Second Year of Service with Mobile Loaves and Fishes Has Begun

September 5, 2014

During the last weeks of August, Spirit of Christ Church marked the first anniversary of serving Jesus through Mobile Loaves and Fishes (New Bedford), and began a second year.

On August 18, the Kippe family hosted a barbecue at their home for the congregation and friends who had helped with this ministry in the course of the year. A lovely evening of food and fellowship was enjoyed by a crowd of nearly 40, aged from seven to the late 80s. The weather co-operated (thank you, Lord), and only the advent of dark and the ‘bugs’ broke up the party.

Spirit of Christ Church sent out its first regular team with the canteen truck to feed the needy in downtown New Bedford on August 22, 2013, and went out consistently for 50 weeks (missing Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, and one snowstorm in January). A number of friends assisted the participants from the congregation, both in preparing the food at St Paul’s, and in delivering the food to those in downtown New Bedford. Clothing was collected and distributed as well, along with toiletries. Relationships were nurtured with some who visited the truck, and ministry in prayer was offered on many occasions.

During the summer of 2014, numbers visiting the truck increased, and Spirit of Christ Church teams added more hot dogs, sandwiches, bananas and bottles of water: on most evenings, this translated into 75 hot dogs and 70 sandwiches, with 72 bottles of water, paid for out of the Spirit of Church MLF account. Rarely were there any leftovers:  in fact, some evenings we ran out of food.

As we continue to serve, we look forward to seeing how God will use us in the coming year, as we offer ourselves to Him.

Summer Service Time for Spirit of Christ Church

July 3, 2014

Beginning Sunday, July 6, and continuing through August 31 (the Sunday of Labor Day weekend), Spirit of Christ Church will gather each Sunday at 9:30 am to worship the living God. The worship is followed by a time of refreshments and fellowship.

Our gathering is at the Westport Council on Aging, which is pleasantly air-conditioned. The  Council on Aging is located at 75 Reed Road in Westport, and there is ample parking.

All are invited to join us for worship and fellowship, featuring  biblical preaching,  relaxed liturgical  worship, and a blend contemporary and traditional music. Dress tends to be casual, or as a friend put it ‘wear anything that would not get you arrested in public.’  A degree of modestly is appreciated!

We hope to meet you this summer. God’s amazing grace be with you.

Holy Week and Easter with Spirit of Christ Church 2014

April 14, 2014

Spirit of Christ Church is gearing up for the ‘high holy days’ of the Christian calendar as Holy Week proceeds.

On Maundy Thursday, April 17, the events of the day before Jesus was crucified will be recalled at a time of worship at 1:30 pm at the home of the Rev. Pat and Elston Smith in Westport. The Gospel stories appropriate to the day will be read, and the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated, commemorating Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. The time will close with an extended period of prayer, recalling Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

That evening at 6:30, members of Spirit of Christ Church are invited to join others at St Paul’s United Methodist Church in New Bedford (Rockdale and Kempton Streets) for a Maundy Thursday service. At suppertime that day, a team from Spirit of Christ Church, participating in the Mobile Loaves and Fishes ministry, will feed the hungry in downtown New Bedford.

On Good Friday, April 18, at 7 pm, Spirit of Christ Church will join with St. Paul’s Church to offer the service of Tenebrae, the service of shadows, which will feature short meditations on Christ’s words from the cross. Gradually lights and candles in the church will be extinguished, until the church is plunged into total darkness, reflecting the death of Christ. Much of the music for this moving service will be African-American spirituals, including “Calvary” and “Were You There?”  This act of worship will be held in St. Paul’s Church at the corner of Rockdale and Kempton Street in New Bedford.

At 5:45 am on Easter, before sunrise, members of Spirit of Christ will join fellow believers from other churches in the Westport area at East Beach (Horseneck Beach Road and East Beach Road), for a service to celebrate the rising from the dead of Jesus.  After the time of worship, refreshments will be served at the Lighthouse Assembly of God on Route 177 in Westport.

Then at 10 am on Easter Sunday, Spirit of Christ Church will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus with Holy Communion at the Westport Council on Aging, at 75 Reed Road in Westport. Classic Easter hymns will be sung, along with newer pieces. There will be a time of fellowship over coffee and tea after the worship.

All are invited to join in these occasions of worship: seekers, wonderers and committed believers. For more information, call the Pastor, the Rev. Lawrence McErlean, at 774-237-8021.

25 Runs and Counting: Serving Jesus through Mobile Loaves and Fishes

February 27, 2014

On Thursday, February 20, the team from Spirit of Christ Church completed its 25th run with the Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck to feed the homeless and hungry in downtown New Bedford MA. Before 6:30 pm, 50 hot dogs, 50 sandwiches, 50 bags of chips, along with desserts and fruit had been distributed. In fact, only a few apples, oranges and pears (eight pieces of fruit in total) remained on the truck.

This has been the usual experience (often no fruit left, either) since the team made their first regular run out near the end of August. There had been a trial run in July, but since August, every Thursday (with three exceptions) a team has prepared food and the truck and gone forth, distributing food and clothing.

Almost all members of the small congregation have been involved in one way or another, from six-year old twins to couples in their 80’s. In addition to members of Spirit of Christ Church, friends have also come along to help. Most of the congregation have been involved with preparing the food at St. Paul’s Methodist Church kitchen, or delivering downtown, with many folk doing both. The cost of the food for each run ($75.00 each week) is covered from the funds of Spirit of Christ Church. A special Thanksgiving appeal raised funds to help with overhead costs of running the truck and operation.

Normally, the clothes given out at the truck are good used articles, along with socks and personal hygiene items. At Christmas, new clothing was collected, as ‘gifts for Jesus’ were collected at worship Christmas Eve and the Sundays following. Remembering Jesus said, ‘inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brothers [and sisters],you have done it to me,’  members and friends brought in hats, gloves, mitts, warm socks, hoodies, underwear (insulated and regular), jeans, shirts, and fleece throws, as well as toiletry items. These were distributed in the weeks following. Warm blankets and sleeping bags have also been given out this winter.

Although there seem to be new people every week appearing at the truck, there are a number of regulars, and relationships are being formed between the team and visitors.  On several occasions, there have been opportunities to pray with individuals about their concerns. At the end of the run on February 20, four of the visitors and seven team members closed the evening in a prayer circle, lifting the concerns expressed by the group. One of the men expressed appreciation that the team not only ministered to them materially, but spiritually as well. Genuine heart-felt thanks is often heard, along with ‘God bless you.’  One cold evening someone had written on the dirty side of the truck ‘God bless this truck.’ Those who visit the truck are especially grateful that teams have come in the bitter winter weather.

The New Bedford Mobile Loaves and Fishes is led by Pastor Ken MacMillen and the people of St Paul’s United Methodist Church, who started this mission of mercy almost four years ago. Currently, teams go out five evenings to various locations, as well as at lunchtime Saturday and Thursday. In addition to St. Paul’s and Spirit of Christ Church, other churches sponsor teams, and a number of volunteers come from other churches and the community.

Join us for Candlelit Christmas Eve Service!

December 20, 2013

On Thursday December 24th at 5 pm, we will have our annual Christmas Eve service at the Dartmouth Grange at 1133 Fisher Road,  Dartmouth, MA.   It will be a simple, warm service of Bible readings and Christmas carols to candlelight as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

All are welcome – committed Christians, curious friends and folks who just enjoy the season!  Come, join in remembrance and song of the most important birth the world has ever known!

September 29, 2013: Special Children’s Service and Change in Time of Worship

September 25, 2013

Beginning Sunday, September 29, we will return to 10 am as the start time for our worship and fellowship. On that Sunday, there will be a special focus on children, with a special Children’s Message, and the younger ones taking part in leading worship in a number of ways.  Five of our young ones will receive Bibles for having learned by heart the names of the 66 books of the Bible in order.

We invite others to ‘check us out’ this Sunday and any other Sunday, at 10 am at the Westport Council on Aging, 75 Reed Road in Westport.

Latest on Mobile Loaves and Fishes Ministry

September 25, 2013

Since August 22, a team from Spirit of Christ Church has been going out every Thursday at supper as part of the New Bedford’s Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Our first venture forth as a Spirit of Christ team was in July, and then in the latter part of August we went out again to feed the homeless and hungry, and just kept going!

Several members of the team trained in June with teams from St. Paul’s Methodist Church in New Bedford, which brought Mobile Loaves and Fishes to the city. Then we pulled our own team together to prepare the food and stock the MLF canteen truck. At about 5:30 on Thursday, we leave with the truck to head downtown and park on Pleasant Street, where a meal (including hot dogs, sandwiches, fruit, chips, coffee and/or iced tea/bottled water) is distributed to those in need. As needs are not just physical, we also pray with those who desire prayer about concerns in their lives.  Some clothing items and personal hygiene items are also available from the truck.

Our little flock has risen to Jesus’ challenge in Luke 9:13, ‘You give them something to eat.’ A high percentage of our membership has already served, either in prep or delivery, or both. People from age 11 to their 80’s have worked in the kitchen or with distribution on the street. From our tithes and offerings, we send $75.00 a week  to St. Paul’s MLF to cover the cost of food for our truck run, and this provides 75 to 100 meals. (Some of the food is donated, of course. The prep of the food is done in accordance with Board of Health standards.)

During September, we have been having a sock drive. Socks are always in demand when we go out. By the end of service on September 22, we had collected 66 pairs of socks, with one more Sunday left to go. Other good, clean used clothing is also collected for distribution. With the change of seasons, warmer clothing is now needed. A team at St. Paul’s sorts the donations and stocks the shelves on the truck.

We thank God for this opportunity to serve in Jesus’ Name.

SOCC and Mobile Loaves and Fishes

June 13, 2013

Jesus told His disciples, “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13). As the disciples obeyed, they became part of the miracle that Jesus would do, feeding over 5000 people from five loaves and two fish, with twelve baskets of left-overs (why not go back and read the whole story?) From this gospel story comes the name of a ministry begun in Austin, Texas, by four committed Christian men, and now operating in four states, including New Bedford, Massachusetts.

On June 2, 2013, following a season of prayer to discern God’s leading, Spirit of Christ Church, meeting after the morning worship service, felt that God was leading us to become a partner in Mobile Loaves and Fishes of New Bedford, led by St. Paul’s Methodist Church.

We committed ourselves to raising a team to serve a meal to the homeless and hungry in New Bedford, starting in July 2013.  We will begin this ministry with serving once a month, but aim to grow to serving every week.  The food is served from a truck which is driven to where the homeless are.

The team is involved in both preparation (at St Paul’s) and delivery to the homeless and hungry from the MLF truck.  Some team members will prepare; others will deliver; some will want to do both. All persons getting involved should participate in training, which means going over to St Paul’s and working with an existing team, under the direction of Pastor Ken MacMillen (Thursday mornings) or George Bailey (Saturdays at lunch time.)

The cost for the food being distributed is a mere $75.00, which feeds between 75 and 100 people!  Each church team that goes out contributes this to MLF’s food budget, with overhead for the truck, etc., being picked up by St Paul’s.  Approximately four times a year, St Paul’s has a fundraiser of some sort to help pay the overhead expenses. When a team from Spirit of Christ Church goes out, we will pay the $75.00 for food for that meal out of our budget. Some people may want to contribute directly towards this (there will be special envelopes for this).

Besides meals, the MLF truck also carries some clothing and personal hygiene items, as well as Bibles and other literature.  Good, clean used or new clothing is sought (items listed below): the general rule is, if you wouldn’t wear it yourself, don’t send it to MLF (this refers to the condition of the clothes, not personal style preferences). Members of our team will transport such donations over to St Paul’s, to help stock the truck.

A number of folk from Spirit of Christ Church met with Pastor Ken MacMillen and George Bailey of St Paul’s in May, as part of the discernment process, and came back excited at the possibility. With Mobile Loaves and Fishes, there is opportunity for all members to be involved as they feel led.  It is a ‘hands-on’ ministry, meeting genuine need, and as Mobile Loaves and Fishes does not receive government funding, there is no restriction on sharing the good news of Jesus and praying with people.

Our bishop, the Rt Rev Thad Barnum, is excited to hear about this development, and hopes to meet and pray with our congregation as part of beginning our involvement.

Below are listed items that may be donated to this ministry.

  • Men’s and women’s clothing  (clean and in good condition)
    • Socks (always in demand): men’s white tube socks, sizes 6-13
    • Blue jeans
    • T-shirts
    • Sweatshirts
    • Hoodies
    • Coats  and jackets (not suit coats or sports jackets)
    • Hats
    • Gloves
    • Sneakers, boots, shoes (but not dress shoes)
  • Other
    • Blankets
  • Personal Hygiene
    • Toothbrushes
    • Toothpaste
  • Bibles, new or used in good condition
  • Food (it’s best to check on perishable items, but the following are used regularly)
    • Peanut Butter
    • Jelly
    • Bottled water (16.9 oz/ 500ml)

As we become more involved with MLF, we will discover more ways to serve.

Please PRAY for God’s continued leading and blessing as we seek to do His will.

Bp. Thad Barnum meets with SOCC

April 17, 2013

Bishop Thaddeus Barnum, missionary bishop of PEARUSA, the missionary district in North America of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, spent a productive evening and morning with the members of Spirit of Christ Church April 12 and 13.

The time began with a dinner at the home of Annie and Matt Kippe in South Dartmouth on Friday evening. Conversations over a delicious dinner (pot-organized!) extended after the meal into more focused discussion of the Anglican Church in general and Spirit of Christ Church in particular, looking at the past, and the challenges and opportunities of the present and future. Besides consideration of the life and mission of Spirit of Christ Church, these conversations provided the bishop with an opportunity of get to know the flock better, as well as for the members to get to know their bishop better.

Bp. Barnum is the pastor of Church of the Apostles in Fairfield, CT, as well as serving as a missionary bishop for the Rwandan Church for the East Coast region, of which Spirit of Christ Church is a part. He also serves in the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America. He is the author of ‘Never Silent,’ which chronicles the conflict in the American Episcopal Church in recent decades, which led to a number of congregations, including many newly established ones, to come under the spiritual oversight of bishops of the vibrant Anglican Church in Africa. Bp Barnum was consecrated a bishop in 2001, and in 2004 was called to pastor a new work begun the previous year in the Fairfield area of Connecticut. Prior to that, he had served in the Pittsburgh area and in Connecticut and South Carolina. He and his wife Erilynne, a deacon in the Church, are founders of call2disciple, reflecting their passion for discipleship of the followers of Jesus.

Saturday morning conversations with Bp Thad continued as the members of the flock gathered in Westport at the Council on Aging.  After opening worship, Bp. Thad taught from John 21, highlighting the movement of the disciples from the boat to the beach, noting the disciples did not remain on the beach, either, but obeying Jesus, went on the engage in the Kingdom work in accord with his commission to “Go!” With the congregation, Bp Thad explored the implications of this dynamic (boat to beach and beyond) for the life and future of Spirit of Christ Church, addressing many practical issues as well as the ‘big picture’ of being part of God’s work today.

The morning concluded with Holy Communion, at the end of which members were reminded that the risen Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”: go out in the Spirit of Christ.

Services for Holy Week and Easter

March 22, 2013

Palm Sunday, March 24, 4:00 pm

Celebration of Palms, followed by a Christian Seder Meal, which will include Holy Communion.

(Reservations are needed for the meal. Please contact Carol Russell at 508-982-6055 or carol@westrivers.com)

There will be no service the morning of March 24 at 9:30 am

Maundy Thursday, March 28, 7:00 pm

Commemoration of the Last Supper, and Prayer.

Good Friday, March 29, 7:00 pm

Tenebrae, a Service of Shadows, with readings and music (featuring African-American spirituals) as we meditate on Christ’s death on the Cross.

Easter Day, March 31, 9:30 am

Joy-filled Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, with Holy Communion. Refreshments, fellowship, and an Easter Egg hunt for the children following the service.