“Let all that you do be done in love.”
I Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)
The couple found their way to Living Manna, a Wednesday evening meal provided by the congregation of Calvary United Methodist Church at 700 Market Street in Lemoyne. It was 21 degrees outside; they entered coatless. The members as well as Dr. Lew Parks, pastor, immediately engaged them, providing a warm welcome and a steaming home-cooked meal. What followed later was a fitting for coats from the church clothing bank, the Clothing Closet. Unfortunately, the man was so big that the outerwear the church could provide was a bit snug. The couple left that night after being fed and clothed, infinitely warmer in body and spirit.
Living Manna at Calvary provides a warm meal to anyone who has a need every Wednesday from 5:00–6:00 pm in the church Fellowship Hall. The Clothing Closet at the church provides free clothing on the third Saturday of the month, from 11:00am – 12:30 noon, at which time a free lunch is also provided.
Run by passionate volunteers, who shop for and prepare meals; collect, sort and display clothing; and donate monies and resources, Living Manna and the Clothing Closet are labors of love coordinated respectively by Glenda Clemence and Gwyn Richards. Pastor Parks attends both Living Manna and the Clothing Closet, breaking bread and communing with the diners. He notes that twenty-five percent of recipients are homeless, some living on the street.
Pastor Parks describes the Lemoyne church as being “strategically positioned for ministry” minutes from the Market Street Bridge to Harrisburg and within walking distance of neighborhoods in Lemoyne, Wormleysburg and New Cumberland. Living Manna and the Clothing Closet are both flourishing and meeting food and clothing needs in these communities. According to Gwyn Richards, Clothing Closet coordinator, the Saturday program bustles “with between fifty and one hundred folks.” Over the years she has seen many homeless people find exactly what they need. Moreover, the church recently facilitated a subsidized apartment for one homeless man; church families then outfitted his new home with donated furnishings. Other members provide transportation for him to come to church and Living Manna.
The story does not end here.
Contact was made with Mission Central to see if clothing, specifically winter coats and gloves, could be secured. Mission Central was more than up to the task, providing coats of all sizes, which could then be chosen by a church volunteer. Donated gloves, never worn before, were also provided by Mission Central, through a donation by Giant Foods. Some three more trips to Mission Central would be made in January to gather additional coats, some of which were in the hard-to-find larger sizes. Hygiene kits from Mission Central were offered and accepted for people in need, served by Calvary’s programs.
One week later, on another frigid evening, an eighteen-month old boy, wearing a pajama sleeper over his clothes, was carried into Living Manna for Wednesday night supper. He left that night with a two-piece red plaid snowsuit. His mother said it was great. A snowsuit from Mission Central and the Clothing Closet and Living Manna from Calvary meant that a little boy was fed and clothed. Additionally, the man who left with the “too snug” coat the previous week was fitted with a larger and warmer men’s coat also secured from Mission Central.
The joy in this story is that Mission Central is also “strategically positioned” for all kinds of assistance to congregations. To reach Mission Central call 717-766-1533 or go to missioncentral.org .
For more information about Calvary Lemoyne’s ministries, call 717-737-6921 or go to the website at lemoynecalvary.org .
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)