In a broken and fearful word, the Spirit gives us courage – to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
GPPC has been involved in the Shelter program of CARITAS (Churches Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter) since it’s beginnings in the ‘80s. CARITAS, the largest provider of homeless services in Central Virginia, helps to break the cycles of homelessness and addiction. As a part of this program, GPPC provides food, shelter and other services in our Fellowship Hall for 35-40 homeless adults for one week each year. CARITAS is transitioning from a church site program to a centralized facility in the next year or two. We will continue to host in our Fellowship Hall until this transition is complete and look forward to continuing our support thereafter.
Side By Side
GPPC has been a long-time advocate and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. We seek partnerships that help us live out our belief that every person is a beloved child of god, with organizations that work toward love, acceptance, dignity, and empowerment of LGBTQ+ youth and adults. In addition to being a congregational member of More Light Presbyterians,we are also gifted in our partnership with Side by Side, an organization dedicated to creating supportive communities where LGBTQ+ youth can define themselves, belong and flourish. We have been proud to host Side by Side's annual prom on several occasions.
Getting to Know Our Neighbors
In U.S. cities today, folks don’t always know or care about their neighbors, but at GPPC, we place a high value on being neighborly. Great neighbors take responsibility for the health of their neighborhoods. The first step, of course, is to know your neighbors. We’ve begun hosting block parties with that as our goal. During these gatherings, we share free food, interesting conversation, and a bounce house for the kids (and an occasional grown-up). Information will be posted here when a date has been set for our next block party.
Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities
We began partnering with RISC in 2015 and each year more of our members have gotten involved. Through the RISC model of small groups identifying local social justice needs, and by committing ourselves to attend the annual “Nehemiah Action” along with more than a thousand members of other local congregations, GPPC has embraced the call for systemic changes in Richmond. RISC’s initiatives have focused on issues from affordable housing and job training to elementary reading and childhood trauma. We support RISC because its faith-based approach gets results.
Helping Children in Public Schools
Presbyterians have a long history of valuing and supporting public education. GPPC volunteers support the children and teachers of Ginter Park Elementary School by mentoring, tutoring, and volunteering at the school
Adult Home Ministry
GPPC members work with other churches in our neighborhood to minister to residents of the adult homes on Chamberlayne Avenue. With our neighboring congregations we hold an annual Christmas party for the homes with 75-100 participants. On the third Friday of every month, GPPC members visit the Palace adult home (one block from GPPC) for an evening of activities including snacks and Bingo or outdoor activities (depending on the gifts of GPPC participants). We remember each resident’s birthday with a card which includes a small monetary gift, and each Christmas GPPC members provide gifts and needed items for the Palace residents. Every Sunday various members of GPPC deliver milk to the Palace; it’s a chance to visit Palace residents while taking them a beverage they don’t often get to enjoy.
GPPC conducts a quarterly food drive for the Central Virginia Food Bank. We receive offerings of food on the same Sundays we celebrate the Lord’s Supper – to remember that God feeds us, so we are able to feed each other. During the summer, GPPC members share the abundance of their gardens in our “Garden Faire.” Donations go to Feed More at the Central Virginia Food Bank
We’re transforming our little corner of Richmond’s food desert into a place of nourishment and hope. In raised beds in our fenced play area, we grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and other vegetables for anyone in the community to enjoy. We encourage neighbors to help plant and harvest the fruits of God’s earth.
As a member congregation of ACTS (Area Congregations Together in Service), GPPC makes referrals for individuals whose temporary financial needs threaten them with homelessness. ACTS provides financial assistance and coordinates professional social services for those in need
GPPC supports the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, assisting faith communities across the state to fulfill the call to advocate for dignity and justice for all people. Along with the Interfaith Center, we encourage our members to learn about the issues challenging our communities, pray for guidance and discernment, and act to make Virginia a more just and compassionate Commonwealth. Speakers from the Center have conducted workshops at GPPC on the Care of God’s Creation, Health Care and Payday Loan reform.
GPPC participates in the four annual churchwide offerings of the PC(USA). These offerings are received during our Sunday morning worship. In 2019, our special offerings will also support the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice, the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network and Camp Hanover.