Family Promise is here of April 26th - May 2nd!

Cliff Cernek

What is Family Promise?


This year St. Mary's adopted "G3" (Gifts, Giving and Gratitude) to replace "Time, Talent, Treasure." Each Sunday we "Talk the Talk", G3 gives us the opportunity to "Walk the Walk".

G3 not only pretains to volunteering at the Church. Taking care of and raising your family and participating in school and community functions is what Gifts, Giving and Gratitude are all about. It is leaving here on Sunday and "going forth into the world"

For those who feel the calling and can offer more. St. Mary's highlights has outlets for you. From time to time, we look to highlight the committees within St. Mary's and the important work they do.Please know that at anytime you are welcome to "roll up your sleeves" and join in!

This week we highlight "Family Promise." We live in a nice part of New Jersey, but our neighbors and friends are not immune from being homeless. Please read through and see how a group of people at St. Mary's helps to make a huge difference.

What is Family Promise?

Family promise Is a non-profit organization created in 1998 in response to the growing number of homeless families in Sussex County, New Jersey. They are a division of Family Promise, who founded the first Interfaith Hospitality Network in Union County, New Jersey in 1986.

Today, Family Promise has over 180 IHN affiliates in 41 states and the District of Columbia.  In 2010, Family Promise affiliates served more than 55,000 children and adults and involved more than 150,000 volunteers in 5,500 congregations.

Locally, SCIHN has over 40 participating congregations involving approximately 1,000 dedicated volunteers. SCIHN operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing homeless families with 10,000 meals and 5,110 shelter beds each year. SCIHN gives families a chance to re-group and start over, helping them to regain independence.  In 2012, SCIHN changed its name to Family Promise of Sussex County.  New name, same mission!

St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Sparta is proud active participant in this program.


How Does St. Mary's Help?

Since 1997 St. Mary's has been one of the participating congregations. 3 to 4 times per year, St. Mary's hosts up to 14 homeless people for one week. For one week, Starting on Sunday (after the 10:30am service) our classrooms are transformed into bedrooms.

The families arrive, later in the afternoon.  They will eat Breakfast and dinner at the church and during the weekday be out of the Church from 7am to 5pm. On Saturday the family is at the church for the entire day. .

One coordinator (usually Connie Rutsch or Pat Kibildis) are there to open the Church every week and church volunteers come in during the week to feed and sit with our guests.


How Can you Help
Two weeks prior to the hosting week, outreach solicits volunteers. Simply put the more people that volunteer, the less time many will volunteer at the Church. 

Most commitments last less than two hours, with the exception of the overnights. For example, If could prepare a meal for your family and the host family and come to the church and share a meal.

On a Saturday come for 2 hours and just be there to spend time with our guests. 

This is an opportunity to not only GIVE to another another family but remind the GIFTS they have and in turn learn to have Gratitude for God's grace in your life.

For specific needs, you can click on the link and go to our website for more information on what kind of help is needed.  This Sunday, Connie Rutsch and Pat Kibildis, will be on hand after the 8am and 10:30am service. They will have a table set up at in Schaffer Hall with more information and time to answer your questions.  


Specific help needed:

  • One coordinator (usually Connie or Pat) is there to open church every weekday evening at 5pm.
  • Dinner hours- (7 evenings)~  One & Half -hour increment (5:15 & 7:00 pm)

(Require two families to donate dinner and prepare meals.  Must sit and eat with guests). 

  • Sitting-time hours- (7 days + evenings)~ (7:00pm –9:00pm) ~ Bring a book
  • Sitting all day Saturday --8:30am—5:15pm—2 hour increments)
  • Overnight hours- (7 nights)~  Ten hours per night (9PM—7AM).
    One male & one Female.

Food Coordination:

  • Coordinator purchases the staples for the week, such as: milk, orange juice, lunch meat.
  • Mac & Cheese Volunteers to compliment the Sunday dinner.
  • Desserts by volunteers are delivered twice during the week.  1) Deliver on Sunday for Sunday through Tuesday and,      2) deliver desserts on Thursday for Thursday through Saturday.

How do you get involved:

St. Mary's coordinators are:

Connie Rutsch 973-919-7191 email and Patricia Kibildis 973-222-973email - You can call or email them for more information.

Connie and Patricia will also be available on Sunday September 21st after the 8am and 10:30am services. They will have a table in Schaffer Hall, with information on family promise and will happily help get you involved!




The below video will provide you some more information on how Family Promise helps our fellow Sussex County Families.