St. Peter’s mission and outreach efforts serve the Lord through our service and support to various local, national, and international projects. During the pandemic the manner by which we have been able to lend support has needed to adapt, but our commitment has never wavered. In addition to serving organizations in the local and broader community, we also have two in-house ministries that are a more personal expression of service to God: Heavenly Hugs, and Peace by Piece Quilters.
This fall we are hosting a coat and winterwear collection drive to help provide some necessary warmth to members of our homeless community this winter. The collection takes place between September 20 and October 15, with drop off locations at St. Peter’s and the South Windsor Community Center.
In recent years we have turned our efforts intentionally toward local concerns. Some examples of our local works include our ongoing collection of nonperishable food, which goes monthly to support the town of South Windsor’s Food and Fuel Bank, and Hartford Bags of Love, supporting the homeless. We also participate locally in the annual Crop Hunger Walk in the fall to raise money for organizations that address food insecurity. In conjunction with one of our Chartered Scout Troops, BSA Troop 682 for girls, we installed a free little pantry in the summer of 2020 where area residents may get food when they are in need.
During the season of Advent we enjoy undertaking our Christmas for Others project, an effort to bring holiday cheer to individuals who might not otherwise receive any. We have provided gifts to children as well as members of homeless communities in our area.
When a government shutdown left some local residents without a paycheck, St. Peter’s joined forces with others in the community to prepare “furlough freezer meals” to help families through lean times. More than forty meals were prepared in an effort to stem food insecurity during an uncertain time.
Beginning in 2018, in partnership with the South Windsor Senior Services St. Peter’s has hosted a Thanksgiving Day meal for area seniors who might otherwise be alone on the holiday. In the height of the first season of the pandemic in 2020 we continued to offer this meal to our seniors, serving more than 130 meals to our residents, as well as providing a holiday dinner to the staff on shift at the South Windsor Police Department. We are grateful to Troop 682 for their assistance in this ministry, as well.
Each summer we have a special summer project. One year we raised money to purchase school supplies for children in need in the town of South Windsor. We hung pictures of pencils on the walls around the church and invited our members to take a pencil, donating $1 for each pencil toward our goal. We have also raised money to provide water to residents in Flint, MI, personal items and toys for women and children in domestic violence shelters, and helped children and families get mosquito netting in Sub-Saharan African countries.
We also have special fund-raising projects to help when natural disasters hit various areas of the world or other special needs, ranging from the impact of hurricanes to the devastation of forest fires. On another occasion we gave money to another area Episcopal church to help them with the resettlement costs for Syrian refugees coming to CT.
Biennially, we hold Our Gift to the Community tag sale. This is set up as a tag sale but all items are given away for free. This is in thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have.
We also engage in occasional projects in response to a need that comes to our attention. One year we hosted an in-house “cut for a cause” project to prepare fabric to be used to create tote bags for residents of a local domestic violence shelter, which were then filled with personal items in need by the residents.
Our Sunday school curriculum includes a number of service projects throughout the year that reflect the desire of our children to make an impact closer to home. They have provided gardening and other tools to residents of local veterans communities, and decorated book bags to fill with books for area children to enhance summer reading programs, to name two.
Some of our ongoing international work includes the establishment and continuing work to grow the Africa Education Partnership (AEP). The AEP works to build and maintain partnerships with communities in the USA and in Africa through education for all qualified applicants regardless of religious beliefs, origin, or gender. Its initial focus is in Northern Nigeria.
As our budget allows we have supported other organizations from time to time that address a variety of needs domestically and globally. Among them: Sudan Sunrise, Five Talents, Living Water International, Latin American Missionary and Bible Institute (LAMB), and Thistle Farms and Freedom Firm, both of which work to assist women and girls victimized by sex trafficking.
We are always looking for new ways that we can continue to grow our faith in action.