This week is really starting to feel like Fall. The weather dipped into the low 50’s and a gentle breeze keeps the afternoon temperatures around 70 degrees. But other things tell us Fall is kicking into gear, Halloween is almost here and November is right around the corner.
November starts off one of my favorite times around Homeport. As we start to prepare for the big holidays of the year, marked by time with family and big meals together it also helps put us in a giving spirit. I mean the whole idea behind Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to GIVE thanks to God for taking care of us and provide for us in the months and days since last Thanksgiving. But that mindset sparks inside of us a giving spirit that goes from thanking God for all the ways He shows love to us to reaching out and showing others how much we love them. Whether it is gifts we give at Christmas to our loved ones or acts of love shown through giving to those in need, we are spurred on to give in meaningful ways that bless others and in turn, bless us.
Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.” While it is nice to receive a gift from someone, we know that deep down feeling we get when we see someone’s face light up because of the gift we have given.
Each November at Homeport we kick off a season of giving. Starting next Sunday we will start collecting gently used coats from our closet’s for the St John’s County Schools children, we will be collecting food for the Thanksgiving Meals we will distribute this year to families in our community, we will collect our annual Thank Offering on November 19th, and we also partner with Gamble Rogers Middle School to provide gifts for their Angel Tree this December.
Let me talk quickly about these.
Each November one of our Missions partners, Somebody Care’s Saint Augustine collects Coats 4 Kids and Homeport along with many other churches and agencies in the community will collect these coats to be delivered in the beginning of December so they can be distributed to the children before Christmas Break. Please begin sorting through your gently used coats that you don’t wear anymore or that your children have grown out of and start bringing them on November 5th. We will have a collection box and coat rack in the lobby.
November 5th we will also start to collect the items for the Thanksgiving Meals we will hand out before Thanksgiving. We make a list so that each basket will be identical to all the others. Please only bring in: Canned sweet potatoes, Cranberry sauce, Canned pumpkin, Evaporated milk, Stuffing, Instant potatoes, Canned corn, Green beans, Peas, Marshmallows, and Gravy. These items can be placed on the steps up to the stage in the Auditorium. This year will are also asking our Homeport Groups to get together and go door to door in their neighborhood to collect items on November 11th. This will be a great opportunity to show your neighbors that Homeport cares and helps meets the needs of the community around us. On November 19th we will pack all the bags after the 11am gathering and prepare them to be passed out that week. If you know a family in need please write it on the back of your Connect Card this month, please include their name, how many are in the family, and your name as the contact person.
I want to ask you to start praying about how you will participate in our annual Thank Offering this year. Each year we take up one large offering over and above our normal weekly offering as a way to say Thank You to God for how He has provided for and taken care of us this past year. We use this offering over the next twelve months to make donations to organizations that we don’t regularly support, ministries that maybe raising support for a new project, or a ministry or organization that has reached out to us specifically. This year we are praying that we will raise enough funds to not only provide for the Thanksgiving Turkeys we’ll provide with each meal we hand out and for the gifts to families in need this Christmas, we also want to send money to Life Services to help them fund a new mobile medical unit they are saving to purchase, God’s Kitchen a meal delivery service that helps provide food to homebound people in Putnam County, the St John’s County School Board’s ASSIST program that provide resources homeless families and students in our community, and an agency helping local families still recovering from Hurrican Irma. Your offering can help us provide these gifts and more, please start praying and thinking about how you will participate in this years Thank Offering.
Lastly, we are partnering with Gamble Rogers Middle School and their Angel Tree program to provide Christmas Gifts to the children in need there. In December we will have Angel Tree ornaments on the Christmas Tree in the lobby for you to take with information about the child like gender, age, sizes, and their wishlist as well as when we need the gifts wrapped and ready to deliver to the school before their Christmas Break.
I hope that over the next few weeks you will sense the giving spirit welling up inside of you and you will partner with us as we seek to live generously and help meet some of the needs in our community.