River Run Church of the Nazarene Outreach Report

River Run Church of the Nazarene Outreach Report for 2016-2017 Church Year

Compassionate Ministries to our community:  River Run continues to emphasize compassionate ministry and community outreach.  The Watershed Project is an outreach effort of the River Run Church of the Nazarene, having a focus on helping people in the area that have a need for food.

Currently these food related ministries include:

  • a small supplemental food pantry
  • raise bed/container/community raised bed gardens
  • free community fellowship dinners
  • a gleaning project and food distribution
  • gardening and other garden harvest related educational offerings.
  • planning activities to establish a small individual and/or family farmers market to help fund some of River Run’s food related ministries.

Recent accomplishments:

  • Community Garden Project

The River Run Church of the Nazarene’s Watershed Project secured a small grant from the Kohl’s Cares About ME Program.  River Run joined forces with the Anna Field Fernald Library and were assisted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to establish a community garden in Detroit, Maine.  The community garden has served residents of area communities throughout the 2016 growing season.

The community garden was managed by the River Run Church of the Nazarene.  The success of this project was made possible through the commitment of time and energy from sixteen volunteers from seven area towns.  About 950 pounds of garden produce was harvested from the twenty 3X5 raised beds in the community garden.

Thirty households from eleven different area towns were served during the 2016 growing season.  Five multigenerational families, nine adult households, six families with children, one elderly person, three young adult households, and six single individual households were served this season, reflecting a total of 62 people.  These 62 people were served in one or two ways, either through distribution of fresh produce from the community garden or from attending a community dinners that prepared food with produce from the community garden.  Most of the people served received fresh produce from the community garden.  Some households benefited from both the distribution of fresh produce and by attending a community dinner.  A few households received produce once during the growing season, but most households received produce multiple times throughout the season.

We have been able to preserve some of the community garden’s harvest for use this winter and next spring.  We prepared the beds for the winter months and have started to make plans for the 2017 growing season.  We look forward to working with all community volunteers and partners to increase the availability of fresh and locally grown produce to area residents again next year.

  • Gleaning Project

In addition to the Community Garden Project that was previously reported, River Run Church of the Nazarene was recognized as a community based hunger relief organization.  We were able to expand our food distribution efforts.  With assistance from a Cooperative Extension staff member and a Sebasticook Valley Hospital/Kohl’s Cares About ME staff person, we piloted a gleaning project during the 2016 growing season.

Through this gleaning project, eighteen different types of fruits and vegetables were gleaned.  Four area farms and one business in a neighboring community donated produce to this project.  Over 1200 pounds of produce was gleaned, valued at about $1,600Eighty percent of the produce was distributed through River Run’s food pantry to households in several communities throughout the Sebasticook Valley area.  About 6% of the gleaned food was prepared for use in the organization’s free community dinners and the remaining 14% of the food was preserved for use in future dinners.  It is estimated that over fifty people benefitted from the gleaned fruits and vegetables this year.

  •  Increased Capacity to Serve

The River Run Church of the Nazarene continued to increase our capacity to serve people in need of food in 2016.  With grant assistance from two Partners in Community Health (PICH) Program sponsors (Sebasticook Valley Health and Good Shepherd), we were able improve our food storage space by adding a 22 cubic foot upright freezer, two locking cabinets, and two shelving units.  In addition to a previously donated 5 cubic foot box freezer, the Fairfield Church of the Nazarene donated a commercial grade refrigerator to the River Run Church of the Nazarene in 2016.

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River Run Church of the Nazarene Annual Report – Spring 2016

Annual Report to the Maine District Church of the Nazarene’s District Assembly – [prepared April 2016]

River Run continues to emphasize compassionate ministry and community outreach.  Our Watershed Project encompasses several efforts that focus upon helping people in our area that are in need of food.

Currently these food related ministries include:

  • a small supplemental food pantry
  • raise bed and container gardening and the community raised bed gardening project
  • free community fellowship dinners
  • a gleaning project with plans for a food distribution system
  • a garden harvest series and other garden related educational offerings.

In addition, we would like to establish a small individual and/or family farmer’s market.  We hope this effort could help fund some of River Run’s food related ministries.

A couple of recent highlights include that:

  • River Run is being acknowledged, by area health and medical service providers, as being a valued faith based hunger relief organization and community partner. We have received a small grant to offer a four part garden harvest series.  This funding will also equip River Run to be able to preserve our own garden’s harvest.
  • We have just been notified that our funding request to establish a small raised bed community garden at the Detroit Town Hall has been approved. In addition, we will be collaborating with our local library’s family garden program to target additional families and children in need of food.

River Run’s Parent Affiliated Congregation [PAC]

River Run Online Organics has just been registered as a Parent Affiliated Congregation [PAC] and Organic Church under the River Run.  Just as we are working to develop a more traditional organic church network, River Run recently reaffirmed our desire to birth an online organic church network as well.  River Run Online Organics is a collection of online organic groups.  Each group has a leader, is Christ-centered, focuses upon building relationships… with each other and with God, and also seeks to explore, share, and discuss the Scriptures together.

We believe our online organic groups are producing fruit and are reaching people who would otherwise not have a church home or connection to a Christian community.  We have been tracking active participation in the online groups throughout the year.  We are prepared to report on these efforts under the new “parent affiliated congregation” designation.  We are open to how God may choose to use this ministry approach to reach out to others and to grow Christlike disciples.  Additionally, we are committed to adapt proven discipleship activities for use in an online or social media environment.  We are exploring a road less traveled with this new work and hope you will embrace this opportunity with us.

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River Run Church of the Nazarene Annual Report

Organic Church Focus: River Run has been studying about the organic church model for Christian ministry. The model builds upon relationships… with God and with people. We recently began to implement this approach by focusing upon the relationships we have developed with others. All of our outreach and ministry efforts emphasize the Bible, are Christ-centered, and are needs based or service oriented. Our Sunday service time is spent in an in-depth study of the Scriptures. We are currently working to establish two organic church group sites, hoping our efforts will evolve into a multi-site network of small organic church groups under the River Run Church of the Nazarene’s organizational umbrella.

Compassionate Ministries to our community: River Run continues to emphasize compassionate ministry and community outreach. The Watershed Project focuses upon helping people in our area that are in need of food. In 2014, we offered an educational program on raised bed and container gardening. In addition, River Run set up four raised bed kits and used multiple containers to produce vegetables for use in our community dinners or to give away to others who were in need. Our food pantry assisted four households in 2014. We ran four free community dinners and began a limited distribution of meals to individuals who were unable to attend. We gave away over 100 pounds of garden produce during the growing season and preserved or stored additional garden produce for later use in our free community dinners.

Other compassionate outreach efforts: In the spring of 2014, we kicked off a Christ-centered health and wellness series. As a result, River Run continues to assist with an informal fitness group that meets each week. In addition, River Run routinely gives away personal care items and activity or school packs for children. We expect these types of outreach efforts will continue.

Future plans: River Run also plans to continue our outreach efforts to improve the food security and general health of people in our community. We hope to expand our raised bed and container gardening efforts in 2015. Additionally, we are convinced that continuing to implement the organic church model will strengthen River Run’s ability to reach others for
Christ.

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The Gospels – Matthew 16

12/15/2014

Why do we seem to always want proof? Why do we seek after some kind of a sign? Where does faith fit in? In Matthew 16, we are cautioned about the teachings of some religious leaders. Rather than look for a sign or depend upon another, may we look to God for answers and find our proof in the Scriptures. In Matthew 16, Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God [v. 16]. May our faith in Jesus be strengthened. May we trust in His teachings. May we search the Scriptures for any proof that we might need. Additionally, may we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and may we have trust in His lead.

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Matt.16

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The Gospels – Matthew 15

12/14/2014

Sometimes we can lose sight of what is really important when we place too much faith in traditions, material goods, or other things. At this time of the year, it seems like losing sight of what is important is quite easy to do. In addition, our expectations of others can be unrealistic and our hearts can be burdened when people in our lives don’t respond in ways we think they should. The holidays produce so much stress. Matthew 15 reminds us that we need to look below the surface of things… to see into the hearts of the people we relate to on a daily basis. May we look to the Lord to guide us in our relationships to others. May we look to Him to provide for us and sustain us in all things. May we be blessed this holiday season and may we be a blessing to others.

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Matt.15

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The Gospels – Matthew 14

12/14/2014

I expect many of us have read about Jesus feeding the five thousand people a number of times, but it just really hit me. Imagine five thousand people in the open, following Jesus. Then imagine Jesus producing enough bread and fish to feed those five thousand people. What a miracle! Who could draw so much attention? Now, imagine you being there, a part of the crowd, and witnessing such a thing happening. How could you not be excited and amazed? Then, think of you being in the boat with the disciples and seeing Jesus walking toward you across the water amid the storm. Would you have enough faith to step out of the boat and walk toward Jesus? What amount of faith would that take? May our faith never falter? May our faith grow beyond measure. Help us Father to see all of the amazing things that you do around us each and every day.

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Matt.14

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The Gospels – Matthew 13

12/12/2014

Matthew 13 includes several parables about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus often taught through parables. These parables used everyday things… such as the type of soil, wheat or weeds or seeds, or hidden treasure or fine pearls. These things were used to drive home an important point. With the parable of the sower, we learn that not everyone is open to really hear and respond to the gospel message. Other parables teach us that both good and bad people are living in the world. However, we are also taught that, in the end, the good people will be separated out from the bad people in the same way that the good fish were separated out and kept, but the bad fish were separated out and discarded. Many have learned that there is great value in the Truth contained within the gospel message. This Truth, both then and now, may be purposely sought after or simply stumbled upon by a person. Either way, once found, the person discovers they are willing to give up all to possess such a great treasurer. May we desire, and be willing, to do the same thing. Take heart and remember the kingdom of God may have started out small, but nothing is going to stop it from growing… just as bread dough will rise when yeast is added.

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Matt.13

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