Social Ministry
The quilting group completed 34 quilts! 

Health Kits

42 health kits were prepared for disaster areas.

Easter Food Bags
17 Easter dinner bags and $225 and 211 pounds of food were donated.  Thank you for sharing your Easter joy with those who would not have a dinner without our help.


$150 was raised to purchase seedlings, chicks, ducks, geese, and honeybees to support a family.  Make Way for Ducklings raised $225 so our combined total was $375.

Souperbowl of Caring

$232 and 152 pounds of food was given to the Open Pantry.

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

Thanksgiving Bags
30 Thanksgiving dinners collected!  In addition, $190 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 $760 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.

15 sweatshirts were collected for the homeless.

Community Garden

Our garden produced 300 pounds of wonderful vegetables for the Open Pantry.


Action Centered Tutoring Services (ACTS)
Is a free one-to-one program that combines mentoring with tutoring for the children of Springfield, grades kindergarten through fifth grade.  Tutor/mentors are required to commit for two hours a week for the school year. Orientation and training is 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 July and August Newsletter here

From the Pastor

By Your Invitation

On Pentecost this year children were told the story of Pentecost and shown a picture of the tongues of fire over everyone’s head.  I explained that they were “on fire” with God’s love.  They just had to share it with everyone they met.  Each child was given a flaming torch and told to go tell the people in the congregation that God loves them.  They ran to do this and ran back to tell me about it.  I asked was it hard to do, “no” they said, “it was fun and easy” and they continued doing it through the coffee hour.

Sometimes we make things seem harder than they are.  Sharing God’s love with another person is easy and fun.  We do not need to convince them, we are not trying to save their soul or win an argument.  We just share this good news and we interact with them in a loving way.

Early in the life of this country churches grew by immigration.  People moved into neighborhoods filled with people from the same country.  Everyone spoke the same language and churches were organized around cultural and linguistic identity.  Bethesda is an example of this beginning as a Swedish Lutheran church that worshipped in Swedish.

As people settled churches grew by procreation.  Families had children and generations gave birth to the next generation.  This went on until the 1950’s.  That generation did not attend church as often, it was no longer the cultural and social center for immigrants. 

Today churches grow by invitation.  People invite others to come and experience what they experience and treasure.  Whenever visitors come back a second time I ask them what brought them back.  I always hear the same two things.  The music is amazing and the people are so welcoming.  There you have it.  When you are inviting someone to our churches tell them how great the band is and invite them to come and hear for themselves.  Let them join the psalmist in saying, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1) 

Tell them about your church family.  People who truly care about one another.  They ask how you are because they really want to know.  When you face a difficult situation they will hug you, pray for you, and help you in whatever way they can.  You will be accepted as who God made you, no judgment made.  Let them echo our psalmists, “O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.”  (Psalm 26:8)  “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

A pastor recently shared this encounter with his colleagues.  A visitor asked him, “What’s a Lutheran?” He replied, “People who depend on grace.  Grace means that God’s love for us is unconditional.  We don’t earn salvation by being perfect, we are saved by grace because God loves us so much.”  She responded, “You should put THAT on a sign.”  Then she said, “But you’re Evangelicals?  The media shows evangelicals as intolerant and judgmental.”  The pastor explained, “Evangelical means ‘good news’ Lutheran’s share the good news of God’s love.”  “Oh” she said, “the ones on TV don’t seem to have any good news to share.  Maybe you should stick with grace.” 

When Americans were surveyed about the words they most wanted to hear each day, the three most frequent responses were: “I love you”; “I forgive you”; and “Dinner is ready.  Come and eat.”  Every time we gather for worship we hear that God loves us, we are assured that we are forgiven, and we are all welcomed to the Lord’s Table for a meal of grace.

Who do you know that would welcome your invitation to come with you to worship?  Please invite them soon.  They will be so glad that you did.

Your partner in the gospel,

Pastor Lauren


Thank You!!!!!
  • Everyone who helped make our outdoor worship and picnic such a success! It was great!  Lisa Duffney, Xavier Raiford, Pr. Duncan Hunter, Mike Dufault, Jodylee Fortier, Natalie Krstyen and many others for helping to move tables and chairs in and out of the church for worship and the picnic.  Thanks for all who brought food for the picnic and helped set up and clean up.  The band for setting up music and sound outdoors.
  • Deacon Melvin Finnell and Jay Cleaveland for transporting the grill, and Jay for cooking.
  • Andre, Briana, Elani, and Ty for planting the vegetable garden.
  • Shirley Flanders for baking bread for communion.
  • An anonymous person who donated $50 toward Carmen Melecio’s journey toward ordained ministry as a Lutheran pastor in Springfield.
  • Jay Cleaveland for watering the law manually due to the construction.


Synod Assembly 2018
Bethesda’s Jazz Band (Joe Green, Jeff Dostal, and Clark Siebold) played for the closing worship service at this year’s Synod Assembly.  Marybeth Lewison was the cantor.  500 Lutheran’s were rocking to the bands favorite “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me.”  Bishop Hazelwood posted this picture on Facebook with the caption, “One of my favorite moments from assembly.”  Thanks to all of you for a wonderful worship service, you were great!  Bishop Hazelwood was re-elected for a second 6-year term.  Mary Hunter continues to serve as secretary of the Synod Council.  Marybeth and Mike Lewison represented us as voting members.

Bible study in September
In September we will continue our study of other religions.

Quilting will not meet in July or August.  September 1st they will reconvene.

Scrapbooking will not meet in July or August.  September 15th they will reconvene.

Save this Date
On October 24th from 6-8pm Bishop Hazelwood will prepare a Middle Eastern meal for us to enjoy together and he will show pictures of his most recent trip to the Holy Land.  This conference-wide event will take place at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Holyoke.

Tending the Garden
We need people to tend the garden each week.  You do not need to weed or water.  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.

Social Ministry

What we just completed


Collecting for Ascentria at Synod Assembly
What we are doing now

Tending the garden beds

What is coming next

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

Remembering in 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 have someone we need to include in our prayers please notify our church office. 

May God be with them and bless them with wholeness and health.

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