St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church strives to serve the community in as many ways as it can. Its efforts include hosting a number of day camps for kids throughout the summer. Natalia Armendariz and Karly Parker are working with a sling shot they built during Camp Invention at the church. (Curtis Michaels Photo)
Every Thursday the Roswell Daily Record will report on one of the varied religious organizations in the area that offer some sort of community outreach and service. Any work that fills a need for part of our community that is done by a faith-based group is eligible for an article in this section.
These articles will not discuss theologies, or religious services. All faith-based groups are welcome to contact the Record about an article if they are serving a need in the community.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church reaches out to the Roswell community in various ways. Father Dale Plummer, rector of St. Andrew’s, said the church is in partnership with several local organizations.
“We’re opening the space for CASA,” Plummer said. CASA will be bringing their Girl’s Camp to St. Andrew’s this summer. In the Girl’s Camp, they teach young women who are about to enter middle school about self-image, positive relationships, bullying and what to expect in middle school. The program is free and registration remains open until they have 40 participants.
The church offers space to other camps as well, including Camp Invention, which encourages creative and inventive mindsets, and Camp Innoventure which is brought to Roswell by New Mexico State University and teaches entrepreneurship.
The kitchen at St. Andrew’s gets quite a bit of action in service as well.
“There are those who volunteer at Community Kitchen,” Plummer said. “We have one group that does it on Tuesdays, and another group does it on Wednesdays once a month. Cooking for Unity uses our kitchen to feed those on the streets. About 60 meals go out to the homeless at the riverbed and various places every Wednesday.
“We also have Andy’s Community Breakfast on the last Saturday of the month.”
It’s not just the kitchen that helps feed people. CASA has community gardens growing vegetables at the church, too.
Plummer says while the church offers many of the same types of help that others do, he tries to help in unique ways as well.
“I do Tuesday assistance, Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon,” Plummer said. “I do what a lot of other places do, but I try to do just a little bit more than what others do. We do utility assistance, rent assistance, I try to keep bus tokens on hand so people don’t have to lose their job over lost transportation. If it’s work related, or some other extreme situation.
“Particularly in this area people have medical appointments in Albuquerque or Lubbock. We help them with some gas money. I’ve assisted with prescription drugs. A lot of places won’t help with prescription drugs or gas, just utilities.”
He is concerned at the inefficiency of so many groups approaching the same problems without much coordination.
“The problem is the issue’s too big for one of us,” Plummer said. “I’m able right now to go up to $40, First United Methodist helps, Presbyterian outreach helps, too. There are two or three other churches. They’re limited in what they’re able to do. The unfortunate thing is we’re all trying to do the same thing and it makes it a day’s job. It can be a lot of work.”
The church houses one of Roswell’s more active non-profit service organizations.
“Wings for L.I.F.E. operates from here,” Plummer said. “They use our facilities for pretty much everything they do. Preparing for their after school program, their parenting classes and then their monthly meeting when they have a speaker coming to talk about family issues such as bullying, texting issues and all the things a modern family has to be aware of.”
They work with other effective groups, too.
“I work with Choices,” Plummer said. “Sometimes, they find someone who needs an overnight stay or they may need help with a down payment. They call if they need something.”
They work with a couple of programs based out of Eastern New Mexico University’s Roswell campus.
“The Starting Line started through here,” Plummer said. “They are operating by the university and have taken collections for clothing that people can use for interviews. They make sure that clients are dressed a step above the job they’re interviewing for, and that they have the skills to interview as well.
“I had a homeless man go there to make sure he had the skills and the clothing, and he’s got a job now, and I think we’ll get him into a home soon.
“We also have a community partnership with ENMU-R in the special services program they have, to help people with disabilities gain employment.”
The church also partners with Goodwill.
“We work in community partnership with Goodwill,” Plummer said. “We have an intern who comes in a few days a week.”
Members of the congregation at St. Andrew’s are frequently volunteering to help those in need.
“There is a needle arts group that gets together once a week,” Plummer said. “They make shawls for those who have been sick or in the hospital and infant caps and receiving blankets that they take to both hospitals for the newborns.”
There are plans for other outreach projects soon.
“In the fall we’ll be starting up a lending closet,” Plummer said, “for durable medical goods. Donna is going to start up a non-traditional youth activities program.”
Donna Addkison is St. Andrew’s Director of Ministries for Children, Youth and Families. She does quite a bit for the community, too.
“Donna does Theology on Tap,” Plummer said. “ She also teaches yoga classes for children and adults.”
Addkison described the non-traditional youth activities program.
“We’re breaking down a summer camp curriculum to do on Sunday afternoons,” she said. “Life lessons will be a part of it, such as being a good neighbor, citizen and friend; but we’re not doing it in a typical youth group structure.”
One of the lessons they offer will prove valuable for the rest of the child’s life.
“We will offer a money workshop for teens,” she said, “so that they can be good stewards of the resources that come to them through work or scholarship.”
Plummer hopes to work with more churches and organizations in the near future.
“We would like to partner with more churches and other groups to serve the community in a more effective manner,” Plummer said. “There are a lot of needs in this town, just looking at the demographics alone tells you that there’s a lot of need. It’s difficult to feel that you’re alone with no place to go. Even if it’s just going into a place to sit down and get a cool glass of water. Not every place does that. When someone needs respite we’re glad to offer a place for solitude.”
Service In Faith will present a different religious organization each week, with information about their community outreach and service. If you know of a religious organization that fits these requirements, or if you run such a program through your religious organization, let us know.
Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.