Presbyterian Depot – A Partnership Mission in Warren County

When churches partner together in mission they can impact their communities at an even greater level than if they work alone. That is the motivation behind a new and creative project in Warren County, informally known at the Presbyterian Depot.

According to the Rev. Chet Penza of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Philipsburg, “The Presbyterian Depot project is a collaboration of the area churches gathered to serve the community by providing kitchen items to homeless people and to victims of domestic violence who are starting over.” For Penza it’s less about the “items” which will be collected and stored at the Depot, as it is “the struggle for wholeness, the ‘shalom’ of all we serve.”

The Presbyterian Depot got its recent start through a collaboration of local mission groups and churches. Many in Newton Presbytery might already be aware of the mission of Family Promise in their county. Family Promise of Warren County helps homeless families and individuals in their region by offering compassion and care, including temporary housing and meals for up to four families in transition. Another agency doing powerful work in Warren County is the Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Crisis Center (DASACC). It is their mission to serve, and advocate for those impacted by interpersonal violence. Both of these agencies help families and individuals in crisis to make a safe, fresh start. These efforts take resources, which Old Greenwich, Pilgrim, Second Oxford, Stewartsville, and Westminster Presbyterian churches are committed to supplying.

Representatives from each of these cooperating churches were brought together by Newton Presbytery’s Emerging Ministry and Mission Co-Op (EMMCO). Through conversation over a period of time, this group of disciples was inspired to collaborate on a way to more efficiently make the needed supplies available. The Presbyterian Depot was conceived, and will become a depositor for items Family Promise and DASACC need for their clients. As one might be able to walk into a Home Depot and purchase a new item when establishing a new residence, so too will staff from the above-mentioned agencies be able to walk into the Presbyterian Depot and find items to prepare a new kitchen for their clients.

Nestled in the lower level of Pilgrim Presbyterian Church in Philipsburg is a freshly reorganized space which is the physical location of the Presbyterian Depot (see photo). Mr. John Lynn, the representative from Pilgrim Presbyterian Church, shares this:

I’m inspired by the opportunity EMMCO provides to our area churches to work together as one in faith to share our gifts with others. And although I participated in the planning process for the Presbyterian Depot, it has been the physical transformation of the Depot room (and the fellowship we shared in completing it) which has been my favorite contribution.”

 

All the partnering churches have committed to holding drives and hosting “showers” to collect items both agencies have requested. Mr. Lynn explains that, “Providing these much-needed items for Family Promise guests and others will not only help those in need, but will take some of the burden off the organizations and allow them to deal with other issues and help more families.”

~ Written by Stefanie Muntzel, Presbytery Coordinating Team, Communications Team