Forest Home Chapel
Sunday, July 25, 2021
United Methodist Church, Ithaca New York

Our Missions

Why do churches engage in Mission? Three highlights stand out for the Chapel.


Mission is about paying attention to people and energizing the life around them. In the process we receive meaning and energy and connection with the very people and situations we focus upon.

Our Chapel's Mission Statement ~ "Embracing God's will for our community through education, compassion and justice" ~ helps to clarify who we support, and to concentrate our time and funds, energy and witness to do our best.


When we give time, prayers, money, resources, educational emphasis and any type of attention to a specific group of people or a special circumstance, we experience the spiritual concept that we are deeply connected to all human beings, and the whole planet. We belong to each other. Human beings are wired for connection.

Help People

Help people is one of our Biblical mandates. Jesus drew people's attention not because of his philosophy or because of theological statements about him, but because he helped people. In the name and power of God, he healed, taught, fed, reached out to the outcast and made them heroes and heroines. Mission is about reaching out and helping people who need it, calling on the power of God to use us and our resources to empower others.

Ithaca Kitchen Cupboard

A major focus of Forest Home Chapel’s outreach is Ithaca Kitchen Cupboard, a food pantry in downtown Ithaca. The Kitchen Cupboard, an ongoing project of Area Congregations Together since 1969, serves as an emergency and supplementary food pantry for people in the City and Town of Ithaca. The Cupboard (open daily from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Salvation Army building) provides eligible households with three days’ worth of balanced meals which can be prepared or cooked by people in their own homes.

Forest Home Chapel supports the Kitchen Cupboard in by staffing the Cupboard on the second Tuesday of each month, sending Chapel people to distribute orders to the families who come to the Cupboard window. We collect food for the Cupboard every month. And our Noisy Can offering every Sunday collects loose change and bills to send to Kitchen Cupboard to buy cases of food at reduced prices from Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

For more information or to volunteer to help, please download this document How to Help Ithaca Kitchen Cupboard, or contact Debbie Novelli at

Local School Ministries

Three times a year we collect school supplies and clothing necessities for young students at three high need elementary schools in the Ithaca City School District.We donate school supplies to let our children know we are with them in spirit as they learn. Spare clothes are an offering towards the comfort and dignity of our young neighbors.

Fall School Start

Crayons, pencils, markers, sharpeners, notebooks, glue sticks and other school supplies; new underwear and socks in small sizes; gently used pants, sweatpants and leggings

December Winter Clothing

New mittens (especially waterproof), hats, and scarves; new or gently used snow pants and snow boots in all children’s sizes

Undies for Easter!

New underwear and socks in small sizes; gently used pants, sweatpants and leggings


Foodnet Meals on Wheels Mac 'n Cheese Bowl

As part of the Chapel’s focus on local food security, we are yearly Blue Plate sponsors of Foodnet Meals on Wheels Mac ‘n Cheese Bowl, held every March at Ithaca High School.

Local eateries serve samples of their best macaroni and cheese dishes, and complete to win prizes, voted on by hundreds of paying and enthusiastic tasters.

Foodnet's largest community engagement event, the proceeds each year go to support Foodnet’s meal delivery and nutrition services in Tompkins County, primarily to older adults and those with disabilities.



United Methodist Committee on Relief

UMCOR is a frequent recipient of Chapel support, recently funds and flood buckets for 2017 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. This year, 2018, we have sent funds for Flood Relief in the Upper New York area. Pastor Robin Blair took part in relief efforts in Lodi.

One hundred percent of designated gifts support intended needs. UMCOR field offices and trusted, knowledgeable local partners provide relief and development in more than 80 countries.


Family Reading Partnership

When you read to children, they know you love them.

A bright red wooden crate waits in the entryway of the Chapel, ready to be filled with "gently used" children's books. Once the create is full, the books are taken to Family Reading Partnership, and join contributions from many other community organizations. The books are then distributed in "Bright Red Bookshelves" all over Tompkins County — health care waiting rooms, grocery stores, day care centers — anywhere parents and children will see the books, and take them home free, to read and love.

The Chapel has a long history of members vigorously supporting this initiative, combing yard sales and other collections to donate thousands of books to the effort. Be part of it!

Church World Service

Forest Home Chapel, we traditionally have an offering for Church World Service’s Blankets+ program on Mothers’ Day. Blankets+ is a special mission opportunity for all ages. Some 8,000 congregations and groups across the U.S. hold CWS Blankets+ events, providing funds to help people in need around the world, including the U.S.

For over 60 years, Church World Service has worked in partnership with local communities to identify their needs and access the resources they need to build the foundation for a more viable future, including:

  • Blankets, tents, food and other emergency supplies in the wake of a disaster
  • Tools and seeds for refugees returning home to replant their fields
  • Wells for families living in drought prone areas to provide clean, safe water to drink and to irrigate crops and gardens
  • Literacy training and microcredit for women struggling to realize their potential

You're the plus in Blankets+! For more information about Church World Service and Blankets+, go to



Protestant Cooperative Ministry

at Cornell University

Forest Home Chapel is one of five local member churches that support the work of Cornell’s Protestant Cooperative Ministry. Church members do this through board service and financial support and projects such as a Thanksgiving Dinner for PCM students and treat bags during finals. Additionally, the Chapel serves as the meeting place for the board throughout the year.

PCM Chaplin Taryn Mattice reports that students are thrilled to receive fuel for their studies, and even more thrilled to know that members of the Ithaca community keep them in our prayers during this anxious time.


Drive Buy Pie Proceeds Recipients

The week before Thanksgiving, Chapel members gather for apple and pumpkin pie bees, making over a hundred frozen unbaked apple pies. Friday is pumpkin pie bee day, making dozens of  fresh baked pumpkin pies.

Saturday is our Sale and Café, with eager buyers snapping up frozen pies to take to Thanksgiving feasts. We serve warm, fragrant pumpkin and apple pie slices to all comers, who stay to warm up and chat!

From a short list of nominated recipients, the congregation votes on which organization will receive proceeds from our most-popular, community-building sold-out fundraiser!


The proceeds from our very first Drive Buy Pie Sale and Café went to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Finger Lakes Chapter. NAMI-Finger Lakes focuses on supporting, educating, and advocating for families and friends of people diagnosed with major mental illness. A non-profit organization, it is run by unpaid volunteers, all of who have loved ones suffering from major mental illness. Our mission was to raise not only funds, but also awareness of the issues and resources that are available locally.


Our missional offering of event profits in 2017 went to Tompkins Learning Partners, a local not-for-profit, whose mission is “to help adults who live or work in Tompkins County meet their personal goals, free of charge, by improving their ability to read, write, and speak English, and to use math and computers.”

Several Chapel members volunteer as tutors, and one serves on their Board, working alongside students of all ages as they strive toward GED certification, citizenship, and other affirmations of their rightful place in a vibrant, healthy civil society.


Christmas Eve Offering Recipients

Christmas Eve at the Chapel is a very special service and holy gathering, where members, neighbors, friends, relatives and strangers gather to worship the birth of our Savior.

Guided by our mission statement, the congregation prayerfully votes on which organization will receive proceeds from our Christmas Eve offering, from a short list of nominated recipients.


The Christmas Eve offering went to support another small church in the Finger Lakes area. Our own small church has been so blessed, and we wanted to share our blessings with this congregation facing some challenges.


The Christmas Eve offering supported the building fund for the first Mosque to be built in Ithaca, Al-Huda Islamic Center of the Finger Lakes, by our Islamic Community of about 500 people. We are so grateful for their continuing hospitality and outreach services. At open house sessions at Moosalla Noor Islamic Community Outreach Services, mosque leaders provide education and information about the Islamic faith, promoting understanding, acceptance, and good will among the people of Ithaca and Tompkins County.


The Christmas Eve offering recipient was South Sudan Initiatives, a not-for-profit organization devoted to sending children in refugee camps to school. Founded by Abraham Deng (one of the Lost Boys of Sudan), this mission reflects God’s grace by helping to provide schooling to some of the 240,000 Sudanese people living in Ugandan refugee camps, surviving the war and destruction of their homeland.


The Christmas Eve offering went to Loaves & Fishes. “Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County is a Christian ministry providing a place for free meals, hospitality, companionship, and advocacy for those in need, regardless of their faith, beliefs, or circumstances. Loaves & Fishes is Tompkins County’s only community kitchen serving free meals Monday through Friday.