Christmas in May
With the sunshine-y weather we’re experiencing right now, Christmas almost couldn’t feel any more distant. And I am thankful that we have several months of sunshine ahead before we get back into the cold days! I am coming to appreciate the sunshine more and more each year! But while Christmas is quite a few months away, if we want to have an effective Christmas outreach, it is wise to plan ahead. This year we have decided to make Prison Fellowship Angel Tree our primary Christmas outreach as a congregation. EBC members Randy and Donella Schmidt have been involved in this ministry previously, and they are excited to take the lead on it here at EBC. But one thing they know is that in order for the ministry to be effective, they need some others to join them in carrying out the plan. It might be a challenge to think that far ahead, but if you would like to commit to helping the Schmidts make this ministry happen later in the year, it would be a huge help if you expressed your interest now. Below is a note from Randy about the ministry and about the needs for people to join them on a team making this ministry happen. You can reach out to him directly to let him know your interest, or you can talk to me and I can help make that connection, as well.
Pastor Ryan Donovan
Angel Tree is a ministry of Prison Fellowship. The purpose/goal of Angel Tree is to restore and strengthen relationships between incarcerated parents and their children. Angel Tree partners with local churches to purchase/deliver Christmas gifts on behalf of the incarcerated parent for their children. Angel Tree also has the desire to reach each of these broken families with the Gospel. When we deliver Christmas gifts to the children, we read them the True Christmas Story from the Gospels. We also (if permitted by the guardians) share the Gospel of Christ with the children through the wordless book from Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF).
EBC has agreed to partner with Angel Tree this year. What that means for us is purchasing gifts, wrapping gifts, delivering gifts, and sharing the Gospel with around 50 children. Shortly before Thanksgiving, the Angel Tree ministry will have gift requests for each child available. EBC families can purchase and return the gifts to the church. Two weeks before Christmas we will wrap the gifts and start gift deliveries to the families. Please start thinking about if you or your family would like to participate in this ministry this year. Our specific needs are:
- Two gift registrars for each service to record who takes each gift request.
- A gift wrapping coordinator.
- An Angel Tree prayer coordinator, who will champion Angel Tree and sign people up to pray for Angel Tree gift deliveries the two weeks prior to Christmas.
- Gift delivery partners who will deliver the gifts to the homes of the children. During the delivery the hope is the parent/guardian will allow the reading of the Christmas Story and share the wordless book with the children.
Donella and my involvement with Angel Tree over the years has seen many miraculous moments, excited children that never thought receiving a gift from dad was possible, and some heart-breaking stories that remind us we live in a broken world filled with broken people. If you partner with Angel Tree, we cannot promise that every encounter will be the most positive. But we can promise that God will show you His grace to broken families.
If you are interested in partnering with the Angel Tree ministry this year, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at (503) 720-9261. If you wish to learn more about Angel Tree and how you can be involved, give me a call or go to www.prisonfellowship.org and follow the links to Angel Tree.