NEWS  CORNER

Social Ministry

Quilting
The quilting group completed 64 quilts! 

Easter Food Bags
21 Easter dinner bags and $160 and 241 pounds of food were donated.  Thank you for sharing your Easter joy with those who would not have a dinner without our help.

Heifer

$165 was raised to purchase seedlings, chicks, ducks, geese, and honeybees to support a family. Make Way for Ducklings raised $150.

Souperbowl of Caring
$138 and 104 pounds of food was given to the Open Pantry.

Mitten Tree
Countless pairs of mittens/gloves, hats, scarves.

Emergency Fuel Assistance
$39.14was collected to help those who cannot afford to heat their homes.

Thanksgiving Bags
39 Thanksgiving dinners weighing 541 pounds collected!  In addition, $160 in cash was also donated.  Thanks to everyone who helped provide a Thanksgiving meal to folks who are struggling to put food on the table.

Crop Walk
We raised $570 to feed the hungry through the work of Church World Service.   It is through our collective giving that we helped feed the hungry globally and money is also donated to the fuel assistance program and food pantries/soup kitchens locally.
Community Garden

Our garden produced 539 pounds of wonderful vegetables for the Open Pantry.

ACTS
Action Centered Tutoring Services

Is a free one-to-one program that combines mentoring with tutoring for the children of Springfield, grades kindergarten through fifth grade, in the Spirit of Christ. In addition to tutoring, the program provides opportunities for tutors and students to be part of a voluntary “Club Time” following each tutoring session. Bethesda/East Churches has been approached by the ACTS program to be a host site. In order to start a program at Bethesda/East, we would need to have a minimum of six students and six tutor/mentors. Mentors will be required to commit for two hours a week for the school year. Orientation and training will be provided. Please contact Pastor Lauren if interested in this program

Meals at Friends of the Homeless
We serve a lunch and a dinner each month at Friends of the Homeless.


The Beacon Messenger

Download a copy of our June Newsletter here

From the Pastor

We are the Church for the Sake of the World: 
Connecting our faith to our involvement in government

God’s presence is not confined to the church or to Sunday mornings.  God is present in every part of lives including our government.  God works through government to protect creation, maximize the responsible use of natural resources, and to build a peaceful and just society for everyone.  In baptism we promise to “serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus,” and “to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”  Our positions and actions are always grounded in scripture:
“For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his faithful ones.” (Psalm 37:28)
“Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:20)
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

As the people of God, we love our neighbor, seek peace and justice, and care for God’s creation through participation in government at the local, state and federal levels.  Our faith informs how we look at political issues and our participation in those issues. 

“Our Christian faith compels us to attend to the world through the lens of our relationship to God and to one another.  As a public church, we have a responsibility to step outside our comfort zones and challenge ourselves to address issues that affect families, communities and neighbors throughout the world.  As a church body, the ELCA uses its prophetic voice boldly to address important political, social and economic issues that affect local and global communities.” (ELCA.org/advocacy)  You can find the social statements of the ELCA at ELCA.org/socialstatements.

This year, ELCA Advocacy will work to:

  • Protect God's creation from the impacts of climate change;
  • Maintain and expand federal programs that provide food assistance to children and families in need throughout the U.S.;
  • Act to ensure all people have access to affordable, accessible and quality healthcare;
  • Increase support for federal programs that seek to end homelessness;
  • Ensure the U.S. government continues to fund humanitarian relief and development programs that address extreme hunger and poverty across the globe;
  • Prevent gender-based violence in the U.S. and around the world;
  • Address unjust systems of mass incarceration as part of our commitment to challenge systems of racial and economic injustice.
  • Call for a peaceful and lasting negotiated resolution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

To faithfully do this work we need to create a “Social Justice Team” to examine the issues confronting us, review the positions that have already been developed, and recommend what our churches will do to support/oppose these issues as opportunities present themselves.  If you are interested in serving in this capacity please speak with me.  I welcome everyone who would like to participate on the team as well as responses to our proposed involvement from everyone.

Of course it is understood that churches are nonpartisan.  We may hold a position on issues but not on candidates.  The ELCA supports the Johnson Amendment which prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates.  Many Republicans, have sought to repeal the amendment, arguing that it restricts the free speech rights of churches and other religious groups.  Repeal has been criticized because churches have fewer reporting requirements than other non-profit organizations, and because it would effectively make political contributions tax-deductible.

On May 4, 2017, the President signed an executive order "to defend the freedom of religion and speech" for the purpose of easing the Johnson Amendment's restrictions.  Our Presiding Bishop has prepared a statement affirming our support to keep the Johnson Amendment as it is because the separation of church and state is essential to maintain.

Throughout the country Lutheran pastors and churches are collaborating with Episcopal       priests and parishes in many ways.  I have been a member of the Episcopal Social Justice Commission of the Western Mass Diocese of the Episcopal Church for several years.  These are the issues that we are concerned about: Climate Justice – Racism – Immigration - Gun Violence – Casino Mitigation – Sexism.  With our two denominations working together we can accomplish more.  We have crafted position statements, developed training programs, written letters, editorials, signed petitions and testified on pending legislation.

Again, I need and welcome your involvement in this important area of our life together in Christ.  Below I have shared a letter from the Lutheran and Episcopal Bishops calling their churches to action for the sake of the world that God loves so dearly.

Your sister in Christ, Pastor Lauren

For Such A Time As This
Pray.  Fast.  Act.

Yesterday (5/18/2017), the presiding bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church issued a joint invitation to a season of prayer, fasting and advocacy.  The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA and The Most Reverend Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, extended this call out of concern for proposed deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty.  They summon our churches to practices of spiritual devotion that undergird a discipline of public witness on behalf of the neighbor.

We are coming together as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church to oppose deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty.  We make this call in anticipation of the May 21 Global Day of Prayer to End Famine.  We highlight the importance of foreign assistance and humanitarian relief as members of the World Council of Churches.

We also make a call to pray, fast and advocate not just on May 21, but throughout the 115th Congress.  At the invitation of Bread for the World, we join with ecumenical partners and pledge to lead our congregations and ministries in fasting, prayer and advocacy, recognizing the need to engage our hearts, bodies and communities together to combat poverty.  As the call to prayer articulates:

We fast to fortify our advocacy in solidarity with families who are struggling with hunger.  We fast to be in solidarity with neighbors who suffer famine, who have been displaced, and who are vulnerable to conflict and climate change.  We fast with immigrants who are trying to make a better future for their families and now face the risk of deportation.  We fast in solidarity with families on SNAP, who often run out of food by the last week of the month. 

Domestically, Americans throughout the country are struggling with poverty, and many government-funded programs allow them to care for and feed their families.  As we look overseas, we must acknowledge that foreign assistance and humanitarian relief can help address regions confronting famine and food insecurity, including South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Lake Chad Basin.  We will challenge proposals to eliminate or defund proven anti-poverty programs, at home and abroad. 

The story of Esther provides encouragement for our fasting, prayer and advocacy.  Esther, a Jew, was the wife of the Persian king.  When plans were made to slaughter all the Jews in the empire, Esther’s cousin Mordechai pleaded with her to go to the king and use her voice to advocate for them, even though this might place her life in danger.  He urged her not to remain silent, as she may have been sent “for such a time as this.”  Esther asked people to fast and pray with her for three days to fortify her advocacy before the king, resulting in saving the lives of her people. 

God’s intention is the flourishing of all people, and we are called to participate in God’s loving purpose by standing with our neighbors who struggle with poverty and hunger.  Following the Circle of Protection ecumenical fast in 2011 to fortify the faith community in opposing cuts to vital anti-poverty programs, we may have also have been prepared “for such a time as this.”  We commit ourselves to and invite our members to one day of fasting every month to under gird our efforts to convince our members of Congress to protect poverty-focused programs.  

The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Jeopardy Game and Picnic June 25th
One of our 125th anniversary events is a trivia game about both Bethesda and East Churches' histories.  It will be in the style of JEOPARDY.  We are looking for questions and answers from members of both our con-joined churches to create a game that will be fun for all.  You may submit as many questions with their answers as you want.  We would like a wide variety.  Please submit them in writing (handwritten, typed or by email) to the church office (admin@bethesdaspringfield.org ) or to Marybeth Lewison (mlewison@peoplepc.com), by May 15th.  Thanks for your help. On June 25th right after worship we will play the Jeopardy Game and have a picnic lunch (sandwiches will be provided). 

Pentecost
Pentecost falls on June 4th this year, remember to wear red to church. 

Thank You!!!!!

  • Evelyn Morris for making stoles for the confirmation class.
  • Mike Lewison, Frosty and Geoff Robbins for planting the flower gardens.
  • Sheryn Roberts for directing the ACTS tutoring program, Jay Cleaveland, Mike Dufault, Frosty Robbins, Gary Roberts, Betsy Swain, and Pr. Lauren for tutoring.
  • Sue and Len Mariotti, Lisa Duffney, Kianeesa, Kaylena, Elani, and Derik Raiford, Frosty and Geoff Robbins, and Jay Cleaveland for packaging meals at the Islamic Society. Together we feed 15,000 people!!!
  • Mary Holmquist, Carol Haglund, Frosty Robbins, Marybeth Lewison, Jay Cleaveland, Jan Davies, and Mary Hunter for preparing delicious food for our pot luck dinner.
  • Our quilters: Pat Bonneau, Frosty Robbins, Carol Haglund, Marybeth Lewison, Marilyn Powers, Grace Goewey, Gail Beaudoin. You are amazing!

Social Ministry

What we just completed

       The Quilting Group made 64 quilts!!!!

What we are doing now

Collecting for Ascentria at Synod Assembly

Preparing and planting the garden beds

What is coming next

Collecting food for the open pantry.  Start looking for bargains now and clip coupons.

Quilting
Our quilting group completed 64 quilts!  They will be shipped overseas and through bar-coding we can track where they are sent.  Last year our quilts went to Angola and Mali.

Quilting will not meet in July or August but will begin again on September 2nd.

Tending the Garden
We need people to tend the garden each week.  This year we are using ground cloth so once we do the initial weeding we should not have to weed.  The sprinklers water the garden.  The only thing we need is someone to harvest what is ready to pick and bring it to the Open Pantry 2460 Main Street Springfield.  Please sign up for a week.  Thank you.

The New England Synod Assembly
This year the annual Synod Assembly will be held in Springfield on June 9-10th.  

Camperships/Scholarships
Students who are going to Camp Calumet or are off to college may request a form to apply for a campership or scholarship.  Application deadline for both Campership and Scholarship funds is June 1st of each year. 

Scrapbooking
Scrapbooking will not meet in July or August.  September 16th they will reconvene.

Campaign Nonviolence walk Sunday June 11th 2pm
Our next campaign nonviolence walk will be on Sunday June 11th at 2pm.  We will meet at St. John’s Congregational Church, 45 Hancock Street, Springfield.  Join us!

Intercessory Prayer
We all share in the ministry of intercessory prayer.  We are called individually to pray each day and as a gathered community of faith in worship.  If you wish to include someone in our prayers please notify the church office.


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Bethesda Lutheran Church      East Chruch, Congregational      Address: 455 Island Pond Rd.  Springfield, MA 01118      Ph: 413-733-4494      Email: Admin@BethesdaSpringfield.org