Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meals Under the Sky

One of the challenges of not having our own building to provide worship and meals is that sometimes a Monday evening is already reserved for another organization to use. Instead of cancelling or looking at this situation with hopelessness we have taken the meals outside. The Knights of Columbus graciously let us use their parking lot to serve meals.

The first time we were outside it was an extremely cold evening, but we were still surprised at how many folks came to receive a meal and share in fellowship with one another. Hot chocolate, donated by Hub City Vineyard, kept us all warm. The spirit of that evening was precious and encouraging.

Our second evening under the sky was so gorgeous that we brought out tables so folks could relax and fellowship together. We were blessed with the incredible donation of homemade soup, brownies, and sandwiches from our amazing volunteers! We were also so grateful for the chips donated from Harvest Community Church, apples from Orrs Farm Market, and water from Pastor Lloyd!

Our third evening under the sky there were threats of horrible weather in the late afternoon and we were concerned our planned B-B-Q and free clinic night would be overcome by harsh rain and wind. The weather stayed calm as burgers were being flipped and folks fellowshipped under the beautiful sky. It wasn't till after everyone left and we had dismantled the clinic team's tents that the rain fell upon us. God is good, always!

We are constantly amazed at how these unexpected challenges turn out to be beautiful works of God...shaping community...and shaping us. The joy and love from the volunteers, the generous donation of food from individuals, businesses, and churches, the incredible flexibility of the clinic team to work under unusual conditions, and the gathering of a faithful community humbles my heart. In a way, we look forward now to these evenings under the sky...surrending it all to God...and marveling in His grace.

Blessings and peace,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christmas Giving at Eastern Regional Jail

It was December 22nd, 2010...12 amazing volunteers gathered at Eastern Regional Jail to put together Christmas gift bags for the men and women who reside at the jail. Over 400 hundred bags and 2 liter bottles of soda were prepared and given out that day!

We were amazed at the incredible donation of candies, chips, crackers, small cakes, playing cards, sodas, socks, and decorated paper bags. Everyone joyously took a task in the distribution line...whether it was filling the bags with notebooks or counting the candy to make sure everyone got an even amount.

When the bags were ready, five of us went back to the inmates' quarters (Pods as they call them) with the ERJ counselors and guards and were able to give the gifts to each of the inmates. It was a joy to wish each of the men and women a Merry Christmas!
We were also able to give gift bags to the guards and office staff of Eastern Regional Jail.

We have been so blessed to be a part of the journey of each of the men and women at ERJ. We are so grateful for your donations and prayers towards the Jail Ministry. Please continue to lift up the men and women there as they strive to reclaim their life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sharing the Vision moved to next Thursday!

Due to weather concern, we are postponing the January 20th Sharing the Vision. We will hold it next Thursday details below...

When: Thursday, January 27th
7:00pm - 8:30pm

Where: St. John's Lutheran Church
101 West Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV

Immanuel’s House is an ecumenical church community in action. We strive to bring justice and peace on earth, responding to God’s call to love our neighbor and care for Creation. We seek to live and learn by justice and peace, acting with kindness and mercy, and walking humbly with our Lord.

Join us January 20th as we continue to share the vision of Immanuel's House!

Hear what we have been doing at Eastern Regional Jail, on the streets of Martinsburg and how we hope to expand our ministry. We look forward to seeing how you can join with us in serving as we strive for the kingdom of God.

Sincerely from the Team,

Carmen Winiarski
Milly Rivera
Karen Erskine Valentine
and Mary Gunderson King

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From the Office of Immanuel's House

As I write this blog update, I do so from my new little desk at the office of Immanuel's House. It is great to be working alongside Carmen again in an office setting, we're a crazy and energetic pair when we get together. I'll be assisting Carmen in helping folks gather the appropriate documents for a WV ID. We have continually been surprised on how many people don't have WV is truly a need in this area.

We've been so grateful to Men of Valor and Vision for letting us have an office space in their facility as we raise funds to purchase another building. At this time we are located at 206 East King St., Martinsburg, WV.

Two Mondays ago we also started Immanuel's Table, which is an ecumenical worship service and community meal that we host every Monday night. The Knights of Columbus have so graciously given us their hall to use at 108 West Stephens St., Martinsburg. God is so cool! Our Immanuel's Table team also rocks...they didn't miss a beat when we moved into this new space. They had a new kitchen that they had to learn to manuever in...and set the tables and put them back each Monday. Mark, our techie, also had to figure out his new little spot to manage the sound system and powerpoint. But the whole team did it with such joy and love, I was so moved to tears.

Out team is excited about this new year and all that God has called us to! I thank you for your prayers and involvement in this ministry. May we continue to journey together and see God with and working through us.

Blessings and joy,
Mary Gunderson King

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buxton St. Building for Immanuel's House

Out of all the places that we have looked at the Buxton St. Building has seemed the most reasonable and most welcoming buildings. It's not too big and not too small. There are no offices, but we have room to set up temporary office spaces. The open space room lends itself to so many kinds of services that we can provide for the community. There is also a wonderful backyard where we can start a community garden in the heart of Martinsburg.

I ask that you join us in prayer as we continue to discern if this is where we should be and as well raise funds for this site.

Blessings and peace,
Mary Gunderson King

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Well it has been over a month since our first blog and i thought an update might be good.

We have revisited one of the buildings we had looked at before, when we walked in there was a sense of being home.

So where do we go from here...?  We need to find funding. If we want this building we need $85,000 dollars.  Man thats a lot of money!!!  How are we going to get this kind of money?  I know that if this is where God wants us to be we must pray for his guidance.

Because we are working out of a single office we do not have the space to have anything big here.  I am going to ask everyone to search their hearts and see if God is pulling at your heart to help in some way whether it is financially or in guidance to help us find the funding.  Sooo if you are a fund raising fanatic give us a call or send us an e-mail.

If you're the person who is inclined to send us some funding call us at 304-596-1155.
PLEASE continue to keep us in your prayers.

Carmen Winiarski

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I would like to say that I am honored to be working with Mary, Karen and Milly. It is my hope and prayer that Immanuel's House will change the lives of those we will serve, but I also know it will be our lives that will change in profound ways. We all have hearts that will break and will be restored beyond our own understanding. We know that we are not doing this alone, we have God walking with us and it is in knowing this that we have been able to move forward in the places God has called us to. It would be unrealistic for us to think that it will be easy. We know this is not true and yet we all know this is where we need to be.

I would like to ask for your support, but mostly I would like to ask that you pray for this ministry and for us as we step out into places of new growth and change. Pray with us for a place WE can call home so we can help others do the same. A place where we can help others change their lives and give great hope to those who have little hope.

I am blessed and honored to accept this call that God has given me.I thank you all for your prayers and support.

Carmen L. Winiarski