Director of Christian Education

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:15-16

By the time you read this, school will have started for our children and youth from St. John’s and from Dover and Phila and Garaway and all the county schools. Pre-schools will begin gathering children into their classes where formal learning will begin. The halls at St. John”s will no longer be quiet. (A blessing in disguise.)

The schools will be the ones feeding the children in our neighborhood both breakfast and lunch. And the brown bag food program we sponsored here on our front lawn this summer will be over for this year.

For years as a teacher in the Indian Valley School District, I often wondered about those students of mine on free and reduced lunches. What did they eat for lunch in the summer and where did it come from? If they got free and reduced lunches at school during the year, they at least got a full meal once a day. But in the summer…?

That thought never was quite out of my mind. Knowing of the Dover-Phila Food Pantry and the number of churches in our “neighborhood” that offer a free meal and looking at the Dover City Schools State Report Card for the 2015-16 school year brought my food concerns out of the corner of mind. I learned that in that school year in one of our elementary schools 46% of the children were classified “economically disadvantaged”, which in my mind equals free and reduced breakfast and lunch. At school. During the school year. But what about the summer?

So, after talking with Pastors Tom and Dotty and a number of people in the church, FLOCK was born. FLOCK means Free Lunch fOr Christ’s Kids. It means that we pack brown lunch bags with nonperishables, spoons and napkins on Sundays after church and meet at 9:30 on Mondays to pack the rest of the lunch which included fruits, vegetables, ham or turkey with cheese sandwiches, chips or pretzel sticks, pudding or animal crackers or homemade cookies and perhaps a piece of chocolate or a popsicle and water. Lunch was served on our front lawn in the corner by the parking lot from coolers from 10:30-1:00.

The first week, we served 7 lunches; the second week 30. Numbers have gone as high as 67 lunches served. At first people came hesitantly to get a free lunch. Teachers and volunteers at schools knew of hungry families and so, some of us volunteered to deliver food. The past few weeks, we have delivered lunches; the folks come to us. We have our regulars. Sam and his little buddies who ride their bikes to us to collect lunches for those at home and themselves. The mom and kids that live across the street behind the mayor’s house. The two moms who come with their little ones in strollers and older ones walking hand-in-hand. The babysitter whose kids came to VBS here. The mom who called the church and asked if anyone was allowed to get lunches because she had no food for her five kids. And the man who stopped by last week to get a meal because if he had not, he would have had no lunch. He went home with a bag for supper also.

All in all, we have shared 362 lunches so far and still have three weeks to go. We have been blessed with such support from this congregation both financially and with food. We have been blessed with donations from Yoder’s Hometown Market, as I reported last week, and from Giant Eagle. We have been blessed with people stopping by as they drive by to give us cash. We have been blessed with volunteers who show up each Sunday and Monday to help prepare and share the food.

Trust has been built for those who were hesitant to come at first. They are greeted with smiles and stickers as they pull into the parking lot. Time has been provided for the volunteers to learn more about each other and new friendships have been formed. It has been a delight to sit out with folks of all ages and share conversations. We have been blessed.

There is a song that we sometimes share when we are in Kentucky. It uses St. Teresa’s prayer put to music by John Michael Talbot. It says:

Christ has no body now but yours No hands, no feet on earth but yours You are the eyes through which He looks compassion on the world Yours are the feet through which He walks to do good Yours are the hands with which He blesses the world…

We are the hands. We shared “their food in due season”. All of us. Bless you for your compassion and love.

On another note, I received an email from the Rice Bowl folks. Our $446.00 donation from VBS provided 1,700 meals for hungry children around the world. God has no hands but ours.


St. John’s Scholarship Recipients

St. John’s has been fortunate to award $14,175 in scholarships to fourteen deserving recent high school graduates and current college students. There are some scholarships which are only to be awarded to someone who fulfills certain requirements. The Swinderman Scholarship can only go to someone who has participated in St. John’s music program. The Low Scholarship is to only be awarded to a person who will be majoring in secondary education. The General Scholarship money is to go only to recent high school graduates. The Paying Forward Scholarship is awarded to an incoming Freshman for “those little extra” expenses that one encounters during the first year in college.

Scholarships are awarded on the bases of Grade Point Average, community service, and with an emphasis on church service. All applications must be complete to be considered.

Three recent Dover High School graduates have been honored. They will all receive money from the General Scholarship Fund. Alicia Gump will be attending Kent State University at Tuscarawas and majoring in Early Childhood Education. Sammy Sickinger will be attending Ohio University and majoring in Health Services and Sciences. A.J. Solvey will attend Baldwin Wallace University and major in Sports Management. A.J. will also receive the Paying Forward Scholarship.

Eleven current college students will receive scholarships. All have earned money from the Henney Fund but some have been awarded other St. John’s scholarships as well. Kimberly Deitrick will be completing her Master of Divinity Degree at the Chicago Theological Seminary next spring and will receive the Kielbassa Scholarship. Marcus Delekta is studying at Stark State College of Technology and majoring in Videogame Design and Development. Nathan McCutcheon attends Ohio Northern University and majors in Chemistry. He will receive the Milliner Scholarship. Jennifer Rufener will graduate next spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. She will receive the Bear Scholarship. Abby Dryden attends The Ohio State University where she majors in Biochemistry. Paul Edwards attends the University of Cincinnati and majors in Sports Administration. Maddie Fickes is a student at the Florida Institute of Technology and majors in Aerospace Engineering. Ashton Hall is a student at Miami University where he majors in Microbiology as a pre-Med student. Ellie Miller attends Stark State College where she majors in Biology. Brooke Steiner attends Kent State University and majors in Nursing. Conner Thomson recently transferred to The College of Wooster where he majors in Biology.

St John’s has been blessed to have generous contributors to the Scholarship Fund, wise and prudent members of the Investment Committee who are able to provide significant gains each year from which to award these scholarships, and, of course, the magnificent students themselves. Thanks be to God. The Scholarship Task Force:

Sue Ferbrache, Beth Showers, Carol Huprich, Marianne Wright, Barb Lengler