The United Way will hold its annual Back to School Fair on August 6th at Oshkosh North High. According to their press release, the committee organizing this event aims to serve over 1000 families, so the need is real.
The United Way is requesting that we hold a "Christmas in July" event starting June 20th. They would like donations of clothing and cash:
- Hygiene supplies
- Gift cards
The committee will supply us with gift tags for the Christmas tree. Look for them soon.
The headline above means "Peace be upon you, al Sakka family! and God's mercy and blessings." That's a formal way of saying, مرحبابكمفيأوشكوش or, "Welcome to Oshkosh."
The al Sakkas are of course the Syrian refugee family we will be helping to resettle in Oshkosh. They are due to arrive on October 8th, and beyond that, we just don't have very much information. We're told that they are Sunni Muslims, which is the largest group within Islam, much like Catholics within Christianity. There is a father, mother, and a 13-year-old daughter. That's about all we know at this point.
We have been asked to consider helping on a number of fronts: transporting the family to appointments or on errands, teaching them things like how to take a bus or how to work a washer and dryer, and getting them started with some very basic needs, which are listed below.
That commitment lasts six months. But we are encouraged first and foremost to form lasting friendships with the al Sakkas, to welcome them into our hearts and our community. In the short run, that means we'll need someone or a few people willing to check in with the family once a week to make sure things are going well, and that their needs are being met. More generally, it means to follow scripture's instructions to "love the stranger, for you were also once strangers."
This is a wonderful opportunity to put our faith into action. Let's see what we can do, and look for Jesus in our new friends.
We need, as soon as possible:
aspirin, deodorant, feminine care products (no tampons), a plunger, razors and shaving cream, shampoo, a shower curtain liner with rings, soap, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels (both body and hand), wash clothes, alarm clocks, blankets or comforters, hangers (they suggest 10 person), pillows (only new, no used), sheets, aluminum foil, bags (garbage and zip lock), a can opener, cutting boards, dish cloths, dishes (dinner plate, bowl, glass/cup), a garbage can, knives, a microwave, plastic storage containers, plastic wrap, pots & pans (large skillet, large saucepan, small saucepan, stock pot), a rice cooker, scissors, dish soap, sponge, dish towels, utensils (fork, knife, spoon), wooden spoons, coffee or end table, lamp, a television with stand, all-purpose surface cleaner, a broom and dust pan, floor cleaner, laundry detergent, mop and mop bucket, paper towels, toilet bowl brush, toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner, notebook (lined), pens, one or more umbrellas, and a large wall calendar.
If we want to stretch, we can provide beds and frames, a couch and/or chairs, a dining table and chairs, and age-appropriate toys. World Relief says that if they don't use these items for our family, they will store them until another family comes along.
That may seem like a lot, and Pastor Dan apologizes for thinking that the family wouldn't need much. Just remember two things: first, we may or may not be the only congregation collecting for the al Sakkas. Second, many hands make a light load. If we all take one or two things off the list, none of them will be terribly expensive.
We can do this!
Several of us attended a pizza dinner on September 17th to meet Jane Anderson, our new Association Minister. We have submitted our congregational profile to Rev. Anderson. She will meet with our committee soon to teach us about reviewing candidate profiles as we prepare for interviews.
Board of Administration
Met on September 16th.
Completed work: Roof leaks have been fixed, as have the faucets in the utility room and playground area. One vacuum cleaner has been repaired, bringing us back to 2. The Little Free Library is installed, only needs a few signs attached to be complete.
To do: We need to schedule carpet cleaning. There will be a fall clean-up day on October 17th. We will distribute flyers for the Neighborhood Association meeting on October 8th this weekend.
Projects: We continue to work on revamping the Bethany constitution. We're getting closer to done, though. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Board of Christian Education
No report this month.
- Met on September 20th to review committee reports and the Chicken & Ribs dinner, consider ministry opportunities and coordinate work in the church.
- Approved purchase of 50 Glory to God hymnals, and 12 large-print copies. An accompanist edition will come free with the order.
- It's time to remind everyone to give to the food pantry again.
- Lil Hansche will be starting a book club in November.
- A Syrian refugee family will be resettled in October; we think we can help.
- We still need alternates for Executive Council and other roles in the church.
- Nadine's job is covered while she moves in October. Next meeting will be after worship on October 25th.
Worship & Community Life
Met September 14th to prepare for Chicken & Ribs Dinner. Next meeting is October 5th.