The acronym SPIO has taken on enhanced meaning for the Mercy Commission’s outreach to the South Philadelphia community. SPIO, standing for South Philadelphia Immigrant Outreach, now umbrellas:

  • SPEAK (South Philadelphia English at Kirkbride), our English language program for adults.
  • the tutoring and vacation Bible school programs for children, sustained by Maranatha.
  • the up-and-coming Hispanic service at Tenth Church. 

One of SPIO’s immediate goals has been the compilation of a roster of all the households we have been reaching out to in this community. We included South Philadelphia families that we have served, in any capacity, from the time of the city’s shut down in March 2020 through July 2021. The roster provides us the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate God’s provision during our relatively short history, as well as the basis for planning future service. 

The outreach to the children and adults of this nearby community has steadily continued. Last spring, the food bag drive, with groceries generously supplied by Tenth congregants, enabled our volunteers to deliver two bags to each household instead of the intended one each. In addition, Maranatha volunteers delivered Easter casseroles, and more recently, SPEAK teachers distributed Day of the Three Kings celebration baskets and Acme gift cards. Both digital ESL and Bible story lessons continue online with regularity. Encouragingly, several of our adults have even recommended our outreaches to their own friends. 

To implement the vision of an Hispanic service at Tenth Church, we welcomed Christopher Andino. Chris was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved to Pennsylvania in 2015 to pursue further education. He is entering his last year at Westminster Theological Seminary in the MDiv program. Chris is continuing to form friendships with members of the Hispanic community in the Philadelphia area and is leading the weekly Hispanic Bible study at Tenth, both of which his predecessor, Román González, set in motion. Chris sees his ultimate goal as establishing an Hispanic worship service based on Biblical, reformed doctrine.

To set up a time to talk over how you could participate, together with us, in SPIO’s outreach to our South Philadelphia neighbors, feel free to contact us.

March 18-20, the Mercy Commission is hosting their annual conference, “Multiplying Voices for the Gospel,” which will explore how the gospel crosses communication barriers through some of Tenth’s ministries, including SPIO. Learn more and register.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Ray Withers. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org