What is the Glenn Park COIVD-Penpal Initiative?

King’s Cross is initiating a service opportunity during the pandemic designed to connect King’s Cross Church (KCC) volunteers with residents who would like snail mail at least once per month (either personal letters or less formal greeting cards).  This will be to provide fellowship to the lonely, maintain/deepen relationships with residents who already attend the KCC Glenn Park service, and to share the gospel where able (James 1:27).

How can you get involved?

This will involve Glenn Park residents and KCC volunteers and will be facilitated by Kayla Bowling (Glenn Park Assistant Manager; 419-782-3000 ext 230), Debbie Sickmiller, and Becca Rupp (KCC point person: 216.526.4793). GLGs may choose to take this on as a mission project, or individuals can sign up. Families may wish to adopt one or more residents; kids are encouraged to participate by sending art, cards, poems, etc.  This will take place from Oct. 2020- December 2020. Residents are informed upon signing up that the commitment is ONLY until December, though some penpals may choose to stay in touch longer at their discretion.

Participants are encouraged to send letters from home individually/on their own time, or to commit to taking time during their GLGs to write out cards and letters together, to ensure that no one forgets their resident on a given month and/or to inspire writing in case someone doesn’t know how to reply or what to share. That would also be a good time for GLGs to pray for residents by name, and to share missional moments from the penpal ministry where possible.

Kayla and Debbie will inform all residents that King’s Cross Church will regularly be writing to Glenn Park. They will be briefed on the opportunity to write back to KCC, but all residents will know that there is no expectation to form a penpal relationship with anyone who writes to them. (Many residents expressed distress at the thought of having to craft back regular letters, but still wanted to receive mail encouragements and be involved in someone’s life outside the 4 walls of Glenn Park). KCC Volunteers will be encouraged to write to a “Glenn Park Neighbor” and send general pieces of encouragement; cards, poems, funny personal stories, kid art, bible verses, well-wishes and prayers, etc. In the event that a resident does write back, the KCC volunteer can plan to correspond with just that resident for the rest of the program. Otherwise, all mail will be something that any resident could enjoy as a nice break in the day. Glenn Park will “spread out” mail as needed if there are not 64 volunteers from KCC. Their staff are happy to read a letter aloud to 2 roommates, or in a small group as a special activity for that day, so that everyone can be a part, even if they don’t have an individual penpal buddy.


Further details: 

  • All KCC volunteers will be asked to send 1 letter or card per month, plus a card for Christmas. Volunteers may also want to reach out for other holidays, including a residents’ birthday if that is disclosed. In total, a volunteer should expect to send a minimum of 5 pieces of mail over the 3 month commitment.
  • The October commitment should include 1 piece of mail for the month, and 1 piece of mail simply to introduce yourself, say hi, etc.
  • It is best to place a return address at the top right corner of any mail (or on the back of a card, kid art, etc.) instead of on the envelope. This way, Glenn Park doesn’t have to keep track of envelopes that may get separated from mail, and a resident will have all the information necessary to write back at any given time.
  • If a volunteer does not want to share their personal info, they can use the Common’s address
  • Becca will be doing a regular pickup from the Commons (after Tuesday women’s study) so that bulk mailings (like from a GLG) can be delivered to Glenn Park instead of shipped via USPS. At that time she can also retrieve mail sent to the Commons for the program and distribute it to volunteers as necessary.
  • Stamps and stationary supplies will be provided to Glenn Park courtesy of the Rupp GLG
  • Current GLGs committed to the program are the Rupp/Verhoff GLG and the Sam Andres GLG
  • Anyone writing from home should address their mail “Dear Glenn Park Neighbor” and write out envelopes to:

Debbie Sickmiller
C/O King’s Cross Penpal Program
2429 William A. Diehl Ct
Defiance, OH 43512 

*If a penpal writes back, they can address any further mail to that specific resident’s name, using the same address.