ABCCM's 34th Annual Mountain Golf Classic

We raised around $75,000 at our 34th Annual Mountain Golf Classic on Wednesday, April 18, 2018! These funds will go to support ABCCM's transformational programs that address hunger, housing, and healthcare for those in need.

It was a beautiful day for golf at Etowah Valley Golf & Resort! We are thankful to our sponsors and everyone who came out to take a swing at hunger and homelessness.

Click the image below to watch the tournament slideshow!

Congratulations to the winners!

Championship Flight

1st Place – EnergySmith Performance

  • Captain: Mike Fowler
  • Joe Hamacher
  • Mark Blankenship
  • Tad Gosnell

2nd Place – McKinney Insurance

  • Captain: Doug McKinney
  • Chad McKinney
  • Mike Williams
  • Phil Holcomb

3rd Place – Pulliam Properties

  • Captain: Rusty Pulliam
  • John Knight
  • James Gaddy
  • Jim Baldwin

First Flight

1st Place – TD Bank

  • Captain: Patrick Blalock
  • Charles Fredrick
  • Bill Smith
  • Dan Anderson

2nd Place – Southern Concrete

  • Captain:  Danny Rice
  • David Rhew
  • Brandon Foote
  • Mike Culberson

3rd Place – Vannoy Construction

  • Captain: Bill Harris
  • Dan Poeta
  • Chris Burns
  • Drew Partin

Second Flight

1st Place – Ecclesia

  • Captain: Jerry Dotson
  • David Dotson
  • Kris Dotson
  • Phillip Shields

2nd Place – Hilderbran Hitchcock

  • Captain: Dan Hitchcock
  • Marty Christiansen
  • Austin Tyler
  • David Vance

3rd Place – Electronic Office

  • Captain:  Brett Yarrington
  • George Bitter
  • Tom Sims
  • Crawford Craig

Botsford Receives Distinguished Volunteer Service Award

Ron Botsford has been a volunteer chaplain for ABCCM and the Veterans Restoration Quarters for over 20 years.  Ron was in the Air Force and served during the Vietnam War.  He continued in the Air National Guard and retired as a Major after 20 years combined service. While in the Air National Guard, Ron completed studies for ordination and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).  He served as the pastor of four churches from 1972-1995.  After retiring, he served as an interim pastor of three local churches.  He has faithfully served our Veterans as a mentor, counselor, spiritual advisor and most importantly, friend.  Ron has also taught Bible classes and conducted a journaling group, which allowed participants to channel past experiences into a cathartic outlet. 

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Ron’s wife of 60 years, Pat, recently passed away.  Just two days after her passing, Ron was back at the VRQ volunteering and serving our men.  What a testament to Ron’s dedication and heart of service!

On March 29, Ron was presented with the Distinguished Volunteer Service Award for his many years of dedicated service. ABCCM is proud and blessed to have a man of Ron's caliber as a volunteer.  He is truly a man of God and a faithful servant to his fellow Veterans.

Myth #1: Getting a job will keep someone out of homelessness.

It would seem that having a job would be the foolproof way to stay out of homelessness, but, unfortunately, this isn’t often reality.  Latisha, a current resident at Steadfast House, was working as a CNA at The Black Mountain Center when her housing situation changed suddenly. 

Before arriving at Steadfast House, Latisha was living with a friend while looking for new employment.  Her friend’s fiancé was battling cervical cancer at the time, and passed away shortly thereafter.  Both she and her friend wanted to remain friends, but began feeling like they needed some personal space.  Latisha started thinking about moving out, but since she hadn’t yet found a new job she held off on finding a new place to live.

While she was still living with her friend, she landed a great job as a CNA.  Not long after she began her new job, she received a troubling text message from her friend.  He said that he wanted her out of the house on a given date, and that there would be no further discussion.  Latisha was taken aback by this sudden response, and still wonders what happened to lead him to this decision.  With a fractured friendship and nowhere to go, Latisha found herself homeless and in need of assistance.

After being on the waiting list, ABCCM’s Steadfast House welcomed Latisha in and has provided her with the stability she needs to work on securing housing.  The routine that the house provides allows her to feel grounded and offers the gift of calm as she works to resume life on her own. 

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When in a situation like Latisha’s, you need more than a job to avoid the woes of homelessness. There are often additional factors that prevent individuals from maintaining stable housing, so Steadfast House bridges the gap and makes space for ladies to regain their footing.

Myth #2: Most homeless people are addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Sometimes, after seeing one or two people on the streets that seem to be impaired by alcohol or drugs, it’s easy to assume that most homeless people are there because they are addicted to substances and can’t get sober. However, this isn’t statistically true – only around one-third of sheltered homeless adults have chronic substance use issues, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The other two-thirds of the homeless population have stories similar to that of former Steadfast House resident Mahogany. Before coming to Steadfast House, Mahogany and her son Daniel were without a stable place to live and were forced to bounce between shelters, hotels and the homes of friends and family for a while. Mahogany has an associate’s degree in early childhood education and was earning another degree to be an EMT, but due to some bad decisions in her past, it was unlikely that she would be able to find a job in that field.

However, Mahogany knew that it was crucial for her and her son to find a stable place to live so that she could find a fresh start and get into a new career. After being on the Steadfast House waiting list for four months, Mahogany and Daniel jumped at the chance to move in when space opened up. They settled in and a case manager began to help Mahogany get back on her feet.

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Mahogany loves to cook and often cooked for her housemates at Steadfast House. When her case manager mentioned ABCCM’s culinary program with A-B Tech, she signed up and began training to be a chef. She passed the standard and advanced culinary classes with flying colors, and now has a career-level job with Cúrate in downtown Asheville. Mahogany is able to provide for her son, and she says that she is proud of herself and happy again. Her story is an example of the fact that, despite not having issues with substance abuse, homelessness is a reality for many people, but that a desire to change and a caring, supportive environment can make all the difference for mothers and children as they find stability again.

Myth #3: Homeless people are lazy and don’t want to work.

This view is so common in our world today, and it is easy to jump to this conclusion when we keep homelessness at an arm’s length.  As we drive by those in need, laziness seems like the simplest explanation for their situation, but the story is typically much broader than what we expect.  A 2013 US Department of Housing and Urban Development study found that 55% of homeless adults in families had worked during the previous year.

The story of Steadfast House resident Tammy Anderson exposes the diligence and commitment to work that many homeless people share.  Her story is one of hard work and a transformed life.  Tammy is a fifty-year-old woman who entered Steadfast House in August of last year.  She had previously spent some years in prison where she served time for a history of substance abuse and habitual DUI.  At the time people close to Tammy were involved with drug dealing, and her chronic substance abuse issues left her estranged from her daughter. 

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Despite the average person’s expectations, Tammy was committed to her recovery during both her time in prison and at Steadfast House.  She engaged in a 12-step-recovery program with a sponsor.  She held two work release jobs during her time in prison and was allowed to go to work with minimum supervision due to good behavior.  As a licensed cosmetologist, Tammy’s goals during her residency at Steadfast House included securing a job as a hairstylist, paying off fines, working to acquire her driver’s license, building savings from earned income, finding housing, and maintaining her sobriety. 

With her goals in mind, Tammy connected to community substance abuse supports like Celebrate Recovery where she was able to build up her faith with other Christians.  Tammy began rebuilding her relationship with her daughter while at Steadfast House and connected with her godparents to have a consistently safe, sober, and encouraging set of natural supports in her life.  Tammy and her daughter enjoy a renewed relationship and her daughter is so proud of her now!  She secured employment as a hairstylist and began quickly saving her money with the goal of acquiring personal transportation.  Tammy was also able to pay off all of her driving fines.  She has since relocated to be closer to her godparents, as they were having health issues, and she was eager to support them.  She secured work and housing before relocation.

Tammy’s dedication and hard work, coupled with the support, education, and stability provided by ABCCM’s Steadfast House, provided her with everything she needed to see her life transformed.

Urgent Needs on Cold Nights

I’m not a meteorologist, but I can say with confidence that we’ve had some very cold temperatures this winter!  With nearly as much confidence I can say that we will continue to have cold temperatures in the coming days and weeks.  As the late winter/early spring weather in Western North Carolina continues to be completely unpredictable, a very real constant remains: there are people, like Mark from Candler, who have serious and immediate needs.

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Mark came to the ABCCM Ferguson Crisis Ministry Site on Thursday, March 8th because his power had been disconnected.  Mark has supported his wife and child for years, but the company he worked for recently closed its doors, leaving him without an income.  Mark was without income for a couple of months while he was applying for new jobs, so when the recent period of cold weather hit he became unable to pay his electric bill.  As a result of this, his power was turned off.

One of ABCCM’s longtime counselors, Carole, spoke with Mark and helped him create a plan.  This plan included a pledge from ABCCM to get his power and heat restored.  Due to an unavoidable series of unfortunate events, the additional assistance Mark needed wasn’t immediately available.  The family was forced to stay up all night huddled around a small kerosene heater to make it through the sub-freezing temperatures on that night. 

We sat down again with Mark Friday morning, upped our pledge, and brought in another community partner.  This enabled us to help Mark’s family have their power restored!  It is only due to the support of ABCCM’s member churches that we have the ability to keep a difficult situation such as this from becoming an increasingly dangerous one.  Mark, his wife, teenage daughter, and their pets will have a warm home, running water, food to eat and a way to prepare it this weekend directly because of ABCCM’s supporters.  

Unfortunately, Mark and his family are not the only people in our community that were cold and hungry last night.  There will be many more who continue to be cold and hungry in Buncombe County tonight, as freezing temperatures and snow are in the forecast this weekend.  Help us address this need. 

As you read this, please understand that without the funding we have received from people and churches like you, we couldn’t have helped Mark’s family.  Thank you!  We will only be able to help those who would otherwise be cold and hungry tonight through the funding we hope to receive from you today.  With God’s help, through you, we can transform lives.

Luke 3:10-11 “What should we do then?” The crowd asked.  John answered, “Anyone with two shirts should share with one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Ian Williams, Hominy Valley Crisis Ministry Site Coordinator 

Your generosity makes a difference!

Stacey Walbourn (pictured left), Life Coach with Community Action Opportunities, shared with us how her client, Petya (pictured right), was impacted by ABCCM’s heating assistance initiative.  

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“Petya is a mother of two who I’ve worked with for some time now.  She applied for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) in mid-January, but while she was waiting for assistance she ran out of fuel sooner than expected.  I went on her behalf to Eblen Charities to check the status of her LIEAP application and found that she was eligible for both LIEAP and the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP).  However, due to a lag in processing and a wait time for oil delivery her family lived without heat for a week.

A week without heat in record low temperatures was a tremendous hardship for this family.  They were consistently running the oven and space heaters to keep some heat in their home.  Petya told me, “It is exhausting to live in the cold and to watch my children being so cold without the strength to change or prevent it.” 

After hearing that they were still waiting for help, I reached out to Sheryl Olsen from ABCCM.  Within hours of the request, they were able to provide Petya with 15 gallons of oil for her home.  This immediate assistance pulled Petya out of crisis and bridged the gap in services while providing her with peace of mind and comfort.

Petya is so grateful for ABCCM’s assistance!  She said that it made her feel like her and her children really matter.  They weren’t just names on a page that could get lost in the shuffle, but were seen as people with value.”

Without the generosity and prayers of supporters of ABCCM, stories like Petya’s wouldn’t be a reality.  To continue to keep those like Petya safe and warm, give heating assistance at the link below.

New Computer Lab

DAR awards $10,000 Patriotism Grant to VRQ

Everyone at the Veterans Restoration Quarters (VRQ) is cheering! The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) announced they are donating $10,000 to the VRQ, a unit of Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, for a new computer lab. Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the Edward Buncombe Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, located in Asheville, NC who raised $16,500. The classroom is to be named the Anne Penland DAR Computer Classroom, honoring chapter member Anne Penland (1885-1976), who was a pioneering nurse anesthetist during WWI as a member of the Army Nurse Corps.

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“We are honored to be chosen by the DAR for this award. We’re thrilled about the expansion of our computer classroom with new computers in memory of Anne Penland,” says Tim McElyea, Director of the Veterans Restoration Quarters. “The Daughters of the American Revolution has provided exactly what we need to offer great educational and training opportunities for our residents.”

The DAR grants program was started in 2010. Funding is awarded to support projects in local communities which promote the organization’s mission areas of historic preservation, education, and patriotism. The DAR receives hundreds of grants applications each year, making competition high for the funding through the non-profit organization. Interested groups must be sponsored by a local DAR chapter, submit a copy of their public charity 501(c)(3) IRS documentation, and include a narrative describing the need and urgency of the project as well as planned activities and benefits to the community which will result from the grant. The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote patriotism, preserve American history, and support better education for our nation’s children. Its members are descended from patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With 178,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org. For more about applying for a Special Projects Grant from DAR, visit www.dar.org/grants.

For more information about DAR, please contact Luann Nelson at

828-712-9442 or visit ncdar.org/edwardbuncombechapter.html.

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Code Purple Saves Lives

Code Purple keeps Buncombe County safe and warm by housing and feeding our homeless neighbors in the most bone chillingly cold Asheville nights.  In 2017 ABCCM provided over 6,000 emergency shelter stays, including Code Purple stays.  The ABCCM van goes out each night when temperatures drop below 32 degrees to offer those struggling with homelessness shelter from the cold.  Blankets, food, and other essential items are given to those who choose not to come in for the night. 

Watch this compelling news story covered by News 13 this past December to see how those involved in Code Purple, like Tim McElyea, stand in the gap during our coldest season.

By giving $25, you can help us house, feed, and clothe a homeless neighbor for one night.

Medical Clinic Volunteers Brave the Cold

As we know in the last weeks, the temperatures in the Asheville-Buncombe area have dipped lower and lower with each passing day. While that often means several members of our community have to find shelter from the cold, it also means that people are spending more time in close quarters with each other. This flu season has been one to remember and now, more than ever, people are at a higher risk.

Those who do not have affordable access to healthcare are often “left in the cold” and jeopardize their jobs and the wellness of their friends, family, and those around them. If an individual is sick, they might miss crucial days of work and lose wages that help them provide for their family. They also might pass that illness to those family members. What might have started as a relatively innocuous virus could turn into a moment of severe crisis for this family.

ABCCM Doctors’ Medical continues to bridge the gap and open our arms to those who need it most-- especially during the winter season. Our volunteers continue to brave weather conditions and show up for our patients every session that the clinic is open. Doctors, nurses, and even medical students show their continued commitment to keep our patients “safe and warm.” ABCCM Medical serves those who need care urgently and will continue to do so.

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Pray for the health and wellness of those in need in the Asheville-Buncombe area, and for God’s favor on the doctors and nurses who serve them.

Serve the medical clinic during the cold and flu season.  Email maia.price@abccm.org to serve.

Give the gift of a medical visit to someone in need by donating $32.47 to ABCCM.

Keeping Buncombe County Safe & Warm

A piping hot cup of cocoa, a cozy blanket snuggled up to my chin, and the thermostat set at a toasty 68 degrees.  That’s what my winter months in Asheville look like, but, unfortunately, that is not the experience that many of our neighbors in need experience this time of year. 

Last winter ABCCM helped 1,351 households stay safe and warm with some type of personalized heating assistance.  Our crisis ministries see a consistent need for support every winter for families and individuals living on fixed incomes. Utility bills are naturally higher in the winter months, so an already tight budget becomes unmanageable for those in need. ABCCM helps households that face these challenges with financial assistance, food assistance, and helpful planning to get household budgets back in line.

This year Ingles Markets is partnering with ABCCM to help Buncombe County residents in need of heating assistance and blankets.  The Safe & Warm Heating Assistance Campaign begins January 29th and will conclude on February 10th.  

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How you can help:

Pray earnestly.

  •  Pray for those in our community that are struggling in these frigid temperatures without the means to stay safe and warm this season.
  • Pray for the ABCCM Crisis Ministries as they come alongside and serve those in need of heating assistance in a personal way.

Serve at one of our Crisis Ministries or at our Safe & Warm Blanket Drive Collection Day.

  • To learn more about serving in one of our Crisis Ministries, email Sheryl Olsen.
  • To inquire further about serving at the Safe & Warm Blanket Drive Collection Day, email Brad Owen

Give with a generous heart toward Ingles Markets and ABCCM’s Safe & Warm Campaign.

  • Purchase a Safe & Warm Icon at a participating Ingles Market near you.
    • Use your Ingles Advantage Card, and be entered to win an upgraded heating system from Blossman or Gentry Heating & Cooling.
  • Give a new or lightly used blanket to a participating Ingles Market near you.

*For a list of participating Ingles Markets, click HERE.

Give to the Safe and warm Campaign

A Man Just Like Me

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Earlier this year a young man close to my age came into the ABCCM Ferguson Family Crisis Ministry Site in Candler seeking assistance with an extremely high electric bill.  His name was Elijah, and he had recently received a clean bill of health after a hard battle with cancer.  This was great news!  The issue that Elijah and his family of seven were facing at this point was that the temporary disability funds and food assistance he was receiving during his treatment was rather abruptly cut as soon as he had been given a healthy diagnosis.  Elijah had to spend every cent of his savings to pay his mortgage and other essential bills.  As a result, he was unable to afford electricity or food for his family.

This is an unfortunate reality that many of our neighbors experience in times of hardship, but what made this story stand out for me is how easily this story could be my own.  Elijah is a father, I am a father.  Elijah is a carpenter, I was a carpenter.  After speaking with him for a while I realized that we had a lot of other similarities, but one of the big differences between us was that Elijah got sick, and I am (so far) healthy.

The fact that something so serious, and so random, can so quickly put a person or family into a serious crisis situation is one of the reasons why I feel so blessed to be able to work with an organization like ABCCM.  As we often do, we were able to help Elijah avoid disconnection of his electric service and provide his family with some food.  Of equal importance, we were also able to sit with him, listen to his story, show him that there are people who care and want to help mitigate unfortunate situations, and provide a path forward. 

Elijah is now working full time and is taking classes in order to enter the medical field.  He feels called to give back to the world by joining those who helped him beat cancer.  When he walked out of our office, he expressed his deep gratitude for our service and care. 

As we prepare to walk into 2018, I feel called to express my deep gratitude to the churches, individuals, and businesses that support ABCCM, to the volunteers and clients who we work with to keep God’s word, and to the Lord Jesus Christ who gives us the opportunity to follow in His example.

Thanks,

Ian Williams – Site Coordinator ABCCM Hominy Valley

Setting Hearts Free

In the news we hear and see the violence and the drugs, so we conclude that prisoners are a menace to society and a threat to our children and community. “Lock them up and throw away the key,” we chide! Pause and listen for a moment to the hearts of those who have been locked up.

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“...Our souls dance as God’s plan supersedes any agenda formulated against us. I only ask, 'Could I have begun such a journey free of isolation?' But my answer is always, 'No.'  I’ve learned that to appreciate a lion up close, we have to capture the beast, and allow Him (God) to subdue the animal, instinctively, long enough to be spiritually awakened. I am most blessed to have your spiritual guidance at a time in life when most of the world has forsaken me. This, in itself, speaks volumes...in a world where it seems as if everything is down. We think down, we talk down, we act down, we feel down, and many of us are low down. In the midst of this, you bring to mind the hymnologist that wrote, 'I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day; still praying as I onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground'. To find this inspiration in You makes me beyond grateful. Now I look in the mirror, and I’m glad to see laughter in the eyes where tears used to be. I’m willing to confide, rebuild, and have faith in someone to lead me to greater things or, in essence, my 'higher ground'"

Written By R.H.

IF I ONLY HAD!

If I only had a dollar, I would help a man in need.

If I only had some extra clothes this winter, I would help a man not freeze.

If I had some extra shoes to give, a man could walk all day,

If I had an extra jacket, believe me, it would help him along the way.

If I had an extra heart I’d give, to a man who gave up on life,I’d give that man some hope today,

in the name of Jesus Christ.

Written by J.K.

Both R. H. and J. K. are currently incarcerated in the Buncombe County Detention Facility/Asheville Jail. May you have ears to hear, by the Holy Spirit, that all inmates are real people who, just like R.H. and J.K., are hurting, lost, broken, and yet, are still such gifted and talented people.

Consider this––we have the potential to turn the key that sets their hearts free to receive the Good News of Jesus’ love, forgiveness, and salvation. We can share that Christ has plans of hope and a better future for them when all has seemed otherwise so bleak. We ask you to partner with us through your prayers, volunteer time, and financial support to turn the key and set their hearts free. 

Rev. Vanessa L. James                                                                                                               Chaplain

The Generosity of Publix

ABCCM was blessed on Friday, December 1st with a generous donation of $20,000 from Publix Super Markets Charities.  This gift was specifically given to support our efforts to feed those in need in the Asheville area, and we could not be more grateful.  Executive Director, Reverend Scott Rogers, was on site to accept the donation with gratitude from John Rozier, one of the Publix Super Market at Pinnacle Point’s store managers, whose store is located at 1830 Hendersonville Rd. Asheville, NC 28803.

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Publix Community Giving “supports organizations that focus on youth, education, reducing hunger, and alleviating homelessness.”  As an organization they truly value community involvement, and this gift to feed those in need in our area is a testament to their commitment to that end.  Through ABCCM’s crisis centers, we have given out groceries to those in need 6,000 times from the start of the year through December 6th.  Publix’s donation will play a vital role in assisting our crisis ministries as they add to the number of groceries and meals provided to those in need during the holiday season and new year.

Aaron Schnurbusch, Assistant Director of the ABCCM Main Crisis Ministry, spoke about the importance of corporate contributions like Publix’s.  He explained that, “It is so vital for corporate contributions to be made because we need the income to fill in the gaps.  We go out and work hard to bring in groceries for people in need, while being mindful that it doesn’t go to waste.  Inevitably, though, over the course of a year there will be a little bit missing here or there.  We’ll need a little money to fill in that gap to make sure we fulfill the need.  Corporate financial contributions are also important because it allows us to pay for equipment and other crucial intangible items like electricity.”

Thank you Publix Super Markets Charities for your donation to not only provide food for the needy, but also for adding overall value to the work that our crisis ministries are doing. 

Leaving Legacies

Over the past two months ABCCM has had the privilege of naming two of its facility rooms in honor of some incredible contributors and supporters of our ministries.  The Liz Rothlein Training Center at the Steadfast House and the Lloyd Weinberg Sound Room at the Veterans Restoration Quarters are our new additions.

This November Steadfast House was blessed to receive a $50,000 gift from Ash Rothlein in honor of his late wife, Liz Rothlein.  With this gift Steadfast House has been able to create the Liz Rothlein Training Center where we will be able to continue working to move women from homelessness to self-sufficiency.  This gift will support training and curriculum surrounding trauma-informed care and resiliency.  It will also support scholarships to help the women of Steadfast House gain living-wage employment through education and certification programs.   

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Lloyd Weinberg was a US Navy veteran who had a passion for assisting his fellow veterans.  For over 3 years, Lloyd dedicated his time to volunteering at the Veterans Restoration Quarters.  He taught a weekly class there on the history of jazz where he would show videos and bring in live acts to demonstrate his lessons.  It was the most well attended class ever offered at the shelter.  He also taught basic computer skills at the computer center, and helped the men write resumes and apply for jobs and colleges.

Not only did Lloyd dedicate vast amounts of his time, but he also made monetary and in-kind donations.  He made many donations of clothes, televisions, speakers, and other helpful items.  The contribution that he and his family have made to the Veterans Restoration Quarters has assisted so many veterans in such a meaningful and positive way. Lloyd and his endearing generosity and spirit will be tremendously missed.  Due to his contributions in these ways, we have named the sound room in his honor as the Lloyd Weinberg Sound Room.

We at ABCCM mourn the loss of these two incredible people, but rejoice at the legacy that both of them have left.  Their generosity and love will leave a mark on all who are blessed by the opportunities given them through the Liz Rothlein Training Center and the Lloyd Weinberg Sound Room.

The Amazing Holiday Gift

Steadfast House Veteran residents were blessed with an amazing gift this holiday season.  Ladies from the Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society treated our Veterans to a night of laughter, entertainment, and a lot of Jesus at their Christmas Gala. 

One church from this society, led by Carla Tyrance, brought evening gowns and shoes for our ladies to not only wear for the evening, but to keep.  Carla and her team then treated all of our participating residents to glamor makeovers including hair and nails. Finally, Steadfast residents were escorted as honored guests to the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society area wide Christmas Gala. 

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Our Veteran residents who attended the gala told Volunteer Coordinator, Heather Cerda, that they felt loved, accepted, and just part of the group.  Every woman returned to Steadfast House with a big smile and a full heart.

Reverend Scott Rogers was also invited to attend the Gala, and had a great evening seeing Steadfast House residents interact with this loving group of women.  It was a great evening all around!

An added bonus was that Ms. Carla introduced Mrs. Iris Battle, the Society’s Missionary Supervisor, to Steadfast House’s Angela Cantania, Program Director and Heather Cerda, Volunteer Coordinator.  They were able to discuss future ways that the Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society can continue to support our efforts to support the ladies and good work of Steadfast House. All of our staff and residents are excited to be partnering with such a giving, loving group.  We look forward to what God has in store for this new relationship. 

Our Christmas Journey of the Heart

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This Christmas, we all journey toward a deeper understanding of God’s Love.  The Scriptures are full of examples of God providing love, such as when He appeared on the mountain top with thunder and lightning; how He fed the Israelites with manna and quail; how His Shekinah Glory filled the temple; how He led with a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.  But, we experience the genius of God’s Love in the Christmas story. 

As we take the Christmas ‘journey of our hearts’ to Bethlehem, we discover something new about ourselves, and about how we choose to reflect His Love.  When we look at a newborn in the manger, or allow ourselves to stop and reflect on how God Loves us through that image – the sounds, smells and feelings around an infant in a manger – then we find our deeper journey, our response, and how we choose to reflect His Love.

Last weekend we heard from so many that it is not Christmas until they, “Go to Bethlehem and see the baby,” (i.e. Return to Bethlehem hosted by Groce UMC).  It is still one of the best representations of how His Love was expressed in the birth of His Son.  Sure, we were all surprised by snow and disappointed to lose two days of crowds, but we were also surprised on Sunday when the sanctuary filled up over and over with those eager to make this  “journey of the heart” by deliberately setting aside time to re-engage in the, “Old, Old Story…”

The question Jesus asked is one of the most powerful, “When did we see you…thirsty, hungry, naked, imprisoned, and sick or a stranger? And…when you did – you did it to me.”  The world wants us to respond, react, and to just express that Love with some thing, some item.  Jesus, instead, wants us to react and respond to His Love that is unconditional and full of His Grace.  He inspires us to embrace Him through meeting one another’s real need.  When we respond to His Love by loving one another, then we continue His journey to bring, “good news and peace on earth.” 

As you read the other stories in this newsletter about God’s Love, I hope you will share them during your Christmas celebrations with your family or friends.  Tell these miracle stories of courage and compassion, of restored lives, and of others embracing their neighbors.

Merry Christmas to all our friends!  Great thanks, as well, to every congregation, volunteer, and business who expresses their gratitude and compassion for their neighbors in their own respective traditions.  This truly helps us all know how much God Loves us, and invites us to Love one another.

Reverend Scott Rogers

Executive Director