Castaways -- Fun and Fellowship
Castaways is a unique space for bargain hunters to browse, a place to find unusual items, with new additions to the stock each day. Some customers come daily and enjoy visiting with friends and strangers alike. Of course there are those who find this a place to be able to clothe their family for a very reasonable price.
Today the organization is comprised of volunteers from the Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Lutheran churches, each in charge of manning the store one day a week. The sixth day is run by the “Shop”, a non-denominational group. Each church, at present, gives 10% of their proceeds towards the basic expenses of the building, utilities and insurance, keeping the remainder for their church’s outreach. The shop is able to donate more than $200,000 each year to organizations benefiting people from Aransas County - such as the Senior Citizens Center, Rockport Fire Department, EMS Good Samaritans and many other worthy organizations. A list of these recipients is posted by the front door of Castaways and I invite you come look at it.
Our volunteers work from 2 to 4 hours a week or more. We have several men and women who cheerfully come in on Monday afternoons to price and prepare clothing to be hung in the store the next morning. We have a lot of fun at this time while accomplishing the task at hand. On Tuesday we are there early to get out the items to be ready when the customers line up at the front door. We have a few women from St. Peter’s to help with this, and we are grateful for the unsung heroes who work in our cramped space outside of the store, handling donations, pricing items and packing the boxes to be priced on Monday. Most of our cashiers on Tuesday and Friday are members of St. Peter’s, serving in 2-hr shifts. These cashiers say they enjoy the interaction with the customers and are cheerful ambassadors for our church. There are others who come to help the cashiers by bagging or tending to customer’s needs, and some are able to help Roy move furniture and pick up items from estate sales. Another important job is pulling old items once a month to make room for more.
If you feel you can help in any capacity, we have a place just for you.
Above all, your donations are appreciated, and we ask for your prayers for our mission.
On each first Tuesday of the even-numbered months, St. Peter’s provides the food, and our members and friends conduct the cooking and serving of dinner at Community Table, a service to the public held each week at First Presbyterian Church. Every Tuesday this meal is served by one of the participating groups on a rotating basis and has become a cherished local institution. Over 200 people usually attend. It is open to everyone, so please join us whenever you can.
Six Christian churches and a youth group share the leadership role and alternate cooking. A majority of the churches have begun specializing in one or two menus that can be prepared particularly well by that group. St. Peter’s entrees have evolved to baked chicken or sliced ham - and we are getting good at these - ask our own Chef John Hill!
Several side-dish recipes are presently being tweaked, including fresh spinach salad, cold pea salad, and candied yams. This last recipe has become so popular that it is served at the Community Table Annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners.
And, by the way, we are always looking for more volunteers. Our number of helpers has decreased during the summer. We need more help in the kitchen as well as in serving guests. Please, if you can, come by First Presbyterian any Tuesday to see the routine and enjoy dinner, and then volunteer to help. Sign-up sheets are in the Parish Hall about two weeks before St. Peter’s scheduled serving dates.
The first volunteer the clients meet when they come to Good Samaritans for assistance is the receptionist. A receptionist needs to be an upbeat, compassionate person who receives great pleasure from assisting those less fortunate folks in our area.
The receptionist greets the client and asks him/her to sign-in. The sign-in sheet asks for basic information needed to assist the client. The information is put into the computer which sets up a record for the client and family. This information can be updated as necessary. The client will then be seen by an interviewer. During the interview process, the receptionist may need to assist the interviewer by sending faxes, making copies and scanning documents.
There are as many other tasks which need to be completed; as in any well-run office. These tasks include accepting donations in goods and funds; logging them in to generate a thank you note to the donor; and stocking interview rooms with appropriate forms.
All volunteers are important in the overall working of the center. We all work together to give our client whatever help we can to make their lives better.
As St. Peter's representative and a volunteer I would be happy to talk to anyone interested in joining us as a volunteer. You are also welcome to visit the center to get a firsthand look at our setup.
Community of Hope
The Community of Hope International's mission is "To create Christian communities of Lay volunteer pastoral care givers united in prayer, shaped by Benedictine spirituality and equipped for and serving in pastoral care ministries."
There has been a Community of Hope Center at St. Peter's since 2004. Members of this group have taken a 42-hour study course which includes such subjects as Benedictine Spirituality, Listening Skills, Grief: Coping with Loss, Pastoral Care for Seniors, Recognizing Spiritual Gifts, Pastoral Visits and Boundaries, Theology of Pastoral Care, Confidentiality and Debriefing, Understanding Family Systems and Care for the Caregiver.
We include and incorporate the study of Benedictine Spirituality because St. Benedict, through his own experience living in central Italy in the sixth century, came to realize that we come to God with and through other people. In the words of Sr. Joan Chittister, "Benedictine spirituality is the spirituality of the twenty-first century because it deals with the issues facing us now - stewardship, relationships, authority, community, balance, work, simplicity, prayer, and spiritual and psychological development. Benedictine spirituality offers more a way of life and an attitude of mind than it does a set of religious prescriptions."
At St. Peter's, our lay pastoral caregivers endeavor to supplement our rector's pastoral visits by visiting church members in hospitals, nursing homes and those who are homebound. Members of the Community of Hope also use their listening skills in other venues such as Castaways and Good Samaritan's. The Community of Hope Prayer Chain is joined by over 50 parishioners to offer up prayers for those members of the church family who are in need of prayers for themselves or family members.