As my six-month term is coming to an end and I start working on the new service year, I wanted to share some of my reflections. Yes, in case you missed it – I am here until September 2012!!
I came to Old First as the “volunteer” for the Outreach Ministries. The congregation and volunteers have been amazing to work with and I’ve loved getting to know everyone. It’s hard to believe that it has been six months since I moved to Philadelphia from Huntsville, Alabama. I joined Old First at a time of several transitions. The previous Volunteer Coordinators had left in December and there were changes in some of the programs! Michael was on vacation the first ten days that I was here. Mindy trained me in addition to her duties and I am so thankful for her support and continuing guidance.
The last six months have been about learning the job and finding my place in the volunteer community in Philadelphia, as well as my place within Old First. I have worked to improve the existing ministries with the help of the Wellspring Ministry Teams (Shelter, Cupboard and Service Camp). The Food and Clothing Cupboard has found its niche in the new space (previously in Christian Ed building, currently in the Social Hall). We have a system that works for OF and the people that we serve. We are keeping folks warm in the winter and shaded in the summer, as well as giving them the opportunity to select their own food and clothing. The shelter has had its bumps in regards to funding but we’ve worked together as a congregation and community to ensure that our program is the best we can offer. The service camp ministry has grown so much. I hosted groups from as far away as California this year! It has been a lot of fun to spend time with so many different people and to see their hearts in the work that they do here.
My faith in people has grown so much since I came here. Seeing the work that Old First is doing and the work that we help others to do is inspiring. When I talk to friends and family, I tell them about the awesome work that is being done here. I can only hope that when my time is done here, I can take the skills and experience and put them to use in other communities. I am looking forward to new and exciting ventures in the next year – like getting to know more of you that I haven’t gotten to know yet!
Thank you for welcoming me (and Cole and our dogs) with open arms!
Billi, Volunteer Coordinator