I joined Old First in 1969. I was recently divorced and had three children ages 18 months to 5 years old. I worked full time and part time, as a practical nurse. My neighbor provided childcare during the day, and the kids went to work with me at night, sleeping on blankets on the floor, until I was off in the mornings.
My take home pas was about $300. every two weeks.
We used public transportation until I was able to purchase a 1960 Rambler for $200. It lasted about two years. God provided.
I began Community College School of Nursing in 1973. Classes were during the day, and I worked 3 to 11 p.m. A classmate provided child care in exchange for housing. By this time the children were in daycare and grade school, and going to after school care until my classes were over. God provided.
During these years, Old First became our spiritual and extended family, along with school mates and work friends I was close to. At church, two families, the Burkhardts and the Kendalls, took the children and me in their care. We were included in family gatherings, especially during the holidays when I had to work and was unable to go home to family in Newark, New Jersey.
These families taught me how to be a part of this Old First community. Because my finances were tight, I often supported the church programs with my time and talents. I taught Sunday School, assisted with Vacation Bible School, cooked and served at the monthly food festivals that helped pay of the mortgage we took out to buy back our current property.
I joined the group Women in Mission. We met monthly to socialize and to plan activities to raise money for Old First. We made visits to shut-ins, members living in Nursing Homes where we provided fruit baskets, knitted items and baked goods, and provided musical activities, short plays, readings and holiday activities.
When necessary, I used vacation days from work to participate in these activities. And God provided.
From 1972 to 2001, working two jobs to provide for my family, I found I was able to tithe. I found this a rewarding experience, a source of pride. Now I was able to support the needs of Old First along with the rest of my family financially.
I continued to give my time and talend. I was a Deacon and an Elder serving on the boards at Old First. I served on the Committee on Ministry for the Philadelphia Association of the UCC, and was a delegate for the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the UCC. I also served on the World Board of the denomination as an advocate for One Great Hour of Sharing, traveling to speak about the difference that special offering makes. God provided.
Now I am putting my hand into support Old First’s Capital Campaign for 2015-2018, not only financially, but with time volunteered. Speaking with the people of our church community about our need to expand our outreach capability for the homeless and hungry in Philadelphia has already enriched my life. These conversations have been exciting.
I am hoping that in my lifetime, Old First will be able to help provide permanent housing and food services for people in need. And I truly believe God will continue to provide, in part with our help!
My hand’s in!,