Social Ministry

Mitten Tree
47 hats, 29 pairs of gloves, 10 scarves, 6 pairs of mittens, 5 pairs of socks, one pair of slippers, and a muff.

Thanksgiving Bags
39 Thanksgiving dinners collected!  In addition, $70 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 $864 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 wonderful vegetables for the Open Pantry.

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.

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 January Newsletter here

From the Pastor

Making All Things New

How many of you wake up each day thinking this could be the day that Jesus returns?  Me neither.  As a result we may become complacent, and not watch our words and examine our actions in the light of God’s love for us and God’s expectations of how we shall live. 

In our baptism we are given the power of the Holy Spirit as an inner guidance system.  It is always operating but sometimes we fail to listen.  We meet 12-year old Jesus who is learning in the temple.  Jesus is teaching us how important it is to always be a student of God’s Word and God’s ways.  May my teaching drop like the rain, my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth.” (Deuteronomy 32:2) God’s word is always available to us ready to help us grow in new and wonderful ways.

Because we continually sin against God and neighbor we confess our sins and try to do better each new day.  King David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband Uriah.  When David was confronted with his sin he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) God’s Spirit is always ready to help us turn away from sin and turn toward God whose love toward us never wavers.  God never gives up on us, instead God gives us a new start, again and again.  “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.” (Ezekiel 29:29)

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah.  “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) We know the new thing to be the birth of God’s own Son Jesus.  Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life makes the way for us to follow.

God continually makes covenants with humankind and we continually break them.  But God never gives up on us.  “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant … It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors … a covenant that they broke, … I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ... I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34) Each time we receive communion we remember that Jesus said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20)

The birth of Christ as told by Luke is the best news we will ever hear.  “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10) The news of God’s kingdom was proclaimed to all, but especially to the poor.  Jesus gives us a new commandment.  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13:34) What makes it new is loving others following Jesus’ example. 

Baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection we are assured of forgiveness and eternal life.  “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) We die to sin and rise as a new creation.  “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope.” (1 Peter 1:3)

We wait in hope for the day when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom and restore everything to its original goodness.  “And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) God makes all things new.  My prayer is that we grow in new ways, listen to the Spirit, follow God’s ways, and continue to live in a covenantal relationship with God.  Let’s share the good news of God’s love as we love our neighbors and walk in newness of life with a living hope. 

A blessed new year,
Pastor Lauren

Thank You!!!!!

  • Jay Cleaveland and Mike Dufault for moving all the chancel furniture for the Make Way for Ducklings Christmas program, and replacing light bulbs.
  • Mike Lewison for the wreaths and for the poinsettias.
  • Jay Cleaveland setting up the Christmas tree. Sue Mariotti for decorating it.
  • Mike Dufault for changing the banners and Sue Mariotti for changing the liturgical art many times.
  • Mary Hunter and Mike Lewison for drafting the 2019 budget.

Bible Study – Luke
On January 13th we will begin studying The Gospel according to Luke.  Luke invites us to explore the story of Jesus and his mission as God's Chosen One (Messiah). From the joyous accounts of Jesus' birth in a manger in Bethlehem to the stark images of Golgotha to the eye-opening meal at Emmaus, we are invited into a remarkable story. This course invites participants into rich discovery as they explore key stories and events of this Gospel.  This 8-session course explores selected passages from the Gospel of Luke.

  1. Why Was Jesus Born? (Luke 2:1-20)
  2. What Will Become of This Child? (Luke 2:21-40)
  3. Let God Be God! (Luke 4:14-30)
  4. What Was Jesus Doing? (Luke 7:1-7)
  5. Why Must Jesus Die? (Luke 9:18-36)
  6. And Grace Will Lead Me Home (Luke 15:1-32)
  7. Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended? (Luke 23:26-49)
  8. How Did Jesus’ Resurrection Change the World? (Luke 24:13-35)

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

Social Ministry

What we just completed

47 hats, 29 pairs of gloves, 10 scarves, 6 pairs of mittens, 5 pairs of socks, one pair of slippers, and a muff

What we are doing now
Souperbowl of Caring

What is coming next


“Souper Bowl of Caring”
During the month of January we will remember the ongoing critical needs of the hungry.  We will be collecting nonperishable food items, especially soups, as well as monetary donations (cash/checks).  On Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2019, we will be joining churches across the country that are also part of the Souper Bowl of Caring.  Our donations will be brought to the Open Pantry.

 Attention Members Annual Meeting and Elections
On January 27, 2019 Bethesda Church will hold its annual meeting and in that meeting we will review our finances, approve a budget and elect members to serve in a number of positions.  If you have any agenda items please give them to Sue Mariotti. 

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. 

Urgent notification list
We have a list of email addresses for both churches which we use to inform members when there has been a death in the congregation, and when an event or worship service is cancelled.  If you are not on that list and wish to be on it please give your information to the church office.

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. 

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