Local pastors and their congregations are joining together Sunday, Sept. 17, to “Sing for Texas,” an effort to provide relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The fundraising event will be held at 3 p.m., at the First Congregational UCC Church in Harford.
Given the impact of Hurricane Irma this past weekend, proceeds may also be split from the event or an additional fundraiser may be held in October, said Harford UCC Pastor William Hagenbuch.
In addition to Harford, congregations involved in the event include the First Presbyterian Church of Hallstead, First Universalist Church of Brooklyn, Ginson and South Gibson UMC, Grace Lutheran Church of Hop Bottom, New Milford and South Montrose UMC, and United Methodist Community Church of Great Bend,
“With the news of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, I knew we could this collectively—bring our congregations together for this fundraiser. Every congregation’s response was immediate. ‘Yes, let’s do this!’ We rallied, worked together quickly, and will continue to be present to communities in need. This includes our awareness of Hurricane Irma. We will be present to those in need as a result of this hurricane, too,” Hagenbuch said.
The pastors and congregations often work together, holding special services in various churches often during the Lenten and Advent seasons.
The ministerium, also known by many as the Route 11 Corridor, has long been established. Monies gathered during their worship services goes to help immediate neighbors in need. They also help passersby who need assistance getting from one place to another. Their mission in our area is simple. “When people get stuck or fall on a hard time, they help.”
Hagenbuch said, “This group of pastors seeks the highest cause, to make God’s love known. We openly support each other’s congregations and, more importantly, to the places Christ calls us—the mission fields at large. In other words, we are called to the communities Christ calls us to serve.
“Prayerfully, supportively, and congenially, we lift each other up in prayer and in friendship. We create sacred spaces where we bring healing and hope to each other’s professional and personal lives. We laugh together. We’ve seen each other’s tears, too.”
Pastor Dennis Dillman, of the First Presbyterian Church in Hallstead said, “God is calling us to help as we have been helped, as we deeply know the devastating powers of flood waters in this (Hallstead/Great Bend) area. May God show His love and hope to those who have their homes under water now, through every one of us who attends the ‘Sing for Texas’ event.”
“We are a family in Christ—when our brothers and sisters are in need we come together to share our blessings and support. We are better together!” offered Pastor Margie McCarty, of the Gibson and South Gibson United Methodist Churches
Pastor Jackie Congdon of the United Community Church of Great Bend said, “We are often called to be the hands and feet of Jesus…now we can use our voices to help those in need.”
The local Pack 98 Cub and Boy Scout Troop (Pack 98) is joining the effort. The scouts will be collecting bottle water that will fill a trailer parked in the Harford Church’s parking lot. When filled, the truck will make a run to Texas.
The idea for the hymn sing was obvious, Hagenbuch said. “So many love the message in the music. Hymns unite and empower us. They make us understand in their timeless ways and unforgettable melodies what we are called to do—love God first, and love our neighbor second.”
There will be three special music pieces. Flute and guitar musicians will also add to the afternoon. The pastors who are not in the combined choir will offer prayers.
The majority of the program will be filled with singing from the congregation and from a combined choir, which brings singers from each individual church choir.
Those looking for directions can call 570-434-7729 (PRAY.) There will be a basket auction following the hymn sing. Refreshments will also be served.
This is our call, Hagenbuch says as he thinks of these words from the Apostle Paul “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4”