In this life we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love. – Mother Teresa
We invite every member and friend of the congregation to prayerfully consider engaging with a Watts Street Mission Group, in ways big or small.
You can learn about our 2022-2023 WSBC Mission Groups and Community Connections in this Missions Brochure.
Here are some ways we can reach beyond our walls to love neighbor and care for God’s creation:
March Minute for Mission
During worship on March 12, Sherry Taylor and Adair Tompkins offer a Minute for Mission on behalf of the Durham Community Land Trustees. DCLT seeks to build strong communities by developing, managing, and advocating for permanent affordable housing. Money placed in the offering plates at the sanctuary exits support this mission. Checks should be made out to WSBC with “DCLT” noted in the memo line or consider the text giving or QR code options.
Our March/April Mission Basket collection supports El Futuro, a non-profit outpatient clinic that provides comprehensive mental health services for Latino families. We are collecting clothing for infants, toddlers, and elementary school aged children (any and all sizes welcome). Donations can be dropped off in the Mission Baskets outside the church library by April 30. Thank you for your support!
Walltown Food Bank
Watts Street volunteers are needed for shopping on Saturday, March 11 (10 am – 1 pm), sorting/bagging food on Monday, March 26 (11:00 am – 2:00 pm), and food delivery on Thursday, March 30 (11:00 am – 1:00 pm). The Food Bank serves 150 food insecure seniors and disabled residents each month. Please contact Bob Kruhm, at email@example.com or 919-699-6226 for details. Visit the Walltown Neighborhood Ministries web page to sign-up.
Project Safe Neighborhoods: As gun violence continues to plague our community, Durham County Sherriff Clarence Birkhead is hosting an informational meeting on Project Safe Neighborhoods, a community engagement program that is having success in other jurisdictions. The event is Monday, March 13 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at St. Joseph’s AME Church (2521 Fayetteville St.). Come learn how you can help address the problem of violence in Durham.
The Religious Coalition for a Non-Violent Durham invites all to a Community Luncheon Roundtable on Thursday, March 23 at noon in the fellowship hall of Elizabeth Street UMC (1209 N. Elizabeth Street). We’ll welcome folks from the City of Durham’s Community Safety Department, and turn our attention and conversation toward their work expanding Durham’s options for responding to neighbors in crisis. During the last year, Community Safety has launched four different HEART (Holistic Empathetic Assistance Response Teams) initiatives that leverage our 9-1-1 system to provide alternative community response to situations such as mental health crises and quality of life concerns. Lunch is free and all are welcome!
Three traditional practices promoted at WSBC that are taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer (justice with God), fasting (justice toward self), and almsgiving and social action (justice toward neighbor). The Creation Care Ministry hopes you will add some creation care practices to your toolbox in order to deepen your Lenten experience.
On Sunday, February 19th, the congregation will be given cards that list possible challenges of concrete things that you and your child(ren) might pledge to do over the next weeks/month/year that could help God’s creation. We hope you will choose something that you are not already doing.
Green Lent Challenge 2023 pledge card
Green Lent 2023 Devotional Guide
Creation Care Webinar on Recycling
Are you confused about what to recycle and where to take items?Unsure if a used light bulb from a bedside table, a battery from a remote control, a pair of worn shoes, or an empty pasta box goes in “Recycle” or “Garbage”? Plan to attend a zoom webinar, “Reducing Our Impact on God’s Creation” sponsored by WSBC’s Creation Care Ministry. On Monday, March 13, from 7 – 8:30 pm, you will learn about more options than you can imagine exist because of some creative people and businesses in Durham. We will help clarify what can and cannot be placed in your blue recycle cart. There will be ample time for questions. Here is your zoom link: https://bit.ly/ccm3-13. You can also click on the QR code below. The PowerPoint slides will be available after the event. Pre-registration is not required.
Watts Streeters are invited to Reality Ministries’ Community Worship on Monday, March 20 from 7-8 p.m. at the Reality Center (916 Lamond Ave.) Come out for a family-friendly hour of worship led by Reality friends of all abilities. All are welcome!
Bull City Fair Trade
Bull City Fair Trade (formerly One World Market) is a fair-trade store on 9th Street. It began in the fellowship hall of Watts Street Baptist Church and has grown so much that in 2022, the store sold approximately $500,000 worth of crafts made by low-income artisans. If you are interested in volunteering at the store or serving on the Bull City Fair Trade Board of Directors, please contact Jan Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Steve Booth (email@example.com).
Urban Ministries of Durham
A team of Watts Streeters provides the evening meal for guests at Urban Ministries on the third Thursday of each month. This month that date falls on February 16. To help with grocery shopping, food prep, cake or brownie baking, food packing/delivery, please contact Greg Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Durham CAN has established four Action Teams: Affordable Housing, Poverty, Gun Violence and Public Transportation. Watts Street has representation on each team. If you are interested in participating in an Action Team, you can email email@example.com with your name, church affiliation, and the team you would like to join. Durham CAN welcomes all who are dedicated to equitable changes in Durham. Contact Bob Kruhm at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Catawba Trail Farm
On Saturday, March 11, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Urban Community AgriNomics, the non-profit that runs Catawba Trail Farm, will offer a community discussion and tour of the Johnston Family Gravesite and share their discoveries about the African-American ancestors who once walked the Catawba Trail Farm. To learn more about this event or about volunteering at the farm on any Saturday, contact Barb Rumer at email@example.com.
How to Help Earthquake Victims in Syria and Turkey
The earthquake in southern Turkey/northwest Syria this week is beyond our worst nightmares. In addition to offering our prayers, one way we can respond is by supporting the relief organizations listed below: (Most of these recommendations came from PBS.)
- UNICEF is on the ground in Turkey and Syria helping children and families in the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes.
- World Central Kitchen has set up operations in Türkiye, delivering fresh meals to families displaced and local authorities stretched thin due to the scale of the disaster.
- Humanity & Inclusion plans to expand its team in Syria to help provide mental health and rehabilitation services and will be deploying some rehab specialists to Turkey to aid emergency care victims. It is accepting donations here.
- Mercy Corps is working to aid those affected in northwest Syria, a place of limited infrastructure where 1.8 million people are living in camps after being displaced by years of armed conflict.
- Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are working with health authorities to provide medical aid. To donate, click here.
- The Syrian American Medical Society is providing urgent medical care. Many hospitals in the region were already stretched thin, and others were damaged by the earthquakes. You can donate here or by texting EarthquakeSyria to 71777.
- Social justice organization CARE International is working to assess the most urgent needs in the area. Teams and partners are trying to deliver blankets, food, mattresses, tents and other non-food items to people in need amid harsh weather conditions, according to the organization. Donate here.
- The Turkish Red Crescent is accepting donations and providing nutritional services and blood supplies for those affected or wounded by the earthquakes. “We invite our citizens to donate blood,” said Dr. Kerem Kınık, the organization’s president.
- The nonprofit aid organization International Medical Corps is also accepting donations to make medical care and supplies available as part of the disaster response.
Support for Scouting
Watts Street is honored to sponsor Scout Troop 440 (grades 6-12) and is re-launching Cub Pack 440 (grades 1-5). Scouting helps youth develop outdoor skills, self-confidence, leadership, citizenship, and a commitment to service. Scouting also has a strong youth protection policy which includes volunteer screenings and trainings. If you know children or youth who might be interested in joining OR if you would be interested in volunteering in any way, large or small, please contact Worth Lutz at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a particular need for Watts Street members to serve on the church’s Scout Committee.