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The Needs of the People in Lycoming County
By Pastor Ken Weiss
March 5, 2010
Letter to the Editor
I write to you about a crisis of huge proportions. While the needs of the people of Haiti continue to deserve our attention and support, this crisis is right here at home. It is a crisis of the needs of the people in Lycoming County and how one organization tries to help our neighbors in need.
This organization is the United Churches of Lycoming County. I have served on its board for some 20 years now and cannot begin to tell you how many people have been helped in so many ways. What does United Churches do?
Some of its ministries are: The Shepherd of the Streets -- helping thousands EVERY month with counseling services, money for rent, utilities, prescriptions, and basic housing and hygienic needs; Food pantry -- allowing hundreds each week to come and pick the food that their family needs rather than be given any set amount; a fuel bank which helps to keep many people warm in these long winter months; a campus ministry program at Penn College where students who are away from home can feel God’s presence while in college; a 24 hour devotional line; seminars throughout the year for further education of our pastors and lay leaders; ecumenical and interfaith worship opportunities; and provides over 825 worship experiences every year at our nursing homes and assisted living centers as well as an ongoing ministry at our local prisons. And they do even more than all that. Not a bad bit of work in order to make our community a better place.
The crisis is this: the needs of our county continue to increase as the economy gets worse. At this same time, United Churches may very well not be around in as short a time as 2 years. The problem is simple. As need for our ministry increases, our stream of income decreases. Some 180 churches have supported this ministry in the past 60 + years. We no longer can support it in the ways that it needs. We need more help.
All churches are struggling to meet their own budgets and find it difficult to increase their wonderful support. For the past four years we have needed to tap our investments at a high percentage. Add to that trend the stock market correction and the lower rates of return and we have about two years of investments left before we can no longer support our ministries.
Can you help? We are looking for both immediate income to support our ministry this year as well as for people willing to include us in their estate planning so we will be around for another 60 years.. Contact United Churches at 322-1110 or write a check to them and mail it to 202 E. Third St. Williamsport, PA or go to their site online http://www.uclc.org/ to find out even more information.
We need you -- even those of you not involved in a church. These ministries help anyone and everyone in our community. Together we need to make sure that our community will continue to be a very special place where people do care about other people. Show us this love through your generous gifts. Thank you.