Social Ministry

The quilting group completed 29 quilts! 

Easter Food Bags
23 Easter dinner bags and $70 and 254 pounds of food were donated.  Thank you for sharing your Easter joy with those who would not have a dinner without our help.


$285 was raised to purchase seedlings, chicks, ducks, geese, and honeybees to support a family.  Make Way for Ducklings raised $75 so our combined total was $360.

Souperbowl of Caring
$20 and 113 pounds of food was collected by church members, Make Way For Ducklings collected 113 cans of food to celebrate 100 days of school, and those who use our building filled the container in the lobby.  The grad total of what was given to the Open Pantry was 270 pounds of food..

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.

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.  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 September Newsletter here

From the Pastor

Where God Dwells

“And all this time our ancestors had a tent shrine for true worship, made to the exact specifications God provided Moses.  They had it with them as they followed Joshua, when God cleared the land of pagans, and still had it right down to the time of David.  David asked God for a permanent place for worship.  But Solomon built it.  Yet that doesn’t mean that Most High God lives in a building made by carpenters and masons.  The prophet Isaiah put it well when he wrote, ‘Heaven is my throne room; I rest my feet on earth.  What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?  Did not my hand make all these things?’(Acts 7:44-49a The Message 49b-50 NRSV)

Our ancestors in the faith longed for a temple, not a tent.  God resisted again and again.  Finally God relented and allowed Solomon to build a temple, and what a magnificent building it was, for a time.  The temple was partially destroyed and rebuilt twice.  It was completely destroyed in 586 BCE and rebuilt in 515 BCE.  They understood that it was not God but God’s name that was housed in the temple.  Isaiah reminded his hearers that God cannot be contained in a building, no matter how lovely. 

In Jesus’ time, “some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God” (Luke 21:5 NRSV).  As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of his disciples said, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!”  Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings?  Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” (Mark 13:1-2 NRSV)  It was destroyed in 70 CE and not rebuilt.

In the 1st century people worshiped in people’s homes and sometimes had large gatherings of many house churches in public spaces.  They were outwardly focused on what their neighbor needed.  Did they know of God’s love for them?  Did they have food, clothing and shelter?  As churches built buildings, the focus shifted to keeping the institution going.

The permanence of a building is comforting, but buildings are fixed and cannot easily respond to the world around them as people and needs change.  Also, as buildings age their maintenance requires significant effort and expense.  Perhaps that is why God wanted to keep the Israelites in a tent for so long.

We all know that the church is not a building, the church is the people, the Body of Christ.  The body has eyes and ears to see and hear what their neighbors need, feet to take them where they are needed and hands to help and befriend.  Yet most churches focus on how can we stay in our building and keep our congregation going.  The majority of churches are in decline, young people are not joining and congregations are aging and dying.   

The early church grew through people meeting people and sharing the good news that God loves us unconditionally and by serving their neighbors.  As we connect with the people in our community, we are in a position to re-invent ourselves.  Young people are looking for community and want to make a difference in the world.

I have visited many of Europe’s elegant cathedrals.  They are adorned with expensive art work and visited as museums.  Many no longer have worshiping communities, while the poor who lived around the cathedral pray for help.  God is not confined to a building.  We meet God in every person, and they meet God in us.  As the world changes the church needs to change.  The church exists not for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves so dearly.  Our worship ends with our being sent into the world to love and serve God and neighbor.

Your sister in Christ, Pastor Lauren

Thank You!!!!!
  • Carmen Melecio for filling in during pastor’s vacation.
  • Carol Haglund for sending Splash! to our youngest members.
  • Evelyn Morris for counting on many extra Sundays and for making prayer shawls.
  • Becky Lewison and Jay Cleaveland for musical leadership during worship.
  • Gail Beaudoin for making pillows for the church.

Back to School!
On Sunday September 1st we will bless backpacks during worship.  Bring your backpack and join us.  “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18

LOL Lessons of Love
We are putting LOL (Lessons of Love) into action.  Each week our “lesson of love” will be a different project where children of all ages work together to serve others.  We will work during worship following children’s time with the pastor.  The children are eager to do service projects.  We need projects and volunteers to commit to helping.  This has the possibility of being an exciting new way to engage children and parents alike.

Adult Education
Bishop Hazelwood has just completed a book, “Everyday Spirituality” which is designed for group conversation reflecting on where God is in our ordinary lives.  The pastor is willing to meet any time (breakfast, morning, lunch, afternoon, dinner, and evening) on any day of the week, at church or any other location (homes, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.).  Please speak with the pastor if you are interested.

Bible Sunday – September 15th  
Children will receive an age appropriate Bible during worship.

Quilting meets the first Friday of the month at 10am.  You do not need to know how to sew, many of the people have sewing skills, and help is needed in cutting the material to size as well as constructing and tying the quilt once the pieces are ready.  We always need donations of clean, gently used sheets and blankets. 

Scrapbooking meets the third Friday of the month at 10am.  You do not need to know how to scrapbook, members will share ideas, supplies and tools with you.  Bring a friend.

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 if interested in this program.

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.

Mum Sale to Support ACTS
It's mum time!  The annual Giant Mum Sale to support ACTS (Action Centered Tutoring Services) Tutoring is getting under way! This fall, ACTS will begin its 34th academic year of providing free, faith-based, after-school tutoring and mentoring to Springfield’s elementary school children.  The program meets here at Bethesda/East on Tuesday afternoons from 4-6pm.  Your mum purchase is a big help in making that possible!  Beautiful mums in a variety of colors, sizes and prices can be ordered on Sundays, August 25, September 1st & 8th.  You can pick up your mums right here at Bethesda/East on Sunday, September 15th.  Order forms are available.  Please contact Pr. Lauren for further details.  Thank you!

Bell Tower removal
In September 2009, two walls in the stairwell from the Pearson Room to the church were wet and covered with mold.  Evert Carlson thought it was due to the tower being open to the weather.  So we installed Lexan panels, removed the mold, replaced the drywall and hoped for the best. 

In 2012 the water reappeared covering a larger area and the mold was worse.  The contractor who did the first repair thought it was either tower roof, so a new upper and lower roof was installed in the tower.  Again the mold was removed, drywall was replaced, and we hoped for the best. 

In January 2019 the water reappeared on three walls and into the pastor’s office.  The mold was extreme.  When we examined the brick inside the tower the bricks were soaked and whenever they froze pieces of brick came off.  It was determined that the upper story of the tower needed to come down and a peaked roof placed over the remaining tower.  [Illustration above is not exact.]  We filed an insurance claim which will cover most of the repair work.

Crop Walk
I believe there's enough food and water for everyone on this planet…but it'll be an uphill climb to get there without everyone pledging to help.  That's why I've signed up for the Greater Springfield CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 20th.  I'm walking on behalf of families who have to walk every day just to make ends meet.  Will you please consider sponsoring me so that together we can reduce their journey?  Every dollar you donate makes a huge difference: for example, $20 can provide a sustainable source of healthy food for one family through fresh gardens!  Here is my personal web page for the walk:

Thank you for your continued support! 

Save the date
On Sunday September 22nd we will have a lunch following worship.  We will serve lasagna, salad, bread and of course dessert.  Please sign up on the sheet provided so that we know how many people to expect.  A free will offering will be taken.

Annual Stewardship Appeal
God has blessed us in many ways.  Our very life is a gift of God.  “Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them “Humankind” when they were created.” (Genesis 5:2) We receive forgiveness and eternal life because of God’s great love toward us.    But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God gives us what we need to live each day.  “The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.” (Psalm 67:6)

Social Ministry

What we just completed

We brought 188 pounds of food to the Open Pantry.

What we are doing now
Tending the garden beds and collecting food for the Open Pantry.

What is coming next

Stewardship presentations and pledges of commitment

Home            Bethesda Church            East Church            Ministry            Facilities            Partners            News            Contact Us     

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