Kirkwood continues to grow in our partnerships with local ministries who meet the needs of our neighbors throughout the community. While we have partnered with some of the ministries for many years, we keep watch for new possible mission partners that meet the values of our church’s vision. Kirkwood has an active Mission Committee that prayerfully considers opportunities for our church family to experience our faith through missions and service, and to "Be the Church" in our own community. Here are some ways that we are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ here at home.
Each month of the year we dedicate prayers to different mission partners. The Mission Team identifies one nonprofit partner for each month. Our church then further supports those prayers by focusing on each nonprofit’s specific needs by collecting items they request in our Mission Cart during the month assigned to them. Here is the mission calendar listing the twelve organizations we are helping this year:
- Our Daily Bread
- SOLVE Maternity Homes
- Beth-El Farmworkers Ministry
- Anchor House - Port Manatee
- My Choice Pregnancy Center
- Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box
- Project Heart
Early in 2017, Kirkwood decided to make books available to children who live in the neighborhoods surrounding our church. Kirkwood received a donation of one hundred books from the Early Learning Coalition to kick off our children’s book drive. Since then our members have not only converted a shed into the location for our Community Children’s Library, but we have amassed over eleven hundred more books! We want to make sure the children in our community have access to books at home, so any child in our neighborhood will be invited to visit our library and take books home to read. What began as a rolling cart, quickly grew to an exciting project to convert an old tool shed into a beautiful Children’s Library. We have gathered almost three thousand books! Volunteers keep the Lending Library open, so children can visit and take books home. Any child is welcome to visit and find books they like on the shelves.
To further provide for our neighborhood,
Kirkwood began plans to establish a Community Garden open to church members and
neighbors in our community. Kirkwood aims to help neighbors learn to affordably grow food to feed their families. We look forward
to growing plants as well as relationships. We want to see what seeds God will grow in our
hearts and in each other's lives when we step out of the sanctuary and into the garden!
In the Fall of 2016, Kirkwood embarked on a new partnership with Sea Breeze Elementary School, a neighborhood school for our church. Reports document that students not reading at grade level by third grade never catch up and continually struggle to succeed. In Manatee County fifty per cent of our third graders are not reading at grade level. Our members were trained for this Suncoast Grade Level Reading initiative and have provided over 630 volunteer hours…Kindergarten through third grade students. Kirkwood volunteers give students one hour a week as we stay committed to help Sea Breeze students read at grade level by third grade!