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Diocesan Members Represent ARDF at 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon

Diocesan Members Represent ARDF at 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon

For the third year in a row, members from different congregations in the Diocese participated in the Pittsburgh Marathon to raise money and awareness for the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. What initially started with a five runner relay team out of St. Stephen’s, Sewickley, has grown to include multiple congregations with runners who participated in the full marathon, half marathon as well as relay. South Side Anglican, All Saints Anglican, St. Peter’s Butler and St. Andrews College Hill were all represented Sunday, May 1. 

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The Rev. Steve Palmer (St. Stephen’s) originally suggested the idea and ran with a relay team this year.

“The Marathon is an exciting and accessible way to get young adults involved in world mission. Often international mission seems so overwhelming, so much need and so many projects,” he said. “But the Marathon makes things manageable for our young adult ministry – everyone runs a certain number of miles, raises a certain amount of money, and contributes significantly to an ARDF project.”

Fundraising efforts were for an ARDF project in Sololo, a town in Kenya’s Marsabit County. The project is helping to expand the facilities of Tumaini Academy, a Christian elementary school established by the Marsabit Diocese of the Church of Kenya. Most of the first through sixth grade students are Muslim (the region is 80% Muslim), and the education provided at Tumaini Academy is often the first time the students and their families are introduced to Christianity.

Expanding the school’s facility will include new space for administration and a new kitchen. For many students, the one meal they receive at school is the only full meal they’ll have all day.
A 13,000 gallon water tank will also be installed. The region is very hot and dry, ensuring students’ hydration is imperative to their safety, well-being and education. The tank will cost $8,000 to install while serving almost 500 students. For every $17 raised, one student gets the life-giving water they need to carry them through the day. More on the Sololo project here.

While the marathon is a great way to raise awareness and funds about ARDF and wonderful projects like the one in Sololo, it’s also a great time for members of different congregations throughout the diocese to get to know one another.

The Rev. Andrew DeFusco of St. Peter’s (Butler) participated in the full marathon this year, and explained how the actual act of running can be such a powerful experience in itself.

“Running is such a primitive, bodily experience, and for me that tends to bring to life the Bible's imagery of the Church as the body of Christ,” he said. “It has been a moving experience these past couple of years to team up with members of Christ's body here in Pittsburgh raising money for members of that same body who live far from us, all by using our bodies to delight in God's creation as we run around the city for a day. It's just plain fun!”

Other participants this year included Delia Bouwers Bianchin, Sarah Bray, Ryan Budnik, the Rev. Paul Cooper, Jimmy DeBone, Olivia Forish, Erin Harvey, Steven Healey, Katelyn Jones, Bethany Kaiser, Jane Kirkland, Kristen Parise, Renee Pentz, Scott Schinderle, Deb Simmons-Williams, Nate Townsend and the Rev. Charlie Treichler. Thank you for your efforts and congratulations to all participants! ARDFshirt

The plan is to continue this tradition to spread the word and efforts of ARDF while running in fellowship with other Anglicans in the Diocese. Feeling inspired? The 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon is slated for May 6.

“I hope this initiative grows,” says Palmer. “It would be great to see scores of Anglicans – younger and older – running in the Marathon each year to offer significant support to crucial ARDF work.”

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