The churches of the Southeast Sussex Ministerium have always focused on local folks in need.
The funds they administer, largely generated at the Atlantic Community Thrift Shop (ACTS), rarely leave the county, much less the state.
Locally, the Ministerium redistributes ACTS money to individuals in need of emergency assistance with rent or utility bills, etc., and to groups like the Roxana Cheer Senior Center, Pyle State Service Center and InterFaith Mission.
A little farther afield, they donate to The Way Home and La Esperanza (both in Georgetown) and Christian Surfers MD/DE.
However, in light of last December’s monumental tragedy, the Ministerium has decided to earmark collections at the upcoming Soup and Salad Services for tsunami relief.
The services run through the season of Lent (Feb. 9 through March 19).
• Feb. 16, Ocean View Presbyterian Church, 67 Central Av., Ocean View (Millville United
Methodist to help out with that service)
• Feb. 23, Catholic Church of St. Ann, Route 26, Bethany Beach
• Mar. 2, Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church
• Mar. 9, St. George’s United Methodist Church, Route 26, Clarksville
• Mar. 16, Bethany Beach Christian Church, 207 N. Pennsylvania Av., Bethany Beach (St.
Martha’s Episcopal to help out with that service)
Soup and salad is free, and will be served at 6 p.m. on all five nights, followed by services at 7 p.m.
Collections from the Lenten events will go to Church World Service for tsunami relief.
However, despite the success of recent collections specifically for the tsunami victims, they noted other ongoing efforts at their churches.
Rev. Kerry Shull (O.V. Presbyterian) said Southeast Asia had a high visibility need right now, but he didn’t want anyone to forget the ongoing missions of the local churches.
He noted his congregation’s focus on the Sudan, and Fr. David Kelly said St. Ann’s had an aid mission going in Malacatán, Guatemala (Peru).
Rev. Mike Hurley (St. George’s U.M.) stated, “We need to keep Asia in prayer, but I’d like to underscore that there are many other areas that need attention — around the world, and here, too.”
Norma Kropp, liaison for Bethany Beach Christian, presented an idea for a new can drive to support area food pantries.
Some food pantries focus on serving needy people during the winter, when utility bills force them to choose between a warm meal and a warm house.
However, as Kropp noted, there was a great opportunity to collect canned goods at the end of the summer. When visitors move out at the end of the season, they don’t always want to pack up every last cupboard, and much of that food goes to waste, she pointed out.
She asked the members of the Ministerium to help come up with a catchy name for the can drive, and planned to make a formal presentation by April.
Kropp hoped to distribute flyers to rental agents and place newspaper advertisements, encouraging renters to leave their leftovers behind.
The Ministerium helps stock Helping Hands Food Pantry (Beth’el Tabernacle), the Selbyville Food Pantry, the Pyle Center Food Closet and Joseph’s Storehouse (Dagsboro Church of God).
Ministerium churches also participate in the annual CROP Walk for hunger – 25 percent of those funds go to local food banks, and 75 percent go to international efforts.