We continued many of our regular Mission activities during the pandemic of 2020 and added new initiatives. At the start of the pandemic, for example, we provided meals, through Honest John’s restaurant in Homestead, to health care workers and housekeeping/maintenance staff at West Penn and Allegheny General hospitals.
In 2020, Waverly became an institutional mission partner with the National Black Presbyterian Caucus and aligned itself with the Wilkinsburg Sanctuary Project for Peace, providing financial support to both entities and participating in monthly prayer vigils with the Sanctuary Project. Waverly also became a Matthew 25 church, in which it has pledged to become actively engaged in the world around us and to compassionately serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.
Just before the pandemic shutdown in March 2020, the Mission Committee launched a free Lenten series of Justice Desserts, in which community members on the front lines led candid conversations on Wednesday evenings that explored systemic injustice issues in several areas. Sessions were held on immigration and the criminal justice system. We hope to resume these soon to explore homelessness and air quality issues.
Quarterly Financial Disbursements
We donate roughly $15,000 each year to local charities and causes, with major support to the Wilkinsburg Community Ministry, a nonprofit that serves 5,000 people a year, including senior citizens, people with disabilities and at-risk youth and families who are economically challenged, underemployed or facing emergency situations.
Serving our Neighbors Year Round
- Paper Bank – We order and assemble 60 bags of paper supplies to distribute monthly during a food pantry at Second United Presbyterian Church in Wilkinsburg.
- Crop Walk Hunger Relief – We are one of the leading participants in the annual fundraising walk through Church World Services in Pittsburgh’s East End.
- Advent offerings – During Sundays in Advent, Waverly invites leaders of local charities to speak about their programs, and church members take up a special offering to support them.
- Produce to People – Members participate at least twice a year to distribute food for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at sites in the community.
- Women’s Shelter Meals – Members serve meals at Miryam’s House in Uptown.
- Coat Drive – We collect winter coats in the fall to serve youth through Wilkinsburg Community Ministry and Wilkinsburg schools.
- “Seats and Feets” Drive – We collect socks and underwear for youth in the Wilkinsburg School District.
- Wilkinsburg Community Ministry support – Waverly provides regular financial assistance, donations of food supplies and volunteer time, especially during holiday food drives, etc. One of our Mission Committee members serves on the WCM board to strengthen that connection.
- Pittsburgh Pride – Waverly is inclusive and one of the ways we show that is through participation each year in Pittsburgh Pride events.
Adults — Mission Trips Far and Near
In 2016, Waverly Presbyterian Church’s Rwanda Mission Team volunteered at the Urukundo Village and Learning Center. Urukundo is about an hour from the Rwandan capital of Kigali and was founded in 2006 by Arlene Brown (also known as “Mama Arlene“). The team transported 10 laptops donated by the Forest Hills Rotary Club to set up a computer lab at the center and contributed other supplies.
Other mission trips have taken Waverly members and friends to Camp Crestfield in Butler County, Presbyterian Disaster Relief sites and Mexico.
Youth — Mission Possible at Crestfield
Six Waverly youths in 2016 joined 50 others from Pittsburgh Presbytery for the Crestfield Super Mission Possible week with a theme of Fearless Faith. They painted rooms and hallways, cooked and served a meal to local children, and worked for CityServe on housing projects for people in need of help. This is one of many such weeks that Waverly youth has participated in.