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Clear Spring church focuses its mission closer to home

January 11, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • From left, Sonja Pereschuk, Kevin Rudolph, Butch Pereschuk and Pastor John Toms of St. Paul's Reformed Church in Clear Spring package items to be sent to local members of the armed forces stationed around the world. The boxes contained items such as socks, hygiene items, games, books, candy canes, notes from local school students and church bulletins.
Submitted photo

CLEAR SPRING — The missions committee at St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Clear Spring helps others through faith.

But rather than traveling the world, it keeps its ministry closer to home.

Most of the efforts of the committee are concentrated in donations to a town in West Virginia, boxes sent to local troops serving abroad and Operation Christmas Child, said Donna Mongan, committee chairwoman.

For the past few years, the five-member committee has been actively working to benefit the community, she said.

At the heart of its ministry are donations of used and new items for those in need or those in the military, she said.

“The missions committee is our outward attitude toward our community in service and support of Christ’s message to love our neighbors,” Pastor John Toms wrote in an e-mail.

At least twice a year, the team travels to Rainelle, W.Va., with a truckload of clothing, furniture and appliances for what it calls Appalachian Outreach.

Rainelle is north of Beckley, W.Va., in Greenbrier County.

“When they see the trucks coming from Maryland, they say they know good stuff is coming,” Mongan said.

The committee coordinates with the Rainelle Better Living Center to deliver the materials, she said.

The Better Living Center distributes or sells the donations to people in need, she said.

Mongan said a couple from the church that traveled frequently to Kentucky discovered Rainelle, its needs and the Better Living Center on a trip. The program grew from there, she said.

Now, at least two trucks a year are taken to Rainelle, she said.

“I think this is what God wants us to do,” she said of the missions committee.

Toms said in his e-mail that the church’s vision for the committee is to do as much as possible for the immediate community and others.

In addition to donations for Rainelle, the committee collects items to mail to troops serving abroad.

Many sons and daughters from the area have served overseas in the military and St. Paul’s tries to send as many care packages to local servicemen and servicewomen as possible, Mongan said.

She said the church mails the packages each December and recently partnered with Clear Spring Middle School to include letters to the men and women.

Between collecting for Appalachian Outreach, the military care packages and Operation Christmas Child, a program of Samaritan’s Purse that sends shoe boxes full of supplies to children across the globe, the small congregation at St. Paul’s has proven generous, she said.

“They have a heart of care for their community and those who are less fortunate,” Toms wrote of the congregation.

“I’d say we are very generous,” Mongan said, recalling in December when she made an announcement that the committee had more care packages than expected and was short on supplies. By the end of the service, she had $100 to buy additional items, she said.

In 2010, the church sent out 48 boxes to Operation Christmas Child, 38 boxes to troops and made two trips to Rainelle.

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