Each year the people of Table of Grace in Erie give their observance of Mothers Day an outward focus. Rather than honoring the women of their congregation with gifts, they find a way to make the day special for women in the area who may not otherwise be celebrating.
This year was especially wonderful, said Mary Alice McGinnis, who spearheaded an effort to collect gently used clothing for Dress for Success. The organization provides interview outfits and a beginning wardrobe for women returning to the workplace after homelessness, abuse, or addiction. Women are referred to Dress for Success from over 40 agencies including the Erie United Methodist Alliance's The Refuge.
"The Table of Grace congregation is not large," she explained, "and I was hoping for two or three dozen nice pieces of clothing."
"Some members shared the request on social media and we have gathered more than 500 pieces of clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories! I was very excited at the response. We trust that this will bless many women, and we know that we have been blessed by the in-gathering of clothing."
Celebrations in prior years also proved to be a blessing both to the church volunteers and those who joined them. One year they took residents of a nearby home that served as an alternative to incarceration for women with children on a walk to a local ice cream stand, where they shared conversation and smiles over ice cream.
Another year one group from the congregation planned dinner and a program for women in a domestic violence shelter, while another group fed the children and played games with them so the moms had “an evening off”.
Table of Grace is a renewing congregation in the city of Erie that is dedicated to sharing God;s love with new people and is effectively reaching out to those caught up in addiction.