St. Francis Old Catholic Church is on a mission to serve our neighbors and our community.
At SFOCC our Mission Statement is to Love God. Love Others. Make Disciples. Everything we do must meet one of those three requirements. As pastor of SFOCC, it is my job to seek out ways in which we as a faith community can live out this Mission on a daily basis. After much prayer and thought, and I believe direction by the Holy Spirit, I have identified a way that we can accomplish this to the best of our abilities. Yes, it will push us in ways we never thought possible. However, isn't that what Jesus calls us to do – go into the world, without fear, to love and serve our brothers and sisters? This project will fulfill our Mission by providing a space where we can show our love to God in worship, show our love for others by providing much needed services to the Binghampton Community, and make disciples by building relationships with the community and by sharing our faith.
Through partnership with the Forgiveness Institute of Madison, Wisconsin, our goal is to establish an evidence-based program in the Binghampton Community that will reduce anger, anxiety, and depression – all of which are issues that plague the community and lead to violence. The program is a full curriculum (grades K -12 and adults), and each grade level stands on its own. Extra modules address issues faced by incest survivors, substance-dependent individuals, cardiac patients, emotionally abused women, terminally-ill patients, and post-abortion men/women. There are modules that address bullying and modules which are specifically geared toward men. The program has been implemented in various places, most notably Northern Ireland, where it has proven to decrease anger and depression and lead to a decrease in violence. Each population has peer-reviewed research which shows the curriculum positively affects the local community by reducing anger, increasing forgiveness, decreasing depression, and lessening the grief response.
Our plan is to implement the program within the community in several ways:
partner with Binghampton Development Corporation to provide free/low-cost daycare to the participants in their job skills program and use the curriculum within the daycare setting
partner with Binghampton Development Corporation's school program which directly interacts with youth
utilize the curriculum within our Christian Education Classes
partner with community schools to provide after-school care
provide free/low-cost summer camps where the curriculum will be implemented
become a referral resource for Juvenile Court for youth at risk
create jobs in the community due to a need for individuals who will fill various positions within the program; all employees will be paid a living wage
eventually increase our service spectrum to provide aid to all targeted groups within the curriculum
Yes, the project is a big one. However I believe, through the generous support of individuals and the community at large, it can be accomplished. We have already made contact with the Binghampton Development Corporation and other organizations who have expressed support for this project.
Our first goal is to obtain property where we can provide this service to the Binghampton Community. A suitable location has been found in a prime area for $5,000; we wish to raise $6,000 to purchase the land and begin the initial steps toward starting the program.
The current timeline to achieve our goal is as follows:
July – September 2015 Raise $6,000 to acquire land and cover initial fees
July 2015 Meet with building developer to plan building (end of July)
September 2015 Submit application for 501c3 recognition
January 2016 Apply for capital grants and continue fundraising
March 2016 Begin building construction
May 2016 Hire staff and begin training
June 2016 Complete building construction and Make presentations to community about services and begin taking referrals
July 2016 Open House Celebration
In order to achieve this goal, we need your help in two ways:
Visit our website at saintfrancisocc.org/giving and make a financial contribution to our Project Binghampton Fund.
Share this information with your friends and encourage them to support this project.
Together we can help rebuild a community that is based on love and harmony instead of fear and violence.
Father Tommy Sheppard
Pastor, St. Francis Old Catholic Church