Local Mission Partners
A description of each agency or program that SPC supports or runs follows, in alphabetical order. Questions may be directed to our outreach chair person at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our Volunteer Needs section for specific needs that the organizations below have for volunteers.
A Better Chance - Strath Haven is a local chapter of the nationwide ABC program whose goal is to provide a high quality secondary school education for low income, minority students from distressed school districts. SPC provides the boys' ABC house next to our church. Students attend Strath Haven High School. We became involved with ABC in 1975. Please visit the ABC Strath Haven website for more information.
Alternative Christmas Shop
Please visit our page dedicated to SPC's Alternative Christmas Shop.
Broad Street Ministry (BSM), established in 2005, is an alternative church community that "cherishes creativity, fosters and nurtures artistic expression, extends inclusive hospitality and works for a more just world through civic engagement". Located on the Avenue of the Arts, within five blocks of Center City's most expensive concert hall, its cheapest hotel, its most publicized homeless shelter, and its most recognized college of art, BSM is at the intersection Philadelphia's most divergent populations. BSM is a thriving multi-faceted urban ministry that serves the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of this diverse community. BSM's ministries include Sunday evening worship services (our youth groups have participated in some of these!); an overnight "cafe" (supported by our Alternative Christmas Shop) that offers a hot meal and place to stay out of the cold to men, women, and children unable to stay in a traditional shelter; Wednesday night Bible study; a weekly Thursday lunch program that connects those who break bread together with members of the business community that share a variety of legal, housing, and health resources; a monthly "No Barriers" dinner that serves up free food and genuine fellowship to close to 300 members of the community, and much more. The key ministries identified on its website are: hospitable outreach, passionate civic involvement, courageous discipleship, and creative expression. Opportunities to serve in volunteer capacities are abundant. SPC's Martin Luther King Day project for 2010 was the collecting and refurbishing of wooden chairs to be used at BSM. For great information on current programs and developments, visit the Broad Street Ministry website.
The Career Wardrobe is a community-based, non-profit organization founded in 1995 by local women who wanted to help bridge the gap between job training and employment for low-income women in the Philadelphia Community. They have assisted over 50,000 unemployed women in providing business attire and conducting workshops to help develop a professional appearance and skills to enhance employability, and inspiring the confidence necessary to achieve independence and raise self-esteem. They give women hope and a new start in life.
Swarthmore Presbyterian Church provided funding for The Career Wardrobe for many years, and have not done so in recent years, we continue to welcome donations of clothing and accessories. Contributions may be brought during normal office hours. For guidelines on what is accepted, see donation guidelines.
SPC helps to fund the Cultural Arts Program at Chester Eastside. The program provides professional instruction in the visual and performing arts to advance the creative, emotional and intellectual growth of young people in Chester. This program was started to fund activities cut from the public schools. SPC also supports Chester Eastside programs through our general mission giving with the Philadelphia Presbytery.
Chester Eastside is a faith-based community resource and social justice advocate for at-risk children and adults in Chester. SPC, through the Outreach Committee, and through general mission giving with the Philadelphia Presbytery, helps to fund the salary of a seminarian intern who works with the director, Reverend Bernice Warren. In addition, SPC supports the Cultural Arts and Activism program and SPC volunteers donate food, clothing, educational supplies and other in-kind gifts and hands-on labor to Chester Eastside. Used clothing, clean and in good repair, may be placed at any time in the designated closet in SPC's basement for delivery to Chester Eastside Ministries. The Alternative Christmas Shop has supported scholarships for the C.E.M. summer day camp. Those interested in volunteering should contact Reverend Warren at 610-872-4812. For more information, please visit the Chester Eastside website.
Chester Eastside is also one of several local missions that are beneficiaries (on a rotating basis) of SPC's annual Advent Giving Tree. Each year, through the "Giving Tree," congregation members purchase gifts (often for children) for one or more of our local outreach partners.
The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts / Chester Charter School of the Arts
The Chester Charter School of the Arts is charter school supported in large part by the Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, a not-for-profit organization led by John Alston, acclaimed founder and director of the Chester Children's Chorus.
For more information, please visit the Chester Fund website.
The Frederick Douglass Christian School (FDCS) is a Christian-centered learning community designed to serve and empower inner-city families by providing quality education in a safe and supportive atmosphere. The school supports and works together with Christians in Chester to offer this alternative educational experience to develop future community leaders. These leaders will use their talents and abilities to stimulate social, spiritual, and economic growth within the city of Chester.
In addition to providing quality Christian education, FDCS offers an After School Program, which meets the needs of students and families each day. Parents can allow their children to complete their homework, go to computer classes, play games in the gym and exercise cooperative leadership in the Program.Â
Swarthmore Presbyterian Church has provided funding for the organization, and volunteering has also been part of our contribution. There are many volunteer opportunities for people to help in every way, from doing cross-cultural ministry to mowing lawns. To inquire about specific volunteer opportunities, please contact the Frederick Douglass Christian School at 610-499-9030. To learn more about the Frederick Douglass Christian School and World Impact, please visit the World Impact website.
Please visit our page dedicated to the work of SPC's Hunger Group.
Interfaith Hospitality Network
Partners in Ministry is a local consortium of churches which supports the Protestant Ministry of Swarthmore College, for which the Rev. Joyce Tompkins serves as Religious Advisor. She provides spiritual counseling to students and coordinates a program of worship and activities. The students meet weekly for scripture study and pizza (Pizza and Parables), and for a weekly ecumenical worship service. On the first Sunday of the month, they gather for Taize worship and a potluck supper with members of local congregations.
The college provides space for the ministry but no financial support. Partners has a small endowment but depends heavily on support from local churches, friends and alumni.
Besides our financial support, SPC has an on-going involvement: monthly brunches for students in our homes, cookie nights during exams, student participation in our mission trips, and Sunday suppers twice a year for a Taize service. The students enjoy the chance to be with persons outside the college community, especially families with children.
PRIME-ECR (Presbyterian Refugee and Immigration Effort - Ecumenical Commitment to Refugees) has as its mission to reach out to the strangers among us, particularly the uprooted refugee and immigrant, welcoming them and enabling them to build a safe and secure life, and to become self-sufficient, contributing members of their community. PRIME-ECR is a not-for-profit, ecumenical immigration assistance ministry begun in 1983 by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Lansdowne, PA (Delaware County). In 1986, PRIME-ECR became an affiliate of Church World Service and expanded to welcome the contributions of other communions. Now PRIME-ECR provides immigration counseling and representation from offices in Lancaster and Lansdowne, PA.
The Achievement Project (TAP) is a community-based educational support and enrichment project that serves young people in Chester. TAP recruits 20 students during the last semester of their eighth grade year with the mission to help them succeed throughout their four years of high school and to prepare for, apply to, gain acceptance at, and attend college or some other institution of higher education. Basic academic skills are taught after school on weekdays, and on Saturdays during the school year and in a six-week intensive summer program. Social skills, good health and nutrition practices are also taught along with cultural and recreational activities. SPC supports T.A.P. with funding from the Outreach Committee and the Alternative Christmas Shop. Opportunities for volunteer work abound.
The Learning Tree is an instructional daycare program for children aged 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 who live in Chester. The goals of the Learning Tree are to give children a strong educational foundation, assist young parents with parenting skills and develop in parents and children a strong sense of family and community. In addition to providing financial assistance, SPC members also volunteer by reading to the children. The Learning Tree is one of several local missions that are beneficiaries of SPC's annual Advent Giving Tree. Each year congregation members place gifts (often for children) under our Giving Tree for to one of our outreach partners.
For more information about the Learning Tree, please contact Dr. Jane Mayes at 610-874-3168.