At Catonsville Presbyterian our church is a community of hope, love, and witness. In thanks and in response to God’s grace, we are committed to sharing our abundance and serving the needs of God’s people, bearing witness to God’s love. Christ calls us to care for our neighbors and advocate for justice.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. …Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” —Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 5:37,41)
We both engage in hands-on mission and provide financial support and other kinds of aid to a variety of ministries, agencies, and initiatives, in Catonsville, throughout the United States, and around the world, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal. Health care, hunger relief, and environmental stewardship are significant interests of our congregation. Our Deacons care for the needs of our local community through food drives as well as the needs of our church family, providing meals, rides to appointments, visits to homebound members, memorial service assistance, and prayer requests.
We are passionate advocates for diversity, and we actively work to dismantle racism. Recently we have begun direct action with resettled refugee families in our local area, assisting with tutoring, transportation, advice and financial assistance. We strive toward an open and welcoming society at every opportunity, including the We Choose Welcome campaign of the PCUSA.
Caring for Our Community and Beyond
Here is a sampling of some of the ministries and organizations we partner with along with examples of the mission projects we have done in the past:
Baltimore International Seafarers Center
An interfaith ministry serving the personal and spiritual needs of seafarers in the Port of Baltimore. Each year, we have assembled Christmas gift boxes for the seafarers during our Advent Feast. This is part of a larger ministry to provide care and support for international seafarers who pass through Baltimore and other seaports around the U.S. For more information
Bridges to Housing Stability
Seeking permanent affordable housing for Howard County, MD, residents who are homeless or facing imminent eviction. Members support and attend Bridges annual chili cook-off competition as one of many different congregations who support the mission of helping end homelessness in Howard County. CPC has a member who serves on the Board for this organization. For more information
Catonsville Emergency Assistance
Serving area residents who need assistance obtaining food, avoiding housing eviction and maintaining utility services. Deacons coordinate food drives and deliver our donations and other members volunteer directly. The Grace Mission Fund, Envision Fund, and Boy Scout Troop 306 have offered support. For more information
Church World Service
An international interfaith relief agency addressing food insecurity, refugee resettlement and other issues. Catonsville Presbyterian participates in CROP Hunger Walk, sponsored by CWS, to raise money for hunger relief. We have also provided clean-up buckets for post-storm relief. For more information
IMA World Health / lutheran world relief
An international, nonprofit health care service organization whose mission is to strengthen health systems, prevent and treat disease, promote nutrition through behavior change communication, respond to sexual and gender-based violence, and promote maternal and child health. At Mother’s Day each year, CPC members donate money to purchase Safe Motherhood Kits that go to mothers in Haiti, Sudan, and the Congo. For many years, we also had a work day to assemble the kits. The Envision Fund provided funds for equipment at the children’s’ hospital in Tanzania. For more information
Maryland Food Bank
Providing hunger relief for individuals and families in need throughout Maryland. The Grace Mission Fund has provided funding for food. For more information
McKim Community Association
A recreational and learning center providing a safe and caring atmosphere for children in inner-city Baltimore. Church members provide unwrapped Christmas toys, board games, and sports equipment to the children at this downtown center serving the Jonestown neighborhood.
Our Envision Fund provided funding for “McKim’s Next Century of Service” for a development professional to launch a capital campaign and search for a new executive director. For more information
Medical Benevolence Foundation
Promoting health for people in impoverished countries suffering from acute and chronic illness, through medical mission co-workers, education, disease prevention, and curative care. CPC has funded projects in the Congo with MBF, and a maternity hospital wing in Haiti through the Envision Fund. For more information
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
The denomination’s disaster relief and refugee assistance program is funded primarily through the yearly One Great Hour of Sharing offering in churches and individual members can donate for domestic and international disaster relief. For more information
Training teachers in rural Nepal to provide quality education for girls and ethnic minorities. Annually we hold a holiday bake sale and private donations. The Envision Fund has provided funding to repair a school after the 2015 earthquake damage.
“Many CPC members, when they think of Santi School, associate it with the first school we built back in 2007 in the village of Ramche. Since then, however, we’ve actually helped rebuild dozens of more schools and trained several hundred teachers. By a conservative estimate, we have improved education for more than 10,000 children in rural Nepal.
Now, Santi School focuses entirely on training teachers, specifically to help improve child literacy and promote reading aloud with children. We have identified our niche and are maximizing our limited resources to provide quality teacher training in more remote areas, which few other organizations in Nepal are doing. We’re still working in the same general area of Nepal as Ramche, in districts that were deeply affected by the 2015 earthquakes.
We designed the training program to give teachers the classroom management techniques they need to get their students excited about reading. Reading aloud to children is not a common practice in Nepal; we encourage teachers to read aloud with their students at school (and for parents to do so at home), and we also provide the books, bookshelves and low reading tables so that schools can create reading corners for students in first through fifth grades, with age-appropriate reading materials. Teachers tell us that many students spend their spare time with their favorite books in the reading corners. This is great to hear, because it reinforces the idea that children enjoy reading; they just need access to books and a place to engage with them.
A highlight of the training program is a two-day literature festival to promote reading habits in children and give parents and community members an opportunity to visit the schools and learn more about the value of reading aloud with kids. One of these festivals, for schools in several villages, attracted 625 participants, including students, teachers, parents, school management committee members and local politicians.
Together with our local partner in Nepal, we just concluded a training program for 30 teachers from about 10 different schools. We started with a pilot program in 2017, and then repeated the program last year, with some of the original schools we worked with as well as new schools. For 2019, our goal is to expand the reach of the program so that we are working with more teachers from more schools and offer training sessions on a more frequent basis.” – Laura Parkhurst, Board Member and CPC Member
The Samaritan Women Institute for Shelter Care
A Christian organization that provides care to survivors and aims to end domestic human trafficking. The Grace Mission Fund has provided kitchen equipment for its commercial banking program. Presbyterian Women has provided support with personal care items. Other members volunteer directly. For more information
Westside Men’s Emergency Shelter in Catonsville
Providing overnight shelter for homeless men in a 154-bed facility. The annual SouperBowl of Caring luncheon funds the meals that Catonsville Presbyterian provides once per month, and members sponsor birthday parties. Collections for toiletries, warm clothing, and other items offer support. The Envision Fund, through Lazarus Caucus, funded bus tokens. For more information
Advocating for Peace and Justice
Our work for justice is an expression of our calling to be peacemakers and advocates for the powerless and marginalized. All are invited to join the Peace and Justice Committee in advocacy work. Here is a sampling of our support for organizations and initiatives that advocate for justice:
Baltimore Community Organizing Network
BCON is an emerging community organizing network consisting of around a dozen interfaith congregations in Baltimore County, working together to participate in God’s mission for justice and reconciliation within a county increasingly divided by income and racial inequity. The goal of BCON is to build connections both within congregations and in the wider community that will allow all of us to better understand our neighbors, identify the issues that mean the most to us, and work together to create meaningful change. CPC supported BCON with a grant for partial salary support.
Creation Care Team of CPC
Provides awareness of environmental issues, education on environmental stewardship and the spiritual basis for the care of creation. This work is supported in part by the Alliance for the Chesapeake’s “Trees for Sacred Places Project” and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The team is transforming our church grounds with a woodland garden with native plants and more than 70 new trees. We are also implementing a stormwater management project. This work is hands-on, get your hands dirty kind of work as well as advocacy for the environment in general.
Howard County Autism Housing Initiative
The Howard County Autism Society is a local organization created by parents of autistic children in an effort to help them find a place of value and worth in this world. Much of their work is directed toward raising awareness and educating the general public about the complexities of autism. Our funds will assist the Howard County Autism Society in conducting financial and market studies as they pursue their vision for a new intergenerational, mixed-income housing development based on the Generations of Hope model to provide long-term affordable housing to adults with autism and other disabilities. For more information
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
Advocates for the waters of the Chesapeake Bay through policies and practices that promote a healthier environment via their Covenant Partners Program. For more information
Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary – Connecting Grace
An initiative of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, in partnership with the Philadelphia Leadership Foundation, which equips faith communities to be agents of healing for families affected by crime, incarceration, criminalization, and stigmatization. For more information
We work for the unity of the church by furthering the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons as an active member of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, an organization that seeks understanding and reconciliation for a more just and inclusive church. For more information
PC(USA) Office of Public Witness
The public policy information and advocacy office of the General Assembly, maintains a public policy ministry in Washington, D.C., applying biblically and theologically-based insights to issues that affect the wider society. For more information
Stony Point Center
A PC(USA) retreat center outside New York City that provides space for individuals and multifaith groups to advocate for non-violent policies and eco-social justice, primarily through networking, human rights accompaniment, advocacy, coalition building, and nonviolent direct action. For more information