Image above: The Rev. Georgina Hegney, interim rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Utica, with Mr. Wil Murtaugh, Executive Director of ACR Health. Photo provided.
Two local Episcopal Churches in our diocese were recently recognized for their service to the most vulnerable members of our communities.
ACR Health, a community organization that supports individuals affected by chronic diseases, including HIV/AIDS, recognized Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Utica as an important partner at the organization’s 35th Anniversary celebration on November 8th.
ACR celebrate Grace Church’s “open doors and open hearts,” noting the congregation’s special support of ACR Health’s Mohawk Valley Q Center. The Mohawk Valley location is one of three local centers which provide a safe place for LGBTQ youth and their families and allies to gather. Last year, Grace Church hosted the Center’s “Pride Prom” for LGBTQ young people, and will be hosting the Utica World AIDS Day gathering on November 30th for the third year in a row.
The Rescue Mission, which works to end hunger and homelessness in Central New York, awarded the Clarence L. Jordan Hope Award to St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles at its Hope Awards dinner on November 15th. Named for the Mission’s founder, the award recognizes outstanding service and leadership in addressing poverty, supporting youth and families, and improving the lives of those who are in need.
St. James’ Church first approached the Auburn Rescue Mission three years ago, after a year of prayer and discernment about where God was calling them to serve. Dozens of volunteers from the congregation have supported close to 100 events at the Auburn location, and parishioners host quarterly meetings with Mission staff to understand the needs of formerly homeless families served at the Mission. This has led to events like “Zoo to You,” back-to-school and block parties, weekly community shuttles to appointments, regular youth group meetings, educational activities and more.
St. James’ and Grace are just two examples of the many, many congregations in our diocese that are partnering with local organizations to share the love of Jesus in their towns and neighborhoods. Thank you, and congratulations on the well-deserved recognition!