by Nancy Graham Ogne on April 29th, 2017

Just after Easter we heard from Debbie Scott-Robinson and her husband Paul, who spoke about Utange Orphans Charity and the way it meets concrete needs in Kenya.

Debbie & Paul established the orphanage 10 years ago. It houses 24 parent-less children -- but as many as 500 other orphaned children have been taken in by community members. With scarce resources, these poor-themselves neighbors often can only feed a needy orphan every few days, Debbie says. So the Robinsons launched Feed500, which provides a meal for orphans each Saturday and sends them home with a bag of maize to share with the family that's caring for them -- so they can all have something to eat during the week.

Each Saturday in Utange, 500 orphans walk to the Action Centre for the meal, cooked for them by local volunteers.  It takes some of them over an hour to get there. Some of them are just toddlers and some of the children are carrying babies not yet able to walk.

Approximately $7.50 will feed one orphaned child for an entire month, Debbie and Paul told us. We're inviting Hopesters and friends to consider giving an extra $7.50 in May and designating it "For Kenya." We'll forward our combined gift to care for these precious ones in early June.

Find more info at http://utangeorphans.org/Groups/249674/Utange_Orphans.aspx

Friends, for less than the cost of two lattes, we can change a life. Let's live like we get it!

by Nancy Graham Ogne on February 18th, 2017

Each year since we launched in 2012, Hope has offered Lenten Communities -- short-term electives designed to help us grow deeper with God and others. At least one of these offerings is always a "Virtual" community -- allowing participants to accommodate their unique schedules while connecting in a digital community for growth and accountability.

In 2017, our digital offering will be "Journey Through the Psalms" -- reading all 150 Psalms during the 40 days of Lent. Those who sign up will receive a brief introductory email on the Sunday prior that includes a link to the week's digital community bulletin board. Non-threatening questions offer readers a chance to reflect and engage each other.

In addition, we offer a book club with two face-to-face gatherings on America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege & the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis. We'll read on our own -- then gather with friends from Washington Shores Presbyterian at WSPC on Sundays 3/19 and 4/2 from 2-3:30 pm. We'll take pre-orders for a box lunch from Honeybaked Ham if Hopesters are interested (the WSPC folks will just be exiting church). In our first gathering, we'll address Chapters 1-5; on 4/2 we'll discuss Chapters 6-10. We have several copies of the book available at 50 percent off ($11 each).

Sign up at church or email Nancy at hopenona@gmail.com.

by Nancy Graham Ogne on December 9th, 2016

This week our staff signed and mailed the 2016 Hope Christmas cards, with designs submitted by members of the Hope family.

How fun to share these images and all they represent -- most notably the unique contribution each person can make to God's Kingdom. These designs include:
  • Cupcake Nativity -- the Frosting-By-Numbers extravaganza created by people of Hope with art direction by Jillian Strogis
  • Family Time -- a drawing by 7-year-old Gustavo
  • Christmas Tree -- art from the archives of Lauren Kamperman
  • Christmas Word Art -- designed by Tammy Strogis
The envelopes bear the postmark of Christmas, Florida. There may be a reward from "The Amazing Treasure Chest of Mostly Useful Prizes" for  observant recipients!

This year we'll also use extra copies of the Cupcake Nativity to acknowledge gifts toward the purchase of a $1,500 Village Garden Well through the Presbyterian Mission Agency. (Those who contribute a gift in honor or memory of another may take one of these cards and enclose a note describing the designation.) What a great way to share the vision of our congregation -- showcasing both our deep commitment to serve others and our overarching sense of fun!

Merry Christmas, All! It's such a privilege to be on this journey with you ... to serve with whole-heartedness and have fun to boot!

by Nancy Graham Ogne on October 1st, 2016

Scripture calls us to pray for one another and most of us, at least, are well-intentioned about it. We may especially offer prayers if we're aware of a crisis or sense a nudging from the Holy Spirit. Yet -- because we're human -- we may neglect non-pressing intercession when we're distracted by the swirl of our own lives.

This Fall, we're offering a simple tool to help you fulfill your call to pray for others ... and it's even kind of fun. We've created zip-lock 'prayer packs' that include the names of every household currently active at Hope (and a few listed on our rolls who must work on Sundays).

The idea? Draw one name each morning and, throughout the day, offer prayers for that person or family. If you know a specific need, pray it. If you don't know the person or any specifics, offer general prayers of blessing (health, wisdom, guidance, hope, provision, the awareness of God's love for them), biblical prayers like Ephesians 3.16-19 or Colossians 1.9-12, or silently hold their names before God and voice prayers if or as you feel prompted.

At my house, I've claimed an old metal candy box and inserted a cardboard divider in it. I've placed the slips face-down on one side. When I randomly draw one, I place it face-up on the other side. This way I can re-use the slips next quarter. Early next year we'll add the names of new regulars.

What a privilege to pray and know others are praying for us, too!  #HaveFunDoGood #LiveYourCalling

by Nancy Graham Ogne on August 31st, 2016

This Fall our congregation will engage several out-of-the-ordinary practices that will lift us out of our usual routine -- but which dovetail perfectly with our larger vision.

On Sunday 9/18, we'll conduct our 4th annual Day of Service -- offering worship through serving our community in lieu of our regular worship format. We'll serve at the Ride-4-Ronald, supporting Lake Nona's new Ronald McDonald House, and probably also at Lake Nona Middle School.

On Sunday 10/2, we'll travel to Washington Shores Presbyterian, not far from Camping World Stadium to celebrate World Communion Sunday. Washington Shores is the only predominantly African-American church in Central Florida Presbytery -- and leaders from our congregations hope to foster ongoing friendships through shared activities. During the last couple years, racial tensions have heightened nationally due to several high profile tragedies. Erika Rembert Smith, pastor at Washington Shores, the WSPC session, and Hope's leadership team agree that forming multi-racial friendships is an important step to model a better way in the world.

We hope to launch this new partnership with shared worship at 11 am, followed at 12:30 pm by dinner on the grounds. At a later date, members of WSPC will worship at Hope -- and we plan a shared study of issues concerning faith and race.

Though these plans mean we will not be seated together in the middle school cafeteria on these two occasions, we'll be worshiping together in ways that fulfill our call as a community of peace, justice and service.





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