Over a ton of no-longer-used Bibles, Sunday School materials and other Christian study resources are on the way to pastors and missionaries in other countries as a result of a Friendship churches initiative.
The Traveling Chapel, a ministry of PhotosforSouls.com of Alfred, has been the depository for the items since October as the churches joined together to promote the outreach within the broader community.
The replica of a church has been parked on a small trailer on the front lawn of the Friendship Mission House, site of the former St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at 30 East Main Street, and became an integral part of A Friendship Christmas – Celebrating the True Message of Christmas activities hosted at various churches during December.
Donors contributed 2,206 pounds, or more than 1.1 tons, of materials to the cause, according to Photos for Souls, raising the organization’s total collections are various locations in the Southern Tier of New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania to more than 20 tons since the ongoing project started a little over two years ago.
Such materials are sought by pastors and missionaries in many countries which have little or no opportunity to obtain such items.
Photos for Souls also maintains a website of photographs and encouragement, with individuals or organizations being able to download the artwork, a large portion of which is of area and regional views, for their own purposes without any cost.
A Friendship Christmas was initiated by community churches this year “to return the focus of the holiday to Christ’s birth.”
Activities, many of them new, included a lighted nativity scene, along with The Chapel, on the mission house property, Sunday night Christmas caroling near the center of town, a Christmas concert by children and youth, along with some adult choral and instrumental participants, a gingerbread house competition, two Christmas Eve services, and a New Year’s Eve Family Celebration.
Efforts expected to expand
The churches expect to build upon these activities next year as they seek to expand upon their year-round efforts to serve the needs of children, youth, adults and families in the broader Friendship area.
In recent months, the group has hosted jointly a Community Picnic, a Back to School prayer gathering which has become a monthly event, several joint Christian holiday activities and a Family Day Celebration and Wellness Fair. They also have supported activities hosted by individual churches.
A What God is Doing in Friendship ny monthly newsletter, which is distributed to church attendees and the public, has been developed, along with a group Facebook page by the same name.
Churches also are seeking to engage a volunteer, or part-time or full-time children, youth and families ministries director for work within the community.
Further information about The Chapel and the Photos for Souls Christian nonprofit ministry, including a video which shows construction of the structure and its use, is available at https://bit.ly/3O2t208.
Updates and reports about joint initiatives of the Friendship churches are available on the What God is Doing in Friendship ny group Facebook page or from Allegany Hope, the joint ministries facilitator, at AlleganyHopeWNY@outlook.com or (585) 664-9989.