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In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, Micah’s Backpack had a very successful year and the schools and Micah’s volunteers are gearing up for school year 2020-2021.

When the schools were closed in March and shopping for food was a challenge, a new division of TEAM MICAH was formed. A team of young volunteers, the SUPER SHOPPERS, appeared when the need was greatest and did all the shopping to keep our inventory where it needed to be. Thank you to all of you who gave your time and heart to buy food for hungry kids.

Then, to keep all the volunteers safe, we quickly moved to mini-packing teams and East Arlington Rotary stepped in to deliver the bags to the schools. As a result of the resourcefulness and of so many willingness to help, Micah’s Backpack delivered 1,070 bags (~7,500# of food) to children and families in need from the middle of March to the close of school in June.

And now, Micah’s Backpack is ready to begin its 6th year of helping chronically hungry children and the need couldn’t be greater. Schools have been contacted and informed that we can begin the year helping 160 children. Our goal is still to HELP FEED 200 KIDS (each week) IN 2020. Fundraisers and food drives have been in progress in the community all summer to make sure that will happen.

The goal, as always, is to feed the kids. Now it is also crucial to protect the volunteers, the kids and their families and the school faculty/staff. To do that we will use an on-line volunteer sign-in sheet and have ‘mini-teams’ for packing, delivering, shopping and restocking. We will have mini-teams pack for each school at separate times and our first packings and deliveries will be the first week of September. To sign up visit, https://signup.com/go/EQJtFCA.

It is anticipated that there will be a lot of bumps along the way as this school year gets started and even more as we go forward. In spite of that, with God’s blessing and the help and the devotion of so many to feed the hungry, we will meet our goal to FEED 200 KIDS IN 2020.

Thank you, thank you to everyone for your support. Together, we ARE feeding the future, one child at a time.

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Dear Presbytery Family,

In a country divided against itself by racial hatred and social injustice, members of the Coordinating Council want to publicly express our grief and acknowledge the overwhelming suffering that centuries of systemic racism have inflicted on people of color.  Systemic racism and injustice are sins against God and all people. We recognize that the Church in word and deed needs to be part of God’s work in the world to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. As Jesus demonstrated the reality of God’s kingdom being present among us, we join with Christ to confront the powers of sin and evil in our society. We join in solidarity with those speaking out against social injustice and government brutality, and join in Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and future believers: that his followers might be unified, bearing witness to God's love. (John 17:20-21)

God is working to change hearts and transform lives. We seek to repent and do all we can to turn from and dismantle the demonic power of white supremacy. Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and mass incarceration are systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of “non-white” people continue to pay an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.

Calling racism “a sin against humanity,” the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness expressed outrage at the death of George Floyd and called on Presbyterians to take action in the wake of his death. The Office of Public Witness, issued this Action Alert.

White Americans can recognize the reality of ignoring, denying and perpetuating what has been called America’s “original sin.” Until White America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past – and the impact it has on the present – and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end.

The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), says there is work to be done, “If we are truly to see reform in this country and beyond, we must be a united front and place God front and center.” The Stated Clerk remembers recent victims of racial violence in this video, and calls for change.

The PC(USA) is strongly committed to the struggle for racial justice.  We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life.  The Spirit sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor.  In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.  May we fight this evil among us, for if we remain silent in such a time we give consent to such racism and injustice.

We join together in prayer:

Lord God, life’s troubles overwhelm us: families are shattered, politicians fighting, news reports devastate us, darkness grows daily, and violence scares us. We are often torn between anger and love in the middle of a pandemic and social unrest over physical brutality and injustice.  Grace seems, at times, to hide from us.  We know Your presence sustains us in difficult times and we rely on Your strength to stand up and stand firm for what is right.

Increase our faith dear Lord so we are not swayed by despair.  Calm our hearts as they rest in you and let us know that you are always near.

When we feel worries, lift up our minds and help us to see the truth. When fear grips us tight, help us to take things one step at a time.  When we can't express the turmoil inside, calm us with Your quiet words of love.  We know deep down that we can cast these cares on You, that you have taken these anxious thoughts upon yourself by dying on the cross.

Lord, calm our hearts, turn our hurt into understanding.  Calm our mind, change our despair into gentle hope.  Cover our soul, transform our resentment into forgiveness.  Cover our life with love, fashion our anger into grace. Strengthen us that we may not be silent in facing the Coronavirus or the injustice that racism breeds.  We need wisdom and strength, Lord.

Enable us to respect the things and people You have made.  Enable our ears to hear the cries and feel the pain of the those who are discriminated against.  Make us wise, so that we may know and practice the love of Jesus Christ.  We seek strength, not to be superior to any of our brothers and sisters, but to be able to fight our greatest enemy, ourselves.

Dissolve this night that surrounds us. It is a dark day and a cold one.  But we know You are here with us. Your presence is our only way of overcoming.  Your love and forgiveness are our hope and our refuge.  Let Your light shine upon us, Lord let it shine!  Dissolve this night dear Lord.

Make us ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so that when life fades as a fading sunset, our spirit may come to you without shame or regret.  Amen.

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Highlands will host Family Promise again from July 5 - 12!


This vital mission provides a safe place for families facing homelessness in Jacksonville. Highlands, along with 17 other churches in town, host families on a rotating schedule for a week, providing lodging, food and other needed supplies.


Here are some of the many ways that you can become involved in Family Promise:


Set Up and Break Down - These volunteers work to make sure that Harris Hall is clean before Family Promise guests arrive. They move needed furniture and lay out bedding. After Family Promise guests leave, volunteers are needed to reset Harris Hall and make sure that the building is clean for church activities to resume.


Daytime Hosts - On Saturdays and Sundays, insurance requires us to have someone from the church onsite. This volunteer can be actively engaged with guests or working on other projects on campus.


Evening Hosts - Evening host volunteers help to set up and serve dinner for our guests. They engage in conversation and provide caring support. Following dinner, volunteers help to clean up the meal and common area. Time: 6pm to 8:30pm


Overnight Hosts - These volunteers sleep in the Crafty Ladies room or library and are available in case of an emergency. During the week, families typically leave by 5:30am and volunteers may leave after that. On the weekend, volunteers are asked to stay until the first daytime host arrives. Time: 8:30pm to 5:30am/8:30am


Dinner - These volunteers provide dinner for our guests and evening hosts. Information about the number of people and any food allergies are provided the week before the visit. You are welcome to both provide dinner AND stay as the evening host. Time: 5:30pm


Laundry - Following the week of Family Promise, volunteers are needed to launder all of the bedding used during the week. These volunteers can pick up the laundry on Sunday morning to take home and launder, then return to the church at their convenience.


Sign up TODAY: https://signup.com/go/SOUgHDf

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