to Family Promise 185 N. Main Street Canandaigua 14424, attn: Jay. Family Promise currently has 3 apartments in Canandaigua and 2 in Geneva for family housing and gift cards are much appreciated!

Thanks again for all you do to help needy families in Ontario County!

Rich Cromwell   585-370-0839  Volunteer Coordinator, First Presbyterian Victor

From Pastor Nick: Weekly thoughts on Worship, Faith, and Life, Vol. 1: week 1

“Orientation, Disorientation, Reorientation”

This past Sunday we started on a 6-week journey through the Psalms beginning with none other than Psalm 1. I want to come back to what I said on Sunday about “bathing ourselves in nature/bathing ourselves in scripture.”  This practice for me is usually easy, but last week I lacked focus.  I walked from church to the Victor Community Park and back on my lunch break.  I stopped at the pond adjacent to the outdoor amphitheater and sat down.  I smelled the fresh cut grass, heard the birds twitter and chirp along with the wind rustling the leaves in the trees; beneath my shoes the water sloshed back and forth as the clouds cast shadows on the dock below me.  The sun was almost too hot on my skin, but the wind provided enough buffeting to stir the water and make it pleasant for both me and the fish catching a slide ride from the sloshing motion.  You may be thinking, “Pastor Nick, that sounds great!” but I wasn’t really soaking it in.  I was distracted and disoriented by my emotions and the days worry.  I felt I was wasting time and not being productive.  

It struck me yesterday that there’s two things this teaches me, and I hope you learn from this as well: First, I am learning that at times settling my thoughts enough to listen, pray, or take in all that is around me is extremely difficult. Second, I am learning—re-learning actually—that to be a human creation among the rest of God’s creation has meaning in and of itself rather than how “productive” I am.

The invitation Sunday from Psalm 1 was to let ourselves be oriented towards God’s instruction, delighting in what God and Scripture teach us about ourselves and the world.  It is an invitation to let ourselves simply be or to simply exist, knowing our worth apart from what is done or what is left undone.  Beloved people of God, we are more than what we do! We are loved by God simply because God graciously welcomes us in!  It may be hard to practice soaking in life around us, and that’s okay, because being oriented in a different way sometimes means learning how to soak in all that life already gives to us.  Sometimes it’s as simple or difficult as taking notice of the trees and birds around us; other times its delighting in the familiar aspects of our faith that keep us trusting in God and seeking to love God with all that we are.

Pastor Nick  

FPOC Amazing Bed Race Fundraiser & Bike Ride

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Please join us for a bicycle ride on Saturday, July 24th at 10 AM.

We are riding for fun and to promote Family Promise of Ontario County thru the Amazing Bed Race.  (Watch for a bed and poster in front of our church.)

If you are able, please donate to Family Promise by going to www.givegab.com/campaigns/amazingbedrace . Our team name is Victor Pres Vikings!

Don’t forget to select our team!

We will gather behind our church at 9:45 AM. 

Our bicycle route will follow the Auburn Trail to Cobblestone Art Center in Farmington and back to our church at a leisurely pace.  .

We will finish with ice cream at Papa Jacks and/or take-out from Mac’s Philly Steaks Diner.

Please contact David Henderson for questions. DHenderson@newscaletech.com; 585-261-2106

Maggie’s Kids Camp Day

Once again, this year First Presbyterian Church in Victor is fortunate to be able to host a camp day for Maggie’s Kids. It will be a day of games, swimming, arts & crafts music, and we will be providing good food at Onanda Park in Canandaigua on Tuesday, July 6th. The joy volunteers get from seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of approximately 100 children experiencing fresh air, sunshine and freedom to play outdoors without fear is amazing.

What can you do?! There are a couple ways you can get involved!

Volunteer!

1.       Volunteers are needed to assemble bagged lunches on Monday, July 5th, from 7-8:30pm at the church in Corey Hall.

2.      Volunteers are also needed for Tuesday, July 6th to deliver and serve the food at Onanda Park. Please plan on a 9:00am start until approximately 3:30pm.

Please use this SignUpGenius link to sign-up to volunteer!

Donate!

Our church has been asked for food and supplies for bagged lunches. Please use this SignUpGenius link to sign-up to donate food and/or supplies for the day. All donations must be collected at the church by Sunday, July 4th. (Monetary donations are also accepted and appreciated for this Mission)

If you have any questions, please contact Heather McAdoo at heathermail@frontiernet.net

Thank you for your time and generosity for this important mission!

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