The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crises and catastrophic events. GPC has recently financially supported disaster survivors throughout the world, most recently through Winter Storm Response, Haiti Earthquake and Tropical Storm, US Hurricane Relief-Hurricane Ida, and Ukraine.
Since GPC’s first mission trip to Panacal, Guatemala in 1994, the GPC Guatemala Partners Group has worked to assist the people of that region in recovery from the four decades long civil war there. Through joint efforts with the residents there, funding has been provided to launch successful cattle and pig projects. Training of the women was provided by Qachuu Aloom on how to take care of their cows and pigs and they have been able to produce income from these animals while at the same time, building their own confidence and self esteem.
The Guatemala Partners Group meets monthly on the second Wednesday of the month to study needs, plan mission trips and fundraising activities. In 2013, we began collaboration in this mission with the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, so some meetings are there. Please come and enjoy the camaraderie of this group.
We are pleased that in 2014, the Genesee Valley Presbytery awarded a Triple Play Grant to the collaboration of GPC Guatemala Partner’s, the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, and the Garden’s Edge to work with 400 families in the Rabinal region, which includes Panacal. The grant of $10,000 per year for 3 to 5 years is multifaceted and targeted to provide assistance in 3 areas.
Food Security – to help stop the malnutrition of the children and provide a reliable source of healthy food for families;
Economic Security – to help provide a reliable source of income to the families through more job opportunities; and
Educational Security – to insure that deserving students have the opportunity to stay in school, attend college and to prepare themselves for work upon graduation.
The grant is made possible through a new committee of the presbytery called “Three Committees Collaborating” and is a new approach in how we do our mission work as Presbyterians.
The congregation also supports the Randall Shea ministry in Santa Maria Tzeja through administrative services and monetary donations. This ministry develops educational opportunities for the village. Randall Shea is a native of Greece, NY.
Since 2001, the congregation of Gates Presbyterian Church has been in a partnership with the Negril Charge of the United Church of Jamaica. The Negril Charge is composed of Green Island, Negril, and Santoy United Churches. The congregation has offered financial and people power to help address needs of these communities while the Negril Charge has hosted annual work teams from GPC. Please refer to Work Projects for further description.
Additionally, we have offered support to the Theodora Project in Negril founded by the Rev Margaret Fowler who was also pastor to the churches of the Negril charge until 2010. The Theodora Project is a non-profit organization that offers education, skill training, and personal development to young people who have been exploited by human trafficking.
In 2007, GPC embarked on a major fundraising endeavor to help the Basic School at Green Island more adequately meet the needs of the community in providing early childhood education to 3 to 5 year olds. The Green Island Church provides the building and the government provides salaries. The fundraising culminated in a major expansion of the school in summer 2013 with a GPC work team providing labor for finishing tasks in time for the 2013-2014 school year.