To The Editor: 

Over the past several years, many in our church have been involved with activities and donations to the Open Door in Gloucester, and Southdown UCC Church in Zimbabwe.  A truckload of items from our church are included in three shipping containers which, unfortunately, have been held up due to bureaucracy in Africa; only some of the items have been able to be distributed.  At the Open Door, we regularly sponsor meals and carry out other mission work.

Most recently, on March 15, 2019, the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe where Southdown is located was hit by a powerful cyclone. It started at night and poured for three days. By the end of the second day, all rivers and dams were overflowing, followed by mudslides and boulders rolling down into residential places.  Many people were swept away in their sleep; many of those who tried to escape drowned as well. Over 300 have died, and the parsonage was destroyed. Our Missions Committee will be working with the congregation and community to offer support to Rev. Mutsumbei and the Southdown Church. Fortunately, we now have a reliable method of sending much-needed money for building materials and necessities to Zimbabwe and are seeking community assistance.  We have been blessed to have the First Parish Church declare a promise to match any individual monetary donation up to $500.

At the Art and Crafts Festival on August 3, we will have a table with two opportunities for donations to the Open Door in Gloucester and to the Southdown Church in Zimbabwe.  Please honor the unfortunates near and far with your generous donations. You may also send donations to the First Parish Church with a notation to direct your offering.

Thank you and blessings,

Betsy Nickless, Missions Committee Chair

First Parish Church Congregational