“The Storm with No Name”

Baton Rouge, LA — 7.1 trillion gallons of rain fell over the course of four days in southern Louisiana late this summer – covering half of the geographic area of the state. Massive flooding ensued in places that had never flooded before. Continue reading

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Box of foodBy the time you read this, the Christmas Basket Committee will have announced  Third Church’s annual commitment  to purchase, pack and deliver Food Baskets to city families whose children attend RCSD Schools #3 and #35, and to families who have recently graduated from the RAIHN program. Last year families in our congregation delivered baskets of food to 76 small, medium or large families. Also, last year, members of the congregation donated over $2000 so that TOPs gift cards could be included in each basket to be used by the families to purchase turkeys or other meat that the families  would enjoy.

Delivery of the baskets this year  will take place on Saturday, December 17 – a full week before Christmas (which falls on a Sunday). This means that we need to plan earlier than usual to make sure to take care of all the families that have been referred to us.

Last year, we delivered 76 baskets;  we hope this year to meet or exceed that number.     Please mark your calendar for December 17, and  plan to visit the Christmas Basket Table in the  Celebration Center all through this month, and sign up to deliver a basket. Even if you are not able to actually deliver a basket, your contribution is very important in order to  purchase TOPs gift cards.  Also, as in recent years, our schools have requested donations of all sizes of boys and girls underwear and socks, as well as warm hats and gloves.

For more information (or to sign up to deliver a basket)  please call:
Rose Pethick at 388-8546.

Contributions to the Gift Card fund may be sent directly to:
Third  Presbyterian Church
4 Meigs Street
Rochester, N.Y 14607
C/0 Carol Foster.
Please write “Christmas Basket” on the memo line.

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Third Church Outreach Ministries in the News


Tutor with group of elementary children

The Presbyterian News Service has just released a news story featuring the education ministries of Third Church Outreach, including our tutoring programs and the work of Great Schools for All. We are so grateful to all of the Third Church members and volunteers who make these important ministries happen in service to Rochester’s children! You can read the story HERE


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“A Phone Call…”

By Lynette Sparks, Sept. 15, 2016
helping hand
It’s not unusual for me to receive phone calls from individuals in the community who need resources for food, or clothing, or housing. I got such a call today, but the caller wasn’t calling about herself; she was calling to assist someone else – someone she’d recently met, a person who was homeless, taking shelter in an abandoned house. The best I could do was refer her to local agencies that have social services staff trained and equipped to provide that specialized guidance and assistance. And I happily did that.

What struck me about this particular caller was her compassion for the woman in need. You see, she herself had been homeless at one time. She knew what it was like. She knew the challenges of staying in a shelter. She knew the difficulties of carrying all of your belongings everywhere you go. She had walked in her shoes once, and now she was walking beside her. I thanked the caller for her care and concern for the one who was now in great need. And I was the one blessed by this phone call.

Why Outreach? Because the ones we seek to serve are the ones who, in fact, show us the way to abundant life – and all through a simple phone call.

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RAIHN Needs Help!

RAIHN logoRAIHN@Third’s online volunteer signup is live for our 46th rotation! starting August 28th ― which, yes, includes Labor Day weekend.

We have important spots to fill:

  • dinner
  • hot breakfast
  • overnight hosting

as well as

  • Day Center spots
  • Set-up/Take-down/Laundry

How to Sign Up

1. You can sign up HERE.
(After YOU sign up you can invite a friend to join you by email. And, please consider including your children/teens with you for hosting dinners; this is a wonderful family mission.)


2. Phone Lou or Laurie if you can’t get online (see phone numbers below).

Some very important news:

  • We welcome our newest support partner Temple B’rith Kodesh (TBK) to our team. Their enthusiasm for this anti-homelessness mission is inspiring!
    • The plan is to pair new volunteers with tenured ones, and we’ve created “greeter” roles for our newest volunteers during the dinner spot. New volunteers may also opt to “shadow” experienced ones to try this mission out for personal fit.
  • We will hold a special RAIHN training session for our newest volunteers, and all who would like a refresher, after this fast-coming August rotation – sometime in September (date TBD). RAIHN “certification” is critical to all client-facing (“hosting”) roles. Additionally, we are planning a luncheon later this fall for the entire team.
  • As always, please send your questions to
    Loggi@gmail.com (781-4237)
    LMahone1@rochester.rr.com (747-5852)

Only together will we meet our goal of providing a good night’s rest in a safe place where we share healthy meals — served up with kindness, acceptance, warmth, and compassion.

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Rochester Coalition for Reasonable Gun Laws

Stop Gun Violence posterThird Church, through action of the Anti-Gun Violence Advocacy Team, is joining the recently formed Rochester Coalition for Reasonable Gun Laws. We have already done some work with the coalition on several occasions, so this recognizes our partnership in a more formal way, as we seek to be part of the solution to the scourge of gun violence.

The cost to our community from gun violence is devastating in both economic and human costs. Yet too little is being done to address it, and when it is, it is met with fierce opposition. The status quo is unsustainable, yet we are people of hope, and believe that change is possible. As a member of this coalition, we are joining other local organizations, including New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Interfaith Alliance of Rochester, and the Rochester Chapter of the Brady Campaign, to create that change. We plan to explore areas such as the exact extent of gun violence in our communities, determine how we got here and how it can change.

The coalition plans to host periodic programs of public education based upon facts and research, identify changes to laws from the local to national levels that would effectively address gun violence, and advocate for such changes. We want to move forward and away from accepting gun violence as the norm. If you would like to know more, contact me at lsparks@thirdpresbyterian.org.

Lynette Sparks
Associate Pastor

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Summertime and the livin’ is easy… or is it?

Chairs on the beach
I can just hear the great Ella Fitzgerald’s voice belting out the tune, and in one sense, the pace of Third Church Outreach does slow down to a little easier pace. We have fewer formal organizing meetings, and our tutoring programs in the schools are on vacation for the summer.

But because needs arising from urban poverty don’t go away in the summer, our outreach ministries press on, full steam ahead (temperatures not withstanding!). People are still hungry, and visit the Food Cupboard and Dining Room Ministry. We’ve incorporated a bunch of new volunteers to help meet the summer needs – thanks to all who have stepped up to help!. And the East Avenue Grocery Run planning team is up and running (pun intended) to prepare for a great hunger-fighting run on November 5.

People are still homeless, and we will host another RAIHN rotation of homeless families beginning August 29. Our friends at Temple B’rith Kodesh are joining with us to help provide volunteers. We are so excited about this growing collaboration in service to the community.

We still have a segregated school system, and the work of Great Schools for All and its Breakthrough Schools proposal has gained a great deal of momentum in the last couple of months. You can learn all the latest and offer your support at www.gs4a.org.

And plans are now underway for another trip to New Orleans from October 17-21 to continue the post-Katrina rebuilding. More information will be forthcoming soon!

There’s a way for everyone to contribute to the outreach ministries of Third Church in some way, large or small. Contact me to explore the possibilities!

Lynette Sparks
Associate Pastor
(585) 271-6513 ext. 106

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