ANGEL TREE - HOW IT WORKS
Angel Tree is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries that reaches out to the children of inmates and their families with the love of Christ. It seeks to transform the lives of these families and to reconcile them to their Heavenly Father and each other. In Matthew 18:5 Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
Last summer in prisons and jails across the country, incarcerated parents applied to have their children participate in the Angel Tree Program. Applications were forwarded to Prison Fellowship Ministries’ clearing house for distribution to participating churches worldwide.
CPC received applications for the children of 31 families who live on the Monterey Peninsula.
We would very much like each of our small groups to adopt a family. CPC participants – small groups and individuals – will contact the caregiver by phone. Please introduce yourself, the Angel Tree Program, and our Church. Let the caregiver know what you have in mind. Verify the names of the children, their ages and their clothes sizes. Get caregiver’s approval for a time when you may come by and meet the kids and the caregiver. This may be to deliver the gifts or even before.
Purchase the Christmas gifts for delivery to the children. Each gift delivery provides an opportunity to share the love and hope of Christ with the family. Through Angel Tree, these children feel a parent’s love, despite their absence. It's suggested that each child receive 1- 2 gifts, totaling no more than $20. One gift should be an article of clothing, the other a toy. After that it's free-wheeling and up to you as the Lord leads you to help and to minister to them.
When you contact the caregiver, be aware that s/he may have no idea of the Angel Tree Program. Most caregivers are highly appreciative of the effort and support that providing gifts at Christmas provides. A few, a very few, are not. They may have separated themselves entirely from the incarcerated member because of what s/he has done to the family. If the caregiver refuses to participate, thank them and wish them well. (Please let me know this.)
Individual and group prayer times prior to meeting with children and their caregivers will strengthen, calm, and keep the volunteers relying upon God. The home may be a stressful environment for the child and the family. Court appearances, prison visits, financial strains, frequent relocations, and interpersonal tensions all test a family to the breaking point. If there has been drug or alcohol abuse, neglect, or physical abuse, stress at home is greatly increased.
Prison Fellowship writes, “Angel Tree doesn’t end with Christmas. For you and your church, that first Christmas connection can be the beginning of a rewarding ongoing relationship with these children and their families. Continue your Angel Tree ministry throughout the year and God will use your church to help these children and their families grow in their faith, strengthen their relationships with imprisoned parents, and fulfill the purposes that God has for their lives"
I personally hope each of the small groups accept this challenge. It certainly would qualify as a community "act" of kindness and not burden lone individuals with the year-round assignment. What a wonderful way for a group to come together. And, I know our members by participating with us will better understand what these families go through than by reading all of the e-mails and listening to the talks I've given to date. Angel Tree provides an opportunity to connect with those families and begin ministering to them at Christmas and continue through a variety of year-round ministry opportunities.
I'm always available to walk anyone through the program and even make house calls.
Grace and peace,
Bill and Pam Ziering 26033 Mesa Drive, Carmel, CA 93923 250-7921 firstname.lastname@example.org