What Difference do We Make?
The Rev. Patricia Davenport is the Bishop of the ELCA’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, and among other notable things, she also holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman to be elected as a Lutheran Bishop in the USA. She serves the five counties around the metro area of Philadelphia, and has quite a diverse group of congregations, some Hispanic, some predominantly white or some predominantly black. And a good number of the congregations in her synod are multi-cultural in make-up. Her congregations also run the gamut from impoverished to very well-to-do. Though the ELCA is 96% white, her Synod bucks that trend a little bit, plus has 10% pastors who are of African descent, 10% pastors under 40, and 40% pastors who are female. I’m sharing this background of Bishop Davenport to simply set up a quote of hers that I came across. It’s addressing a long-known trend that mainline churches such as the ELCA have been seeing for over a decade now – declining numbers and resources.
Bishop Davenport was asked what her Synod was doing about that trend, and here is her response: “It’s not about ‘butts and bucks and buildings,’ which was the old way we measured how the church was growing. Now the question is: What difference are you making in the community? You can have a small church of 15 people but if that church runs food banks, holds AA meetings, hosts arts and music programs for kids, there would be a vacuum in the community if it closed. Other churches with 1,500 people may be ticking the boxes on Sundays, and even doing valuable ministry within their walls, but would the community suffer if the closed?” (From a May 31, 2019 article for Lutheran World Federation.)
It sure does seem that the Christian Church is at a unique crossroads in our modern culture, with generational shifts taking place as to how and when and why people are connecting with their local church. I do sense an urgency for us to keep our focus on the main teachings of Christ, always figuring out how we are loving God, and loving neighbor. It is a sacred question to ask ourselves how we are making a difference in our community – within the church, in our neighborhoods, and across the world.
I’ll leave you with one more quote from Bishop Davenport, from that same article. “The Lutheran church mantra is ‘marked with the cross of Christ, claimed and gathered and sent for the sake of the world’ and every time we make the sign of the cross, we are reminded that our relationship with God should lead to relationships with our neighbors in need.”
I’ll see you for worship! –Pastor Josh
A Few Announcements:
SUMMER WORSHIP SCHEDULE: Worship Services are at 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM.
SIMPLY SUMMER IS COMING: Our summer midweek fellowship and outdoor worship will begin on June 12 with the meal starting at 6 PM, and the Outdoor Worship at 7 PM. Activities take place throughout the evening as well. Come and be part of a joy-filled evening at Family of Christ throughout the summer, which will include Luther Crest week, an ExSOULtation concert, our Block Party, a Root Beer and Hymns sing-a-long, and the Pet Blessing.
CREATION CARE COMMITTEE Wednesday, June 12, @ 7:30 PM (after the Simply Summer Worship service) general meeting Tuesday, June 18, 7:00-9:00 PM – rain garden weeding inviting all who can help
OUR SAVIOUR’S HOUSING We are looking for volunteers to prepare a meal, or to help serve dinner to the residents of Our Saviour’s Housing on Friday, June 21st. Prepared meals and food items can be dropped off at FoC, and the servers will bring them along to serve that evening. If you would like to be part of this ministry, there is a sign-up sheet on the CIA bulletin board near the kitchen for you to sign up to bring food, serve or both. Contact Melissa Gunderson with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 952-807-1122.
WE WELCOME BECCA EVEN to our church staff as she is serving as our Youth Ministry Intern for this summer. She will be helping in a variety of ways with our ministry to children, youth and families under the supervision of our Faith Formation Team. She will take on extra duties when the time comes for Andie Rydberg to begin her maternity leave. Welcome to our joyful team, Becca!