Here, at the Presbyterian Church of Novato, our membership strongly believes that God calls us to serve those in need within our local, domestic, and global community, sharing our God-given time, talents and treasures.
PCN is a 5 for 5 congregation. As a 5 for 5 congregation we participate in four church-wide special offerings (One Great Hour of Sharing, Pentecost, Peacemaking and the Christmas Joy Offering) and our basic mission giving, where we annually commit 25% of our church budget to mission giving.
Over and above that, our families search out other service and support opportunities within Novato, the San Francisco Bay Area, and mission trips in our state, nation and internationally.
We invite all our members and church friends to join us in loving and caring for our neighbors through our mission work listed below. For more information on how you can serve and support these ministries, please contact Carolyn Garrens, , (415) 897-1504 or Mike Robinson, , (415) 302-1729
Homeward Bound (Mill Street)
Homeward Bound of Marin is the primary provider of Marin County homeless shelters and services for homeless families and individuals in Marin, California. Mill Street Center in San Rafael is Marin County's only night-to-night emergency shelter for 60 homeless individuals. To support this mission, a network of community churches participate in a monthly rotation to provide dinner every day. This significant gift has endured for more than 25 years and PCN has faithfully contributed each month serving 720 meals per year through our network of volunteers. However, due to COVID, Mill Street is now closed and transitioned it's residents to the New Beginnings Center in Novato, where they receive meals from the culinary team at Homeward Bound. Mill Street plans to break ground this year on a major renovation to expand the shelter to hold the usual 60 temporary residents plus and additional 32 units of permanent housing for the most challenged residents. Due to these changes, no meals will be needed until further notice.
Marin Food Bank (SF & Marin)
The mission of San Francisco/Marin Food Bank is to combat food insecurity throughout the two counties. In addition to being a part of PCN mission's annual budget, our congregants donate generously every year during both the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons to food barrels which are placed on our campus. Members are alwasy welcome and have routinely volunteered as sorters and baggers at the food bank warehouse, any time of year.
CA Re-Entry Institute (All Dressed Up Ministry)
The “All Dressed Up Ministry” at PCN is a ministry that supports the California Re-Entry Program (CRP) by providing clothing for inmates who are being released from San Quentin. This ministry receives requests and prepares a box of clothes that is mailed to San Quentin and stored for the inmate to wear when they are released. In addition to the PCN funds budgeted for the clothes and mailing expenses, the congregation donates new and slightly used clothing for distribution to the inmates being released. Additionally, members of the congregation help to box and mail the clothing to the inmates. Since this ministry started, we have mailed over 850 boxes of clothing to inmates being released from San Quentin. The ministry is always looking for clothing donations and assistance with preparing the boxes. Please contact the PCN Mission members if you are interested in this volunteer opportunity
North Marin Community Services
The mission of North Marin Community Services is to support the success of Novato residents and families in hunger abatement, job skills and resumes, stable housing, child care, and mental & physical health. In addition to being part of PCN mission's annual budget, our congregation supports " Holiday Share" in which we give toys and gift cards for NMCS families. Congregants also volunteer at the Christmas party at which these toys and gift cards are given out.
The mission of Gilead House is to safely house, mentor, and educate mothers and their minor children. Besides being a part of PCN mission's annual budget, our congregants have helped in a multitude of ways. We have furnished bedrooms & bathrooms for new families moving in, worked on annual fall clean up days (indoors & out), youth mission work parties, annual work parties/indoors & out, youth led Christmas parties for families, personal mentors, and babysitting during mother's online classes, among other efforts.
Lynwood School Reading Program
The PCN-Lynwood Reading Volunteer Partnership is in its twelfth year at Lynwood Elementary School in Novato. This program was designed to help Lynwood teachers faced with challenges associated with an influx of students from non-English speaking families. Volunteers work in partnership with teachers in the classroom with reinforcing reading skills and comprehension. This past year PCN averaged approximately eleven volunteers who spent anywhere from one to two hours a week to once a month reading with youngsters from pre-school through fifth grade. In the upper grades a typical volunteer would read with 5-6 students in an hour’s time. The teachers have been extremely appreciative of our volunteers’ contributions to the learning process. The program has been a “Win-Win” for all involved. Students benefit by improving their reading and comprehension skills, teachers from having the additional one-one help, and volunteers receiving the gratification of seeing students improve. PCN looks forward to continuing our partnership with Lynwood and welcomes additional volunteers. With this year’s in-class COVID 19 restrictions we are collaborating with Lynwood staff in developing a remote reading program for grades 4 and 5.
Downtown Streets (Mobile Care Snack Sacks)
Downtown Streets (Marin Mobile Care) manages the only mobile shower serving Marin's 1,035 people experiencing homelessness, of which 65% of them are unsheltered. The showers are in Novato twice a week and also serve San Rafael and Sausalito. PCN provides food support weekly. Before the pandemic, we provided 60 snack sacks a week which included a fresh bagel, peanut butter, banana and other fruit and food energy bars. During the pandemic we are providing 10 $25 gift cards a week to be distributed by Downtown Streets at the Novato shower. Hopefully after the pandemic we will be allowed to provide fresh food again but for now, there are grateful people who can supplement their groceries with gift cards we supply to them.
PCN Bible Distribution Ministry – General
Each year, PCN purchases bible for distribution to the community and to other missions. We purchase bibles for distribution when we go to Juarez, Mexico, for prisoners, and for community events where we can provide bibles to the general public.
PCN as hosted the Buckaroo Breakfast since 1953. The first Breakfast was provided by the Mariners, a women’s group in the Church, in response to a request by the Novato Horsemen’s who held its annual rodeo and parade in Downtown Novato.
The location over the years has varied, it has typically been a part of another local event including the Western Weekend. Over the past several years the Buckaroo Breakfast has been a major attraction at Novato’s Fourth of July Parade and held in the parking lot of the Redwood Credit Union before the parade. Recently over 1100 meals have been served to parade participants, volunteers and viewers. A donation is requested and all proceeds go to Novato charities. Recently the proceeds have gone to the North Marin Community Services, an organization that recently combined the Novato Human Needs Center with Novato Youth Center.
The event is sponsored by the Program and Fellowship Committee led by a Big Buckaroo and includes willing volunteers from the entire Church family, Boy Scouts, Rotary Clubs, members of the community and local merchants. It is self-supporting and a Church sponsored event that reaches out and serves members of the entire Novato Community.
“Faith in Practice is an amazing organization on the ground in Guatemala for 25 years providing medical, surgical and dental care, treating over 25,000 people annually. It organizes teams to outreach into remote villages and other teams to provide surgeries at our 2 hospitals. Each year, 1500 volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, translators and support staff from the US to work alongside 1000 Guatemalan volunteers who pay their trip expenses, leaving donated dollars to go far to help the needy. Our individual team comprises approximately 80 Americans and Guatemalans working to bring health care to the poorest in Guatemala.”
Youth Mission: Stop Hunger Now / Rise Against HungerRise Against Hunger is growing a global movement to end hunger by empowering communities, nourishing lives and responding to emergencies. For the last decade, our church has contributed a portion of our mission budget to support the Rise Against Hunger Organization; and as part of our Youth Group mission, they have sponsored and led our congregation in annual Rise Against Hunger event (https://www.riseagainsthunger.org/) where over 80 of our church members and friends stuff over 10,000 nourishing meal bags in a two hour work-a-thon for those that are starving throughout the world. This is an incredible way for our members to serve others in need, and we encourage you to join us at our next RAH event in 2021 (TBD).
Youth Mission Trip
The PCN Youth Group seeks to find service opportunities locally, nationally, and internationally to participate in and live out their faith. One way this is done is through a formal annual week-long mission trip. Students who attend youth group, participate in fund raisers, and attend other activities are welcome to take the week- long trip to an area in need with a group of adult volunteers. Students learn about parts of the world that are socio-economically different than Marin county and grow in their faith through service. These youth mission trips have been a faith-growing experience for all who attend.
Hands-On-Mission Trip in Juarez, MX: Mtls Costs
This is a volunteer opportunity for our church family and friends to do hands-on-mission service by teaming with Mission Ministries International, in building a house for a needy Juarez family in Colonia Esperanza, Juarez.
PCN has been participating each fall since 2000. Included in building a 13'x 30' home, volunteers also participate in working with a local orphanage, participate in neighborhood prayer walks with host local church pastor, work with children in the Mission Ministries compound childcare center, as well as work and support the Mission Ministries medical and dental clinics. Volunteers cook and serve a dinner to the sponsoring host local church on the last evening after attending a worship service.
Trip involves 4 days, 2 travel, 2 working in the community. Lodging and meals are provided for volunteers.
Airfare and lodging are arranged by PCN Juarez Team coordinators and Mission Ministries (travelers are responsible for travel expenses, with some scholarships offered).
Thanks to our mission focused church PCN is making a difference in Cambodia. Through our financial support of AIM (Agape International Missions), a Christian non-profit, miraculous change has and is happening in the fight against sex trafficking. AIM’s four step holistic strategy which includes prevention (education), rescue (Swat teams), restoration (intensive PTSD therapy) and reintegration (job training and work programs), has caught the attention of organizations and governments around the world. Within these four components are more than a dozen outreach programs run by local Cambodians. AIM’s focus now includes other types of trafficking (labor, bride, baby, domestic slavery) and in partnership with the Cambodian government, their reach extends beyond their borders, making rescues in neighboring countries and even as far away as Somalia! In 2020 AIM expanded their efforts to include Belize, to combat the trafficking of children in the sex tourism trade. Learn more here: https://agapewebsite.org/belize/
Our support began with the introduction of AIM by Church of the Vine, a local Novato church that has made numerous mission trips to Svay Pak Cambodia to support AIM “on the ground”. For several years we purchased rice for 300 Cambodian families which our friends distributed, and purchased equipment for an AIM kick boxing gym. In 2018, PCN member Phil Dougherty joined them on a mission trip to Svay Pak and saw first-hand the desperate need, AIM’s programs in action and our support at work.
Domestic Relief Mission Trip in USA
In response to requests from disaster response organizations, funding is provided to support teams of volunteers to help recover from the impact of a man-made or natural disaster. PCN usually joins with other church groups to work with Hope City, based in Middletown, California, whose motto is “Building Homes Restoring Lives.” Known as a Faith Based-Humanitarian organization Hope Ciy uses a holistic approach that allows focus on the whole person. Physical, Emotional, Financial and Spiritual components are the key ingredients that allow for the greatest opportunity for healing, one without the other makes a recovery incomplete.
We are blessed to have supported Novato's youth through Boy Scouts of America. PCN continues to serve as the Charter organization for 3 groups including, Troop 200 since 1962, Pack 85 since 1968 and Pack 186 since 1972. Over the years, thousands of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts have enjoyed meeting at our facility for their weekly meetings, special events such as Court of Honors and other activities to support their programs. The Scouts participate as greeters in our annual Scout Sunday and present the Charters at our worship service. Scouts actively support the community's Easter Sunrise Service as parking attendants at Mt. Burdell and set up luminarias to light our pathway for Christmas Eve services. We enjoy a strong and thriving partnership with the Boy Scouts in our community.
The PCN Deacons have worked for many years with the Vitalant Blood Centers of the Pacific to host between 1-4 blood drives a year at our church to help encourage needed blood donations from our members, friends and community to help those needing life saving blood. The Deacons will publicize upcoming donation dates and invite you to consider participating in this live-saving opportunity.
Rev. Choon Lim and Yen Hee Lim
Choon Lim is the regional liaison for East Asia that covers Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and North Korea. He provides support for partner churches, strengthens the work of mission personnel by providing guidance and pastoral care, and implements regional strategies. He has a special focus on North Korea, where people are hungering for food and for the good news of Jesus Christ. Rev. Choon is supported in this ministry by his wife, Yen Hee.
Click HERE for more information about Rev. Choon Lim and his wife Yen Hee.
As regional liaison for Central Europe, Burkhard Paetzold focuses much of his ministry on work among the Roma people, one of Europe’s most marginalized groups. He facilitates and supports the efforts of mission personnel, church leaders, and community leaders who, while working alongside the Roma people, strive to fully include them in congregations and in society, improve their economic well-being, and develop leaders among them. Because of the surge of Syrian, Iraqi, and other refugees moving to Europe, Burkhard has also focused on relief and development work in collaboration with European churches.
Click HERE for more information about Burkhard Paetzold.
Mark Hare and Jenny Bent
Jenny and Mark are currently doing their missionary work in Costa Rica after working in the Dominican Republic. Their current missionary work is focused on promoting environmental sustainability with the Latin American Biblical University (UBL), an ecumenical seminary on the eastern edge of the San Jose municipality in Costa Rica.
Click HERE for more information about Mark Hare and Jenny Bent.
Sarah Henken is currently serving as the Peace Initiative Promoter and Pastoral Accompanier to the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC). Sarah collaborates with the Peace Commission of the IPC in developing activities and educational materials for the promotion of peace and reconciliation in Colombia in local church communities and with populations served by ministries of the IPC in its three presbyteries.
Click HERE for more information about Sarah Henken.
Rev. Bob Rice and Kristi Rice
In May 2017, they began a new role and call in South Sudan. Bob serves as an instructor at Nile Theological College and teaches a broad range of courses in theology and biblical studies, with a specific focus in the academic disciplines of systematic theology, public theology, and ethics. Kristi serves as an economic and development advisor for the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. She works to strengthen the identification, development, and management of church development projects that support the financial goals of the church and improve the health and wellbeing of the communities. They live in Juba, the capital city.
Together they seek to empower and encourage the churches in South Sudan to be a light for Christ and a voice for peace in the midst of suffering and conflict, living out the gospel and ministering holistically to their communities.
Click HERE for more information about Rev. Bob Rice and Kristi Rice.
Gary and Marlene Van Brocklin
The Van Brocklins serve as regional liaisons for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) support of partner programs, relationships and activities and as implementers of the Presbyterian World Mission strategy. As regional liaisons for South Asia, Gary and Marlene connect with mission partners in South Asia to work on issues involving schools, poverty, evangelism, clinics and congregations.
Click HERE or more information about Gary and Marlene Van Brocklin.
Rev. Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez
From their home base in the Philippines, Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez are helping global partners address issues of migration and human trafficking. Cathy and Juan work with churches and non-governmental organizations in Asia to help coordinate efforts to end the scourge of modern-day slavery. They also resource various programs of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and US congregations concerned about the issue.
Click HERE for more information about Rev. Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez.
Rev. Ryan and Alethia White
Ryan and Alethia White work with Iranian refugees in partnership with the Iranian Presbyterian Church in Berlin. They provide pastoral care and collaborate with a number of Christian organizations and churches that serve Iranian refugees.
Click HERE for more information about Rev. Ryan and Alethia White.
For the academic year of 2019-2020 I moved to Boston, MA to participate in the Young Adult Volunteer Program -- a service year run by the PC(USA) Mission Agency. The theme of the program in Boston was Food Justice so I had the opportunity to learn about local produce, sustainable farming practices, ethical companies, and the advantages/disadvantages of being on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For service work, I was placed at the nonprofit, Living Waters Center for Hope, that focused its work on uplifting the unhoused in Lowell, MA and provided a meal and services to its guests. I also worked at Eliot Presbyterian Church in Lowell, MA. I helped organize large congregational events, led a middle school Sunday School class, co-taught the Confirmation Class, helped support the Outreach Committee, and aided in the inception of the Eliot Day Center program. Through all this, I learned a great deal about the inequities of the systems that make it difficult to overcome homelessness. I have been called to continue this work as a vocation and in my education at another homelessness-focused nonprofit in Boston, MA called common cathedral as well as attending Northeastern University for a Master's in Nonprofit Management.
A year ago I felt called to move to Durham, North Carolina to join a church plant called the 6:8 Church, started by a family I was introduced to by one of my college professors. The mission is really simple and comes directly from Micah 6:8 “For what does the Lord require of you? But to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” We are a community that is really focused on lifting up marginalized members of the surrounding community like single moms, families in public housing and other more urban populations. We seek to be involved in community activism and development, and to understand ways we can ultimately seek justice for the flourishing of our church and community members. Since I came in as one of the first staff members of a new church I really have been able to discern and grow in where I really feel the Lord placing me. I didn’t expect this to be a role of mine coming in, but God has really led me into developing relationships with single moms and ultimately walking with them on that path, whether that means helping them find services, give a listening ear, and of course offering childcare help! It has really been the greatest and most unexpected thing God has done. My second focus has been starting and developing a young adults ministry! Especially in this time where that population can feel very alone I have been hosting outdoor/precautionary events to foster deeper connections between young adults at our church and in the community. Lastly, I have been able to grow a lot in the art of worship leading and learning what it means to worship God and be open to his movement. I am so thankful for PCN and the financial and spiritual support they have given me since moving for this crazy adventure! I have surely learned a lot and very thankful for all God is doing here in Durham, North Carolina.