Senior pastor Ken Murphy, staff, and attendees at Cypress Wesleyan Church in Galloway, Ohio, greeted the Christmas season of 2013 with four compassion projects this year: give gifts, give warmth, give joy, and give hope.

Give gifts: Cypress Wesleyan filled and sent more than 700 boxes full of gifts to children around the world. This initiative is through Operation Christmas Child.

Give warmth: the church held a coat drive, at which more than 2,800 coats were donated for local elementary school-aged children. Church volunteers distributed the coats at six local school districts in the Columbus area.

Give joy: it’s the largest outreach initiative Cypress has ever done. The church is investing $50,000 to equip members and attendees to pray as a family and invest in the community. Each person or family unit received a $25 gift card from a local grocery store to double (or more) if they are able, for the sole purpose of giving the gift to another this Christmas season.

Give hope: this is the annual offering that will be received at each of Cypress’ 10 Christmas services. This year, the offering will support current ministries that provide food, tutoring, school supplies, and other resources to needy children in surrounding communities.

In addition to the “give” projects, Cypress hosted the ESPN 30-for-30 film Youngstown Boys, which highlights the interconnected journeys of former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett and former head coach Jim Tressel, at a Saturday evening service. Clarett was in attendance. The one-time star formerly spent time in prison after leading OSU to the national championship in 2002 for accepting improper benefits and filing a false police report. He has since placed his faith in Jesus. The two talked about their faith and inspired those in attendance.

Cypress Senior Pastor Ken Murphy prays for Maurice Clarett