Willow Grove Church Highlights Homeless Reality

Church Features Drama, Outdoor Display, and Blanket Collection for Homeless Sabbath

In an effort to bring attention to the reality of homelessness in both biblical times and now, on Sunday, December 18, 2016, Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains, NJ will present a Christmas drama at its 10 a.m. service and host a Blanket Sunday as part of the Homeless Sabbath.

The church hosts an outdoor display that highlights the need for safe and affordable housing in Union County and around the world so that all people can be home for Christmas.

The events bring a deeper message to the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. On the front lawn of the church in Scotch Plains, neighbors will see a nativity scene showing Jesus born in a stable, reflecting the phrase in the Gospel of Luke, “There was no room for them in the inn.”

Next to this traditional scene is a tent, a grocery cart and an ice chest, depicting a place a modern homeless family in an urban area or a refugee family may find shelter. The scene in between says, “No room – then and now.”

The short play that will be presented at the December 18 worship service is, “No Room – Then and Now” written by Willow Grove Church member Jon Finne. The play contrasts the story of Mary and Joseph who cannot find a place to stay in Bethlehem with Mary and Joe who travel along Route 22 in New Jersey and cannot find a place to stay on Christmas night.

Adults and children of all ages are invited to participate in this walk-on Christmas drama. Following the worship service, all are invited to enjoy refreshments.

People may donate new or gently used blankets of any size or material. Donated blankets are needed in shelters and temporary housing provided by Family Promise, The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, and Home First. Blankets may be dropped off at the church office throughout December Monday – Friday or on Sunday, December 18.

The outdoor display, Christmas drama, and blanket collection project are part of Willow Grove Church’s ongoing involvement in ministries to reduce and eliminate homelessness. The church is a host congregation for Family Promise. Four weeks a year they provide shelter, meals and programs for families experiencing homelessness.

Members and leaders of Willow Grove Church are also active in Refugee Assistance Partners, a local interfaith group committed to helping resettle Syrian refugee families in the area. The Mission Committee disperses funds to organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, to provide affordable housing.

These special projects are part of Willow Grove Church’s participation in the annual Union County Homeless Sabbath coordinated by Monarch Housing. Local agencies – Community Access Unlimited, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Family Promise of Union County, HomeFirst and the Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council -, are partners in the Homeless Sabbath December 16-18, 2016, on behalf of all people who are homeless in Union County.

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is a vibrant Christian community committed to engaging worship, spiritual growth for all ages, welcoming hospitality, and service to neighbors near and far.

For more information about church programs and ministries visit our website or our Facebook page.

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