Outreach Council 2017 Annual Report

Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
2017 Annual Report: Outreach Council
Prepared by Seth Craigo-Snell

It was a productive year for Outreach activities at Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church. The Vision 2020 process challenges our outreach efforts to focus our time, energy, and resources on three areas: 1) Racial Justice, 2) Cross-Cultural Connections, and 3) Earth Care.
Some of the many highlights of 2017 were:

● New faces on Outreach Council! We welcomed: Eva Stimson (session), Donna Philips (intern), and Carol Young. All are invited to join us at any point. We would be happy to have more new faces in 2018.
● Although CHPC’s benevolence giving was reduced by 21% from 2016 to 2017, we made deliberate decisions about giving levels in an effort to minimize the disruption to recipients who have come to count on CHPC’s generosity. We kept our funding levels to organizations such as: United Crescent Hill Ministries, Bread for the World, Covenant Network, Cedar Ridge, and Young Adult Volunteers at the same level as previous years. We reduced funding (-29%) to the shared mission support through the Presbytery (and PCUSA) and some other agencies that we have historically provided funding to such as: Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Furlough Home, and Presbyterian mission co-workers.
● Coordinated 4 special offerings in partnership with our denomination (One Great Hour of Sharing; Pentecost; Peace & Global Witness; Christmas Joy). Distributed congregation-directed portions of the Pentecost Offering to La Casita Center of Louisville and the Peace & Global Witness Offering to the Freedom Rising Initiative of the PCUSA. Overall, giving to the special offering was up by 6% in 2017 compared to 2016.
● Hosted a screening of two films by filmmaker David Barnhart (Locked in a Box and To Breathe Free). The creation of the films was sponsored by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). The event, “A Filmmaker Looks at Immigration” was held in early September in the Henry Young Fellowship Hall and featured a panel discussion including: the filmmaker, David Barnhart, and representatives from: PDA, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and Shelbyville Pres. Church (with whom we collaborated to resettle a Syrian family during 2016). There were approximately 70 people at the event and roughly half of the attendees were from outside of the CHPC community.
● Hosted the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in March for breakfast while they were passing through Louisville on their way to Columbus, Ohio to advocate for fair food practices in the fast food industry. This continues a long history between CIW and CHPC. We prepared a sign for our friends to take with them on their journey signed by many members of our church.
● Following commitments made to the Children’s Team in the fall of 2016, we involved children and youth in three particular areas of our work during 2017. First, children helped with the collection of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. Second, children created a banner that was delivered to Senator Mitch McConnell’s office in coordination with CHPC’s offering of letters for Bread for the World. Third, Outreach Council completed a benevolence giving project with children in grades 2-5 and youth during the fall of 2017. The children decided to give $100 to Presbyterian Disaster Relief for efforts to support Puerto Rico. The youth of CHPC decided to give $200 to Louisville Youth Group – a group that supports LGTBQ young people in our community.
● Explored expanding immigrant justice efforts and discussed various times what it means to be a sanctuary church at this time and ways that we could better support immigrant communities. Encouraged CHPC to become a friend of Interfaith Paths to Peace and join the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Justice.
● Supported and encouraged the work of a Racial Justice Catalyst Group, the Earth Care Team, the English Language Learners Program, the French Language Outreach Ministry, and the Guatemalan Connection.
● Coordinated a Bread for the World Offering of Letters to Congress, seeking continued, consistent funding for poverty and hunger programs.
● Hosted coffee hours during the Summer prior to Sunday morning worship services for mission co-workers: Jeff and Christi Boyd (who discussed their work with women and children in Dem. Rep. of Congo) and JoElla Holman (who discussed her new position as the regional liaison to the Caribbean Region).
● Continued to host Newcomers’ Coffee Hour to periodically help repeating visitors make connections and learn about the church. Discussed process for encouraging and welcoming new members. Several folks have joined the congregation.
● Concurred with an overture to the General Assembly from Central Presbyterian Church regarding the formation of a task team to write an accompanying letter to the Belhar Confession regarding the United States’ history with racism and race relations.
● Financially supported 6 Mission Coworkers around the world: Brian and Sandi Thompson-Royer (Guatemala), JoElla Holman (Caribbean), Jeff and Christi Boyd (Congo), and Nancy Collins (East Central Africa).
● Provided for small emerging ministry ideas/missions during the year.

Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
2017 Annual Report: Earth Care Team
Prepared by Bill Young

The Earth Care Team led an overnight youth retreat focused on consumption, waste, and caring for the earth and also taught a month of youth Sunday School classes focused on earth care.

We held a worship service with an Earth Day emphasis in April. We offered a weekly Earth Care prayer during prayer time of the worship service each week. We prepared monthly articles for Westminster Ways.

The CHPC John Leake Memorial Community Garden was the site of the 15th annual summer gardening day camps which teach lifelong skills in gardening, food processing and cooking to hundreds of children that reduce our carbon footprints, among many other positive results. No paper plates or utensils or air conditioning were used. Much of the food consumed in the camp was grown in the garden or as part of SAL 3 sisters community crops. Approximately 40% of campers were on low income scholarship support.

Individual members took part in hearings, rallies and demonstrations: the Louisville Earth Day walk in Iroquois Park; the Kentucky Council of Churches “Prayer in Action” lobbying event for environment and sustainable energy in Frankfort; an interpretive hike at the Cane Run coal ash pile with the Sierra Club; and one member testified at a hearing before the Environmental Protection Agency in Charleston, WV in support of the Clean Power Plan.

The team designed, purchased, and sold Earth Care grocery bags with proceeds going toward energy saving at the church.

With Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church we presented to the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery at its November meeting an overture calling on PC(USA) to divest from holding stock in fossil fuel companies. Our Presbytery passed the overture, and it will be considered at the General Assembly meeting in June, 2018.

We implemented two of the environmental sustainability opportunities identified in the energy audit of the church facilities performed in 2016. Those items were the installation of occupancy sensors and more efficient lights. As a result of these energy efficiency upgrades, the church earned a rebate of $158.00 from LG&E.

One member wrote an Earth Care anthem!

Team members now drive five hybrid cars, and one member installed solar panels on her house this year.

Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
2017 Annual Report: English Language Learners (ELL) Program
Prepared by Perry Chang

After years of changing sites, partners, and curriculum, Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church’s English Language Learners (ELL) Program had a year of relative stability. This gave participants a chance to focus on what the program does best: Building community and relationships and teaching and learning English.

On any given Monday, students and CHPC volunteers will spend half an hour eating a delicious meal prepared by a periodic CHPC volunteer and chatting in a mix of English, French, and Spanish. A handful of kids (typically kids of volunteers and students) stay put in Young Hall and work on homework, draw pictures, or play hide and go seek or – weather permitting – go out to the playground and play. Adults (and sometimes some kids too!) split into two groups (a “Developing” group and an “Expanding” group) and retire to two different classrooms in the sanctuary building. Depending on the group, there they practice pronunciation, learn vocabulary, go over grammar, and discuss a variety of topics to practical issues like English phrases they need to know at their jobs to esoteric issues like the effects of climate disruption in Antarctica.

The “Developing” group typically breaks into small groups later on during the 90-minute class, to go over things one on one or two on one, while the “Expanding” group typically has in-depth discussions about articles in an ELL student-specific News for You weekly newspaper that the church has generously purchased subscriptions to. Both groups use Oxford Picture Dictionary dictionaries and workbook which the church has also generously provided. Depending on the group, students are able to take home some of these materials.

Because the two groups of students have been relatively stable in recent years, the students have come to know each other well, the teachers have come to know each other well, and, likewise, the students and teachers now also know each other well. During supper or in class, they celebrate new events (marriages, births, new jobs, obtaining U.S. citizenship, their children coming to the United States) and reflect on difficult times. In spite of the stability, the program did welcome some new long-term students this year, partly in connection with the French Language Outreach Ministry.

At the end of each of the program’s three terms, students and volunteers gather between supper and class to celebrate the end of the term. They eat ice cream, while students receive certificates and two or three or four students who have attended class most consistently receive gift cards, which the church has generously provided. In between terms, students and volunteers sometimes gather for supper and English conversation, including annually with a potluck where both students and volunteers bring food from their “native” lands.

Even with the stability, this year the program did say good-bye to some volunteers and hello to others. Wrapping up their involvement for now were: Chris Butz, Peyton Hobson, Jane Larsen-Wigger, Andrea Trautwein, and Gayle Trautwein. Anna Aycock and Emily Aycock have also finished up a long run of leading children’s activities. Shannon Langley also began helping coordinate, setting up, and cleaning up and serving on the leadership team.

The program continued to partner with Stephen Bartlett and Mid-Kentucky Presbytery Hispanic-Latino ministries.

Also volunteering regularly were Doug Aycock, Kim Aycock, Jessica Banks, Justin Banks, Barbara Barnes, Mark Barnes, Soni Castleberry, Stephanie Gregory, Izzy Jones, Janine Linder, Elisa Owen, Claire Palmer, Diana Stephen, and Eva Stimson.

Helping with food prep and clean up during the year’s three terms were: Ada Asenjo, Kim Aycock, Marianne Booth, Lee Boyd, Rachel Brewer, Molly Casteel, Seth Craigo-Snell, Gail DeMarsh, Sandra Duverge, Sebastian Duverge, Deborah Fortel, Claudia Foulkes, Sue Krause, Joy Lindauer, Amy Linfield, Tricia Lloyd-Sidle, Beverly Machin, Carol Roderick, Jeanne-Marie Rogers, Todd Rogers, David Sawyer, Amanda Scharf, Jerry Van Marter, and Roger Veliquette.

Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
2017 Annual Report: Guatemalan Connection
Prepared by Perry Chang

Many modest-sized visits and continued communication were hallmarks of 2017 for Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church’s Guatemala partnership. CHPC’s Guatemalan Connection helped coordinate the partnership between Crescent Hill church and eastern Guatemala’s Q’eqchi’ Estereño Izabal Presbytery. 2017 marked ten years since our congregation and the presbytery made contact.

In January/February, Shannon Bostrom and Ben Langley represented CHPC at a gathering of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Guatemala Mission Network, which took place near Guatemala City. Also there, representing Estoreño Presbytery, were Pastor Raul Contreras Tut and Elder Ramiro Quib, who have both visited Kentuckiana. In addition to getting to know Guatemalan and North American Presbyterians engaged in mission, the foursome spent a lot of time in fellowship and prayer together.

In April, Soni Castleberry and Megan McCarty represented CHPC at an annual gathering of Estoreño Presbytery’s Presbyterian Women. Along the way Soni and Megan got to know two PC(USA) Guatemala mission co-workers with whom CHPC is partnered (Brian Thompson-Royer and Sandi Thompson-Royer), two leaders of the national Guatemalan Presbyterian Women, and Rubenia Sanchez, a young woman who served as a translator and cultural liaison for Soni and Megan. Soni and Megan got to witness the flowering of female leadership within the presbytery, as well as participate in some intense worship services.

In May Ramiro punctuated his five-month U.S. sojourn with a long weekend in Kentuckiana, helping lead CHPC worship, brainstorming with the Guatemalan Connection, and visiting with CHPC folks. Then, in September, Rubenia took time out of her four-week U.S. visit to dine with CHPC folks and visit the Presbyterian Center, the seminary, and some horse farms.

In between visits, CHPC sent $1,500 to the presbytery for PW and theological education. For the first time, the money went through the national Guatemala church, which went smoothly and which allowed CHPC to make a contribution to the work of the national church. Five Estoreño folks – three men and two women – were able to participate in a theological education program in Coban, thanks in part to Crescent Hill’s financial involvement. By phone and Facebook, Estoreño shared news of new leadership, a visit to the faraway Nueva Amanacer community, Ramiro’s ordination as a minister of the Word and Sacrament and installation as pastor of the presbytery’s flagship (Arca de Noe church), and the birth of a grandchild for Ramiro and Elvia. CHPC folks, in turn, shared news of Pastor Jane’s retirement and introduced Estoreño folks to Elisa, our new transitional pastor. CHPC and Estoreño folks continued to pray with and for each other throughout the year.

More visits seem on tap for 2018: February Kentuckiana visit by the Thompson-Royers, a repeat April Guatemala visit for the presbytery-wide PW meeting, and a very early August summertime visit.

Participating in Guatemalan Connection brainstorming in 2017, in addition to Shannon, Ben, Soni, and Megan, Jane, and Elisa, were Carrie Bridgman, Sandra Duverge, Sebastian Duverge, Stephanie Gregory, Jennifer Thalman Kepler, Janine Linder, Mary Love, Elisabeth McNinch, Beth Yeager, and Doug Yeager.

Connection folks bid adieu during the year to Elisabeth, Jane, and – de facto – Shannon and Megan. Also participating in the partnership through involvement in the early August 2017 St. Joseph’s picnic parking fund-raiser were: Brad Castleberry, Deborah Fortel, Luiz Kemmerle, Shannon Langley, Janine Linder, Tricia Lloyd-Sidle, Michelle McDonald, Carol Roderick, Jeanne-Marie Rogers, Todd Rogers, and David Sawyer.

Latin food and culture were on the menu for the year’s other fund-raising activities. Sandra spearheaded an early March Latin Dance Party. Tim McNinch created the flyer for this event, and the Ville Casinera dance company supplied instructors. This fun event drew in enthusiastic and paying participants from both the congregation and community and netted the partnership the largest paycheck of the year. Claudia Foulkes and Soni also spearheaded an El Tarasco fund-raiser throughout the second half of the year. Thanks to all who learned to dance the Casino at the March Latin Dance Party or who dined this fall at El Tarasco, the Mexican restaurant in St. Matthews that has donated 15 percent of sales to supporters of Crescent Hill’s Guatemala partnership when diners ask for CHPC to be credited.

Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
2017 Annual Report: Racial Justice Report
Prepared by Tricia Lloyd-Sidle

As followers of Jesus Christ, we stand against racism in all its myriad forms.
Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community (PCUSA, 2016)

January – December: CHPC’s stand against racism was expressed with yard signs (Black Lives Matter; No Matter Where You Are From, We Glad You Are Our Neighbor; Blessed Ramadan) and in sermons and prayers

February: Lead a 4-session adult education class, Tools for Facing Racism.

March – June: Over 20 CHPC members join Sanctuary & Solidarity conversations sponsored by Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice.

April – CHPC members visit a house church of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery’s Preston Highway Ministry following detention of several household members.

May – CHPC members attend a Bystander Training, hosted by Shawnee Presbyterian Church and led by Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice.

July – November: As part of a community-wide effort, CHPC hosts weekly vigils to show solidarity with immigrants and draw attention to the realities of detention & deportation. Approximately 15 CHPC members participate.

September: CHPC hosts and co-sponsors screenings and conversation, “A Filmmaker Looks at Immigration”

May – September: Vision 20-20 Action Team on Social Justice seeks ways to strengthen the intersections between CHPC’s commitment to earth care, racial justice and cross-cultural connections.

October: CHPC members attend Sowers of Justice conference, “Systemic Racism: What People of Faith Can Do?” and the Society for Race, Ethnicity and Religion conference in Nashville.

October – November: CHPC members attend Looking for Lillith’s Carefully Taught, a play followed by discussion,

November: CHPC joins the Interfaith Coalition on Immigrant Justice; contributing $200 to assist immigrant families in crisis due to detention/deportation of a family member.

Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
2017 Annual Report: French-Language Outreach Ministry
Prepared by Paula Tibbs and the Reverend Lengulula Kashama

The French-language Outreach Ministry continues to offer weekly worship service in French to anyone who wishes to attend. Most of those who worship with us are from Africa, so some of our worship practices tend to have an African influence. One exciting practice, especially when we have Farrell Kashama (and some other young people) worshipping with us, is the music. African music exalts the Lord. But, as is the case with all of our people, Farrell is often not available because of work.

Our ministry from the beginning was to allow people to worship God in a familiar language as they adapted to a new language and culture. We continue to do that—through the weekly worship service, through counseling and listening, through prayer, through offering advice and rides to appointments and to shop. But, as people adapt, they take work with difficult schedules, they move away, their family responsibilities become greater. So attendance this year at worship service has varied widely. But we are there—one never knows which message will be the one that saves a life or a soul.

We do not know where God will take this ministry in 2018. We continue to pray about this question and to talk to the members of our worshipping group about how we can continue to serve them. But there are changes—in our community, among the leadership, in the church. Our group was one of the early members of the former Presbytery Commission Ecclesia in 2010. But Ecclesia, a group that supported and sustained non-traditional ministries, has been phased out by the Presbytery restructuring.

What has not changed is our deep gratitude to Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church for their welcome and support, for the space and the friendship. In the past 8 years, you have provided a church home for hundreds of francophones, a place and a freedom to worship God in a familiar language. Thank you. Merci beaucoup.