Local Missions

The mission field isn't far away---in fact, it begins at the doors of the church building. South Highland actively and proudly supports these local mission organizations with financial resources and the time of our members.

Member contacts are listed for many of the organizations; some also have web sites you may visit.

AIM (Assisting Inmate Mothers) - On the second Saturday of each month, members of the SHPC congregation volunteer to drive children, their guardians, and/or relatives to Wetumpka to visit their mothers who are incarcerated in Tutwiler Prison for women. It is a joyous ride to the prison and a quiet ride returning. The children spend 4 hours with visiting their mothers, participating in arts and crafts, and having lunch. Volunteers can contact Debbie Perkins at debbiepi@travelpi.com.

Alcoholics Anonymous: South Highland provides a place for AA’s weekly meetings Saturdays at 8:15 a.m.

Bridge Ministries focuses on preventing homelessness by assisting people in crisis situations to pay their rent or utility bills or to secure temporary emergency lodging. When families living in local shelters are ready to move to permanent housing, Bridge Ministries can help with security and utility deposits. A number of its clients are referred by local hospitals and hospice services. Bridge Ministries also helps individuals to obtain dental care, eye glasses, prescription drugs and other durable medical goods. It also maintains a small pantry of non-perishable food and personal hygiene products.

Christmas International House is a ministry that hosts international students during the Christmas season. South Highland families volunteer to provide housing, meals, and activities to international students who have nowhere to go for the holidays. The coordinator is Kelly Ross Davis.

Community Grief Support Service is a non-profit organized for the purpose of providing compassionate counseling, education, and support for bereaved persons in the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan area. Grief support groups provide recently-bereaved persons with a safe haven to share information and support. All groups are conducted by professional counselors using educational materials prepared by experts in the field of grief and bereavement. For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Larry Michael.

Family Promise of Birmingham (formerly Birmingham Hospitality Network): Birmingham Hospitality Network (BHN) strives to help families in need. As one of two organizations in Birmingham that serves homeless families as a unit, BHN is a community non-profit organization with a mission to rescue homeless families. Not only are food and shelter offered, but BHN also helps in developing a stable lifestyle. The stable lifestyle includes keeping the family together instead of splitting the teen-aged boys and men to the men’s shelters and the women to a women’s shelter.

Each Network congregation furnishes overnight lodging and meals each night for a week for up to 14 people at a time. Typically, a congregation rotates hosting a week at a time every three months. Our Network program fosters increased awareness of the problems of homelessness and serves as a catalyst to develop other initiatives for the homeless. Contact Debbie Perkins at debbiepi@travelpi.com for volunteer opportunities.

Fifth Week Friends is a joint fellowship of Presbyterian women from South Highland Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church. They promote Christian growth, fellowship, and friendship through meals, programs, and fun interaction. Mary Frances Reed is the South Highland Program Chair.

Good Samaritan Assistance is a ministry that provides both church members and people who come to the church looking for financial help for food, utility bills, prescriptions, and other such needs. The Good Samaritan Offering is collected each communion Sunday after both services. Jeannie Burton administers the program and works closely with Bridge Ministries and Greater Birmingham Ministries as well as local grocery stores and pharmacies to ensure that relief is rapid and appropriate.

Greater Birmingham Ministries is a multi-faith, multi-racial organization dedicated to serving people in need, pursuing justice, and building stronger communities.

Volunteers and staff working through GBM have assisted thousands of area residents and have worked closely with low-income individuals and neighborhoods. Many times that has meant meeting immediate needs, such as food, clothing or assisting families with expenses for rent, power, gas, water, medicines, and transportation.

GBM has also worked consistently on the hard, slow work of systems change, particularly in the realm of state constitutional reform, seeking to make the social networks of the community open and fair to all, especially to those with little economic and social power. At the heart of this commitment is a belief in human dignity which connects all of us to each other, regardless of our relative economic or social position. Contact Kelly Ross Davis for volunteer opportunities, krd@uab.edu.

Habitat For Humanity - Shelter from wind, rain and cold is a basic human need. Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. The ministry was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety. SHPC sponsors a house every year, usually in the Fall. The house building this year will start September 3. To volunteer to help build or provide meals, contact Steve Ashworth.

International Programs at UAB

- Christmas International House is a ministry that hosts international students during the Christmas season. South Highland families volunteer to provide housing, meals, and activities to international students who have nowhere to go for the holidays. This ministry is sponsored every other year. In 2014, we had students from China, Japan, and Malaysia over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Host families helped house the students and drive them to the numerous activities that were planned during the holidays.

- Friendship partners match a new international student with an individual or family to help the student learn and transition into our culture. The commitment is for one year and to meet with the student at least once a month.

- Let's Talk is a ministry offering the opportunity for international students to engage in casual conversation with members of our congregation. They meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month for dinner and conversation. We have 7-10 regular participants who attend. After dinner, tutors from our congregation spend one on one time with the attendees in structured conversation to help teach the idiosyncrasies of American English.

- UAB International Students- We sponsored 2 lunches and breakfasts. Thanksgiving Dinner- South Highland hosted the 3rd annual Thanksgiving dinner for over 280 international students in the Davis Family Hall in conjunction with the UAB International House. We are always looking for volunteers to help serve.

Outreach Opportunities - Supports community projects planned and unplanned that may not be categorized under a particular ministry. Funds will be available for emergency relief due to a natural or man-made disaster, evangelism opportunities, and fulfilling temporary or developing needs in our community. For volunteer opportunities, contact Debbie Perkins at debbiepi@travelpi.com.

Presbyterian Home for Children is a safe, supportive, Christian environment for children who are dependent, neglected, abused, homeless or who otherwise cannot live with their families. The 80-acre campus in Talladega, Alabama has grown tremendously since the 1800's, transforming itself from a children's refuge and farming community into a well respected educational facility. The Home opened its own school, Hope Academy, in 1997 to meet the educational needs of its residents. Realizing a greater need, Hope Academy began offering its services to the community in 2004 by accepting private day and residential students into the education program. Today, the Talladega Campus includes residential cottages, school buildings, a gymnasium, dining hall and well staffed counseling center which serves both campus residents and the community. Contact Jody Gilchrist at jhgilchrist@charter.net.

Sav-A-Life, Inc, the Vestavia Hills Center has been serving the men and women in need make life-affirming decisions concerning their pregnancy and knowledge that brings needed restoration to their lives. The ministry offers problem pregnancy counseling, pregnancy testing, medical assistance, and mentors for education and support. Sav-A-Life counselors have an opportunity to share their faith with young women and men during critical times in their lives. South Highland's liaison is Pam Buck. Contact Pam for volunteer opportunities, pambuck@bellsouth.net.

Shelter Ministry: SHPC provides funding for the Firehouse Men’s Shelter and First Light Women’s Shelter. The Shelter Ministry also encourages South Highlanders to volunteer as hosts for this hospitality ministry.

SHOP: South Highland Mental Health Outreach Project – SHPC partnered with local medical programs and shelters to develop a Supported Employment Program. SHOP meets weekly with support, classes, and Bible Study.

South Highland Center (Scholarships): The South Highland Center is a ministry of South Highland Presbyterian Church. Housed in the church’s west wing, the program has been carefully tailored in every aspect to meet the special needs of cognitively impaired adults from mild to severe phases.

The staff is comprised of highly skilled professionals, trained specifically in dementia care. Staff members work with small participant groups, ensuring plenty of personalized attention. Participants may attend daily or part-time. The focus is to promote stimulating, enriching, and fun life experiences in a safe and nurturing home-like environment. This ministry is one of the few remaining non-profit organizations serving the ever growing population of dementia related disorders.

South Highland Child Development Center (Scholarships): Since 1971, South Highland Child Development Center has strived to provide quality, Christian, full-day care for children of working parents. Monday through Friday each week, SHCDC offers a safe and happy learning environment where all children aged six weeks through five years can receive developmental care. Teachers plan and carry out a daily program which includes intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social developmental activities. The Center is accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs.

Sunday Club: In the summer of 1986, the state mental institution was forced to discharge large numbers of persons over a short period of time. Within a few miles of the church there were over eighty licensed private boarding homes: five homes for the mentally retarded, five homes for the mentally ill operated by the Mental Health Authority, and thirty foster homes licensed by Bryce State Hospital. In addition, there were twenty-three homes for the mentally retarded.

In the licensed private boarding homes there were no standards set by the Health Department concerning food. There were no means available to boarders for securing, storing, or preparing food, and very few available restaurants in the area. Within blocks of the church, one person operated seven homes which, in time, grew to eleven homes. The residents paid $280 of their $336 SSI checks each month for room and board, which did not include lunches or any meals on Sundays or holidays.

“The Sunday Club” was started in April, 1987 to address both the need for food on Sunday and the need for a place to go where love, acceptance and fellowship are graciously given. ” Volunteers wear many hats: driving the church van for pick-up and return; acting as team leaders for specific Sundays; lining up, presenting and leading programs; making table favors; donating gifts for special persons; mixing and mingling with the members. Preparing and serving the meals is a special responsibility. Great effort is made to see that the meals served are beyond ordinary in quality and presentation. Volunteers include children, young people, and adults of all ages. Even pre-school children can enjoy putting the salt and pepper shakers on the tables! Volunteers come from South Highland Church and from other churches and civic organizations in the community. Contact Martha and Jim Foster, Martha@ltcplan.com.

The Sharing Group: Jesse Stinson hosts this ministry that is a follow up to the Sunday Club. SHPC provides hospitality and a meeting place for this group, which offers support to persons coping with emotional challenges. The group meets from 2-4pm on Wednesdays and Fridays and from 6-8pm on Sundays in Room G-21.

For more information on South Highland Missions, contact Debbie Perkins.