Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lutherans Are Advocating!

Here's a quick post to showcase two congregations that are beginning to do some really great advocacy work in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  A few weeks back I had the privilege of spending time with both St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Sellersville, PA) and the Lutheran Church of God's Love (Newtown, PA) as part of my LAMPa field site placement.

St. Michael's is a dynamic congregation that has three vastly different worship services.  The early service is a cozy, more traditional worship experience in a small secondary chapel while the late service is much larger and held in the sanctuary.  In between there's a very free flowing emerging church service over coffee and pastry in St. Michael's parish hall.  I was lucky enough to preach on hunger advocacy at all three services for a sort of belated World Food Day.  The message seemed to be received well, and we also used the following Sesame Street clip for the family oriented emerging service:

Sort of a catchy Brad Paisley song huh?  After the services, Marissa (my LAMPa supervisor) and I had a great time talking with folks at St. Michael's about what the congregation is already doing to feed hungry people.  Besides participating in the local CROP walk and Souper Bowl of Caring, St. Michael's is developing a new ministry to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables to the local food bank.  We even heard that a group of youth at the church have created a goal of ending hunger in Sellersville before they graduate from high school.  That's awesome!  Many of the congregation members were excited to be thinking about advocacy efforts as well.

The Lutheran Church of God's Love is beginning to develop a strong model for advocacy that other churches should definitely consider.  Marissa and I had the privilege of joining a large group of congregation member who had just formed an advocacy minister.  Besides talking about LAMPa and how state and federal advocacy works, we assisted the group in identifying one specific issue to work on for a while.  Often when folks first get involved with advocacy it can be overwhelming and discouraging.  There are way too many problems out there!  By picking one issue to start with, the folks at the Lutheran Church of God's Love were giving themselves a little grace to learn and not get burned out.  I was certainly tired at the end of a long day visiting both congregations, but boy, it was encouraging!  Lutherans are advocating!

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