MISSION is that area of service where we respond to the needs of those outside as well as inside our faith community.  We do it monetarily as well as with donations of food and other items of necessity.  Through a combination of our Thrift Store and our Stone Soup Program, we help five outside organizations as well are our own parishioners when help is needed.  As Jesus himself washed the feet of his disciples, so we too have an obligation to help from the resources that Almighty God has given us.

Stone Soup Program:  

In an attempt to include each and every parishioner in the realm of helping others, the Rector inaugurated “Stone Soup.”  The concept comes from the childhood story of the same name.  The short version of the story is this:  There was a famine in a little village.  Everyone in the village was hording whatever small amount of food they had, i.e. a bunch of carrots, a few potatoes, a small piece of meat, etc.  A very wise man put a giant cauldron in the middle of a village, filled it with water, threw in a few stones, and set a fire under it.  He stood over the cauldron day and night, stirring and stirring the water and the stones.  Eventually, curious villagers, one by one, asked what he was doing.  He said that he was making “stone soup”, but he added: “it would sure be nice if I had some _____ to put in it,” suggesting, carrots to one, potatoes to another, and meat to another.  One by one, each person went home and returned with whatever item he or she had been hording.  Pretty soon, there was a huge cauldron of soup, enough to feed the entire village…simply because each person had brought one small item for the soup!   Our little black cauldron is on the table in the Narthex, and each month you are asked to take a little piece of paper from the cauldron, purchase the item written on the paper, and return it to the baskets in the Narthex.  Each month dozens of baskets of needed items are taken to different agencies in the community and needs are filled.   One small act of kindness from many individuals creates a wonderful thing!



 So when you pass by the “Stone Soup” bowl, make sure you take a piece of paper out of the bowl and purchase the item, remembering the words of Jesus when he said:  

To whom much is given, much is expected…  

Health Aide.  We have several parishioners who are nurses and they function under the direction of our parish nurse Linda Moore.  This fluid group shares information about parishioners’ health needs and is always available to answer your health questions.  Medical transportation can also be provided on an “as needed” basis.

Eucharistic Visitors.  Going along with those needs of health, spiritual health is another mission area.  There are several parishioners who are licensed by the Bishop to bring communion to those who are at home do to illness.  Every Sunday, the communion kits are filled at the altar by the priest, given to the Eucharistic Visitor at the end of the service, and they are sent out to bring the sacrament to those unable to be with us.

St. Francis Thrift Store:


The Thrift Store has been a wonderful addition to St. Francis, and is another way we help others.  Under the leadership of Dorothy Gardner and dozens of volunteers, the store is open Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, and Saturday, 10am to 4pm.   The Thrift Store receives and resells various clean, top-notch items of clothing, household items and furniture.   For several years now, monies from the Thrift Store have added to the assistance we give to those agencies we support.  We give 45% of our Thrift Store income monthly to five agencies:  New Testament Mission, Manna Ministries, Anchor House, Habitat for Humanity, and Camp Wingmann, and Sao Paulo Mercy Mission, and we save another 10% in a fund designated to help parishioners experiencing various emergencies.  The rest of the funds generated through the Thrift Store help the support the store itself along with unexpected parish expenses.  If you would like to help, please get in touch with Dorothy Gardner.




Manna Ministries

This is our local interdenominational food pantry, located on Kent Avenue just north of Tower Street.  They provide packages of food staples each month to clients screened for eligibility.  In recent years, they had been serving 600 clients a month, and had expanded their ministry to include a school supply drive and a Christmas store for toys.  Recently the number of eligible clients has grown to 1500 a month, and they have had to cancel those extra programs and devote every dollar and man-hour to feeding the poor. 


Manna Ministries, Lake Placid:  

Located on Kent St. next to the Methodist Church, Manna Ministries feeds about 650 families a month and is open weekdays from 10am to 4pm and has an all-volunteer staff.  In the past we have donated between 30 and 50 grocery bags of food in a month.  Manna not only feeds all of these people who live in Lake Placid, they also give them clothing, household items, toys, etc. Food, however, is Manna’s greatest need.  We bring the food we collect over weekly, and when we are there, we see that the shelves are almost empty.  They are so thankful when they see all the bags of food that we bring.  For two months in a year St. Francis donates about half the money that the Thrift Store makes during the month.  This enables them to buy more food to feed those 650 hungry families.  Barbara Million and Buddy Staron are Manna liaisons to the Vestry.


Anchor House, Auburndale:  

Anchor House is a Christian ministry committed to reaching boys in crisis. Anchor House is dedicated to furnishing a place for boys ages eleven through eighteen that are referred either by the state or private counselors.  Licensed by the State of Florida for forty plus boys, their programs help these boys become responsible young men. Anchor House offers a secure place, on our ten-acre campus, for boys to live in peace while they are nurtured in a Christian atmosphere.  The boys also have an opportunity to grow self-sufficiently, leading into adulthood and becoming a positive influence in society.  ‘Boys becoming men,’ is the tradition of Anchor House.  Our graduates now serve our armed services, local government, business and industry, and many other vocations.  Kim & Dianne Retter are the Anchor House liaisons to the Vestry.


Habitat for Humanity:   

Highlands County Habitat for Humanity envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live.  Their goal has always been to help families create a path to permanence, to have a stable home in a thriving community.  Habitat just celebrated its 26th anniversary year in Highlands County, established in 1990 as a 501©3 non-profit, faith-based Christian organization.  Since its inception, Habitat has built 197 homes with the kind work of volunteers and the generosity of donors in our community.  Families continue to thrive and they realize the American Dream of homeownership by contributing sweat equity hours toward the purchase of their home.  Habitat is a Hand Up, not a Hand Out.  Homeowners pay a zero interest, affordable monthly mortgage payment back to Habitat for a term of approximately 20-25 years. Several of Habitat’s homeowners have already paid off their mortgages.  To volunteer or to make a tax-deductible donation call 863-385-7156.   Sarah Creekmore is the Vestry liaison.


Camp Wingmann: 


Camp Wingman is first a diocesan summer camp for youngsters and second, a place for other large meetings and retreats.  Taking a great leap of faith because of its rundown condition, Fr. Bill Yates and his brother purchased the facility in 1998 in the hopes that it could again become what it was many years ago.   Today, the camp is a wonderful place of rest and rejuvenation for kids as well as adults who use the facility.   With Fr. Bill Yates retirement in 2014, Fr. Deke Miller has taken on the task of continuing the wonderful work of the camp.  Brochures for kids’ summer camp can be found in the Narthex tract rack.  Chuck and Helen Laughton are the camp’s liaisons to the Vestry. http://www.campwingmann.com/


Sao Paulo Mercy Mission:  

This ministry is about preaching the gospel to homeless children, working directly in the streets where they live.  Fr. Stephen Dass, originally from Singapore, and his wife Mary, who is from Maine, met in Sao Paulo while working with the street children.  Stephen had a parish in the diocese for a couple of years, but both he and Mary felt a call to return to Brazil and continue what they had started.  Vestry member Barbara High has volunteered to be the liason for this ministry, and as well other Outreach ministries, always look at the Outreach bulletin board for updates.  You can follow Stephen’s blog at http://spmercyministry.com/ and please pray for this ministry.  Barbara High is the Vestry liason.