It’s going to be a miserably hot Saturday, but a group of a dozen or so LPC folks are going to brave the heat to join others from the Hunting Park neighborhood in north Philadelphia and those from other supporting churches in the first of two consecutive Saturday cleaning days at Hunting Park Christian Academy. We’ll paint and scrub and mop and sweep and do our best to help put the old building that houses HPCA in good shape for the opening of school on September 1.
LPC people know the HPCA story. For seventeen years, HPCA’s mission has been to “provide a quality, affordable, Christian education that celebrates a diverse community and leads children to know and serve the Lord.” About 200 students, pre-K through eighth grade, attend the school, which is housed in that old church building (where an active church worships on Sunday).
The Hunting Park neighborhood faces lots of challenges: The high school drop-out rate is 53.4%, and only 3.3% of community members have a college degree. According to the neighborhood middle school’s report card, …only 6.5% of the students graduating 8th grade were proficient in math and 18.6% were proficient in reading. At HPCA, the scores are 62% and 68% respectively.
As one HPCA parent recently wrote, “In the process of sifting through all of the schools in the area, we are grateful to have found such an amazing place. We didn’t want to send our daughters to philly public schools and couldn’t afford the more expensive private schools. The Christian influence is a great bonus. A year and half with the school, and I am still amazed by everything they accomplish and how caring/helpful everyone is in such an impoverished area. It truly is a haven where respect, knowledge, and caring are encouraged to flourish. Thank You HPCA.”
200 students will fill the classrooms of HPCA for the 2016-2107 school year beginning September 1. Our work teams and your generous support of the mission budget will allow LPC to play a small role in what God is going to do at HPCA in 2016-2017.
200 students are enrolled at HPCA for the 2016-2017 school year. 130,000 students will be enrolled in the Philadelphia City Schools for the 2016-2017 school year, with another 40,000 in charter schools and still others in private schools. Many of those students will receive a fine education, but many others will be in places where less than half the students graduate from high school and less than one in five are proficient in math or reading.
Given all that families and children in the city face, the work of HPCA and our contribution to it is but a drop in the proverbial bucket. We may not fill the bucket, but that’s okay.
LPC does amazing mission work around the world. Through our mission partners, we help educate kids not only in Hunting Park, but in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, and Kibuye, Burundi. We help the blind to see through he amazing medical work at Hope Kibuye Hospital. Prisoners in the Bucks County Jail and residents in Favela da Ventosa, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, are give hope and hear the gospel. Neighbors in Langhorne and Penndel are given food to eat.
The work of HPCA and all our mission partners is just a drop in the bucket. In fact, we will never fill the bucket, and that’s okay.
Mother Teresa told the world that God called her to be faithful, not successful. Her successes were many, but never enough in the face the poverty and injustice she saw all around her. She kept working because God had called her to faith, not to success.
One day God will make all things right again; a new heaven and a new earth, we are told. This will be God’s doing. In the meantime, we are to live lives of hope (Romans 8:18-25).
Some of us will spend a hot Saturday helping prepare the old building that houses Hunting Park Christian Academy for another year of Kingdom work. Many others will drop their pennies, nickels, and dimes in a five-gallon jug before worship on Sunday, a tiny investment in a huge project to educate kids in Guatemala. We’ll donate food to the Deacons Pantry.
Some of us this sweltering weekend may promise a hurting friend that they will be in our prayers, and others will tell a neighbor whose life is falling apart about a God who is able to put it back together better than it ever was.
That’s what hope looks like.
All we do together as a church and all we do one by one as those who follow Jesus is but a drop in the bucket. We won’t fill the bucket, but that’s okay.
Oh, and by the way, Jesus promises us a spring of water welling up to eternal life. This is God’s doing.