Kristen Campbell • Derry Member

Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month (or close to it), the eNews feature article highlights the mission focus for the month. In December we’re lifting up the Christmas Joy Offering and Stop the Violence, recipient of a portion of that offering. 

On Sunday, when I push through the curiously heavy doors that lead into Derry Church, I’m reminded about how much God has blessed our church with many amazing gifts. With those gifts comes a weighty responsibility to do our best to love and support our neighbors in the community, especially the vulnerable.

Who is vulnerable? Surprisingly, the vulnerable look just like you and me. They have jobs, but maybe don’t make enough to support a family. They have children, but lack affordable healthcare or childcare. They have housing, but struggle to have enough left over each month to pay for heat and other utilities.  

God reminds us in Proverbs 31:8-9, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

The Christmas Joy Offering is one of four special offerings received by the Presbyterian Church (USA) during the year.  This month and on Christmas Eve, Derry Church is receiving the Christmas Joy Offering. Derry Church will share a portion of our 2023 Christmas Joy Offering with Stop the Violence (STV) in Harrisburg. STV supports those that are vulnerable by providing counseling for women of domestic violence, as well as providing food, clothing, gifts and school supplies to families and elderly in need. 

Rev. Mim Harvey, President and Founder, provides this update:

This is a very sad time for our area, as we experience high levels of crime and poverty. Many mothers and grandmothers are raising children on their own. People are hurting. The high cost of food and necessities, like clothing and diapers, is also an issue for our community.

So, what will the Christmas Joy Offering mean to an organization like STV?

  • Secure food that is delivered to seniors that are afraid to come out, that don’t have transportation, or that don’t have relatives.
  • Fund Thanksgiving food baskets for over 100 families, including turkeys and the works for dinner.
  • Purchase new coats for needy children.
  • Support a drive-by Christmas party serving 125 children with Christmas toys and candy bags (with a special appearance from Santa Claus!).
  • Provide blankets, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and socks to the homeless.

In other words, donating to the Christmas Joy Offering will mean fewer hungry mouths, warmer people on the streets, reduced anxiety for mothers, grandmothers, and the elderly. It will mean that children in the community will be happier and healthier.

As you think about how you can spread love and joy this holiday, consider giving to the Christmas Joy Offering and helping lift up those in need. Click here to donate online or notate checks “Christmas Joy Offering.”

To learn more about Stop the Violence and ways you can volunteer, contact me