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    Convoy of Hope Arrives in Leesburg September 13th
    Hope Starts Here in your city, your community, your neighborhood. The Convoy of Hope event is just the beginning of a long-lasting movement that has the power to transform people’s lives, inspire compassion and service, and bring people and organizations together like never before. This is a collaborative effort to bring hope to a city through free groceries, health screenings, job services, family portraits, haircuts, prayer, activities for children and more.
    Thousands Expected to Attend Saturday’s Celebration

    I have often envisioned all 150 churches in Loudoun working in unison for the greater glory of God and operating through His will. Everyone would have a powerful desire to serve God, model Jesus’ teaching and provide an example to others so that they can serve God too! Through hard work and commitment each individual would supply an added measure of determination, skill and teamwork for glorifying God.

    Convoy of Hope will stop in Leesburg on Saturday, September 13, at Shenandoah Building to provide a day of free food, goods and services. The community celebration is one of dozens Convoy of Hope will host in 2014 throughout the United States. In 2013, more than 118,000 guests attended the $50-million tour at stops around the country.

    WHAT: A free Leesburg community event offering $1 million in free goods and services including more than 35,000 pounds of groceries, dental check-ups, family portraits, brown bag lunch, haircuts, health services, job and career services, a “Kids Zone” with carnival games, inflatables and live entertainment and more. Prayer & spiritual care from local churches will be available. While supplies last—all are welcome. No I.D. required.

    WHY: Provides an opportunity for more than 1,000 local community volunteers to share hope and tangible help with thousands of their neighbors in a spirit of honor and dignity.

    WHO: The community of Leesburg, including numerous local businesses, organizations, churches and Convoy of Hope. Convoy of Hope, a faith based organization is also working with the Plum Organics at the outreach. Plum Organics will distribute organic food specifically created for babies, toddlers and school-aged children. All goods and services are free.

    The Convoy is a collaborative effort among community churches, business, civic organizations, and local families to bring hope and emergency support to this community. This All-Volunteer event mobilizes residents to serve and make a difference in their community. Strong participation and collaboration by local organizations are crucial to the success of this event. Through this collaborative effort we do together what no one organization could do alone.

    WHEN: Saturday, September 13 - Gates open at 10 a.m. (rain or shine) until supplies are exhausted.

    Shenandoah Building
    102 Heritage Way NE
    Leesburg, VA 20176

    Learn more about the outreach by visiting or contact Bill Peterson at 703-424-4046.

    About Convoy of Hope

    Convoy of Hope, a faith based organization founded in 1994, has a driving passion to feed the world. With a long history as an early responder in times of natural disasters, Convoy of Hope has been a Four Star Charity as recognized by Charity Navigator for 11 consecutive years. In the last 20 years, Convoy of Hope has served more than 65 million people. For more information please visit

    Anyone wishing to volunteer can attend a Volunteer Rally at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Cornerstone Chapel, 742 Miller Drive SE, Leesburg, VA. No preregistration is required.

    Areas for Volunteers:
    • Shoes for Children- At this station families with children will receive free shoes.
    • Kid Zone - This will be station for children to be dropped off at while their parents will go to the other tents and areas of the site.
    • The Connections tent will be a place for our church to get connected with people in the community by having face to face conversations
    • Family Portraits - Families can have their pictures taken for albums here.
    • Grocery Handout - Our goal is for every family to leave with at least 2 bags of groceries.
    • Hair Cuts - We are in need of hairstylists/barber for this tent. There is more to help out here than just cutting hair, so if you would like to bless a family with a free haircut, you can volunteer in this tent.
    • Health Services - We are in need of doctors for this area. You can also help by assisting clinicians in this area.
    • Intercessory Prayer - We are in need of people to pray for this event as it goes forward. If you would like to assist in this area, you will be praying for the event in the times leading up to it, as well as praying for this event as it goes on.

    Participating Churches
    The Worship Center
    Cornerstone Chapel
    Destiny Church
    Centerpointe AG
    Chapel Springs AG
    Christian Fellowship Church
    Community Church
    Downtown Baptist Church
    Faithway Baptist Church
    Free Life Church
    Headway Church
    Heritage Baptist Church
    Jubilee Christian Center
    Leesburg Community Church
    Leesburg Church of the Nazarene
    Mission Agape
    McLean Bible Church - Loudoun
    Oak Grove Baptist Church
    Restoration Church
    Western Loudoun Community Church
    Word of Life – Ashburn

    Participating Businesses
    Trader Joe's
    Business & Engineering Systems Corporation
    Whisper to Roar Promotions
    Fort America, Inc.
    Fort America Business Solutions
    Capital Party Rentals
    Bradleigh Mechanical
    Anita's Mexican Restaurant
    Leesburg Fire Department
    Domino's Pizza
    Papa John's
    Vocelli's Pizza
    TriSept Corporation
    Red Box Dumpster Rentals
    Carlyle & Anderson
    Roy Rogers

    Other Participating/Groups
    Area Agency on Aging
    Citizens Support Team / D.A.R.E.
    Good Shepherd Alliance
    Loudoun Habitat for Humanity
    Volunteers of America
    Loudoun County MH/SA/DS
    Care Connection for Children
    Partnership for Healthier Kids
    Mobile Hope
    Anthem Health Keeper’s Plus
    VA Medicaid
    1st Choice Women's Health Center
    Loudoun Literacy Council
    Loudoun Interfaith Relief
    Blue Ridge Speech and Hearing
    Loudoun County Health Department
    BB&T Bank
    Town of Leesburg - Parks and Rec
    Loudoun Free Clinic
    Wellness Connection
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    Local Credit Union Supports Neighborhood Food Pantry
    NWFCUNorthwest Federal Credit Union employees and LINK Board Members team up to provide groceries to needy families in western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun communities. "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Photo courtesy Northwest Federal Credit Union.
    Six-ton Challenge is Ten-ton Success: Northwest Federal’s first Summertime Food Drive far exceeds expectations.

    Knowing that the need for food donations is critical during summer months, Northwest Federal Credit Union and its Foundation raised the bar for their first Summertime Food Drive: 12,000 pounds – or six tons – of non-perishable food items. The Credit Union announced it had exceeded its goal by 62 percent: 19,388 pounds in food and donations were collected … nearly 10 tons!

    “That’s a lot of spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, canned juice and cereal,” said Chris McDonald, President/CEO of Northwest Federal. “We knew 12,000 pounds was a substantial goal – much larger than any we’ve set before. But our staff, members and friends in the community really stepped up to the challenge. What a difference their efforts will make in helping to feed those in need.”

    The recipient of the food and money donations is LINK, Inc., an organization providing emergency food to people living throughout many Northern Virginia communities. During the summer, LINK’s donations run low and shelves thin out as the need for assistance spikes without school resources to help local families feed their children.

    “With these donations, hundreds of families will be grateful recipients of your efforts in our community,” said Lisa Lombardozzi, LINK President. “LINK is certainly grateful and feeling pretty downright special right now. Thank you!”

    McDonald announced the food drive results and presented the donations to LINK at a special event on Aug. 25, where he credited Northwest Federal staff for its tireless enthusiasm and key role in the food drive’s success. “This was a real team effort – and no doubt one of the largest, most successful food drives in Northern Virginia,” he said.

    The challenge concluded with a presentation of awards to the employee teams who collected the most donations, then the employee volunteers loading a truck with food items and delivering them to LINK.

    Bob Ashdown, LINK Food Pantry Manager said, ”The NWFCU crew unloaded about half of the box truck at our pantry in Herndon. They formed a line, passing boxes into the pantry. Several others unloaded the boxes and shelved the food. The rest of us drove to Christ the Redeemer Church where LINK has long term storage. Receiving over 19,000 pounds of food and presenting LINK with a check for $7,500 was fantastic. We will look forward to next year’s food drive!”

    “Thousands and thousands of pounds of food on top of the $7,500 donation – it is simply A-MAZ-ING,” said Lombardozzi.

    About Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation

    Northwest Federal Credit Union, established in 1947 and headquartered in Herndon, Va., is a full-service financial institution ranking among the largest credit unions in Virginia and in the top 50 credit unions in the nation.

    The Foundation was established in 2004 to promote and manage Northwest Federal Credit Union’s philanthropic activities. The mission of Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation is to strengthen our community through our scholarship, mentoring and youth outreach programs. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permissible by law for those who itemize deductions. For more information, visit

    About LINK

    Established in 1972, LINK is one of the legacy “all volunteer” emergency support organizations in Northern Virginia. LINK provides emergency food assistance by request on a daily basis and hosts holiday grocery distribution programs during Thanksgiving and Christmas. The organization is comprised of 18 member churches (consisting of Baptist, Brethren, and Catholic, Episcopal, Fellowship, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and non-denominational churches) in Herndon, Chantilly, Sterling, and Potomac Falls united in a common cause to provide support to needy families 52 weeks a year.
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    Immanuel Mar Thoma Church LINKs Up with Sterling Food Pantry
    immanuelImmanuel Mar Thoma volunteers Sanil and Anuroopa Thomas and daughter Sneha collect groceries during a multifamily food drive for Loudoun County. Photo is courtesy Immanuel Mar Thoma Church.
    Immanuel Mar Thoma received as a LINK Associate Member Church

    IMTC has joined LINK as an associate member. The parish as a whole is excited to be more connected to the community and increase fellowship with the member and affiliated churches supporting LINK.

    The Immanuel Mar Thoma Church (IMTC) has been associated with LINK, a food pantry ministry in Sterling, over the past few years in donating food, clothing and other essentials for the benefit of the needy within the Herndon, Sterling and Ashburn communities. The congregation, though limited, desires to serve the needy of the local community and found a wonderful opportunity through the tremendous ministry of LINK.

    IMTC was first introduced to LINK by Community Lutheran Church (CLC). IMTC Pastor Rev. Jaisen Thomas said, “It was a blessing that CLC offered its premises [for his church] to hold their Sunday worship services in Sterling allowing the parish to gradually begin participating in LINK activities.”

    LINK President Lisa Lombardozzi was excited about receiving IMTC. She commented, "LINK is thrilled to have Immanual Mar Thoma join us in our ministry to provide food to families in our community. We are always seeking strength in numbers and we welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ to our ministry." Mr. Aji Jacob, IMTC Outreach Coordinator serves as representative to LINK.

    The Immanuel Mar Thoma Church is a parish of the Mar Thoma Church. The word “Mar Thoma” means St. Thomas in Aramaic/Hebrew. Mar Thoma Church is one of the oldest groups of practicing Christians in the world. The name attributes itself to the long heritage of the church dating back to St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, who established the church in Kerala, Southern India in AD 52 and laid the foundations of Christianity in this part of the world. Today the Mar Thoma Church has over one million adherents worldwide.

    Over the past 2,000 years, the church has grown within and spread outside the borders of India. In the early centuries, the Patriarch of Antioch gave spiritual care to the Mar Thoma Church with bishops and clergy coming quite regularly to Kerala. Within the past 200 years, the church developed a strong relationship with the Anglican Church. The Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionaries of the Anglican Church provided a “mission of help” to the Mar Thoma Church by translating the Bible and prayer books into the vernacular of the people. This sparked a reformation movement within the church and strengthened the bond with the Anglican Church. Thus, the Mar Thoma Church shares a full communion relationship with the Anglican Communion worldwide and through that the Episcopal Church, USA. It has been said that the Mar Thoma Church is "Apostolic in origin, universal in nature, biblical in faith, evangelical in principle, ecumenical in outlook, oriental in worship, democratic in function and episcopal in character.”

    The IMTC, Virginia is a very young parish of almost five years. The parish is under the Diocese of North America and Europe of Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar in India. IMTC, Virginia is the second parish in the Washington, D.C. area and the first parish in Virginia under Diocese of North America and Europe. They have about 60 families in the congregation and most are young professionals. Rev. Jaisen Thomas serves the parish as their Pastor and provides spiritual guidance and leadership.

    IMTC, Virginia truly began in the early 1990’s with a dedicated group of Mar Thoma families living and worshipping in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These families longed for a place of worship closer to home and a place of Christian learning offered by Sunday school for their children. The Information Technology boom of the late 90’s brought a new wave of Mar Thoma families to Northern Virginia. These families brought with them a desire for worship and fellowship with like-minded believers. The foundations for a future parish were laid over the years by these families as they participated actively in church organizations at the Mar Thoma Church of Greater Washington which as the parent church offered prayerful support to the infant parish.

    The parish has several organizations or specified ministries to specially serve the needs of the community. All the ministries particularly the Parish Mission, Sunday school, Choir, Youth, Women’s Ministry and Young Families Fellowship have a governing committee and work under the auspices of the Pastor to further the gospel.

    Mission (Matthew 25:35-40, 28:19)

    IMTC understands that they are called to be a living church that impacts not only their church body but those in the local community and beyond. They believe that the church body as a whole should be the active hands and feet of our Lord and Savior. Therefore, they strongly encourage all members (as a family) to actively participate in missions, local, national and global. They believe the family should be involved in mission together thus, children will grow with a deeper understanding of Christian character and faith, thus, affirming that mission must be sacrificial and relational.

    The Church Motto: “Lighted to Lighten”

    The role of the church is to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every believer and member of the church here in their position, wherever they are, are given the light so that they can lighten others. As Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

    Mar Thoma Church was commissioned with this vision of mission. Rev. Jaisen A. Thomas, Pastor and Vicar can be reached at 214-604-6678 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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    About the Blogger
    Mark Gunderman writes and solicits articles that reflect the Church ministries and faith-based organizations' spiritual rhythm and follows the seasons of the Church. The Church and its ministries are relevant for news articles all year round, not just during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Church and the media have many philosophical differences, yet common denominators link them together. Both have a message they want to articulate. An inherent responsibility for both is to communicate successfully.

    "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant to all" (Mark 9:35).


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