Witness Season - a tradition practiced by First Presbyterian Church for a generation or more! In fact, I had the privilege of championing the 2005 project and have been asked to represent the Local Mission Committee's 2020 project for the Cleveland Academy.

The word witness can be used as a noun describing "one who gives evidence or has personal knowledge of something". Or, witnessmay also be used as a verb meaning "to make a statement based on personal history" or "to declare an oath before a tribunal". In Jesus' final words to the Disciples, he uses witness as a call or challenge…"you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth".

Are we being called to witness across the street as demonstrated by the Good Samaritan? Across the street where the life expectancy is 17 years less than the side on which the Church sits. Across the street where 98% of the children in the school come from a home of poverty.

Our church has publicly stated our commitment to "reducing neighborhood isolation by connecting low income neighborhoods to essential services and working toward the goal of ensuring high-quality early education for every child". Some of us may be worried about the timing or use of our resources. But Proverbs 3:28 tells us; "Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you'— when we already have it with us."

We have a wonderful opportunity in front of us to support a Math Lab for the young people of the Cleveland Academy. The education specialists in the Church can tell you that mastering basic math skills by the 3rd grade is critical to academic success. Cleveland Academy has a new principal, who has asked for our help. We can see the transformation along Howard Street taking place right before our eyes. We have volunteers who are quietly going to the Northside every day to lend loving help where it is needed.

On behalf of all the people who are currently serving in the Northside, we humbly ask for your financial support to raise $25,000 to fund the development of a Math Lab, and other essential needs, of Cleveland Academy.

During the month of February, the Local Mission Committee will be sponsoring WAF discussions and Moments for Mission to inform you about this opportunity.

Faithfully submitted,

John Verreault