Our garden produced wonderful vegetables for the Open Pantry.
42 health kits were prepared for disaster areas.
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 November Newsletter here
From the Pastor
The other day I woke up giving thanks for my parents. They were loving parents and faithful Christians. My dad had a grade school education, my mother completed high school. But they both knew the value of an education and they were determined that I would have a good one. We were lower middle class but they wanted me to be in a good school system so they moved from an apartment in Bridgeport CT to a house in the affluent town of Fairfield. Dad worked in a factory, Mom worked in a department store and she cleaned houses on her days off. We did not fit in socially, my peers parents were all college educated and had professional jobs. We were most at home in our church in Bridgeport.
Because of my parent’s hard work and sacrifice I had a wonderful college education as a nurse which led to my master’s degree in nursing which was largely paid for by a federal grant. My education opened up many high level job opportunities for me. Looking back I am so grateful for all the privileges with which I was blessed. Each of them gave me a step up as seen in the picture on the right.
In college I had classmates who were not as fortunate as I was. Many were African American from poor homes, most had a single parent who did not even have a high school education. They were in college through affirmative action. If everyone was treated equally, as depicted in the first picture on the left, they would not be there. To overcome all the barriers they experienced they needed additional help to bring them to equity with the rest of their peers, as shown in the second picture on the left.
At the time I heard many people complain about the extra privileges provided to them. My parents never complained that some had it easier than they did. My mother cleaned houses of the well-to-do and saw how much easier it was for them and their children. Yet she never resented them. My father came from a very poor home. He came to America with only the clothes on his back. He was grateful for the opportunities afforded him in this country. Both of my parents relied on God to bless them and on their own hard work. They lived a life of gratitude.
When Jesus began his ministry he announced that he had come to bring good news to the poor and that the kingdom was near. In God’s kingdom all people are treated equally because we are all made in God’s image. The problem of some people having too much and some too little does not exist for all have enough, (note, not the same amount, but enough).
As followers of Jesus we have two major roles. One is to invite all people to be part of the beloved community that we call God’s kingdom. That means welcoming everyone, offering friendship, and treating them as we treat ourselves. The second role is to work on conditions and systems that are not equal for all people. In the short term that means lifting up the disadvantaged so that they have greater opportunity as shown in the first picture on the right. In the long term that means social justice by dismantling the inequalities, tearing down the fence so all can see the ball game (especially when the Red Sox are in the World Series) as seen in the second picture on the right.
This is what loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves means, it’s just love. Studying these areas to better understand them and then do something about them is just faith. I invite you to consider participating in the “JustFaith” program described in this newsletter. I give thanks for each of you and our shared ministry. I give thanks for all that we do together in Jesus’ name.
In Christ’s love, Pastor Lauren
Change your clocks
Sunday November 4th Daylight Savings Time ends. Please remember to turn your clocks back one hour.
All Saints Sunday November 4th
On All Saints Sunday, November 4th we remember our sisters and brothers who have died this past year, who now rest in God’s perpetual care. We will remember: Pastor Benander, Pastor Bergstrom, Joan Craven, John Dimm, Shirley Johnson, Marilyn Powers and Bonny Vaught. People are invited to name other people including those outside our churches. As each name is read, a bell will be rung.
Campaign Nonviolence Walk November 18th
The next walk for Campaign Nonviolence will be Sunday November 18th at 2:30pm beginning and ending at Blessed Sacrament Church 40 Waverly Street.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Event November 18th
The Interfaith Council of Western MA will host its annual thanksgiving event on Sunday, Nov. 18th from 3-5pm in the Dodge Room, in the Campus Union building, at Springfield College. From 3-4pm there will be representatives from different traditions expressing how they give thanks in their tradition (Native American, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Unitarian, Islamic, Baha'I) and Springfield College students will share their family traditions. Each tradition will be offering scripture, prayers and possible chants or songs expressing gratitude according to their practices plus some interpretation or narrative.
Following light refreshments we will shift to round tables for discussion. Everyone will be encouraged to sit with people from other traditions. Springfield College students will have questions to start the conversations. There will be child care and children’s activities during the event. Translation into Spanish will be provided.
What we just completed
Crop Walk $864+
|What we are doing now|
|Thanksgiving bags October 28th – November 18th|
What is coming next
Annual Greater Springfield CROP Hunger Walk October 14th
Ending hunger one step at a time by helping our neighbors at home and around the world. Becky Lewison was the top walker raising $864!!!
Adult Education Sundays at 9am
On November 4th we will be reading and discussing a book, Grateful, by Diana Butler Bass. If gratitude is good, why is it so hard to do? Diana Butler Bass untangles our conflicting understandings of gratitude and sets the table for a renewed practice of giving thanks. Join us Sunday’s at 9am behind the organ. Bring your coffee and perhaps a friend.
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 28th. They are to be returned by November 18th so that they can be delivered in time for Thanksgiving. The need is great this year so your help is greatly appreciated.
Advent Folders will be available on December 2nd. Following Jesus’ example to serve others we are pleased to provide a folder that contains a slot for each day of the Advent Season to hold your daily offering. You may either place a coin in each day or make one contribution at the end of the season.
Hat & Mitten Tree
Beginning on November 25th please bring hats, gloves/mittens & scarves for adults. Hang them on the Christmas tree in the church lobby.
On Saturday November 10th we will host a game night. The fun starts at 6pm. Bring your favorite board or card game. Dessert and beverages will be served. Join us!
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.
Students who have received a scholarship will need to provide their grades from the first semester to receive the second half of their scholarship.
Save the Date Christmas Get Together
You are invited to attend the 55+ group’s Christmas Get Together on Saturday December 8th at 6 p.m. at Figaro’s Restaurant in Enfield, CT. We will order off the menu and have separate checks.
For nearly two decades JustFaith Ministries has been offering participants an opportunity to look at contemporary issues through the lens of Christian faith. JustFaith offers three eight-week programs (Phase I, II, III) that can be done alone or as a series. Phase I Living Compassionately: Caring for the Poor, Phase II Living Justly: Caring for Each Other, and Phase III Living Simply: Caring for the Earth. In addition, these programs are also available: Cultivating Nonviolence: Harvesting Peace, Exploring Migration: A Faith Journey, The Sultan and the Saint, and Hunger for Change: A Faithful Response.
This program is not so much a class to teach us new things, although we will learn many new things, this program is a formation process. As we hear our neighbor’s stories and reflect on what our faith calls us to do, our hearts will respond so that we can do what we can.
Each class is 2½ hours long. The group engages in prayer, reads books and/or online articles, views videos, and shares active listening, thought-provoking dialogue, and builds relationships. Some sessions include a guest speaker. To broaden perspectives, each of the 3 phases includes an immersion experience where participants visit a local organization and connect with those living and working on the margins of society. Each phase also contains a half-day retreat that provides a foundation for community building.
JustFaith is an intensive, small-group process for faithful Christians looking to deepen their commitment to care for vulnerable people and our planet. Through prayer, study, dialogue, and immersion experiences, participants form community as they explore critical realities and their implications for their lives and their faith.
A small faith-sharing group of 8–12 people that is connected through deep listening, dialogue, and trust is ideal. JustFaith is designed for use in diverse Christian communities. Therefore, this program is not limited to Lutherans, invite your friends and neighbors regardless of church affiliation.
I am open to offering this program during the day if that is preferred or in the evening. If there is enough interest we could offer both. I am also open to location. Once we see where most of the participants come from we can select a mutually convenient location. The cost for each phase is approximately $15-20 plus the cost of any books that are needed.
Over 50,000 people have participated in JustFaith. Here is what a few past participants have said:
“During the JustFaith program, a deep awakening took root in me to make a difference in the world, no matter how large or small.” Mary L., Janesville, WI
“What is different since I completed JustFaith? The way I pray; the way I eat; the way I shop; the way I parent; the way I serve; the way I view community; the way I view neighbor; the way I view enemy; the way I participate in church and community; the way I participate in policy issues; the way I begin and end my day.” Marisol H., Virginia Beach, VA
“JustFaith enlarges a person’s perspective on the world. By looking at sometimes difficult truths, we see beyond the comfort of our secure environment. JustFaith shows us how to be an authentic follower of Christ and a true citizen of the planet.” Steve R., Denver CO
“JustFaith was a major conversion in my life. The lens through which I look at the world—politics, economics, relationships, etc.—changed. I now see the world through the eyes of those who live on the margins, and ask myself how I can better serve my fellow members of my human family. Every segment of JustFaith awakened something deep within me that helped to form me in new ways, ways that were noticeably more compassionate than what I had previously been living.” Jack K., Austin, TX
JustFaith is an invitation to wrestle with Matthew 25 (“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me”), surrounded by fellow travelers, a commitment to prayer, compelling learning tools, and opportunities to form relationships with sisters and brothers whose lives have known struggle and suffering. See Justfaith.org
If you are interested please speak to or contact Pastor Lauren Holm, at Bethesda Lutheran Church. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 413-733-4494, mail: 455 Island Pond Road, Springfield, MA 01118.
July August 2018