2022 Harvesting Generosity
God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others.
   2 Corinthians 9:8, 10-13

  In this past year, where by the grace of God, and our stewardship of his science and medicine,  we have Hope.  We have demonstrated how as a congregation we are able to meet the challenges that this pandemic has placed on our community.   It has been your volunteerism of time and your contributions that has allowed us to thrive during these unprecendented times.    Yet we must acknowledge that the pandemic has left many in the flock in need of support, recovery and compasion.  God calls us to a place where we must take intentional acts of justice and mercy.   We ask our membership to pledge support to our ministries that gives them the resources to deliver on the plans which we have asked them to guide us and lead us. 

This November 14th on Dedication Sunday, the Stewardship Team invites you to prayerfully consider making a pledged commitment or generously increasing your pledge to help us reach our church-wide goal of increasing our overall funding by $125,000.   A pledge is our individual commitment to supporting our ministries and goals as a church.  These pledges allow our Elders and Deeacons to plan for the coming year.  Our contributions are how we deliver on that promise and allow our leaders to execute on those plans.   Let’s bring in the harvest together!    

We use the Lens of 5 focus areas of  Christian Education,  Worship,  Pastoral Care, Justice and Inclusion, and Care and Compasion to represent how we apply our Harvest to our vision of what we want Ark and Dove to be.    We have many ministries that support and carry out these efforts directly and indirectly.   The membership of Ark and Dove drives the vision of our church through long range planning, direct asks to our Elders and Deacons and through our selection of leadership.  How we accomplish our vision is planned through our annual pledged contributions.  These 5 focus areas show us how our contributions are being used to deliver on our goals as a church and as a christian community and where we can do even more.   

As we make put our thoughts and prayers on what how we can best support and be part of these goals as a church, lets reimagine a future where we generosly share what we have so that have postive impact on the lives of others.  Harvesting Generosity is about finding that the pandemic has sprouted new and innovative ways of reaching our goals and in doing so has expanded our thinking on how we might best serve others.   Growing your support, if by just a little, can open a wealth of opportunity.    Listen and read on where our leaders want us to go, challenge that status quo and grow our community of faith.

 Cristian Education  ( Watch the Video ) on how growth in pledeged contributions will allow for re-imagined learning and greater reach.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” – Matthew 19:14

“We are all Children of God”. That is the motto of our Logos youth ministry and it is also applied regularly across all of Ark and Dove. When it comes to Christian Education, we truly are all children seeking out Christ. Next to the worship services, Christian Education is probably the most tangible element each of us experience at Ark and Dove and likely one of the strongest reasons we are drawn to the church.  

Ark and Dove strives to offer a vast variety of education opportunities. We start with curricula geared for our Pre-K (4 and 5 year olds) at Sunday school and Logos and delight in their enthusiasm to learn about God. We take this through our K-5th graders with Godly Play on Sundays and Logos on Tuesdays where the learning is hands on, active, and fun. We meet our middle and high schoolers where they are in their journeys with specific youth group offerings on Sunday afternoons and Confirmation classes for 10 of our high schoolers this year. In each setting, the Christian Education leaders ensure the children feel heard, welcomed, and accepted as they are.  
Ark and Dove’s commitment to Christian Education does not stop with the Children as we have many and varied offerings for adults with special events, survey classes, deep dives, and multiple book clubs. These offerings have grown so large we had to launch a new website (https://bit.ly/2ZamB5a) where all of them could be listed.

Why do we work so hard and offer so much opportunity? This is because we believe Christion Education is how we demonstrate our commitment to being a welcoming and affirming church and building community and fellowship for EVERYONE. 

Keeping Christian Education successful and growing in the pandemic has been and continues to be a challenge. Virtual engagement and outdoor learning require different skills for leaders, new materials, and often technology support. But these challenges have also been a catalyst for innovation that we need to take forward. Many new families, and their children, have found Ark and Dove through our virtual offerings. Taking this forward in a hybrid, in person AND virtual setting will require even more changes in skills, materials and technology but are essential to growth. Outdoor education will likely remain our safest option for many months to come, but can we improve HOW we do this. Are tents and tarps needed? And can these outdoor improvements be used to support not only Christian Education but improved fellowship? These are the questions that our many talented Christian Education leaders are grappling with.

As we look this year to Harvest Generosity within the congregation please think about how you can help these leaders that are sowing the seeds of learning about God. Our financial contributions can make the increased training, materials, and technology a reality as we continue to expand, innovate and adapt our Christian Education offerings. The gift of your time as a potential Christian Education leader can be just as important in helping expand our pool of creativity while lightening the teaching load across many shoulders.

At its core, Christian Education is about building relationships that help everyone along their journey toward God. With everyone’s help and gifts, the result can be a truly bountiful harvest. As we approach Dedication Sunday, November 14th, please prayerfully consider what you can do as your part.

Pastoral Care  ( Watch the Video ) on how our pledged offerings are used to accomplish this critical area of ministry.   

  As we emerge from the most significant health crisis the world has experienced for more than a century, we are surrounded by testimonials of those that gave, those that received, and those that inspire us to be a part of a more perfect world.  There are times that we need a personalized shoulder of comfort, encouragement and understanding.   We Harvest what we sow and we must set aside the best of the crop so that we can sow even more.  At Ark and Dove, we have built a support system of programs that provide for that Pastoral care in the right level of confidence, empathy, and compassion for our members and community.  Pastoral Care is not just from our Pastors but comes from Deacons, our leaders and from each other.   The Deacons have a specific mission to deliver on this caring.   
  Our Deacons help us and support us during significant events in our life including Baptisms, Funerals, Prayers, our Stevens Ministry (a one-to-one confidential caring support) and meals coordination when we just have too much to handle. and a meal is a magical form of relief.   The Deacons are our outlet to help us cope.  The church provides us the love and care of our christen community.  Deacons can be reached at Deacons@arkanddove.org    When you don’t know where to turn, turn to your Deacon.  
  Like many activities, our Deacons have needed to transform how they care, from a distance, and this means more time, more attention to details, more intentional and safe caring for all of us.    
  In the spirit of Harvesting Generosity, we can return the deacons call, give them the good news in our life and help where we can; be it a meal, greeting of guests during those special services, and of course provide our annual pledges or directly to the deacon's fund which helps provide the materials, rescue emergency funds, training and support that they need to deliver caring for the congregation.  Consider how this ministry helps our congregation and community in these stressful times and how a small increase in your pledge enables them to be there for us when we need that touch of caring, love and hope.     

Worship   ( Watch the Video )  on how your contributions make our experience meaningful on site and remotely   

  Our Worship Tech Team details some of the many impressive ways that our Worship Ministry at Ark and Dove has adapted and grown this past year and a half. Despite the challenges of this time, they have remained committed to offering inspiring worship to God in both an online and in-person format. As we all know, worship services are an integral part of the life of the church and are the primary way that many people first connect with us at Ark and Dove. From our integrative services that uniquely combine the music styles and compositions of both traditional and contemporary worship, to the wise and insightful sermons brought forth by our Pastors, to our beautful and safe sanctuary space and grounds, we remain dedicated to offering opportunities for all generations to paise and connect with God and each other.

  In the past eighteen months, we have witnessed the versatility and team spirit of our entire Worship Team and staff as they continue to show up, overcome technical hurdles and difficulties, and put in the hard work of providing inspiring music, liturgy, prayers, sermons, visual arts, and so much more to enhance the worship experience for those insinde the sanctuary, outside the church building, as well as those connected virtually. Even with the extra layers of wires and electronics, their contributions have enabled Ark & Dove to continue to maintain the intimate and meaningful church services that we were used to before the pandemic started. Moving forward, we have plenty of room to grow and there are many ways to harvest generosity in order to help sustain and grow this ministry through generously sharing your time, talents, and resources. Your continued support of the church and this ministry allows the Worship Team to continue providing these services and gifts for the benefit of the whole church even if it sometimes seems to be so seamless as to not even be noticed. Consider an increase to your contributions and pledge generously to your ability in a way that enable us to not only continue to provide the kind of worship experiences that mean so much to us and help us experience spiritual growth, but also expand our horizons and grow into new worship experiences that can deepen our faith and help us welcome new members into our church family. Let’s bring in the harvest together!

 Justice and Inclusion  ( Watch the Video ) on how our pledged offerings are used to accomplish this critical area of ministry. 

One of the Core values of Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church is “We believe that God loves all people.  With open hearts, we welcome all people to worship and participation.”  Our congregation has accepted the PC(USA)’s invitation to follow Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 25:31–46 by becoming active disciples and making a difference in our community and the world.  As part of our Matthew 25 commitment, we pledge to embrace one or more of these three areas of focus:   
  • Building congregational vitality
  • Dismantling structural racism
  • Eradicating systemic poverty
The area of justice and inclusion is an important aspect of Ark and Dove church's commitment to “actively engage with the world” to achieve the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25. Three of the ways the church participates in justice and inclusion is the Anti-racism and Social Equity, GLEAM, and ACT ministries.

Anti-racism and Social Equity
PC(USA) Anti-racism Policy states  “Racism is the opposite of what God intends for humanity.  Racism is a lie about our fellow human beings, for it says that some are less than others.  It is also a lie about God, for it falsely claims that God favors parts of creation over the entirety of creation.  Anti-racist effort is not optional for Christians.  It is an essential aspect of Christian discipleship, without which we fail to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.”

The Anti-racism and Social Equity ministry seeks to end racism in our community through  education and implementing policies that show all God's love regardless of the color of their skin. Through the Anti-racism and Social Equity ministry Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church unequivocally affirms that the lives of African Americans and all people of color matter and express our support and solidarity in confronting the tragic legacy of slavery and racism in our country. 

The God’s Love Embraces All Ministry team (GLEAM) grew from the recognition that being a welcoming and affirming church is a continuing journey toward full inclusion of all LGBTQIA+ members, friends, and visitors in the life of Ark & Dove. The GLEAM team's goal is to help broaden and deepen our welcome of all, focusing on LGBQIA+ congregants and their family and loved ones. The GLEAM ministry fulfills this vision by offering educational opportunities, supporting pride events, and creating support groups.

Giving to our regular budget can help support these activities in many different ways. An important aspect of these ministries is education. Funding can support this by providing books, seminars, and guest speakers to preach on justice and inclusion related topics. Funding could also help purchase additional banners and signs for our church that support these issues along with handouts to be distributed during events.

Jesus taught that "whatever you do for the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me" and by supporting the social justice ministries we are helping fulfill God's desire for all to be treated with love, kindness and respect. By pledging we are committing our "first fruits" to work that is central to the teaching of Jesus and showing God's love to all of our neighbors in Anne Arundel county.

ACT stands for Anne Arundel Connecting Together and is a way for organizations interested in justice and building respectful, trusting relationships across culture, faith, and differences within Anne Arundel County to work together. ACT works to develop local leaders to be the voices in their community to take action on pressing issues. One of ACT's current focuses is starting a Turnaround Thursday movement in AA County modeled after the successful Turnaround Tuesday in Baltimore. The Turnaround missions' purpose is bring under and unemployed people to good jobs with a future.

Ark and Dove is one of 23 organizations involved in ACT, and has contributed annually with volunteers and dedicated financial support since ACT's inception. ACT is hoping to raise funds to hire a full-time organizer.

  Care and Compassion  ( Watch the Video ) on how our pledged offerings are used to accomplish this critical area of ministry. 

One of the most notable attributes of Ark and Dove is that we are a caring and compassionate community of Christians. Doing the work Jesus calls us towards takes on many forms and is only possible due to the generous giving of our time, talents, and resources. Our mission and outreach starts at home and reaches out into the world. We invest ourselves in addressing hunger, homelessness, poverty, and injustice in West Anne Arundel County. Through our relationship with the Presbytarian Church (USA), we are able to extend care and compassion to people around the country and around the world.   
    Last year, Ark and Dove made the commitment to become a Matthew 25 church. Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. As a Matthew 25 church, we are called to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor. We live into this caring and compassionate mission by doing what we can to help those in need in West Anne Arundel County. When we are contacted by individuals in need, Pastor Tim and Pastor Jon determine if the individual needs help paying rent, paying for utilities, or providing food for their family. We have funds that we can draw to help with immediate financial needs. This continues to be an important service that we provide when a crisis occurs in families in our community.
    We also extend our care and compassion though support organizations such as The Light House, Inc., Arundel House of Hope, and the Christian Assistance Program, Inc. We have a growing connection with The Light House, which is a dignity-based organization providing services to prevent homelessness. Although their facilities are in Annapolis, they are able to direct financial donations to the needs of individuals in West Anne Arundel County. The Safe Harbor Resource Center within The Light House offers community members access to their food program, laundry and shower facilities, personal hygiene kits, and case managers to help clients access community agencies.
We have participated in the Arundel House of Hope Winter Relief program for many years. Winter Relief provides emergency temporary shelter from late October through April, hosted by different religious facilities on a weekly schedule. Although the pandemic prevented Ark and Dove from hosting Winter Relief guests last year, we are hopeful that the rates of Covid infections decrease so that we may be able to get on the schedule for Spring of 2022. Nevertheless, we did continue to provide financial support to Arundel House of Hope in 2020 and 2021 when they provided emergency shelter at a local hotel.
    Ark and Dove also has a longstanding relationship with the Christian Assistance Program (CAP). CAP is a group of churches that supports a local food pantry serving the community. There has been a tremendous increase in the amount of people visiting food banks due to the pandemic. Although the turbulence from the past year seems to be settling, the need for food assitance continues to be a concern for many local families. CAP provides food to people in need every week and also provides complete holiday meals to approximately 200 families at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our church regularly asks for specific types of food donations from members, as well as for financial donations to support the greater needs of CAP.  
    As we look to the future, the Mission Ministry’s newest effort will be to initiate a community outreach program. The Mission Team is in the early stages of planning what this will look like, but we know that it will involve creating relationships with our immediate church neighbors. This will be a new and exciting way to meet the needs of our community members and see how God leads us to be of service in Odenton. We will need time and training to ensure that we proceed with the utmost care not only toward this new process, but to our neighbors as well. Another new upcoming project involves providing items to go towards “Housewarming Kits” for The Light House made to help people transitioning from short-term housing to a more permanent home. 
    One of the many benefits of being part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is the ability to do mission in an expanded partnership. This not only broadens our awareness of how interconnected God’s mission is at the local, national, and global levels, but also allows us to actively extend our care and compassion to people in need throughout the world. Through our financial support of special offerings such as One Great Hour of Sharing, Peace and Global Witness, and Christmas Joy, we make a positive difference in the lives of fellow children of God around the world.
    Members and friends of Ark and Dove are very generous when it comes to care and compassion. The mission budget is currently 5% of the church budget. It is our goal to gradually increase the mission budget to 10% of the overall budget. Additional financial support would mean that we can increase our support of these and other important programs that provide for the needs of people in our community. A generous commitment of time or talent could mean volunteering at The Light House, providing food for the CAP food pantry, feeding or befriending hungry men who come to us for shelter during our week of Winter Relief. We are a compassionate and caring congregation and we hope to harvest our generosity to share even more of our gifts with those in need in the next year.

Ark and Dove YouTube Channel
Watch past and present Worship Services and The Lobby; our short segments on current events and topics at Ark and Dove that are aired before Livestreamed services.   Thanks for Watching!