SOCIAL ACTION AND MISSION COMMITTEE’S MISSION STATEMENT:
Hiland Presbyterian Church, through its members and the Social Action and Mission Committee, partners with Christian missionaries in the United States and throughout the world who preach the Good News to those who do not know Christ, as we seek to be faithful to God’s Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). We also partner with those ministries that provide “a cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name (Mark 9:41) by meeting the physical and material needs of those in our community and around the world.
In doing so, we seek to embrace, illuminate, and inspire the fulfillment of the second greatest commandment—love your neighbor as yourself.
As we further develop these partnerships in the coming years, through our financial and prayer support, and by having visiting missionaries teach and preach at Hiland about God’s work through their ministries, our goal is to continue to expand the mission of the congregation in order to have a global mission footprint, as well as nurture our own spiritual growth and that of our church family by serving the needs of individuals and families within our church and the surrounding community.
Hiland has been a long-time supporter, both financially and with countless volunteer hours, of a variety of domestic and local ministries. These ministries include:
1. ADAM’S QUEST, founded in 2012 by former Family Guidance CEO and long-time friend of Hiland, Bob Jamison, is a Christian ministry that helps men to become better prepared to fulfill their responsibilities in their families, work, and communities through Christian discipleship and mentoring. For further information, refer to http://adamsquest.org.
2. ANCHORPOINT COUNSELING MINISTRY is a non-denominational community service organization with the mission of building hope and understanding through faith-based counseling and support services for youth, adults, couples, and families in the community. For further information, refer to http://anchorpointcounselingministry.org.
3. BETHLEHEM HAVEN is an organization that provides emergency shelter and transitional housing to homeless women in the greater Pittsburgh area, as well as meals, medical, dental, mental health services, and employment services to women it serves. Bethlehem Haven has provided shelter to thousands of homeless women in the community for more than 10,000 consecutive nights. For further information, refer to https://www.bethlehemhaven.org.
4. CHRISTIAN LITERACY ASSOCIATES (CLA) provides the key to eliminate illiteracy, build relationships, and share the Good News using The Christian Literacy Series. Christian Literacy Associates is committed to reaching the functionally illiterate adults and children throughout the world, and to help them develop the reading skills necessary to operate in our complex technological society. CLA also hopes to expose the individual student to the message contained in the Holy Scriptures through the example and witness of a Christian tutor, as well as through basic Bible-content reading material supplements. For further information, refer to http://www.christianliteracy.com.
5. FAMILY GUIDANCE exists to bring hope and a future in Jesus Christ to vulnerable children and families of all cultures throughout Western Pennsylvania. Family Guidance has been strengthening families and healing at-risk youth with the love and grace of Jesus Christ with programs like Promise Camp, One-to-One (mentoring program), Marriage Works, and others for decades. For further information, refer to http://familyguidance.net.
6. HOSANNA INDUSTRIES new construction and home rehabilitation programs offer safe, habitable housing to low and very low income, elderly and single-parent households without regard to race or creed. Since 1990, Hosanna Industries has served over 1,600 households and provided over 100 homes across the nation. For further information, refer to http://hosannaindustries.org.
7. NORTH HILLS COMMUNITY OUTREACH (NHCO) is an interfaith, nonprofit organization that addresses the spiritual, emotional, physical, and material needs of people in crisis, hardship, and poverty. For further information, refer to http://nhco.org.
8. NORTH HILLS FOOD BANK, a non-denominational ministry established more than 25 years ago, serves an average of 250 families each month in order to help alleviate hunger among local residents. Hiland has long supported the Food Bank by providing food, sponsoring food drives in the congregation, volunteering hours, and financial support. In the summer and fall of 2014, Hiland cultivated a garden dedicated to the North Hills Food Bank and donated dozens of fresh tomatoes. For further information, refer to http://northhillsfoodbank.org.
9. NORTHSIDE COMMON MINISTRIES is a non-denominational organization established in 1982 by a collaboration of 30 local churches to meet the increasing needs of the local homeless population. For further information, refer to http://www.ncmin.org.
10. PLEASANT VALLEY MEN’S SHELTER – Pleasant Valley Shelter, an outreach program of Northside Common Ministries, is a men’s shelter with 25 beds, which provides overnight lodging as well as medical services, counseling, supportive services, laundry, and bathing. Hiland Youth and members of Hiland congregation have volunteered at the shelter by preparing and serving meals one evening each month, and by sponsoring drives to provide towels, sheets, and toiletries for the men. In December of 2014, Hiland provided toiletries and socks by way of the “Socks of Love” program, a hands-on opportunity for the congregation to engage in local mission. For further information, refer to http://www.ncmin.org/pleasant-valley-mens-shelter.
11. PROJECT LINUS is a non-profit organization that provides hand-made blankets to children who have been who have been traumatized or who are critically ill. Project Linus blankets are lovingly made by adults and children from all walks of life and many different sources. Nationally, more than 5 million blankets have been delivered since 1998. Hiland has supported Project Linus by purchasing fabric to handcraft over 100 blankets each year for distribution to such children. The mission project at the annual weekend women’s retreat is to make Linus blankets. For further information, refer to http://www.projectlinus.org. To date, Hiland has donated over 400 blankets.
12. PRESBYTERIAN PROJECT. Doug Spicuzza traveled with Presbyterian Project in response to the Moore, Oklahoma (just south of Oklahoma City) tornado outbreak of 2013. Presbyterian Project has two trips planned to Oklahoma in January 2015. Doug participated in the January 12 trip and the second is planned for January 26. There were a total of 8 participants from Presbyterian Project the week of January 12. Participants were from Parkwood, Elfinwild, and Glenshaw Churches. They stayed at a local church (Church of the Harvest) in Norman, Oklahoma and worked with Samaritan’s Purse at the home of “Miss Georgia,” to replace her home, which had been damaged by a tornado. The home was nearing completion 1. when participants arrived so the Presbyterian Project Team worked on installing Formica counter tops in the kitchen, trim and molding, painting, and ceramic tile. The group discussed possibly sharing with the churches involved with Presbyterian Project and Doug will let us know after the second group returns.
13. THE NORTH HILLS BACKPACK INITIATIVE is a program that provides supplemental weekend food supplies for students who qualify for free meals during the school day. Nearly one in every four North Hills School District students qualifies for the National School Lunch program. The Backpack Initiative accepts donations of single servings or individually packaged foods, or monetary donations. For more information, contact: North Hills High School; ATTN: Backpack Initiative; 53 Rochester Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15229.
14. GWEN’S GIRLS is an organization on Pittsburgh’s Northside that helps mentor and care for at-risk girls. The agency aims to reverse and prevent the hardships these girls face daily, and to set them on the path to becoming self-sufficient adults who can eventually build strong family units, develop a strong support system; and contribute to community life. In 2014, Hiland participated in collecting hygiene products and baby care items for Gwen’s Girls. For further information, refer to www.gwensgirls.org
15. The goal of the JARED BOX PROJECT is to lift the spirits of chronically ill children. A Jared Box is a plastic shoebox filled with small gifts, toys, cards, and games. The boxes are delivered to hospitals and are given to chronically ill children. The Jared Boxes provide a special diversion for young patients as they receive chemotherapy and other medical treatments. During Hiland’s weekday Advent program, our children decorated and filled 27 boxes that were delivered to Allegheny General Hospital. Hiland used mission funds to purchase the contents of the boxes. This effort was completed in coordination with Hiland’s Children’s ministry.
The Presbyterian Church has been engaged in international mission work since the 1830’s and has one of the strongest mission traditions of any Protestant denomination. Hiland continues this tradition of international Presbyterian missions by supporting the following partners:
1. EGYPT, AFRICA (http://www.theoutreachfoundation.org). Hiland supports mission activity and the work of the church in Egypt, where there are more Christians than in any other Arab country, and in which Presbyterians are the largest Protestant group among Egyptian churches. Specifically, Hiland supports Egyptian Christians through the Outreach Foundation, which is a Presbyterian organization with the mission to engage Presbyterians and global partners in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. In Egypt, the Outreach Foundation supports the work of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the entire Middle East, as it executes its plan to plant seventeen new churches in every presbytery of the church throughout Egypt. In 2014, Hiland hosted Marilyn Borst from the Outreach Foundation to speak on details of her work in Africa (http://www.theoutreachfoundation.org/search?q=marilyn).
2. MALAWI, AFRICA (http://pghpip.org). Hiland has been engaged in partnership with churches and organizations in Malawi, a landlocked country in southern Africa, for over 25 years. Today, we are involved in Malawi through two projects:
a. INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP OF PITTSBURGH PRESBYTERY. Since 1991, the Pittsburgh Presbytery has had a Partnership with the Blantyre Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). Approximately 33 churches in our presbytery have partner churches in Malawi, with Hiland being the first to establish such a partnership with St. Michael and All Angels church. Through this partnership, schools, churches, and clinics have been built or restored, and multiple needs have been met through medical care, education, and supplies.
b. MULANJE MISSION HOSPITAL (MMH), part of Mulanje Mission (http://www.mmh.mw) (church, hospital, nursing college, and schools) celebrated the 124th anniversary of its foundation on June 28, 2014. Mulanje Mission Hospital works together with a local government hospital to serve a population of 550,000 people in the Mulanje district of southeast Malawi. Mulanje Mission was established towards the end of the 19th century, and the initial health facility on the present site operated as a maternity clinic only. Currently, the 220-bed hospital provides a full range of medical, surgical, and pediatric services. Together with the adjacent College of Nursing, MMH has become well known for its high standards of care, under the governance of Blantyre Synod of the Central Church of Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). The hospital supports four health centers and operates a mobile clinic program. The nursing school trains nurses for health programs throughout southern Malawi. Hiland provides financial support, through monthly collections of “Change for Malawi” and special donations, toward the purchase of “a hospital bed”. ($1,000 covers “a hospital bed” that is available for approximately 40 patients throughout the calendar year. It pays for those things that are essential to provide good quality care, including nursing care and medical supplies). For further information, refer to http://www.mmh.mw.
3. PC(USA) MISSIONARIES, IRAQ, ASIA. These missionaries, both PC(USA) pastors, are PC(USA) international missions co-workers among an unreached Muslim people group in Asia. They have worked among this people group for more than 25 years in Europe and Asia and currently live and minister in an undisclosed location (due to security concerns).
4. ASIA – ISRAEL, PALESTINE. The BETHLEHEM BIBLE COLLEGE is an interdenominational Christian Bible College located in Bethlehem, Palestine, and is training Palestinian Christians to lead the church and be the light of Christ to their Muslim and Christian neighbors in the Holy Land. Hiland supports the Bethlehem Bible College through the Outreach Foundation. For further information, refer to http://www.bethbc.org.
5. PAKISTAN, ASIA. The purpose of the PRESBYTERIAN EDUCATION BOARD (PEB) is to provide high quality primary and secondary education to children of all religious backgrounds regardless of their ability to pay. Established in the 1850’s, the Board’s vision rises out of its Christian values and its Christian roots. The PEB oversees 14 schools in Pakistan. In addition, the PEB manages a program called “Struggle, Hope, and Empowerment” in 20 communities in the Punjab area, to empower marginalized girls and women to take part in economic activity, participate in household decision-making, and become educated on issues of women’s rights. For further information, refer to http://www.peb.edu.pk/wordpress/index.php.
6. MIDDLE EAST, ASIA – PC(USA) MISSIONARY – This missionary, a PC(USA) pastor and long-time PC(USA) missionary among the Kurds, is the U.S. Director of “Frontiers,” a mission organization dedicated to missions and ministry among Muslim people groups throughout the world. “Frontiers” currently has 200 teams spread across approximately 45 Muslim countries.
7. BOLIVIA, SOUTH AMERICA – PC(USA) mission co-worker Chenoa Stock serves with the Joining Hands for Life Network (UMAVIDA). The aim of the program is to build bridges of solidarity between the network and PC(USA) congregations and presbyteries. The networks are made up of churches and grassroots community groups. They share a commitment to fight against the root causes of hunger and search for alternative economic activities that promote human dignity and self-sufficiency. The name, UMAVIDA (Uniendo Manos por la Vida), means “Joining Hands for Life.” UMAVIDA’s concerns include fair trade, gender equality, democracy, 3. citizenship, and environmental contamination from the mining industry and issues related to land and health. It also educates youth about the growing water-related issues in Bolivia and throughout the world, and it works to empower communities, specifically women, to exercise their human rights. UMAVIDA has nine member organizations and others in the process of joining, four of which are national churches. Chenoa Stock was appointed in 2010 by the PC(USA) as partnership facilitator. Hiland hosted Chenoa on her 2014 visit to Pittsburgh, PA. For further information, refer to (http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/stock-chenoa/)
4. HAITI and EL SALVADOR. Hiland provided financial support for Ellen Gaus’ mission trip to Haiti as part of Team Tassy, and also for Aimee Spicuzza’s mission trip to El Salvador, with the staff of Camp Crestfield. For Ellen, experiencing firsthand the environment and culture of Haiti was an opportunity she never expected to have. After travelling to other more conventional travel destinations, she knew that Haiti would be more of a journey. Ellen is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about herself, our world, and the role she can play in alleviating poverty and its many direct and indirect effects.
5. PC(USA MISSIONARIES), EAST AFRICA. These missionaries serve as literacy and evangelism trainers in East Africa. They are working alongside the Evangelical Church in that area on evangelism with a focus on adult literacy. About 30 percent of the population is literate, with about 17 percent of women and 43 percent of men knowing how to read and write.
6. WORLDWIDE, WORLD MISSION INITIATIVE – WMI is a PC(USA) mission organization, based out of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS), dedicated to developing mission vision among Presbyterian congregations, its members and PTS students, through educational resources, mission trips and conferences, including the New Wilmington Mission Conference in PA. WMI is a fellowship of Presbyterians dedicated to developing mission vision, nurturing missionary vocations, and cultivating missional congregations by helping Christians understand how God is at work in the world and how they can share in that work. WMI offers resources to serve congregations and students. For further information, refer to http://www.worldmissioninitiative.org.
7. WORLDWIDE, WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL – Hiland supports the work of World Vision, the world’s largest Christian relief organization, through our volunteer efforts at the World Vision International Distribution Center, located in Sewickley, PA. Two times each year, a team of Hiland volunteers sort and pack donations of clothing, medical supplies, and educational materials for use in World Vision’s relief operations around the globe. For further information, refer to http://www.wvi.org.
8. WORLDWIDE, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency and refugee program of the PC(USA). Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables congregations and mission partners of the PC(USA) to witness to the healing love of Christ by caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic events. The core budget, including staff and administrative costs, is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing, and its program work is additionally funded through designated gifts. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance focuses on the long-term recovery of disaster impacted communities. For further information, refer to https://pda.pcusa.org.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA):
1. PITTSBURGH PRESBYTERY – in addition to the above projects, Hiland also financially supports a variety of local ministries through contributions to the Pittsburgh Presbytery. More information about these ministries, which include youth and senior ministry, medical care, tutoring, vocational development, literacy, and counseling support, can be found at: http://www.pghpresbytery.org/mission_agencies/missions.htm.
2. SPECIAL OFFERINGS – Hiland also supports the domestic and international mission work of PC(USA) through our contributions to the General Mission Fund of the Presbyterian Church, as well as three special offerings throughout the year:
a. One Great Hour of Sharing
b. Peacemaking Offering
c. Christmas Joy Offering