Angel Tree Ministry

Each December, members of the congregation have the opportunity to help make the holidays joyful for some of our neighbors in need through the Angel Tree Ministry. An "Angel Tree" is placed in the church Fellowship Hall in late November with tags listing requested gifts for children in need at neighboring elementary schools. Everyone is invited to take a tag, purchase the requested gift and return the gift to the church, unwrapped, with the tag attached, by the second Sunday of December. Those for whom it is not convenient to purchase a gift may always make a financial gift to this ministry as the coordinators do quite a bit of shopping for supplemental gifts for each household.

Charlottesville Albemarle CROP Walk

Each second Sunday of October, Olivet participates in the annual community CROP Walk for world hunger. This 10-kilometer walk through downtown Charlottesville raises awareness and funds to address hunger and malnutrition locally and internationally. CROP fundraisers date back to the early days following WWII, when congregations in America joined together to provide food relief to war-devastated Europe through Church World Service. Olivet youth, adults, and whole families have found the annual CROP Walk to be a great experience of community and a meaningful way to minister to those in our world who are suffering. Twenty-five percent of the monies raised by walkers supports local food banks and 75 percent supports international hunger relief ministries of Church World Service.

Diaper Ministry

Olivet’s Diaper Ministry relies on a team of faithful volunteers, and donations of diapers from the congregation, to provide one-time or on-going assistance with diapers to women in our community who are struggling financially. The women Olivet serves are often single mothers with limited support networks and the visits of Olivet volunteers provide emotional, moral and spiritual support as well. Those in our community who are assisted by this ministry are screened and referred to us by Love, INC. Members of the Olivet community support this ministry by donating diapers, pull-ups, and wipes. Donations may be left in the church office or in the baby crib in the corner of the fellowship hall. During the month of May, the Mission Committee sponsors a month-long Diaper Drive to replenish the inventory of diapers kept at the church for volunteers to use in deliveries as needed.

Please contact Cheryl Wetmore-Simpson or the church office if you would like to volunteer with this ministry.

Ethiopian Mission Partnership

The East Gambella Bethel Synod is located on the western border of Ethiopia. It is part of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), a Protestant Church of Ethiopia with roots in the mission efforts of European Lutherans and American Presbyterians. Formed in the mid-1950s with 40,000 members, the EECMY now has over 5 million members. East Gambella Bethel Synod originated with the work of American Presbyterian missionary Don McClure who, at the height of his missionary career in the Sudan, sought support and authorization to minister to the Annuak people in Gambella, the Nile River basin area of western Ethiopia.

Olivet’s exploration of a partnership with the East Gambella Bethel Synod began in 2009 after many years of engagement with and support of mission initiatives of another Synod in the western part of Ethiopia. This partnership allows us to experience concretely the reality of the oneness that we share as brothers and sisters in Christ despite differences of culture, race and language. It also provides opportunities for mutual encouragement, mutual renewal, mutual service and mutual transformation. It fosters an ongoing, deepening relationship that enables human, cultural, financial and spiritual resources to be shared so that both Olivet and the East Gambella Bethel Synod may be strengthened. Through prayer, humility and openness to one another, this partnership will foster a cooperative witness that exalts the Lord we serve.

Anniversary Food Drive

Olivet Church was chartered in September of 1880. As part of our 125th anniversary celebration in 2005, we launched a food drive in September with the goal of collecting one bag of food for each year of Olivet’s life and ministry. The food donated was delivered to the Emergency Food Bank, which provides a three-day food supply to households in the area who find themselves with an emergency need. The drive was both fun and successful. We have continued it each September, and each year we have surpassed our goal. The Emergency Food Bank pantry stocks are typically very low in late summer, and Olivet’s Anniversary Food Drive greatly helps with restocking efforts.

Habitat for Humanity Partnership

Since 1997, Olivet has joined with six area Presbyterian Churches in sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity house each year with financial and volunteer support. Together with the other congregations we contribute between 30-50,000 dollars and numerous volunteer workdays to support Habitat’s ministry of transforming lives and building community through the construction of affordable housing. Typically we participate in a 10-month build schedule that includes opportunities for volunteers from Olivet to participate on the second Saturday of each month alongside other Presbyterian volunteers and Habitat Partner Family members who are accruing their “sweat-equity” hours. Volunteers and donations enable these families, many of very modest means, to purchase homes while spending less than 1/3 of their income on housing. A typical workday begins at 8:45 and concludes at 3:30. Habitat crew leaders provide all tools, instruction, and guidance so that people of any skill level can participate.

Please contact the church office if you are interested in volunteering with this ministry.

IMPACT Justice Ministry Network

IMPACT is an acronym for “Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together.” It was established by local faith leaders wishing to to address the root causes of problems and needs in our community by living out our faith’s call to seek justice. Olivet’s participation in IMPACT is facilitated by our Justice Ministry Team. Over recent years, we have worked together with other congregations through IMPACT to address issues of homelessness, affordable housing, dental care for uninsured working poor, young adult unemployment, preschool availability and mental health services. IMPACT’s ministry is carried out through an annual process that begins with September listening sessions in participating congregations to surface issues of concern. The process culminates with a large “Nehemiah” Action Assembly in April or May to present recommendations developed by research teams to those with the capacity to implement them. The Assembly is named for a similar community gathering recorded in the Old Testament when Nehemiah gathered the people of Jerusalem to address unjust conditions in his day.

Please contact Pastor Connette or the church office if you are interested in volunteering with this ministry.

Metal Recycling to Support Love INC of Augusta County

Olivet member Bill Roberts has been working with Love INC of Augusta County since August 2012, responding to God’s call to ministry with those caught in generational cycles of poverty. Love INC is a national ministry with affiliates all over the United States.

Love INC of Augusta County raises money to support its ministry through a metal recycling program, collecting aluminum, tin and other metals. Olivet has a collection box in the church kitchen, where recyclable metals may be left for Bill to carry over the mountain each Sunday.

If you would like to know more about the Augusta County affiliate of Love INC, and what God is accomplishing through this ministry, contact Bill Roberts at baroberts06@gmail.com

Update from Bill Roberts

Love INC logo

When God called me to the ministry of Love In the Name of Christ (aka Love INC), he did so for many reasons, but I believe that the main reason was to teach neighbors in need…go figure! On December 16, I completed twelve weeks of instruction for our inaugural “New Image” (financial management) class. The ultimate goal of the class is for each neighbor to learn Christian financial principles that when applied consistently will move them toward financial independence and stability. As the teacher of our inaugural class (2 6-week sessions), I was blessed with six dedicated neighbors willing to learn, to share, to trust, and to allow God to change their lives. God also raised up six mentors from our partnering churches to walk beside our neighbors, to work with them in and out of class, to develop positive relationships, to hold them accountable to apply the skills learned, and to share Christ’s love. Together we learned more than just financial management skills. We learned to trust God to provide and care for his children. Through participation in the class, building relationships with other class members, and the Holy Spirit speaking to her heart, one of our neighbors, Wendy, came to accept the love that God so freely offers. On Sunday, November 17, she gave her life to God and accepted Jesus as her Savior. I feel so humbled to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of our neighbors. When I look back and see how God has used me in the ministry of Love INC, I have to give Him all the praise and glory. Now I am looking forward to what He has in store for the future! Know that your prayers, encouragement, and financial support have been a tremendous blessing for my entire family. Thank you…my Olivet family!

Christmas Eve Offering

Each Christmas Eve, Olivet receives a special offering that is used throughout the year to meet requests for emergency assistance from community members in need. In addition to helping with individual requests, the offering enables the Mission Committee to supplement the school supply, diaper drive, and Angel Tree collections through additional purchases to provide for all requests.

PACEM Homeless Shelter

For two weeks each winter, Olivet provides Christian hospitality to homeless women in our community through PACEM (People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry). The women arrive at the Fellowship Hall to a hearty meal and sleep on cots in the warmth and safety of our church. Volunteers prepare meals, stay overnight, and assist with other tasks necessary in hosting our guests. Typically we minister to 10-15 homeless women each night. Those who volunteer are blessed both by their serving and by the relationships they develop with the ladies we welcome into our church and our lives.

SUMMER SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE

There are many families in our area that struggle to make sure their children have the school supplies they need at the beginning of the school year. Each summer the Olivet Mission Committee organizes a drive to receive contributions of needed school supplies from the congregation to deliver to Meriwether Lewis and other elementary schools.

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