Social Ministry

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.


$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.

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 September Newsletter here

From the Pastor

Reformation Then and Now

We often think of the reformation as an event that took place long ago.  It is ancient history to many; but it is still relevant to us today.  Martin Luther was not trying to start a new religion, he was trying to correct an error in the Catholic Church of his day.  Eventually the error was corrected.  But Luther came to realize that just like people, all churches are capable of errors and are always in need of correction.  The living word of God is our guide to recognize errors and to guide our planning for the future.  Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

The first Reformation highlighted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection, which is where salvation comes from.  We are baptized into his death and resurrection.  We are justified (made right with God) not by our works but by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us.  Coming to understand grace was transformative to people individually and it spawned new churches and changed existing ones.  Today Lutherans and Catholics agree that no one can earn salvation, we are saved by grace through faith.   For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:8

A church historian, Phyllis Tickle looked back over the course of church history and realized that, “Every five hundred years, the church cleans out its attic and has a giant rummage sale.”   It gets rid of what no longer works.  The last one was the reformation in 1517.  Before that, the great schism happened in 1054 when the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church split.  We are due for one now. 

Theologians agree that ecclesia semper reformanda (Latin for "the church must always be reformed").  It refers to the conviction that the church must continually re-examine itself in order to maintain its purity of doctrine and practice.  Just as society changes the church needs to change to keep up with the way the world works today.

I am currently taking a class on Talmud given by Rabbi Mark Shapiro.  Talmud refers to the collection of writings central to Judaism.  He began by explaining that the Talmud came about when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.  God’s presence was in that Temple.  It was the focal point of their religion.  They lost all structure when they lost their structure.  They began wondering about how often to pray and what to say when they pray.  They made decisions and wrote them down giving them a new structure for their religion.  They reinvented themselves.

The number of people who do not have a relationship with a church is at an all-time high.  Yet when one talks to these folks many care deeply about social justice issues.  They want people to be paid a living wage, have adequate housing and access to education and health care.  They care about protecting the earth.  They want to make a difference.  Many studies show that young people would affiliate with a movement that focused on justice.  Perhaps this is where the next reformation will lead us.  The prophet Amos still calls to us, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

Jesus spent more time talking about God’s Kingdom, a place where all have enough, where all are treated with dignity and respect.  A place when love rules.  Martin Luther King Jr. called it the Beloved Community.  We work to bring this kingdom closer by how we live with others.

Jesus was most concerned with those overlooked by society, especially the poor.  He championed justice for all and called us to serve him by feeding, clothing and housing people.  Jesus paid attention to the sick and infirm.  He returned outcasts back into society.  Jesus loved everyone and treated all people with kindness and mercy.  We follow Jesus into the future, his church will continue, but it may look very different from church as we know it.

In Jesus’ name, Pastor Lauren

Thank You!!!!!

  • Scott Peterson and Kevin Sheehan for enter and exit parking lot signs to keep children who use our building safe, and for signs in the garden explaining its purpose.
  • Jay for harvesting food from our garden for the Open Pantry.
  • Mike Lewison for weeding the flower beds.
  • The anniversary tem for their hard work preparing for the anniversary celebration. Ruth Carlson, Carol Haglund, Mary Holmquist, Marybeth Lewison, Sue Mariotti and Pastor Lauren. 

Pastor Lauren will bless animals

on Sunday October 1st from 12noon — 2pm. 

Bring your animals for a blessing.

Adult Education Sundays at 9am
In October we will begin a six week series (October 1, 8,15,22,29 and November 5th) “Together by Grace”.  Please get a copy of the book and read the first chapter for October 1st.

November 12th 19th 26th December 3rd we will begin a four session series looking at the Reformation through the UCC eyes.

 Join us Sunday’s at 9am behind the organ.  Bring your coffee and perhaps a friend. 

125th Anniversary
October 1st Alan Dickinson will play the organ.

October 29th Pastor Bob Goehrig will preach at worship and to visit with us following worship.

November 5th Alan Dickinson will again play the organ.

Annual Greater Springfield CROP Hunger Walk October 15th
1:00pm Registration; 2:00pm Walk Trinity United Methodist Church.  Ending hunger one step at a time by helping our neighbors at home and around the world.  Becky Lewison is walking, join her or give your donations to her. 

Interfaith event to feed the hungry
Sunday October 29th 2pm St. Michael’s Cathedral on State Street

Pastor Lauren as Dean of the Western MA conference has been meeting with Bishop Rozanski exploring possible ways to mark the reformation anniversary.  We agreed that rather than look back at events that separated us in the distant past we would celebrate our ongoing dialogue and many areas of agreement between our two traditions.  Furthermore, we wanted to do something that would make a difference and hunger is always a pressing issue.  Also, these days religions are often portrayed in an unflattering way in the media often pointing to our areas of disagreement and failure to work together.  Bishop Rozanski and I thought a wonderful way to acknowledge the reformation anniversary would be to show our two groups working together along with members of the interfaith community.

On Sunday October 29th at 2pm at St. Michael's Cathedral we will gather to package meals to feed 10,000 in Western MA and 10,000 affected by the hurricanes.  We will begin with a brief interfaith service.  We will be using the song “For Everyone Born” and Joe Green will be playing.  I need some choir members to lead the singing.  The focus of the event is on feeding the hungry and interfaith collaboration.  To date we have raised enough for the first 10,000 meals and are working toward the second 10,000.  There is no limit to what we can do working together.

October 31, 2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
In addition to the two book series listed above, we will show the movie “Luther” on Saturday October 21st from 6pm to 8pm

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Holyoke will show the PBS documentary “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World” on October 7th at 6:30pm.  All are welcome.

December 10th at 9am we will show “Luther and the Reformation”.

Change your clocks
Sunday November 5th Daylight Savings Time ends.  Please remember to turn your clocks back one hour. 

Thanksgiving Dinners
It is the time of the year to think about Thanksgiving meals for those without adequate food.  Bags with the list of needed non-perishable food items will be given out on October 29th.  They are to be returned by November 19th so that they can be delivered in time for Thanksgiving.  The need is even greater this year so your help would really be greatly appreciated.

Action Centered Tutoring Services is a free one-to-one program that combines tutoring children in Springfield with Christian mentoring for grades kindergarten through fifth grade.  More tutors are needed.  The time requirement is two hours a week during the school year.  We meet on Tuesdays from 4-6pm.  Orientation and training will be provided.  Please contact Pastor Lauren. 

Copies of the directory are available.  Listed below are changes since the first printing.

Changes are underlinedJoan Craven 5 Laraway Court Apt 2H Derry NH 03038 Home phone: 603-260-6111.  Betsy & Jason Swain Jack, Avery 28 Brentwood Dr. Wilbraham MA. 01095.  Kate & Jay Yarymowicz Kate’s phone: 413-478-8965.


Social Ministry

What we just completed

       Tending the garden beds

What we are doing now

Harvesting the garden & sweatshirts

What is coming next

Crop Walk

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.

Past – Present - Future
“Read up on what happened before you were born; dig into the past, understand your roots. Ask your parents what it was like before you were born; ask the old-ones, they’ll tell you a thing or two.” (Deuteronomy 32:7MSG)  Our ancestors in faith organized our churches, their vision and faithfulness placed us on firm ground.  They handed down what they had been taught to us. 

“I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.” (Philippians 1:5MSG) We are connected to many vital ministries in Springfield.  Our building is home to four churches, and we provide vital programs for children.  We play a significant role in feeding the hungry.  Out of gratitude for all our blessings let’s give generously so that we can continue to bless others.  When we give what we have to God, it is combined with the gifts of others, and multiplied it meets the needs of so many people. 

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11NRSV)  It seems that God has a future for us.  God has plans for our churches, plans that will make our collective head spin.  We have something special here, let’s all work together to keep it going.  Let us step into the future together giving ourselves to God.  Give generously for our future. 


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