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Willow Grove and Townley Church Team Up to Fight Homelessness

Jill Segulin

Monday, April 14, 2014 • 1:44pm

When Townley Presbyterian Church in Union, New Jersey, heard that Willow Grove Church was providing shelter and hot meals to local families experiencing homelessness, they felt the call right away to help. Townley Church Elder Janet Sangekar and Interim Pastor Rev. Howard Bryant organized a “pillow drive” for the cause. Townley’s congregation responded with abundant generosity, donating 18 new pillows and pillow protectors--enough to give every guest served during a hosting week at Willow Grove Church a new pillow on which to rest their head. Willow Grove Presbyterian Church has been hosting families for over 25 years.

In June 2013, Willow Grove Church joined with twelve other hosting congregations to launch Family Promise of Union County, a non-profit affiliate of the national organization, Family Promise, who manages similar hosting programs across the United States. In this program, congregations of many different traditions and faiths join together to provide a continuous network of volunteers providing emergency shelter and hot meals in their buildings for families experiencing homelessness.

Willow Grove Church’s pastor, Rev. Cynthia Cochran-Carney, frequently volunteers alongside adult helpers and Willow Grove’s youth group members. Townley Presbyterian Church has also had a long history of mission to neighbors in need. In addition to their clothing closet and their program to help kids who have “aged out” of New Jersey’s DYFS foster care system, Townley Church has supported mission work in Haiti with prayer and substantial financial aid since the massive Hurricane Tomas devastated Haiti in 2010.

Recently, Townley Church sponsors the Salem Roadhouse Café, a monthly coffee house show featuring local musicians and visual artists. All net proceeds from the Salem Roadhouse Café admission fees are passed on to various local and national charities as part of Townley Church’s focus on mission work. The Salem Roadhouse Café shows are held in the lower level of Townley Church at 829 Salem Rd in Union, New Jersey, on the second Saturday of each month at 8:00 p.m. Both Townley Church and Willow Grove Church offer worship services at 10:00 a.m. each Sunday.

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 1961 Raritan Rd. in Scotch Plains. All facilities are handicapped-accessible and there is ample on-site parking.

For information about the Family Promise hosting program or the many other happenings at Willow Grove Church, please contact the church office at 908-232-5678 or office@willowgrovechurch.org, or visit the website at www.willowgrovechurch.org.

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